ANTA02H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Granary, Bride Price, Structural Violence
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Concepts – deﬁnition, relevance to class and example of it (Post your answers under the
concept(s) and reading you chose below)
Spiritual insecurity (Ashforth)
Ashforth uses this concept but never deﬁnes it, although it is really important to his analysis.
Spiritual insecurity for Ashforth is “The condition of danger, doubt, and fear arising from
exposure to the action of unseen forces bent upon causing harm” (Ashforth 1998:63). Spiritual
insecurity pervades social life in South Africa, and this spiritual insecurity stems from the fact
that people live in a world that is believed to be populated by witches, malevolent forces that
can cause harm in mysterious ways to people through the agency of individual practitioners of
witchcraft or through the payment of services of witchcraft or witches themselves. Misfortune
abounds and its cause is not something that we can see or understand through the spiritual
turmoil of a world ﬁlled with witches and people who try to cause harm to each other in order to
improve their own opportunities in life. This concept also raises important questions like “Why is
post-apartheid in South Africa so full of witches?”
Ashforth believes that much of the social conditions that lie under inequality in South Africa and
increase in witchcraft talk or fear of witchcraft are linked. He also thinks that economic
impoverishment and continuing problems of the failures of the promise of democracy have given
rise to spiritual insecurity.
Sociologist Loic Wacquant coined this term. What happened in South Africa was the creation of
what Wacquant would call “Hyperghetto”. A ghetto is where you force people to live together in a
constrained space, and the ghetto would be what the townships were during apartheid South
Africa. With the fall of apartheid regime, there was a lack of middle class people (teachers,
nurses, and people who were able to access upward social mobility). As soon as they could,
they moved out of the townships into the traditionally white areas like Johannesburg. That is
how the city became less segregated: Black middle class people leaving the townships. But the
result of that was that there was a further entrenchment and thickening of poverty in these areas
because the people that were left behind in the townships were the very poorest of the poor and
the ones who could not get out of these shanty towns. So, in the wake of apartheid and
democracy, there was a concentration of poverty in these townships areas, and all the store
owners and shop owners would leave these areas and take their businesses with them. There
were fewer and fewer businesses taking place in these urban areas and few opportunities for
wage labour, which is something that comes across in Madumo’s story very clearly - his
difﬁculties ﬁnding work are an ongoing issue for him, and that is because he lives in a
hyperghetto. Ashforth’s argument, although he does not say it explicitly is about the
hyperghetto. He says that it is the hyperghettoization of the township areas that gave rise to the
epidemic of witchcraft, so that in a context where people have been taught to hope that their
economic opportunities would increase dramatically, what they saw was the opposite. They saw
more poverty all around them, greater forms of inequality, few opportunities for wage labour, and
that is what turned into the concern that their misfortune could only be explained because of
The granary (Evans-Pritchard)
The Azande lived in an extremely hot, arid, and dry area. They would often build wooden
granaries that they lifted above the ground. The granaries are wood shacks that store grain, and
they are elevated above ground to keep the grain dry and save it when rain falls. These were
great places to sit because they cast dead shade, so people would congregate underneath
these granaries very commonly. There are also a lot of termites in that part of the world. Evans-
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Pritchard noted that often, people sitting underneath these granaries would become victim to
them falling. The termites were constantly gnawing through the wood poles, and there would be
a moment where inevitably, the granary would collapse. Sometimes, it would collapse and
nobody would be sitting underneath it, but sometimes the granary would collapse when there
would were people sitting underneath it, and they would be harmed or killed. Evans-Pritchard
realized that when he quizzed the Azande about what they understood to be happening during
those moments where the granaries collapsed and hurt people, they would say that it was
because of witchcraft. They understood that the granary was caused to collapse by termites
chewing through the wooden pole - they understood the scientiﬁc explanation for the misfortune
that was happening, but what they said science could not tell them and could not explain to
them was why the granary fell at that exact moment when that exact person was sitting
underneath it. They said that could only be explained by witchcraft. Witchcraft comes to stand
for the seemingly inexplicable coincidences and misfortunes that befall us in the world that we
cannot make sense of and that science cannot explain. That is why when bad things kept
happening to Madumo, he believed that it had to be because of witchcraft.
Sacred vs. Profane (lecture) Emile Durkheim described religion as having 2 parts. The “sacred”
are the deﬁning characteristics of religion. These are set apart as holy or “forbidden”
The sacred is in contrast to the “profane” deﬁned as everyday, normal and unholy things
FROM SLIDES: Concept of “sacred” is a deﬁning characteristic of religions (Durkheim)
-sacred is that as holy, or forbidden, profane in contrast is everyday, normal and unholy
-Durkheim’s idea of sacred/ profane is not equal to good/evil
Collective effervescence (lecture)
- Concept coined by Emile Durkheim, It is the emotional state when an individual
becomes part of a group, usually through intense rituals or group activities. Group bubbling is
another way of putting it, through these moments the individuals become part of the group and
feel the same things these people in the group feel. People dance and sing together, it's not
only a religious/spiritual thing but rather everyone experiences it. Think of it as an energy that
runs through your body during a religious practice. The excited reaction when a group of people
experience something emotional with one another, participants feeling closer to their god or fan
excitement at a sporting event (like when the blue jays made the playoffs and Toronto fans/
bandwagons were excited together at the rogers centre). Think of the example at Mandela’s
funeral in South Africa, everyone in the stadium were feeling ways with one another singing and
chanting. (I’m trying to drop bare examples right now(this man’s jokes), Thank you so much they
are helpful). Collective effervescence can motivate people to do things they won’t ever do, such
as take part in riots, people united against a social justice will create group anger that overrides
morals, who usually is a law abiding citizen will end up smashing windows in under the spell of
Ideology vs. Practice (LECTURE)
Ideology is what we believe we do, which follows the social norms of that time period. Practice
is what we actually end up doing. WHERE IS THIS FROM… =/ lecture
Usually, what we say we do differs to some degree from what we actually do
Ideology is something from which it is very difﬁcult to distance one’s self
For instance, in a survey conducted about racism, the US appeared to be relatively tolerant.
However, this ﬁnding shouldn’t be taken at face value, as it may not be indicative of their
tolerance. Rather, Americans’ survey answers possibly show a norm of answering questions in a
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way that preserves their dignity. They could say they’re very tolerant (ideology), but in reality
they could be much more racist (practice).
Gender vs. Sex, sexuality
Gender: the social and cultural classiﬁcation of masculine and feminine as socially meaningful
categories that seem reasonable and appropriate. Gender is a form of difference that is
elaborated in all cultures, all societies, throughout all history, albeit in different ways. It is also
best understood as a spectrum ex. The Genderbread!
Society (and most culture) tends to view gender as binary: masculine or feminine.
Sex: the biological difference between male and female ex. Genetic makeup X and Y
chromosomes and whether an individual has a penis or a vagina.
Sexuality: a person’s sexual orientation or preference/ their sexual activities.
Gender spectrum vs. Binary (lecture) Often viewed a binary - masculine or feminine, although
better understood as a spectrum.
Changes through culture
Think of the “genderbread”: http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2012/01/the-genderbread-
Gender hierarchy (inequality) (lecture)
Gender hierarchy: how gendered activities/attributes are differently valued and related to
distribution of resources, prestige and power. Some societies believe women should stay in the
domestic sphere (remain a housewife, cook and clean, look after the children, etc) while men
should work and ﬁnancially support the family. Debates about gender aren’t just male vs. female
issues, but gender involves notions of rights and entitlements. Political issue is not just in terms
of government politics, but how power is distributed in society.
Sexuality as identity (Kulick)
Kulick speciﬁcally indicates the identity in sexuality as a group, such as homosexuals.
Sexuality as behaviour (Kulick)
Kulick speciﬁcally indicates behaviour in sexuality as ‘temporary’ acts. Throughout the chapter,
he discusses how sexual behaviours, like sodomy or being a client in prostitution (the one
paying) are slowly transforming from temporary aberrations to a species.
“The genealogy of the client as a species” (Kulick)
Behaviours are connected to psychological personality types. A man who purchases sex is
deviant or perverted. THus there is something intrinsic to these men that makes them like this. A
species reﬂects something intrinsic. Therefore a client is a species.This is speciﬁcally
demonstrated in when they talk about the “client gene” and being able to tell from a young age
is a boy is more likely to be a client of prostitution or not. They infer [his] genealogy from their
How science is cultural (Kulick, Leinaweaver)
This is the idea that scientiﬁc research is inﬂuenced by cultural ideals and values and vice
versa. So the idea that men who purchase sex are perverted (ie a cultural thing) inﬂuences the
scientiﬁc research that these men are a species.
Science tells us a lot about collectively shared attitudes towards behavior
National ideologies about ‘good sex’ ended up profoundly shaping ‘science’ and its impact on
social policy (Kulick)
Sex work vs. Prostitution vs. Agency (Wardlow)
-Some prefer this term because unlike the term prostitute, it suggests an income-generating
activity rather than a totalizing identity.
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