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Anthropology 2222 – September 23rd.docx

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Western University
Anthropology 2222F/G
Andrew Walsh

Anthropology 2222 – September 23 , 2013rd Recall 1: Culture - An important concept in early American Anthropology, under Boas’ influence th - An alternative to race and 19 century ways of thinking about human diversity - Culture commonly understood by anthropologists as o Something that is learned o Something that people share with others as members of a particular group o Something to be interpreted (as Geertz suggests) or to be studied scientifically (as Carneiro suggests) Questioning culture in anthropology in the 1980’s - The idea that anthropologists write what they think and portray it to others who read their material as facts A crisis in the discipline - Everyone was being called out on their methods, etc. of conducting research Brumann acknowledges the critique of culture - Using culture can suggest that a group of people share more in common with one another than they really do - Using culture as a way of explaining diversity can be problematic in the way that using race is - Using culture can lead anthropologists exaggerate the differences between themselves and the people they study - Brumann looks at how the term culture has been used in the discipline Abu-Lughood’s response - Still concerned for example with how culture is used to emphasize differences between groups of people Apparently cultural misunderstandings - For example, some local people misunderstood the purpose of mosquito repellent o Some Malagasy people thought mosquito repellent was used so that you didn’t have to kill them by slapping them, they thought the foreigners loved wildlife that much - Some misunderstand what it is that eco tourists get out of walking in the forest o They didn’t understand why they’d walk into the forest 20 kilometers an
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