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ANTH 2170 January 24th 2013.docx

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ANTH 2170
Sonja Mac Donald

ANTH 2170 Lecture January 24 , 2013 The Biomedical Body  Modern medicine, scientific based medicine with a background in traditional approaches to the body and from English and British backgrounds  Biomedicine as a major knowledge institution and as a way of understanding what is considered “right” and “wrong” Recap of last week  Brief history of anthropology and the shift away from evolutionary thinking to the fieldwork method and culture concept  The evolutionary theory Man the Hunter drew its inspiration from pre-existing social and cultural beliefs about the differences between men and women. o Excludes women from any contributions to society and the functioning of family structures  Woman the Gatherer was a feminist counter model which argued that women's activities gathering & sharing food were the source of important evolutionary changes such as bipedalism, development of language, families formed around mothers and children, & non- weapon technology o Archaeologists didn’t think about women’s experiences at the time – androcentric view o Women do hunt, and they always have hunted – there is evidence that women do at least half the hunting  Evolutionary and Animal models create “universalizing narratives” about human nature that o Minimize the role of culture and society o Ignore human diversity o Project dominant, androcentric ideas into the past  Science is a social endeavour which takes much for granted as natural and it sees its own common sense in animals  What are the implications of explaining cultural phenomena such as gender and race in terms of biology or evolution? o Scripts dictate how we live or are supposed to live – if you don’t follow the script you are considered deviant o Career implications – women and work, Family role implications – men as more caring, loving figure  Other Theories o String Revolution o Ethnographic Analogy o Man the Scavenger ANTH 2170 Lecture January 24 , 2013 o Man the Hunted Key Terms: Sex & Gender  Sex is defined in anthropology as the observable physical characteristics that distinguish between male & female, required for human reproduction. People in all cultures distinguish male from female based on morphology – external genitalia and secondary sex characteristics such as facial hair in men and enlarged breasts in women. Biomedical science further distinguishes male from female based on gonadal sex (ovaries in females and testes in males) and also on chromosomal sex (XX for women, XY for men)  Gender is defined in anthropology as the beliefs and behaviours considered appropriate for each sex. Gender is what different societies make of the physical body. Masculine and Feminine are Gender Constructs related to, but not determined by sex.  Gender Identity is how individuals experience their gender (male, female or otherwise)  Gender Relations are the culturally and socially appropriate relationships between persons of different genders. The Body as a Machine  A source for defining what is normal and natural in the body  Even though we think of science as objective and value free, science is not value free or objective but rather it’s socially embedded by the social actors that produce science  Readings: showing two ways in which science is influenced by social backgrounds and ideologies  If science was truly objective they would work towards the most serious cause – Viagra vs. Malaria vaccine  Metaphors are pervasive in science o We think of our bodies metaphorically o “The body is like a machine” o The body is a machine with discrete components  This definition has its implications o Disease=malfunctioning of a mechanical component o The idea that the body is reducible to its parts – doctors for each organ/part of the body o This permits and promotes a certain approach to the body – being able to take it apart and put it back together  Organ transplantation – or replaced  It’s a western way of thinking about the body – it’s not the only way to think about  It’s not a universal understanding o Body as a Nation State
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