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Lecture 1

ANTA02H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Cyber-Ethnography, Essentialism, Ideo

Course Code
Maggie Cummings

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ANTA02 – Lecture #2
Emic – insiders perspective
Etic – outsiders perspective
- Geertz (think description) in which you look at a wider context, not just glossing over something,
Contextualize the things you describe,
Brief history of discipline:
A holistic definition, it looks at all the practices and beliefs,
We need to look at culture in a holistic way,
Civilization: Victorian Britain
All cultures went through 3 3volutionary stages:
1) Religious thinking
2) Scientific or rationale thinking
-Malinowski “ On the Verandah”
-Fieldwork, when anthropologists decided to come off the Verandah? Physically and metaphorically
-Malinowski: two founding fathers,
-British anthropology – was called social anthropology
-American anthropology – was called cultural anthropology
-2 sub streams:
-Both Malinowski and bowen are the founding fathers of anthropology
Malinowski: Participant Observation: during the day, he would participate in every day life go to
different rituals and ceremonies, and also observing with an outsiders perspective: Long term
fieldwork – 2 years, he thought some cultures were simple or primitive compared to others.
Trochean islanders
oOther founding father: Franz Boas, cultural anthropology.
oFounded by Franz Boas, historical particularism accepted the cultural evolutionary model
that had dominated anthropology up until Boas. It argued that each society is a collective
representation of its unique historical past.
oStudying a culture as a whole, engaging you fully, rather than glossing over one particular
oWe need to look over their history, culture comes from their own unique history.
oPaying particular attention to a culture’s history.
oMethodological strategy: Cultural Relativism: We should not think of any culture are
disgusting, primitive or bad.
oAll cultures are a result of their own unique history.
oCultural relativism vs. Ethnocentrism:
oRelativist Fallacy: the idea that you can judge other cultures belief, all Is equal in the
world, we have to be morally relativistic.
oCultural relativism is a method used to understand and study the culture.

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oCulture: is a system of meaning about the nature of experience that is shared by a
people ond passed from one generation to anther.
oCulture is learned and shared,
oCulture is a way of making life meaningful, its what makes people human,
oBoas: Culture as a lens for experience:
oCulture as an experience from birth, death, certain events, culture allows us to make death
meaningful, lots of things are edible, but in culture only something’s are edible.
oFood for thought: culture tells us what is food, and what is not food.
oHow do Anthropologists deal with culture in a global world?
oSalvage ethnography: meant writing down and reporting about the culture before it
oMulti-sited ethnography: fieldwork, not just in one place, but in multiple places, ex: you
don’t have to go to sri lank to learn tamil, you can learn it in Scarborough
oNative Anthropology: study the culture you are native of, history of anthropology, most
anthropologists were white, went to far away to study primitive or small cultures, they
would not have been anthropologists, Trochean islanders that study anthropology, who stud
their own culture, that is called native anthropology,
oEthnography at home : traditionally anthropologists, typically who went out and studied a
culture, stayed home and studied their cultural roots,
oVirtual Ethnography: methodological way: online ethnography: field is not a far away
place, but an online study, online community, made up of people all over the world, you can
study that as a virtual anthropologists.
-Culture is learned:
-Culture is shaped by power relations:
-Culture is experienced by different ways, not everyone experiences culture in the same way,
probably depends on whether you are a man or woman, or what class you are.
-No culture is pristine:
-All cultures have been in contact with other cultures,
-The penetration of local communities by global culture does not dooms local cultural
traditions to extinction:
-Some cultures are going to be wiped out, leaving the powerful cultures on top.
-Cultures are texts:
-The cockfight is a story the Balinese tell themselves abou themselves:
-Interpreting cultures: The Balinese Cockfight:
-Interpret the meanings, what keeps different cultures separate from each other, the same system of
beliefs shape value.
-The System of Meanings:
-Culture is a made up of texts:
-Culture is something we can read, all of these texts together, is a story that it tells itself, repeating it
over and over again.
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