2-6-14 Notes - Psychological Anthropology 1

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Stanley Brandes

Psychological Anthropology: the Foundations • Basic question #1: Are psychological processes among idividuals everywhere the same? o – B. Malinowski – Sex and Repression in Savage Society (Use titles to establish a market). • Sigmund Freud, Oedipus Complex o “Fallic period” – young boys developed a rivalry with their fathers for the love of their mother, and developed fantasies of becoming husband and eliminating father • Matrilineal Kinship System o Descent is measured through women o Men are also related and are parts of matrilineal lineages • The Avunculate – special relationship between mother’s brother and sister’s son(s). o Father was awesome, loving, etc, but the maternal uncle was the disciplinarian as well as the transmitter of lineage secrets, became similar to role of father in western society. • Psychological Anthro died with Social British Anthro with the debate of matrilineal etc Margaret Mead (1901-1928) • Basic question #2: Are character traits of our own society found also among remote, non-western peoples? • First anthro to focus on women and women’s issues; she talked about women as women, and the first to study adolescents • Paper tip: Have a question in mind to guide the whole of your paper * • Prior to her, people just collected info and published it and it was enough. Mead organized the information. Her question: is nature more important than culture? Does culture matter? • First anthro to have a bestseller • She tried to teach people about other ways of life so that they might be more aware of their ways of life and judge whether it was good • Always interested in change and in youth, in modern western societies improvements • She writes beautifully and was criticized for that; she was extremely rigorous – also published “Social Organization of Manua” two years after “coming of age” in 1930 • Became known for the idea of sexual freedom • She really put Anthro on the map in the US • Work in Samoa o Looked at 68 young women and tried to assess whether adolescents in that society were the same as girls here. US – adolescence = turmoil/anger/repression/restlessness. Samoa – adolescence = nonexistent stage of development; good because there was a smooth transition from childhood into adulthood; didn’t have the same kinds of emotional turmoil as American women  3 factors beneficial to Samoan young women: 1) Shallow emotional bonds (multiple mothers, not totally investment in one); 2) Roles are very well defined (girls knew where their future led; Americans had too many choices); 3) Casual attitude toward sex o Adolescence term coined in 1904. (recent.) J. Stanley Hall coined the world o Criticism:  All girls can’t be the same, not enough diversity  Mead assumed that all sexual tensions and fears experiencing would come out in that period of life. Perhaps these feelings were repressed and would come out later.  She has an appendix in which she talks about “deviant individuals” aka people who didn’t conform to people of that society which was the same ratio of mentally ill in US
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