cultanthro TEXT NOTES.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Maggie Cummings

“ANTHROPOLOGY TEXT NOTES CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION o The world behind everyday appearacnes  Socio cultural anthropology  An anthropological approach that retains the british focus on social anthropology at the same time as it adds the american focus on culture to produce something slightly different from either one.  Look beyond the world of everyday experiences and discover patterns and meanings that lie behind the worl  Chair – political anatomy of educational settings  Its part of he system of relations that give meaning to a classroom  A chair with a back to it is more school but a chair without is more open to conversation and movement o armchair anthropologist  Refers to an approach to the study of various societies that dominated anthropology in the late 1800s. It involved the collection, study, and analysis of the writings of missionaries, explorers, and colonists who had sustained contact with non- Western peoples. Armchair anthropologists used these documents to make comparisons and generalizations about the ways of life of various groups. (p. 9) o culture  The system of meanings about the nature of experience that are shared by a people and passed on from one generation to another, including the meanings that people give to things, events, activities, and people. (p. 6) o ethnography  A written description and analysis of a particular group of people, usually based upon anthropological fieldwork. (p. 11) o fieldwork  Anthropologists engage in long-term interactions (usually a year or more) with various groups of people. This often involves living with people, observing and contributing to daily chores and tasks (participant observation), and conducting interviews. Most fieldwork in anthropology has historically been qualitative in nature. (p. 10) o multi-sited fieldwork  This term, coined by George Marcus in 1995, refers to the process of connecting localized experiences of fieldwork with broader, global processes. It necessitates understanding various issues from multiple “sites” or perspectives. (p. 13) o participant observation  An element of fieldwork that can involve participating in daily tasks, and observing daily interactions among a particular group. (p. 10) o representation  The way in which a group of people is depicted in writing or through images. Anthropologists are increasingly conscious of the fact that when they write about a group of people, they are constructing particular representations that may have positive or negative long-term effects for a group of people. (p. 14) o salvage anthropology  An approach to anthropology that arose in the late 1800s when anthropologists witnessed the extinction and/or assimilation of indigenous groups throughout the world. In response, some anthropologists, such as Franz Boas, suggested that anthropologists rapidly document the oral stories, songs, histories, and other traditions of indigenous groups before they disappeared. (p. 12) o sociocultural anthropology  An anthropological approach that retains the British focus on social anthropology at the same time as it adds the American focus on culture to produce something slightly different from either one. (p. 3) o ethnographic method  The immersion of researchers in the lives and cultures of the peoples they are trying to understand in order to comprehend the meanings these people ascribe to their existence. (p. 10) - 1.2 REPRESENTATION AND CULTURE o essentialism  The act of creating generalizations or stereotypes about the behavior or culture of a group of people. (p. 14) o When essentialist representation is consumed buy a public that is to often uncritical racism is perpetuated and domestic foreign policy are affected for the worse. o Chignon studied yamonami labeled them as fierce and warlike.  Turner argued that representations of the yanomami as fierce has done them harm o Mass media anthropologist have socialpolitical and economic consequences o Important for anthros to concider the long term impact of their work in various communities - 1.3 IS IT POSSIBLE TO SEE THE WORLD THROUGH THE EYES OF OTHERS o Confronting witchcraft in mexico  Awkward embarrassing moments help anthros understand and question their own view on the world. Through his experience that systems of belief are eminently reasonable when viewsd from wthin that system  By participating in the lives of others and in their cultural practices anthropologists can take themeslvs as subject of investigation.  Fieldwork and anthropologists immerse themselves in cutures and they are marginal. They are not fully native but they are never themselves again o The ethnocentric fallacy and the realativist fallacy  ethnocentric fallacy  The mistaken notion that the beliefs and behaviours of other cultures can be judged from the perspective of one’s own culture. (p. 19)  ethnocentrism  The tendency to judge the beliefs and behaviours of other cultures from the perspective of one’s own culture. Page 19  Anthros find ethnocentric fallacy intellectually and methodologically intolerable  Intellectual and social dead end inevitable  Not everyone can think they are right and the other is wrong  Because of these implications anthos reject this position.  cultural relativism  The attempt to understand the beliefs and behaviours of other cultures in terms of the culture in which they are found. (p. 19)  Also raises issues  Says no ebhaviour can be right or wrong because it is different from our own.  Must understand a culture  relativistic fallacy  The idea that it is impossible to make moral judgments about the beliefs and behaviours of members of other cultures. (p. 20)  Seems morally intolerable, no beleifs or behaviors can be condemmed.  Ethnocentric alternative  Intellectually and methodologically unsatisfactory  Relativistc alternative  Morally unsatisfactory o Virginity testing in turkey and cannibalism among the wari’  Is human rights groups being enthocentirc in judging tirkish cutoms by north american cultural norms  Turkish see producing children analogous to planting a seed  Seeds do not have a limited life span (as semen does) once planted it can grow at anytime  That is why they do the virginity testing cause unless she is a virgin then she might becarrying someone elses baby  Wari ate the dead because they believed it was a compassionate thing to do  Corpse left intact is a painful reminder of the deceased o Objectivity and mortality  Should they maintain moral distance and remain objective or should they engage in criticizing behavior or beleifs they encounter  Laura nader said not to study the poor and powerless because everything you say will be used against them  Cultural relativism makes arguments about human rights meaningless by legitimizing any behavior  The idea that we can make judgements without being enthnocentric is illusionary  What our culture hides from us may be more important than what It reveals. - 1.4 how can the meanings that others fin in experience be interpreted and described o clocks are an instrument of discipline o wages depend on time, clocks o read the watch as if it was a collection of sy
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