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History of Socio-Cultural Anthropology.docx

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Department
Anthropology
Course
ANT100Y1
Professor
Ivan Kalmar
Semester
Winter

Description
Social-Cultural Anthropology – Mar 7 3/21/2013 3:22:00 PM XA brief history of S-C anthropology  Overview of anthropology theory  Introduction to key figures in discipline  Ethnographic fieldwork  Applied anthropology The origins of anthropological theory: social evolutionism  1870-1920s – Evolutionism (and ethnocentrism) o European industrial revolution o Biological evolution became more popular  British ethnologist Sir Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1917) o Culture not race determined difference o “C”ulture vs, “c”ultures o all people have ability to learn a culture  stage that separated was stage of cultural evolution o Psychic Unity of Mankind  American ethnologist Lewis Henry Morgan (1818-1881) o Three stages of cultural development  Savagery  Barbarism  Civilization  Assigned by level of technology  Ethnocentrism o Judging the beliefs and behaviors of other cultures based on the standards of our own cultural beliefs and practices o Tendency to view one’s own culture as “natural,” “correct,” and “superior to others” Modern S-C anthropology  1920s-40s – associated with the practice of ethnography (fieldwork)  British Functionalism + Structural Functionalism Functionalism and Structutal Functionalism  1920s-40s – Anti-colonial independence movements – respect for cultural difference  Bronislaw Molinowski (1884-1942) o Advocated fieldwork – getting “the native’s point of view” through participant observation o Trobriand Islands – Kula Ring o Focused on understanding non-market based economic systems o Functionalist – how social institutions function to satisfy individual human needs (e.g. Magic)  A.R. Radcliff Brown (1881-1955) o Structural Functionalism – society as an organism o How institutions in societies worked to create a balance in the system to keep it functioning harmoniously Historical Particularism  1920s-40s – Anti-colonial independence movements – respect for cultural difference  Frans Boas (1858-1942) o Founder of modern American 4-field anthropology and Historical Particularism o Rejected unilinear cultural evolution o Cultures develop along historically unique paths and didn’t need to go through the same stages of evolution  Margaret Mead (1901-1978) o Most famous anthropologist o Gender roles not universal Cultural Relativism  “the idea of cultural relativism is nothing but an excuse to violate human rights.” – Shirin Ebadi  View that behavior and beliefs of a culture should not be judged by the standards of another  To understand another culture fully you must try to see how people in that culture see things  Difference between methodological relativism and moral relativism  Relativism as a method does not prevent anthropologists from making moral judgments or advocating against human rights violations Historical Materialism/Constructivism  1950s-60s – Cold War – cultural change, interaction, World System  Eric Wolf (1923-1999) o Europe and the People Without history  Europeans saw themselves as a people with deep history, others as stagnant o “Traditional” cultures are not isolated and a-historical, but have been impacted historically by processes of colonialism and capitalism  Frederik Barth (1928-) o Boundary Model of ethnicity o Ethnic/cultural groups do not emerge in isolation, but through interactions with other groups o Primary function of culture is to mark and maintain boundaries between social groups Symbolic and Interpretive Anthropology  1960s-70s – Counter-Cultural revolution – renewed focus on culture and its symbolic meaning  Clifford Geertz (1926-2006) o Thich Description – process in which cultural symbols of rituals, political and economic action, and of kinship, are “read” and interpreted by the anthropologist as if they are a document in a foreign language o The meaning of wink/the Balinese cockfight Postmodernism  1980s-90s – End of the Cold War, New World Order – questioning of anthropological authority to represent culture scientifically  James Clifford (1945-) o Impossible to study culture objectively as detached observer because everyone has personal biases o Ethnography can only present partial truths Fieldwork and applied anthropology  What is Ethnography? o The firsthand, in-depth, personal study and representation (book, a
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