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SOC214H Lecture 3

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Bonnie Fox

September 24, 2013 SOC214H Lecture 3 Common-sense assumptions - It would seem like it’s natural for a man and woman to cooperate together; women taking care of children and men do financial stuff - Takes a man & woman to make babies - All the common sense stuff are linked to biology (i.e. woman being the pregnant one, it’s necessary for women & men to have children) - There’s nothing universal about family patterns The evidence on the range of human societies (F. Edholm’s summary) 1. Conception and sex: a variety of understandings of biology, no causality of biology a. People have not connected sex with conception of reproduction, it’s likely that people didn’t understand this relationship until they domesticated animals (agricultural period). Even when they understood, the understanding on what went on was men that were creating materials for the child b. Early human societies had different stories on how to create children c. Women didn’t become primarily responsible for child care; in those societies women’s job were too important that they could not spare time to raise children 2. The mother-child relationship; not always close; biological mothers are not necessarily responsible for care a. Societies in which biological mothers do not raise their own children b. There are societies in which children are regularly adopted c. The notion of maternal instinct (women naturally know how to take care of children), there is no evidence on this d. Assumption in society that there’s an instant bond between mother and baby; doctors say when the babies are born and they’re touched skin to skin with mother, there’s an instant bond; but this is not true 3. Fatherhood – biological vs. social also a. Some research shows that fathers are more responsive to baby’s crying in the first few days because the mothers are more tired b. Fatherhood is socially defined c. In societies where dead men have no heirs or children to pass their inheritance to, women are forced to marry these dead men and get pregnant somehow and give the children to these dead men as children 4. Marriage – different forms a. Marriage does not always unite single women with single men, there are societies in which men have multiple wives b. Other societies where women have multiple husbands, and where groups of men marry groups of women c. Monogamy is not the most common practise 5. Household – diverse compositions a. It’s very common in recent history that there are nuclear families, but often in western cultures, nuclear families are embedded in larger units 6. Incest – variable interpretation a. Incest is about cultural customs; it’s people you cannot marry to September 24, 2013 b. There are societies where men want to marry their cousins or family because they want to keep the money/property in the family c. Things that are natural to some of us are not universal d. There are people like Nayar where their households are consisted of people all related Foraging Societies (Hunters & Gatherers) - Anthropologists estimate between 90 – 99% of human lived in foraging societies 1. General organization a. People in these societies lived in small groups, some are between 15-50 people b. During some of the years groups may come together and become larger groups, but most of the years they lived in small groups c. People may come and go from one season to the next, what determines group composition is people who get along or live peacefully together d. Marriage was sometimes followed friendship; if people lived together peacefully and were not related may get married e. They had to/must be nomadic; they moved around a lot. People lived off the resources around them, they did not grow/plant anything, they hunted & gathered resources in surrounding territories f. Consequence: they couldn’t accumulate things; they could only accumulate what they could carry. These were societies where they had no private properties 2. Organization of production a. No storage of surplus so a need to organize on a regular basis to acquire necessary food i. People hunted and gathered as they go, but were not faced with struggles to survive ii. One anthropologist argued these families were affluent b. Simple technology, most people used digging sticks, c
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