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Lecture 9

ANTB19H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Cultural Relativism, Har Homa, Ethnography

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Donna Young

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Nuer Dilemmas coping money with the state 1996
- “it is good that you are living before the rains begin… of the western lead of the Nuer,
- In the 50 years that EP was there tons of things have changed, there is policemen (egalitarian
society), Law, taxes, a head chief a different form of politics, different way of administrating
things, civil institution
- No longer egalitarian (head chief)
- Pay tax (centralized form of state)
- Trading cattle, become a form of commodity - the relationship between cattle and the Nuer
has altered, family herd and purchased in the market freedom for young
- Sudan 1956 declared independence, civil war happened right afterwards, the new state is very
racialized categories to separate the two
- Anthropological theoretical and style of writings has changed over the 50 years how you think
will influence how you write
In the Nuer, EP puts for a theory about political life among the Nuer that became known as structural
functionalism. In structural functionalism, the ethnographer/ anthropologist illustrates the
interconnectedness between various cultural and social institutions that work together like a finely oil
machine holding the society together and allowing the reproduction of that society. The focus in
structural functionalism is on maintaining equilibrium and on reproducing shared cultural patterns.
- Repetition .. keeping the society’s ability to reproduce itself
- Problem of structural functionalism:
1. There is no room for critique there is only room for endless explanation
2. No understanding of history, of what might produce social change, cultural relativism taken
to an extreme
3. Not very good explaining social change
4. Cultural unit the same irony that we watched on Last Yahi. Indicating radical social change.
EP studies ecology, economics, the whole, legal institution, family kinship, technology… apart of social
Asad 1993 P, 112
1. Post colonial explanation experienced rapid social change through education, mass media,
industrial project, war and conquered
2. New intelligencer denounced anthropologist helped colonizers - it was perceived in the case
3. Criticism functionalist explanation which could not account social change
Rouge P.15
Feminist critique evolved in anthropologist the neutrality of knowledge - linked knowledge to power
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