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how does the way we live affect our world view

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ANTH 1120
David Murray

24 October - 30 October Oct 24/26: How does the way we live affect our worldview?: Colonialism Readings: 1) CA pp.137-152 [137] -- Question 4.3: How Does the Way We Live Affect Our Beliefs and Rituals? • The way we live, the organization of our social, economic and political lives must influence what we believe, how we represent those beliefs, and how we act them out • How our beliefs and the manner in which we act them out serve to maintain certain patterns of social, political and economic relations and how these beliefs and acts serve to reproduce these relations. • Personal knowledge / experience through own decisions and choices [138] • Respect for human and non human livings • Indigenous believe animals have more power than humans and give humans the power they no longer need • God and spirits may communicate with humans in dreams and humans may communicate with spirits through their rituals [139] • Human bodies are temporary, whereas mind is permeant • Soul reincarnates • First nations people view themselves as part of their environment in contrast tot he worldview of most eurocanadians who see culture as separate from nature [140-141] • The ways of knowing about the world and ones place in it differ greatly from the world views of euronorthamerica ow believe that humans are superior to all other entities in the word and that everything in the world belongs to humans • Euroamerican notion of human ownership of earths resources creates different way of interacting with the physical environment Sapphire Mining in Northern Madagascar • Worldviews contain a peoples understanding of how the world works, based on beliefs that are handed down through generations and tested against experience and knowledge • People who live on the periphery of the world capitalist system, people often attempt to figure out how the world works without having direct experience or direct knowledge [142] • Malagasy also know that knowledge is actively being withheld from them and that only foreigners have true knowledge about how the global market works and sot hey speculate value based on their own experience of the connection between world trade and deception • Using a worldview based on lived experience to decipher events that are unfamiliar may produce understandings that appear strange to outsiders • Speculate on basis of what seems to be reasonable, given the uncertainty of outside forces (like global market) [143] - Modern Witchcraft in Cameroon • In cameroon the process of evaluating the unknowable by using what is knowable (witchcraft) produces explanations that make sense to those who are living the experience but seem totally illogical to outsiders • All events are the result of human action • Witchcraft is the process by which inequalities are both created and overcome because it is through witchcraft that the new elites are believed to have gained their wealth • Witchcraft is the darkside of kinship--kin are only people once can really trust, yet it is kin who trade the hearts of the kin for the favours of witches • Witch source of fortune and misfortune [144] • Beliefs about witchcraft help explain and understand the changes that have taken place as their own people fill the positions of the state and capitalism creates wealth that had never been imagined before Question 4.4: What Happened to Local Worldviews When They Were Confronted by the Religion of the European Colonizers? • Local worldviews of colonized were challenged by forms of christianity (religion of european colonizers). • Christianity destroyed all forms of indigenous worldviews • How to fit christianity into their indigenous worldview…. [145] - Dene Tha and Christianity • Some aspects of Christianity make sense in Dene Tha worldview • Rosary has different meaning when used by Dene Tha • Ritual: circle represents social and cosmic order, path representing journey from our land to the other land; each step they take is one closer to heaven (like each bead brings you closer to heaven) [146] - Christianity in the Solomon Islands • Social order passed down through generation by ghosts • Ghosts at top of social hierarchy • Ghosts had to be treated with respect and their rules had to be followed or they would cause harm to the living • Exchange from ghost to God after WWII • A persons behaviour affects his relationship with god in much the same way as it affects relationships with ghosts, for gods support and protection is only given to those whose lives are kept clean and pure by following his rules [147] - Native Christians in Northern Ontario • The two most salient cultural systems around which Amerindian groups build their identity are language and religion: as languages are lost, religion then becomes primary in ethnic identification • All reinterpretations of Christianity depend on local histories and local experiences • They decide what they chose to take from outside influences (what hey accept) and what they reject [148] - Rastafari in Jamacia • Rastafari left to find jobs but ended up creating leaders that founded communities in and around kingston that emphasized what they understood to be traditional african values: corporative work efforts, respect for life and unity of all peoples of african descent. • Rasta returned to what they saw as their african beliefs and rejected the values of capitalist society and the capitalist market [149] - Question 4.5: How Can People Reorder Their View of the Worldview if It Becomes Unsatisfactory? • Meanings people assign to their experience do not change easily • The view of the world created by interaction of our own experiences of the world with mediums of language, symbolic actions, humour and collective judgement is the right view • Changes in the meanings that people assign to their experiences are triggered by social upheavals, in which the old way of looking at the world is no longer satisfactory • Sufficient numbers feel this way they try to change view of the world and organization of society --- revitalization movements • A period of social or economic upheaval or oppression leads to the development of a new recited belief system that promises to turn the society to a real or mythical previous state or offers a new vision do the world that promises to relieve the oppression of frustration • New certainty born of religious fervour or conversion • Syncretization: elements of two or more worldviews are combined to produce a new way of understanding lived experiences [150] Wovoka and the Ghost Dance • US took over Native Territories and destroyed economic basis and symbols • Move to reservations • Through dream told of ghost dance and if preformed five days and nights, people would be reunited with their friends and relatives in the other world • Ghost dance represents an attempt of a people to build a new culture, a new system of meaning after the destruction of a previous one [151] - Haitian Vodou • Another way people cope with drastic changes in their lives is to produce a different wordless by combining elements of anew view with those of an old one --- syncretization • Africans brought as slaves to haiti • Could bring their beliefs and worldviews, stored in their memories • Learned how to communicate with other slaves and then created a distinctive Caribbean culture based on their former beliefs and those of the french planters • New worldview -- a creole view that was based on the lived experiences of their new world(suffering and work) not only as slaves but also as peasant living in a country that is poor itself • Worshiped vodou deities in secret [152-153] • Vodou is just for haitians and address haitian issues • Haitian vodou is not just a set of exotic rituals in the media, its a worldview that helps haitians cope with a life of poverty and hardship • Haitian vodou is a system of healing that applies to a variety of areas in the lives of its followers (social relationships, physical illness and the pan of the past in which families were torn apart by slavery) 2) Comaroff and Comaroff 2008 [1989]. The Colonization of Consciousness. A Reader in the Anthropology of Religion. Second edition. Michael Lambek, ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing: 465-473, 475-477. [465] • Modern souther africa is built upon a long history of symbolic struggle, a bitter contest of conscience and consciousness • Class antagonism, racial inequality • Southern tswana rural people, past century and a half have been dominated by the effort of theories t o impose on them a particular way of seeing and being, to colonize their consciousness with the gins and practices, the axioms an aesthetics, of an alien culture of european capitalism • capitalism as the direct extension of british commerce • capitalism both agrarian and industrial erected on the foundations of settler economy and society • capitalism matured in systematic mould of race state • capitalism refracted from expanding global order into myriad of local facets. • Tswana reactions have flowed well beyond the formal channels of political discourse and onto the diffuse terrains of everyday life • Colonizers try to gain control over both the material and semantic practices through which their wouldbe subjects produce and reproduce the very bases of their existence • Colonization everywhere gives rise to struggles over power and meaning on the movie frontiers of empire • Southern tswana, any effort to document colonization begins with evangelical Christianity onto the historical landscape [466] • Their position in the crevices of the changing class structure of industrial revolution Britain shaped their project, their own personal careers of upward mobility becoming an ideological mould for the moral future of africa. • Epic quest, emerging sense of biography, a moral career providing a model of and for a heroic history--their own as well as that of the heathen lands that would become colonies of god and the british monarch [467] • Dominant fraction of the dominant class and as the self styled moral conscience of the civilized world, they were to come into frequent conflict with more powerful political and economic agents of colonialism for along time to come • Efforts to build a new epicure of the spirit, and the later of great Britain, were driven by tensions inherent in a rapidly changing secularizing Europe • Wished to recreate a romantically conceived society • Spiritual authority remained unquestioned • Technological process didnt cause the massive social upheaval it had sown among the working class in the north of england • Sought a modern industrial capitalist world without its essential contradictions • Promote the preparation of the raw materials of european manufactures in africa • Putting a stop to the slave trade • Introducing The negro family into the body of corporate nations • The tswana and evangelists gave way to a more sustained interaction, each tired to cast the other in his own image: the missionary, to portray the native as an unregenerate savage to be transformed; the tswana, to draw on the power of the mission to protect a world endangered [468] - the politics of water • ‘wastes’ of the tswana world had already called forth a torrent of indigenous symbolic techniques to conserve this most precious and capricious resource • Control over water was a vital aspect of chiefly power [469] • Water was the nucleus of all human life and stood for the triumph of soci
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