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Lecture 7

AN100 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Serendipity, Marshall Sahlins, Identity Politics


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
AN100
Professor
Amalia Philips
Lecture
7

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Anthro Week 1: Chapter 3-9, 26-33
Anthro, Importance:
-We live in a global world so we need to understand one another
History
-Interest in other cultures preceded the scientific phase
-19th century evolutionists (Henry Morgan, James Taylor, James Frazer)
-Franz Boas (Father of American Anthropology), replaced race with the concept of cultural,
(differences was in cultural who started as a physicist
-Born during the colonial phase, the time of exploration and imperialism
-Became a Scientific Discipline in the early 20th century (Objective Methods)
-has expanded into many areas and small and urban communities
-Contemporary anthropology is involved in critical self-reflection of our role
Anthro and Colonialism: Colonial Encounter
-Anthropology was the Outcome of a process which made the larger part of mankind
subservient to the other” (Levi-Strauss)
-Ideological justification- Scientific racism/race concept, theory of evolution
-Anthropology is the science of culture seen from the outside” (L. Strauss)
-Objective outsider
-Snap shot of the culture, privilege is given to the western observer
Anthropologists engagement with Colonialism
-Raised many critiques
-Type of “applied colonialism”, i.e., how to rule better
-Anthropologists were participants as colonial advisors and researchers to fulfill the colonial
…..project’
-‘Scientific colonialism’: :Exploited ‘difference’ for study and knowledge construction (theories,
concepts) confirmed superiority of western civilization
-Professional Advancement;
-Advocates as they acted as buffers between locals and rulers; minimize the effects of
colonialism on local cultures
What Fueled interest in ‘other cultures?’
-Curiosity and adventure (pre-and post-scientific)
-Salvaging: preserve a culture/cultural-traits before they became extinct
-Studying Survivals: reconstructing the evolution of practices and institutions (search for pure
cultures)
-e.g., foragers as windows into our past
Anthropology is:
-A multi-faceted discipline (4 fields + applied)
-Study of humankind in all times (temporal) and places (spatial)
-“what it means to be human” in a broad sense
-Study of the endless cultural variation & possibilities humans are capable of manifesting
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-The study of differences and similarities (universal) in Human Cultural Possibilities
-Yet to much focus on either will
Flaws in Perception
-If you focus on similarities= naïve realism; everyone perceives the world in the same way
(denial of cultural differences)
-If you focus on difference= Ethnocentrism: belief in the superiority of one’s own way of life
(denial of humanity, or othering)
The Anthropological Perspective
-Holistic/holism: cultures to be studied in the broadest possible ways, interconnection between
parts of a society (all the problems and impacts)
-Comparative Method: views humans across time and space
-Make the ‘unfamiliar’, ‘familiar; and the ‘familiar’, ‘unfamiliar’
-Not Culture bound i.e., refrain from using ones cultural lens to study and perceive others
-Based on extended Fieldwork in a particular setting (sharing in other lifeways)
-using participant observation (doing what they do)
-Five Fields of General Anthropology gives it a unique perspective
Class #2:
General Anthropology: Multi-faced Discipline
4 Subfields: study humans as living organisms
1. Biological
2. Sociocultural (paleoanthropology, forensic, medical, primatology)
3. Linguistic
4. Archaeology (pre historic and historic)
5. (Applied)
Biological
Jane Goodall- primatology
Samuel Mortan- skull size and intelligence, intelligence is related to size of scull
Paul Farmer- poverty and health (medical anthropologist)
Willian Labov- Linguistic Anthropology (speech styles of sales associates)
Social, Cultural Anthropology: Bronislaw Malinowski, Margaret Mead, France Boas, Sir Evans
Pritchard, Radcliff Brown, Edward Burnett Tylor, Arjun Appadurai, Valentine Daniel, Gananath
Obeysekere
Socio-Cultural Anthropology
-Study humans in their social (society) and cultural (knowledge-ideas, values) settings
-How societies are structures and how cultural meaning is created
-Focuses on all contemporary societies
Methods In Socio-Cultural Anthropology
Ethnology: comparative study of cultures (Ethnologist)
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Ethno-history: study written documents (Ethno-historian)
Ethnography: written product of field research and participant observation (Ethnographer)
(looking at every part of society, marriage etc.)
What makes sociocultural anthropology unique?
Eric Wolf’s book “The most scientific of the humanities, and the most humanistic of the
sciences
-They Check data, and factual evidence making it scientific
-Data is interpreted and the meaning people give to their way of life and practices making it
more humanistic is the field of science (interpretive science)
How can people begin to understand beliefs and behaviours that are different from their
own
-Looking beneath everyday appearance, understanding helps you understand why people do
certain things they do
How can the meanings that offers find in experiences be interpreted and described?
Deeper Meanings: Interpretations
Michel Foucault- Political Anatomy
-Control of people bodies for maximum speed and efficiency (classroom, factory, prison,, mental
institutions)
-creating docile bodies- control via discipline; creates mood
-Order behaviour via arrangement of Space: fixed and semi fixed and
Time- clocks, bells
-Objects owned promote a particular kind of social order
Applied Anthropology
-Practical problem solving OR
-Putting knowledge into practice”
-Relates to all Sub-fields and to many topics of interest to anthropologists
Some examples
Indigenous issues: Regna Darnell (land claims, humans rights etc.)
Legal Anthropology: Sally Merry (international human rights, Humans Right Tribunals, Truth
and Reconciliation Commissions; civil, cultural, political rights)
Intellectual Property Rights: Rosemary Coomb (protecting ideas, patents, copyrights,
trademarks, genetic, sperm and eggs, logos)
Medical Anthropology:
More Examples
Political ecology: illegal logging in Bolivia, pipeline projects, environmental concerns
Environmental Anthropology: Impacts of climate change on local cultures (Susan crate on
Siberia)
Medical Anthropology (Nutrition in Malawi)
Applied: Nutrition, poverty and health, HIV and Aids
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