Self, Culture and Society
September 25th, 2013
“ The average primitive, relative to his social environment and the level of science and technology achieved,
is more accomplished, in the literal sense of that term, than are most civilized individuals. He participates
more fully and directly in the cultural possibilities open to him, not as a consumer and not vicariously but as
an actively engaged, complete person” (Diamond, Page 143)
▯this quote seems to understand “primitive” in a different way.
▯Member of the community, actively participating
▯Civilization has undermined this basic human fundamental
“ Who controls the past controls the future. And who controls the present controls the past” (Page 479)
▯“those who dominate our society today, can control our future.
“ In rethinking our history, we are not just looking at the past, but at the present, and trying to look at it from
the point of view of those who have been left out of the benefits of socalled civilization” (Page 498)
• What is the “sociological Imagination”?
▯A “quality of mind” – not a “quantity of facts”
▯Personal troubles to social issues
▯Individual biography to society to history
▯An ethical commitment to using “social science” for positive change – addressing the problems of
• What role does philosophy play in the social sciences?
▯The “Masterbuilder” of the social sciences, or the “underlabourer”
▯Each social science must take positions – implicitly or explicitly – within the domains of
philosophy: epistemology; ontology; logic; and ethics.
• Diamond’s “anthropological imagination’: the seach for the primitive
• Zinn’s retelling of the Columbus story
▯Not about 1492, but 1992 (year of writing)
▯About telling the story of the “people without history”
• Film: The People Speak (2009)
▯Inspired by Zinn’s A people’s History of the United States – does the film “speak” to those outside the
▯Giving voice to the people without history cut off
Anthropological Imagination: • What is the “search for the primitive” and why is it important to anthropology/social sciences?
▯Human potentiality. Fundame