Anthropology 2222F/G Lecture Notes - Stamen, Ancient Society, Historical Particularism

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Published on 18 Sep 2013
Department
Professor
Sept, 16, 2013
Dealing with “Culture”
-The term is so much associated with anthropology as a discipline (called cultural in America and in the UK social =
Canada doing socio-cultural anthropology) that it is one of the main concepts we deal with
-Many people are familiar with the term and it is often what attracts laypeople to the discipline in general
-We have to ask where the ideas that we all share come from
Prof. Walsh’s Research in Ecotourism in Ankarana Madagascar:
-We works in the northern part of the island in the region known for natural wonders like huge limestone
formations, caves, lemurs, and huge amounts of ecotourism (works with the people working in the industry)
-This has led him to think a lot about chameleons because they are the second most sought after animals to be
seen by tourists and the fact they are interested at all is what is fascinating for him
-We have to ask what people are doing and why and for him because he has worked there for so long in sapphire
mining towns near these ecotourism areas and he sees the way people act when on tour and how much of an
anomaly they are to the local people
-The locals don’t understand why people take so many pictures and they see it as odd because they see the
different animals and landscape everyday
-Ecotourism is a cultural phenomenon and it is important for us to take in these different environments
-We need to examine what is “cultural” about ecotourism and attitudes towards apparently untouched, unspoiled,
and undiscovered environments that have been “transmitted socially” among some but not all people throughout
history and this is a big part of it (seeking adventure is part of our culture)
-It’s motivated by certain ideas, values, and practices that are “shared by some group of people” (see view
protected environments as special and this leads to extrapolating ideas concerning the people that hunt there for
their livelihoods that see them as unethical)
-It’s a phenomenon that might be explicated or explained to observers who “don’t get it” (locals in these areas that
see the tourist’s behaviour as abnormal)
-His cultural explanation is that we want to see things we haven’t seen before and seeing things that are like “the
works of God” (in the words of the locals) and we may all be drawn to the things untouched and not created by
man (have to ask if this is inherently in all of us)
-See the textbook for classic definitions of culture:
-Tylor says: “culture is that complex whole which includes art, law, morals, custom and other capabilities and
habits acquired by a man as a member of society” (emphasis on that it’s learned behaviour as part of a group)
-A recent textbook says: “culture is the socially transmitted knowledge and behaviour shared by some group of
people” (this shows us how little the definition has changed)
-Culture was not always the key concept that it is today and the fact that it is such a widely understood and used
concept today owes a great deal to the emergence of Cultural Anthropology as an academic discipline
-1500-1900 AD was the age of globalization and we learned much about the world and understandings of it
changed and people began moving around as they never had before (see this in the evolution of world maps)
-We think of globalization as relatively recent but it was the force that created an interconnected world and this is
true especially for times after Columbus resulting in mass expansion of global networks
-During the 18th-19th century especially the emergence of colonial empire incorporating a wide range of different
people into shared political-economic systems and they drew people around the world into common systems
-They did this by creating colonies to manage heterogeneous populations resulting in the world we know now
-Meanwhile the emergence of new ways of thinking about the world, about the place of people in it, and about
how we might go about understand it all was being dealt with by academics
-The Scientific Revolution placed emphasis on the value of objective and empirical research on matters and
phenomena of interest and this was huge for scholars and impacts our way of thinking today academically
-Anyone following scientific process should be able to come to the same conclusions on testable matters and this is
where hypothesis testing comes in to prove or disprove the accepted discourse leading to truth
-By the 20th century there was the professionalization of different fields of research and study in places like
universities and this trend really exploded at this time leading to the development of anthropology as a discipline
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Document Summary

The term is so much associated with anthropology as a discipline (called cultural in america and in the uk social = Canada doing socio-cultural anthropology) that it is one of the main concepts we deal with. Many people are familiar with the term and it is often what attracts laypeople to the discipline in general. We have to ask where the ideas that we all share come from. Prof. walsh"s research in ecotourism in ankarana madagascar: We works in the northern part of the island in the region known for natural wonders like huge limestone formations, caves, lemurs, and huge amounts of ecotourism (works with the people working in the industry) This has led him to think a lot about chameleons because they are the second most sought after animals to be seen by tourists and the fact they are interested at all is what is fascinating for him.

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