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Lecture 15

AN101 Lecture 15

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Department
Anthropology
Course
AN101
Professor
Anne- Marie Colpron
Semester
Fall

Description
Lecture 15 3/20/2013 5:08:00 PM Metaphor:  A figure of speech in which a term is applied to designate something else in order to suggest a resemblance.  The association assert a meaningful link between two expressions from different semantic order.  It allows to understand one thing or idea in terms of another, constructing an analogy between them  An association based on similarity.  It compared without the use of “like” or “as”  Ex: you are an angel.  The figurative image of a metaphor allows one to say something that encompasses more than the literal meaning. Examples of Key Metaphors:  Societal metaphors: o It take society as a model to explain other orders of reality, such as the biological ones (molecules or cells)  Organic Metaphors: o It takes the image of the body to explain other orders of reality, such as the society.  Technological or computer metaphors: o It takes technology and machines to explain other orders of reality, such as the human mind. The use of metaphors in constructing worldviews:  Key metaphors have served as the foundation of worldviews. Worldview:  An encompassing picture of reality created by members of society  Our western worldview distinguishes between different orders of reality: o Natural:  The physical world with its own laws o Cultural:  The customs, social institutions, arts. o Supernatural:  What goes beyond the laws of nature. Question:  Is the distinction between the natural, cultural, and supernatural order of reality a universal? Metonymy:  A figure of speech in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name but by the name of something intimately associated with it.  For ex: do you want to drink a bottle?  A relation is made between the container and the contained.  In the context of a metonymy, the part can stand for the whole  For ex: in witchcraft, the hair or the nails of someone can stand for the whole person The difference between metaphors and metonymies:  Metaphors are based on similarity  Metonymies are based on contiguity i.e. contact or proximity in time or space. Examples of Metonymies:  “Hollywood” to refer to the US cinema industry  “the White House” to refer to the government of the US  “The crown” to prefer to royalty  “a dish” to refer to an entire plate of food. Symbol:  Something that stands for something else, be it a word, an image, or an action. Are symbols universal? Religion:  Ideas and practices that postulates a reality beyond that which is immediately available to the senses.  Trying to make a general cross-cultural definition of religion is very problematic.  Does a religion necessarily implies a belief in God or Gods?  Does a religion necessarily implies a distinction between the sacred and the profane? Transcended/Immanent:  Transcendent: o Beyond or above the physical human experience. God, gods, spirits or forces existing apart the material universe.  Immanent: o Existing or operating within; inherent. God, gods, spirits, or forces pervading everything in the universe. Monotheism/Polytheism:  Monotheism: o The doctrine or belief that there is only one God.  Polytheism: o The belief of more than one God. It refers to a pantheon: a collectivity of Gods. Cosmology/Mythology:  Cosmology: o An account of theory of the origin of the universe  Mythology: o A collection of traditional stories (myths) concerning the early history of a people or explaining the origin of some natural or social phenomenon and typically involving extraordinary beings or events. Animism:  The British anthropologist Tylor first brought a definition of animism in the 19thcentury.  From Latin anima: everything is animated  Not only humans, but plants, animals, lakes, thunder, clouds, and many other things we consider as natural phenomenon” have human qualities, such as consciousness, emotions and social attributes.  The forces of the universe are personalized. th  As used in the 19 century by the evolutionist anthropologist Tylor, animism was considered a primitive superstition, a system of belief that attributed spirits or souls to things, to any rational person are “obviously” mere objects of nature.  The difference of interpretation has its roots in different worldviews.  Animist systems do not base their interpretation on our worldview.  We have to understand this system based on its own logic. Animism is based on a very different worldview than the western one: it does not stand on the divide between nature and culture  Since everything is considered as a potential person, relationships between humans and non-humans (plants, animals etc.) are thus considered possible.  In animist systems, by contrast, the world of dreams, like that of myth, is continuous with that of one’s waking life.  Does this mean that they confuse dream experiences with those they have while awake? Question:  How can we study animist without being ethnocentric? Without judging it based on our own western standards? Shaman/Shamanism:  Shamans have the ability to recognize the person aspect i.e. the sentience, emotions, social systems of non-humans (plants, animals, etc.)  They therefore the specialists in the mediation between their social group and these other entities.  A shaman is born with this ability or have to gain it through a long initiation process.  Shamans have a special institutionalized languages to communicate with non-human entities: shamanic songs, dreams, drum beats or the use of hallucinogenic drugs. Dreaming in the West:  In the west, we are encourages to think of dreams or visions as hallucinations; images that exist in the unconscious mind.  We consider the dream world as the very opposite of the solid physical world. Dreaming in animist systems:  No! Dreaming allows the self a degree of mobility—both in space and time—denied in waking life.  Dreams allow to experience things from a different perspective, where it is possible to fly, to transform and to travel in far away lands.  Dreams are not an illusion but a way of being in the world: they reveal different aspect of the world to the dreamer.  This is why so much importance is given to dreaming as a source of knowledge. The origin of the term “shaman”  It comes from the Tungus people of Siberia where the phenomenon
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