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Notesolution ANT204 Exam Study Notes from 2013.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Saul Cohen

ANT204 Exam Study Notes Key Words and Key Phrases1 To make the strange seem familiar and the familiar seem strange Aarti Chadee this statement is a pivotal part that constitutes the essence of sociocultural anthropology as the question of what is sociocultural anthropology is comprised of two things1 understanding the human condition This involves asking the question of how are our lives are structuredunderstanding the human condition also includes realizing that we are living in a contradictory world which is a part of the anthropological way because multiple meanings can be created in various contexts2 to understand sameness and differences This is where we see the introduction of the ideaSymbolto make the familiar seem strange and the familiar seem strange to understand sameness and differences anthropologists ask how did race culture gender and ethnicity come about and how do we look at sameness or differences in cultural rights this quote overall is easier to understand with the following quote we cannot take for granted even about our own beliefs and behaviour let alone the behaviour and beliefs of those whose backgrounds and histories differ from our own Robbinso the main point is that this quote is at the heart of sociocultural anthropology because sociocultural anthropology examines at how societies are structured and how cultural meanings are created These anthropologists are also interested in differences among peoples throughout the world they also look for similarities in how people construct their own versions of what it means to be humano the other important anthropological feature of this quote is that it prompts anthropologists and citizens to question everything about the world that they believed was naturalHumans have believed it was natural for individuals who were underdeveloped uneducated poor rural thirdworld backwards and have been labelled primitive while individuals who developed educated rich firstworld and modern to be labelled civilized However in the field of sociocultural anthropology nothing is ever natural as concepts like race gender and ethnicity are socially constructed by humans and made to seem naturalo this is why whenever you hear the word natural in anthropology a redflag should come up because nothing is ever natural especially not in anthropologyo an example of this is Nanda ShresthaShrestha refers to bikas as something bikasis use to bring about development for the abikasis these are things such as roads airplanes dams hospitals and fancy buildings Bikasis refers to individuals who are developed because they can speak English and are educated individuals while abikasis are underdeveloped individuals they are poor individuals whose lives are governed by manual labour Shrestha uses the terms bikas and Westerners interchangeably but I believe that bikas is an important term in Shresthas criticisms of development because in this case the Nepalese have developed a blind faith towards bikas and believe that more bikas meant less poverty They allowed themselves to be dominated by Westerners who made them believe that if they wanted to escape poverty that they would have to transform themselves from abikasis to bikasis This meant they had to sneer at manual labour in favour of education even though manual labour is the common way of life for an abikasi to earn his living However Shresthas reasoning for critiquing this notion of development becomes clearer through the example of a school that was brought about due to foreign aid this school had a tin roof nice windows and blackboards fine furniture and tools and objects they couldnt even imagine This was nothing like the abikasis ever had before Development through the means of this school has not diminished poverty from the lives of the abikasis but rather has given them a temporary break from poverty Bikas was present at school but not at home it did nothing to reduce their hunger As a result expectations had been raised for the abikasis the disappointment between reality and this fantasy world was becoming more frequent this lead to a second criticism with development Bikas confirmed that the abikasis were incapable of doing things themselves and since the abikasis believed the Western way of life could uplift them from poverty and since bikas brought everything they needed there was no reason for them to work As a result however poverty became frightening wants were rising but the abikasis didnt bother to help themselves because they believed that foreign aid would fix their problems Shrestha vehemently criticizes development because it doesnt solve the problem of poverty but adds to it this article focuses on development and we can see that with the addition of the school that Westerners saw it as an educational institution where one attends so they can have better job prospects and make more moneySymbolthis is familiar to them What they saw as strange or what they should see as strange is the views of the Nepalese toward the school To them the school was an escape from poverty as everything was brand new and nothing like this before so in a way this school was strange to the Nepalese and the Westerners wanted to make it a familiar concept to them because they wanted the Nepalese to believe that they were helping to better their living when in reality this was a way to make the differences between these two groups more obvious and control these people Raagini Appadurai This phrase refers to one of the major goals of Anthropologyto make the strange seem familiar and the familiar seem strange The Anthropological project is particularly complicated because we have to look into ourselves and our understanding of the world around us as much as we do others Because we do not fully understand our own notions and meanings of daily existence we cannot expect to fully understand someone elses Robbins articulates this idea in saying We cannot take for granted even our own beliefs and behaviour let alone the behaviour and beliefs of those whose backgrounds and histories differ from our own Example In Richard Borshay Lees article Eating Christmas in the Kalahari Richards experience with the Bushmen showed how certain behaviours and actions that at first seemed utterly strange and different to Richard actually turned out to make a lot of sense and hold a certain meaning that could be learned and understood in a different way Sophia Zarsky fundamental part of sociocultural anthropologyIn anthro must look at every situation from all possible sidespoints if view this cannot only be a shallow understanding of all sidesExample used in lecture Eating Christmas in the KalahariLee comes to understand that the culture that he was studying was different than his own Once he realizes the way that the people of the tribe were looking at his bringing a large ox he understands the situation and better understands the people Vilena Sabaeva Anthropological method is to understand the human condition and understand sameness and difference a appreciate the views of others while at the same time question own views of the world b By making the familiar seem strange it encourage students to work to denaturalize their everyday surroundings to understand the familiar with reference to long histories as humans our history with nature and the flow of cultural practice across the world all of which shape the familiar of our everyday lives c Anthropology reminds us that humans are equipped to live a thousand different lives and the ones we end up living are shaped by the cultural contexts in which we grow up and lived Robbins We cannot take for granted even about our own beliefs and behavior let alone the behavior and beliefs of those whose backgrounds and histories differ from our own See beyond what is taken for granted do not assume or take things at first blush P4 e Case study Eating Christmas in the Kalahari
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