ANT100Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Benjamin Lee Whorf, Mirror Stage, Jacques Lacan

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5 Feb 2016
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Lecture: Constructing Reality
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Constructing reality through signs and (especially) language
!
Goals of the social-cultural-linguistic anthropology lectures
Discuss society, culture, and language as universal human traits
with particular manifestations
Understand social construction: deconstruct society and culture
Decolonialize the imagination
!
Reality as a construction
Construction - formed by people in society, nurture not nature
Reality
What is verifiable
The world as it makes sense to us
Most of reality does not come across to us without the filter of
signs and language
It is socially constructed
It may not always be the same as what really exists: The Real
!
Jargon vs. ordinary language
In ordinary language: reality is what is real
In social science/humanities jargon: reality is how we understand
the real
It is "our" reality
For the most part, reality seems pretty real and we are well
advised to live in it!
But a lot f the real is not our reality: we do not understand it
!
Language constructs reality
Creates an understanding of distinct concepts and categories as
if they were part of the objective world
Such understandings have a bearing on our reality
Race is real (to us) but it is not part of "the real"
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