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Lecture 10

ANTA02H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Altruistic Suicide, Black Market, Essentialism

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Maggie Cummings

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ANTA02: LECTURE 10 : 20/03/2012
Racism as Plural:
Culture & biology
There is no way to divide human population as races
Social category: races may not exist but racism does
Worldview: ended up creating: policies, institutions
Not the consequences of biological inherence
Racisms: one of the difficulties as anthropologists is taking about race without being essentialist
Social & Historical context
Racism takes different forms in different ways: modes of exclusion, inferiorization, exploitation, subordination
Relationships between: class vs. gender, race vs. gender…….
In Search of Respect:
- They experience discrimination in racial terms, they have certain inabilities.. innately like a certain way
Agency vs. Structure:
Social identity, social roles determine much about our behaviour, rights, etc…..
Our identity can be divided into different parts
We possess free will: individuality
Society is more than an “abstraction” it’s made up of us
Durkheim’s study of suicide (1897): “suicide seems like the most personal, individual choice you can make”
He learned: there is a relationship between agency & structure that shapes these personal choices
People, who are more integrated in their community, were less likely to commit suicide…
Altruistic suicide: killing yourself for someone else’s benefit
Individuals tend to act according to their social identity
Agency: the power of individuals to choose what to do & how to act based on intention & choice
Larger forces: political economy, institutions, ideaologies…etc
Is free will an illusion? > if our choices are structured by an economy
If someone is poor, is it their own fault? Or is it the agency the reason for their poverty?..
Are the poor & unemployed trapped?
People at the bottom have little agency, little opportunity
In Search of Respect:
Main points on 143:
The crack dealers are victims of structure forces, but do not accept this passively.
They struggle for respect against these forces by embracing street culture & underground economy.
BUT they become agents of their own destruction & further oppression by doing so.
Political Economy:
- Puerto Rico was colonized by the Spanish
- It’s location was important as no one wanted to give it away
- Since it was right in the middle of the Caribbean, they used it as a launch pad
- It remains militarily important b/c of its proximity to Cuba
- Manufacturing pub: Puerto Rico
- When the US first took over Puerto Rico, they established large agro businesses (banana, sugar plants)
- People were expected to go there and work
- Most of the farmers were forced: Jibaro “wild” : hillbillys – stayed up in the town & they were pushed up of the
land, living a poor life and they had a heroic aspect to them
- They resisted state control
- Many of the Puerto Rican’s moved to New York in the 1st half of the 20th Century
- New York was being over runned by people living in Ireland, Puerto Rico
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