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March 13 Understanding the Cosmos Magic Relig.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Shawn Lehman

March 13, 2014 Development Anthropology • Development Anthro: branch of applied Anthro focused on social and cultural dimensions of economic development • Development anthropologists help plan and guide development policies and projects • Participatory action research • Problems help solve and alleviate: underdifferentiation (problem of cultures and societies different but considered the same) and blueprint development, over-innovation (produce/promote changes that are too great for societies to accept or adapt to), indigenous models (forms development more appropriate to local contexts, build on needs and aspirations of local people themselves) • Comparative study 68 projects revealed that culturally compatible projects have double success rate Medical Anthro - Study health problems, systems, and theories about illness in different cultures and ethnic groups - As cultural system - Health-care system: belief, customs, specialist, techniques aimed at ensuring health and preventing, diagnosing, and treating illness - Bio-medicine as Cultural System - Many bio-medical procedures have little scientific justification. Other outside influences which can impact way patients get treated within that system - Treatments based on competing interests: patient health, cost/payment, risk - C-section rates in US 30%. Why? - Perceptions illness culturally constructed and varies - Disease: scientifically identified health threat - Illness: condition of poor health perceived or felt by an individual - Personalistic illness theories: illness caused by agents-sorcers, witches, ghosts - Naturalistic illness theories: illness explained in impersonal terms (biomedicine) Ex. Forces of nature, bodily balance (hot and cold) - Emotionalistic illness theory: related to imbalance in one’s emotional state - Ethnobotany is the field that studies the culture use of plant’s, often for medical purposes. - Can be used to find new drugs - EG Wade Davis search for medical source for zombies - Davis’ ethnography The Serpent and The Rainbow – certain drugs, combines with Haiti’s cultural beliefs, can create what appears to be a zombie – someone who rises from the dead and walks around in a trance-like state Anthropology and Business Used ethnography in the private sector to - Study organizational conditions and problems - Mediate between managers and workers - Observe how consumers with diverse cultural background use products - Interest groups Culturally Appropriate Markets - Making standardized brands and products appeal to different cultural groups - McDs expands to a new nation, it must devise culturally appropriate strategy - Initial Brazilian ad campaign that values large, leisurely lunch and lack US car culture - Most successful in marketing the product, families consume “on the cook’s day off” - McDs found Sunday evening meal was its niche Indigenous Rights Advocacy - Kwusen Research and Media - Kwusen is a specialist consulting company who works with indigenous communities in Canada to conduct community-based research on traditional knowledge, and traditional land-use and occupancy RELGION AND WORLDVIEW What is religion? - Exists in all societies, many forms - Anthony Wallace defines religion as “belief and ritual concerned with supernatural beings, power and forces” - Why might be problematic in cross-cultural context? What super-natural is socially defined Defining Religion - Wallace assumes universal conceptual category “supernatural” - Supernatural – non material, beyond observable - Natural/social/supernatural – body/ mind/ soul (spirit) - Ontology – study of the nature of being, existence and reality, as well as different categories of being and their relations - Different cultures reflect different ontologies Edward Tylor defined religion as “the belief in spiritual beings” - Recognized religion do not always believe in supreme being Emile Durkheim defined religion as a “unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things” - Sacred defined in contrast to the profane, the ordinary - Sacred not limited to gods and spirits - A sacred thing can be “A rock, a tree, a spring, a pebble, a piece of wood, a house, in a word, anything can be sacred.” A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence Ritual - A formal behaviour performed in specific place at set times. Not necessarily religious. (stylized, repetitive, and stereotyped) - Used to mark and define certain phenomenon as sacred - A ritual usually consist of: - A repetitive social practice, - Set off from the routine of day to day life - A specific of ritual schema (order of events) - Often encoded in symbols and meaning Categories of religion 1) Indigenous religions 2) Polytheism 3) Monotheism 4) 5) Indigenous religions – Animism - Animism: non- human objects in the natural world are animated by spirits or souls - Animism derives from the Latin word for soul – animus - Defined in 1871 by Sir Edward Tylor as form religion that attributed life or spirit to aspects of nature. Mountains, rivers, plants… - Animism earliest form religion, basis all religion that developed after that - Promoted idea aspects nature as spiritual entities - No distinction between natural and supernatural - Alfred Hallowell – Ojibwar Ontoloy – personhood is overarching category that includes “other than human persons” that e
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