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Lecture Two.doc

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Maggie Cummings

Lecture Two Key Terms  Fieldwork and ethnography  Edward Taylor, James Frazer, Bronislaw  Fieldwork as rite of passage Malinowski, Franz Boas  Armchair anthropology  Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism  Participant Observation  Culture  Objectivity/Positivism/Subjective knowledge  Interpretive/symbolic anthropology Fieldwork and ethnography  “If you want to understand what anthropology is, look at what anthropologists do. Above all else, what anthropologists do is ethnography” (VSI page 13)  Ethnography (what anthropologists write) is, in turn, is based on fieldwork What does ethnography/fieldwork accomplish?  Culture from “the native’s point of view” (Geertz)  Thick description (Geertz again)  Context for knowledge about culture  -Portray a given culture from the native’s point of view. This is the main goal of ethnography  -Thick description involves describing the content  -it's a story balances tell about themselves as a culture as balanises A very brief history of anthropology  Philosophers and various explorers as “proto-anthropologists”  Victorian anthropology (Taylor and Frazer): evolutionary, hierarchy of “civilization”  Comparative, second-hand accounts  “Armchair anthropology”  -young discipline for the last 130 years  -Victorian anthropologists were interested by Darwin-Tyler and Fraser  -Tyler describe culture in a very Victorian based life style. (In textbook). Some ppl had more evolved culture than others according to anthropologists at this time  -they believed that culture could evolve  -they measured all culture against Victorian culture. The highest ranking culture the most civilized  -all cultures moved through these steps from magical thinking to religious thinking finally scientific rational thought. Fraser believed this. Book called Golden Bow  -how did they come up with this: they would read things by other ppl and then created their comparisons  - the anthropologists at the Victorian time were called armchair anthropologists Malinowski “On the Verandah”  they would stay with local missionaries, Europeans settlers  we call this today on the veranda they watched village life go by Malinowski “Off the Verandah”  -he was the first one to come off the veranda. He was considered to be one of the first fathers of anthropologists  -1910s studied trobian islanders, ww1 began. He was considered an enemy cuz he was born in Poland  - He was stuck for a couple years he stayed and learned their language  -realized that this was a much better way to understandings the other culture  - He began training other students Malinowski: Participant Observation  -he realized that the trobian culture were not a simple culture. They had diff. Economics govt systems. He wrote against the earlier civilizations. He said that we can't rank they we can compare the, Franz Boas  Historical Particularism  Cultural Relativism versus Ethnocentrism  The switch to fieldwork meant—first-hand knowledge; holistic knowledge; comparative, but not hierarchical, approach to culture  -father of American anthropologists  -culture should be studied on their own terms not compared to other culture  -each culture had its own unique history his study was called historical particularism  -said bad science to fit cultures into scheme  -because of him we have an important component of anthropologist now. Cultural relativism-u can't judge a particular r cultu
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