ANT207H1 Lecture Notes - Social Relation, Veranda, African Studies

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Published on 8 Oct 2012
School
UTSG
Department
Anthropology
Course
ANT207H1
Professor
10/8/2012 7:37:00 AM
LECTURE 2 ANT207
- we have customs and habits of what is the norm. What to wear, and
normal social arrangement.
- most social action has a deliberate communicative event. Actions make a
statement and a social/cultural aspect
- to understand what went on we need to know what is the “norm” in the
circumstance (there may be a diversity of the norm- there is not only 1),
must read body language.
- A person is a product of social/cultural forces ie socialization and desire to
communicate certain things.
- social/cultural anthropology is scientific: think about hypothesis
systematically and you are curious/investigative, open to new surprises, be
prepared to question diff people and contexts. INQUIRE DRIVEN, WANTS TO
KNOW ABOUT DATA/EVIDENCE (not the absolute truth- but the info we can
come up with given the resources we have)
Film off the varanda
Teacher: fieldwork makes you spend enough time in a place you learn to
interprete the context, body language, who these people are. You get deep
enough in context that you know social relation and how elements combine
and interact. Emmersion into a place- get into the past social history.
- Fraser Malinoski established how to do anthropology.
He went to Australia to do research with Aboriginals. Someone had to
know what savages were really like
He did field work in New Guinea . He went off the veranda to live with the
Natives themselves instead of just watching them like the other
anthropologists did. He realized he couldn’t sit from afar and he needed to
learn the language
now anthropologists can experience their culture, write notes instead of
sitting in their airchair reading about it.
He went to see the Trobands. He tried to figure out what mattered to
them, taking personal interest in their activities, interact in village life. The
chiefs wives would cook him food, he would buy items from the kids.
* his observations: social life fulfils basic needs like food, structure. This was
the baisis of every social act this is called functionalism. Functionalism fulfills
basic needs and this is done by trading. Culture creates weapons, transport
ect. It allows organized cooperation in society
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* he looked at how society worked. Old anthro focused on social evolution
(ie marriage). Malinosky focused on here and now looking at biological and
legal aspects, kinship, symbolic aspects. Social life is approached by the
question: what does it do in society?
- Malinosky looked at magic in the trobians. There is magical accompaniment
for everything ie love and fishing. Trobians rely on yams. There is a lot at
stake during the gardening year. Magic controls the weather and helps them
with gardening. * fertilizer is seen as magic to help plants grow
magic and science are seen as separate. Science has logic and reason.
Magic is desires you wish to achieve
Learning the language
- Malonsky was with the trobians for 2 years. ** he communicated with
them in their own language and was very fluent
- he asked his own questions and wrote in his book. He also took pictures
- living with the community, taking notes and learning language =
PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION
Participant observation
- Malinosky felt depressed and loneliness.
Kula- exchange of presents between friends
the first time he witnessed it he had no idea what was going on
* this was the centre of trobians life. Kola means “to go”, it required
dangerous expeditions to return with a valuable set of gifts. Gifts included
necklaces
to use these jewelries are just regular items but to them, these valuables
have meaning. There is no momentary worth, but special items for
exchange.
Kola exchange is guided by rules and conventions
it is the centre of life and requires the building of a special canoe only
used for kola (theyre diff than fishing canoes)
- Your object is to process these highly valuable objects from neighboring
communities which one day they will need to give them an object of similar
value. The whole community takes part as they wait for the men to return
from their canoe trip. Necklaces are seen as “trophies” as they wait to see if
there are any famous ones and how many they received
- What do they do with these objects when they obtain them? They give it to
their chief. It goes to the top man in the community. If a tribe member kept
it that means they are challenging the chief. If he kept it he would be
poisoned by magic
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Document Summary

We have customs and habits of what is the norm. Most social action has a deliberate communicative event. Actions make a statement and a social/cultural aspect. To understand what went on we need to know what is the norm in the circumstance (there may be a diversity of the norm- there is not only 1), must read body language. A person is a product of social/cultural forces ie socialization and desire to communicate certain things. Social/cultural anthropology is scientific: think about hypothesis systematically and you are curious/investigative, open to new surprises, be prepared to question diff people and contexts. Know about data/evidence (not the absolute truth- but the info we can come up with given the resources we have) Teacher: fieldwork makes you spend enough time in a place you learn to interprete the context, body language, who these people are. You get deep enough in context that you know social relation and how elements combine and interact.

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