ANT100Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Franz BoasPremium
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ANT 100 – LECTURE 9
TOPIC: Relatedness (kinship, marriage, descent, residence, commensality, friendship?)
Human beings need relationships, but not the same forms of relationships with
everyone. The ideal is for everyone to be treated the same but our feelings are not the same for
everyone so there is a positive and negative to relationships. In the nature of loving the people
we find special, we tend to exclude those who are not as special and thus may make them feel
People also need to cooperate with others for economic or simply survival reasons.
Society creates groups that cooperate, but the downside is that it creates competition between
the groups for resources.
THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF AFFECT (EMOTIONS)
Is mother’s love natural? – mothers are supposed to love their children, but some do not
and that is a fact. Political economy of motherhood not only involves emotions but also the
economy itself to have ways to raise the child.
Motherly love is shaped by the political and economic context. The government decided
how to distribute the wealth, which could shape who mothers feel about their children. It is
socially and culturally produced (=constructed) from what is provided by nature.
TWO OPPOSING THEORIES AND A MIDDLE GROUND
Theory #1: Mother love is all “biological” thus natural and universal.
Theory #2: mother love is all social and thus a social construct.
Middle ground: Maternal practises begin as a response to social conditions (Scheper-Hughes)
Explains why Alto Mothers (the ones from Brazil studied last week) use their religion to “let go”
of their children who are not doing well.
IT’S NOT JUST CULTURE!
Alto economic and social conditions keep unlimited expression of motherly care from
entering the residents’ habitus. The practise of letting sick babies die in this society is not only
culture but also because it is a habit. Habitus: physical and mental ways we learn to react to the
environment and to solve problems.
RELATEDNESS: LECTURE THEMES:
People who are “special” – (roughly) people with whom we have a “relationship”
Identifying with groups
Descent groups (family and kin)
Relatedness is imagined differently in different places and historical periods
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