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Lecture

Note 5.docx

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Department
Anthropology
Course Code
AN101
Professor
Anne- Marie Colpron

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Note 5 Revision: Key concepts  Enculturation o The process where you learn your own culture o Paradox: it becomes natural and you forget that you learned it o The way of acting and thinking that it has been learned o May experience cultural shock when you see another culture  ideas are different  Ethnocentrism o Believe your own culture is superior to others o Judge other cultures based on your own cultural norms/ standpoints  everything else seems strange o Opposite of cultural relativism  Cultural relativism o Opposite of ethnocentrism o Tries to understand a culture based on their own rights o When you don’t understand something about a culture, you find more information about it o Anthropologists work in this favour  want to become aware and try to control our judgements  Want to understand the different values  Fieldwork o Go somewhere else and stay there for a period of time while observing the subjects o Just observing  Participation observation o Actively participate in the everyday life of the subjects they are studying o Father - Malinowski  Positivism o Try to treat social science as natural science o As being an observer and letting nature run its course  try not to interfere o Problem: you’re studying subjects, not objects  people don’t always act the same way o Ie. Malinowski  tried to give an objective account of his experience  participated in their everyday life but wrote his book as an observer o Problem: results differ according to many factors such as gender  a male may observe different things than a female according to what the daily activities are (ie. Hunting vs. housework)  Reflexivity o Being aware that you come from a culture o Being aware of how you can influence the research  since we are all subjects o Bring aware of the differences in research and noting that (ie. What you find may be different from what the opposite sex finds)  take this into consideration Contextualize the ethnography: Chronicle of the Guayaki Indians  Written in 1972 by a French anthropologist  used many words that we would consider ethnocentric today  Ethnography: based on direct observation  this book is NOT a novel  First chapter: Birth process o The ethnography compares the birth process of the Guayaki to the one of his own culture o Holist approach: he links the birth process to economical, political and religious phenomenon Todorov text: Columbus and the Indians  Columbus depictions of the Indians correspond to his own perceptions and fantasies  Christopher Columbus o Known for discovering America in 1492 o Loyal to the Spanish Crown o Was looking for trade routes to arrive to India  Columbus’ first impression of the Natives o For him, absence of clothing = absence of customs o Absence of law, religion, and rites o A kind of white page where Spanish religion and customs could be inscribed  Wanted them to be Catholics  Columbus’- contradictions o The Indians are good, peaceful and generous o The Indians are savage, cruel and thieves  Hobbes o English philosopher o Thought that the Natives didn’t have any civilization  they lived without law o Men living in a “state of nature… has no idea of goodness he must be naturally wicked; that ADD  Rousseau o French Philosopher o Criticized Hobbes’ theories o Brought the idea of the “Noble savage”  In Anthro, we say that this is a myth o Agreed with Hobbes that Indians lived close to nature  but that they were good, generous, peaceful (all the good virtues)  Thought that it was civilization that corrupted individuals  Columbus’ misunderstandings o Interprets the Natives through his own values  Valorizing material wealth (generosity = stupid)  Valorizing private property (taking = robbing)  Failed to understand what a convention was o Valued private property  not valued by Natives  When they traded, he thought they were stupid o When trading, the Natives expect to receive something  therefore, they took his knfe and Columbus concluded that they weird thieves  later: punished o Failed to understand their system  he thought that they didn’t have a system  it was simply different  Their system was to form alliances  to barter  Considered “giving away” stupid and “taking” as a theft act  Columbus failed to consider o What is valuable or not is a convention o A different system does not mean the absence of a system  Projecting our own values to try to understand the Natives o Problem: different behaviours are judged to be stupid or inconsequent because they are misinterpreted as imperf
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