ANTA02H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Clifford Geertz, Nacirema, Cultural Relativism
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Tuesday, January 10th 2017
Part I Exploring Culture
●Definitions of Culture: norm, values and beliefs that make a certain group of people
unique, upbringing, rituals, music, celebrations, elements of interpersonal relationships
- First emerged as the product of enlightenment in European thinking that was moving away
from a purely Religious aspect of the world moving to rational thinking (ideal aims of
civilizations), as a measurement of how well developed a civilization may have been.
- Notions of old ideas of culture: High culture (opera / symphony), which assumes that there
is low culture. Anthropology does not like this because everyone practices culture
- Traditional foods, crafts, objects . Stereotype notion of culture
- Old anthropologists believed that certain cultures were more civilized than others. Tyler’s
definition does not encompass the culture in relation to how we live / organize our daily
- Clifford Geertz: Focused on symbols and communication patterns and thought about how
we think psychologically during cultural events but does not include how we live our daily
- Bates and Plog (closest to the current definitions). “To cope with the world” implies that
people are coping with our flawed world. The adaptation we make to our environment (to
the people we encounter). Emphasizes that culture is something that is learned and
acquired and that culture evolves. [Culture changes]
●Horace Miner article: The Nacirema
- Had a special relationship with the mouth.
- Was satire (describes what an outsider might describe American Culture).
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