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Lecture 7

Lecture 7

7 Pages

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Sheldon Ungar

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Lecture 7 Solutions to the Problem of Order Society and the Individual There are two statements: -society is theproduct of human activity -individuals are the product of society Time situation (Dynamic process): We create society and over time people are born into it and changed by that society. Those people in turn change society. Thus we are continually creating society. Social order is not guaranteed, it must be created. Individuals as Creators: e.g. Robinson Crusoe: (Pop culture equivalent: Gilligans Island) -Friday and Crusoe create society from scratch. They create rules: Every Friday well eat fish. ----Over time, fish becomes institutionalized and normative. It becomes mythologized: the human origins of the custom are hidden. (People used to eat fish on a specific day before because there was no refrigeration and fish goes bad fast; thus, they made up a religious reason for it) -Eventually, you might go as far as to have a fish police (constraining force) making sure everyone eats fish on Fridays. Modern day e.g. smoke police (Canada), Green police (Colombia) Individuals as Products: Societal metaphor: Bus -People get on (born) and off (die) the bus, and they can change where the bus is going. -Trains and planes are not a good metaphor since they have a set course. A bus cant go off-road either, not a jeep, i.e. there is limits to what you can do- but you can still go around. Are there cultural universals? e.g. Everybody eats is not one; since it is too vague. There are variances on how, when, how often. Plus every other species in the planet does it. Tentative answer: Yes there are cultural universals, but they are not very specific e.g. 1 Incest taboo: Cutting line varies since in some culture royalty incest is ok, how far along familiarity to do you trace the line cousins, second cousins..? e.g. 2 Violence in the group: Does not always work (rapeviolence in family) e.g. 3 Funerals (i.e. mourning): Changes over time. Before, in traditional Ireland, women were supposed to mourn and wear black for a year (at the same time they would show some of their breast to show that they were available soon). Now, work regulations allow you to take 3 days off for a close relative, one day for everyone else. Mourning is not unique to humans. Elephants mourn, especially when matriarch dies. They will still come back years later to the bones and hold them. Are there emerging cultural universals? -Human rights: we have a long way to go, but working on it
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