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Jane Leverick

Myth, Magic, and Shamanism 9/5/2013 2:56:00 PM Anth 2108-03-001 Jane Leverick Anthropology  the study of humanity Goals of Anthropology  to study various societies in depth  discover possible human universals and what it means to be human What do you think anthropology is?  culture  4 field subject Four-Fields Anthropology  physical anthropology o the study of human biology and evolution (i.e Lucy, discoveries, origins, how human beings came to be, forensic anthropology; identifying remains)  archaeology o the study of pre-historic people from the analysis of their physical ad cultural remains; the culture of the past (material culture/physical remains – tools, pot shards; i.e Pompeii)  linguistics o the study of language o we can tell a lot by looking at language – cultural groups – similarity of practices (cultural link? patterns? migration?) o concrete makeup (syntax meaning) – structure of a language relates to and affects peoples‟ understanding of the world  cultural anthropology o the study of contemporary human societies and their cultures Holistic Approach  the study of human societies as systemic sums of their parts, as integrated wholes o when we look at religion, myth, magic, symbol, story, etc. we realize it exists in economic, family, geographical location, kinship – not a vacuum  all aspects of society are viewed as being interconnected o how it is integrated into other parts, and how other parts are integrated into religion  islam, hindu, pagan, first nation, agnostic, etc.  scientific model to look at the world  telling us something about the makeup of culture in Canada – mosaic  small scale – limited people in small areas  majority world vs. minority world o clearer picture in how we recognize and understand phenomena or practice (context + location) What is it to be human?  Engage in long-term studies – people spend significant amount of time with the people they are studying  produce ethnographies - eHRAF o writing culture - field + observing + surveys + time spent...after you write an ethnography that offers insight)  primary method participant observation (field work)  person to person + amalgamation to observe and participate to relate to broader concepts  part of the community!  look for universals o compare across cultures – small-scale -> large-scale  used to be primary method  look for things that humans share (i.e religion – different, but practice is universal – detail differences)  categorise by culture area and type of society BUT respect difference and unique identities o what we are interested in  what is different; how each group differs in identity History of Fieldwork  1870s – “Armchair” approach o read travel reports from people who have traveled o look at artifacts and draw conclusions  early 1900s – “verandah” approach o Malinowski o there, but not there o observing – salvage (get it before it‟s gone)  today – participant observation o much more direct + more detailed o comparisons of groups o reflects a colonial approach to the rest of the world o “looking out at others" Ethnographic Present  writing or speaking in the present tense while recognizing that cultures are not static and constantly change o 1930s research conclusions about a certain group are great – but are they the same today? The Study of Human Societies  ethnography o the descriptive study of human societies  ethnographer o the person who produces an ethnography  culture areas o a geographical area in which societies tend to share many culture traits Food Getting Strategies (will overlap) STRATEGIES WILL ALL AFFECT THE CULTURE; I.E SURPLUS – WHO GETS IT?  foragers o on the move – collecting (hunting/fishing)  will require intervention!  pastoralists o animal husbandry o do not corral, just follow and cull the herd o engaging in control + intervention, but no penning o no land management or fences  horticulturalists o farm with simple hand tools  slash/burn agriculture  squash, beans, etc.  intensive agriculturalists o farming with advanced technology  large fields, heavy machinery, less manpower Defining Features of Culture  learned: and thus not inherited, which was the prior belief. It can be learned experientially (by doing it), by observing odler more experienced members, or formally as in schooling or ritualized knowledge o cats catching prey but not killing – no instinct for today‟s house cats – need to be taught what to do!  Shared: it is social and thus exists in and among groups as their collective “resource” versus an individual property (think of how useless the cultural elements of language would be if we all had our own!)…  BUT shared differentially: o culture is what gives meaning to the world. It provides the lens through which people interpret and make sense of what they perceive the world to be. As such, it consists largely of knowledges and like other resources is not “distributed equitably”  which is the correct soup spoon?!  culture is a resource - if you don't have access to resources such as education, how would you read laws such as the constitution?  we don't always have the same access Other characteristics of culture  Unconscious: culture is powerful in our society particularly because it is largely unconscious: Anthropologist Hall called culture “our silent language” – meaning that we are not always aware of when our specific cultural upbringing is influencing us and thus we may really believe that it is we who are behaving rationally/normally and the “other” who is not following cultural norms o touching, being close, might not be considered “normal” in one culture, but could be totally usual in another group or geographic location o we see something and think “that is wrong” (pushing onto a subway in Tokyo) because it is unconsciously different for us Dialectical/Adaptive  culture does not exist in a vacuum – it is produced and sustained by members of society in a continual dialectic (mutually changing interaction) with it o thus, people change culture, and are changed by it  culture is socially constructed - we make it up as we go along o however, this sense of “constructedness” does not make it any less REAL in our daily lives or mitigate the impact culture has upon us as individuals and as collectives o race – clear distinction between groups of people? – SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION – not a physical/biological reality Two Ways of Viewing Culture  etic analysis o outsider‟s perspective o the study of a society using concepts that were developed outside of the culture
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