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Maggie Cummings

ANTA02-Lec01 Lecture #3 - January 19, 2010 VSI Chapter 7; PDF - Rituals in American Birth *Assignment #2 - One Page Reading Response = Due: February 5, 2010 Last Class:  Fieldwork and ethnography as the methods of Anthropology  Culture is always changing (not static) - shared patterns of learned behaviour  Boas - “cultural lens” through which members of a culture can see the world **Symbiotic relation between what we learn and how we see the world - mutually sustaining Worldview ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  We try to make our lives meaningful and comprehend what is happening around us to create meaning  Worldview = result of these interpretive efforts o Encompassing picture of reality based on a set of shared assumptions about how the world works o Understanding what the world and what reality is o Worldviews are different depending on the culture  Culture encompasses many things (kinships, laws, languages, etc) o SHARED CULTURAL PERCEPTIONS OF REALITY (subset of culture) o Symbolic frameworks that highlight certain significant domains of social experience while downplaying others o Multiple worldviews can exist in ONE culture; or one worldview may dominate o I.e. Feeding Desire - Islamic Worldview (Religious) = shapes the entire culture and their views o Tied to religion and religious beliefs o Secular and Religious worldviews (i.e. in Canada) - Money vs. religion (coexist) Chapter 7 -VSI - Thinking about worldview - Humans and Weather  Bima and Dou Donggo - different cultures o i.e. how they understand drought/ rain o react differently and try to understand the drought differently o Bima - knew they could not affect the will of Allah; pray and fast (ask Allah for rain) o Dou Donggo - not Muslim; rain is part of the inevitable nature of things - rain should just happen in the rain (if it doesn’t, then there is something getting in the way of the natural order of things) [make offers to mischievous spirits]  Were successful in both cases in making the rain come - their worldviews were correct (in their eyes) and their reality continued  North America  Meteorologists o Blame global warming o Drought - irrigate (complex technological processes) o Import water o Take things into our own hands (do what we can to help/ change it- Compensate) BUT we do not believe that we have complete control over things (but try to change it) o Weather is unpredictable and out of our hand nature and culture are two separate things to us  Worldview shapes our cultural behaviours and what we see as real (1)Language, Culture, and Reality---------------------------------------------  “we are what we speak”  language, speech, communication as symbolic expressions Page 1 of 5  Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis - there is a systematic relationship between the categories of the language a person speaks and how that person understands the world and behaves in it  language shapes reality as we know it  categories of speech shape out categories of thought/ perception (different language patterns yield different thought patterns that yield different views of reality)  Sapir - the worlds in which different societies live are distinct societies (not just the same society with different labels) **People who speak different languages live in different worlds** (problem - what about bilingual people? What world do they live in?) PROBLEMS:  Cross cultural translation?  Is it possible t translate the culture of Azawagh Arabs into English? OR is their culture so closely related to the dialect of the Koran/ Islam, is it just a waste to try to understand it in English?  Awareness of the significance of language (more than just labels and vocabulary) is a start to solving these problems Examples: (1) Whorf - investigated fires for insurance companies; observed that people reacted in different situations on the basis of linguistic cues  Interpretation of different words  Workers saw that the gasoline tanks were “Empty” so people smoked around them o Were “empty” of liquid, but not of vapours/ gas o Categories and structures of language shaped their beliefs of reality (2) Studied the Hofi (?)  No nouns (represent things) OR tenses (past, present, future)  All sentences need a subject/ nouns  They experienced their world/ reality in a different way  Process oriented and focused on movement - see time as moving and always happening (not linear)  Europeans - linear time, focus on things/ nouns (3) We objectify everything: “it’s” raining - think of the world in terms of cause-and-effect  Nature is separate from us  Duo Donggo - “there is rain”; no cause/ no “it” that is making it rain o Don’t see nature as being separate from themselves o Everything is a process  Our language affects the way we see reality **Our ability to see world is shaped by culture, shaped by language **Argued that every culture develops the linguistic tools needed to solve problems and survive *Many anthropologists question the hypothesis (language shapes reality)  idea that language structures reality and of the mind shape the world (not believed anymore)  Take the idea that: Language somehow shapes our reality  The metaphors we use in our language to describe the world really shape out thoughts, behaviours, and worldviews  Lakoff and Johnson - Metaphors we live by o Different metaphors for thinking of things that shape our world Page 2 of 5 (2)Time --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  Different cultures think of time in different ways  Metaphor that we live by; how do we use it metaphorically to live our lives?  We can measure it (watches, clocks); BUT the way we define it varies from culture to culture What do we use to measure time? o Clocks o Calendar o Lunar What kinds of time do we have? o Seasons o Epox/era o Decades o Minutes, years, seconds, hours o Birthdays/ rites of passage/ weeks vs. weekends Metaphors to think about time in NA? o It’s time o
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