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ANTH 202 Study Guide - Final Guide: Michael Taussig, Margaret Mead, Nominalism

Course Code
ANTH 202
Eduardo Kohn
Study Guide

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Socio-Cultural Anthropology
Clifford Geertz: Deep play: notes on the Balinese cockfight
Where: Bali When: 1958 Style: not very detailed, more a reflection on his
feelings, lengthy description of the fight
“the indifference of course was studied; the villagers were watching every move
we made and they had an enormous amount of quite accurate information about
who we were and what we were going to be doing. But they acted as if we simply
did not exist”
othis is different from other places he has been
normally the matches are in a secluded area because cockfighting is illegal
the Pulisi (police) come barging in
oeveryone runs
ofour of them sit down to have tea like they were there all along
they were teased about their adventure, which means to be
“to anyone who has been in Bali any length of time, the deep psychological
identification of Balinese en with their cocks in unmistakable. The double
entendre here is deliberate”
ocock means “hero” or “warrior”
you never bet more than you have and you never bet for the opposing team
“societies, like lives, contain their own interpretations. One has only to learn how
to gain access to them”
has 17 examples of how intertwined cockfighting is in Balinese culture and how it
stands for much more than just a fight in a ring
o“ a man virtually never bets against a cock owned by a member of his own
kin group.”
Renato Rosaldo: Introduction: Grief and a Headhunters Rage
Where: Luzon, Philippines with Ilongot people When: 1967-68, 1974 Style: deep
description of rage from grief, not a lot of detail though
The act of severing and tossing away the victim’s head enables him, he says, to
vent and he hopes to throw away the anger of his bereavement
oIt’s hard to make this sound intelligible and normal
When discussing death you have to put yourself in the other person’s position and
atmosphere to truly understand their emotions and emotional experience
He wants to find a “deeper” explanation for headhunting
oThey don’t kill to balance sides (an eye for an eye, type of thing)
Some men converted to evangelical Christianity, not for the sake of finding a way
to prevent deaths but to find a way to cope with them
oThey were not allowed to throw away heads anymore and practice their

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He lost both his brother and his wife which allowed him to experience the kind of
rage that exists in grief that the Ilongots had spoken about
oHe now claims that they are much more in touch with reality that
Death is never easy! Can’t just look at the person who has died but those
surrounding them
Ethnographic writings can also be emotional, he does not have to be disengaged
from the society that he is writing about
oNo longer about objectivity, neutrality and impartiality
Before taking a head the Ilongots feel heavy but after they are free
“social analysis must now grapple with the realization that its objects of analysis
are also analyzing subjects who critically interrogate ethnographers – their
writings, their ethics, and their politics
Lecture notes:
oThis reading is an example of otherness
oCulture makes anthropology a science because its in a physical
relationship and gives it an aerial form
oIt’s a science because its empirical but for him it means experience
Experiences are tangible
“I was hanging out with these people at this time and at this
Dr. Franz Boas: On Alternating Sounds
Where: Eskimos in British Colombia When: 1889 Style: not a personal
description, more of facts and the importance of steering away from colonialist
types of thinking
Misleading term “sound blindness” to describe they differences in key and timbre
sounds heard by the ordinary ear
Inability to perceive the essential peculiarities of certain sounds
Two reasons why people mishear the spoken word
oThe phonetic elements he hears are similar to other phonetic elements
oThe hearder does not know the meaning of the spoken complex of sounds
so he tries to make the word into something he knows
Famous anthropologists stayed with Eskimos and made lots of mistakes with their
words, confused all of the words
He claims “ that there is no such phenomenon as synthetic or alternating sounds,
and that their occurrence is in no way a sign of primitiveness of the speech in
which they are said to occur; that alternating sounds are in reality alternating
apperceptions of one and the same sound”

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Margaret Mead: Coming of Age in Samoa
Where: Samoa When: 1928 Why: less based on how the world sees her but how
she sees everyone else, first describes adolescent experiments then her own
Adolescence used to be considered a time characterized “as the period in which
idealism flowered and rebellion against authority waxed strong, a period during
which difficulties and conflicts were absolutely inevitable”
oAttitudes seem dependent upon social environments
oNot anymore
The only way to properly observe adolescence is go to another country and
observe them
She goes to Samoa to observe adolescence because they are a “primitive” society
but with thousands of years of history
oWants to work with girls
She spent more time among the children than the adults
You can only criticize your community by looking and analyzing others
Horace Miner: Body Ritual among the Nacirema
Where: Nacirema (North American group) When: 1956 Style: detailed description
of the exorcisms, the box and the “surgery”, hint of disgust
They are a north American group living in the territory between the Canadian
cree, the Yaqui and Tarahumare of Mexico, and Antilles
oLittle is known of their origin, they believe that they originate from a
culture hero
oThey love econonomics
oThey also focus on the body
The appearance and health of which loom as a dominant concern
of da people
oThey believe that the human body is ugly and its natural tendency is to
debility and disease
Avoid this by rituals and ceremonies
They all have a shrine that is built into the wall
oThey keep their potions and magic in these
oThe pray to the shrine with holy water that is taken from the holy temple
Mouth-Rites #nasty
oInsert a small bundle of hog hairs into the mouth along with certain
magical powders and then moving the bundle in a highly formalized series
of gestures
oThey make holes in the mouth between teeth so that they can put magical
powders there
Women’s rites
oWomen bake their heads in an oven for a half-an-hour
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