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York University
ANTH 3120
Karl Schmid

Responsible Tourism Exercise: in groups History, Tradition, and identity • How identity is being shaped and reshaped Tradition (1) • Commonsensical notion: A tradition is a ritual, belief, or object passed down within a society, unchanged and still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. A custom or habit. For example, dances. This is how a lot of people think of tradition • Natural objective—exsits as an aspect of that culture. • Dichotomy: “Modern” vs “Traditional”— the past and the present. Edward Shils on Tradition (2) scientific definition • Traditions do change, however, • At the core of a tradition is a “bundle” of cultural traits that persists unchanged through time, while the tradition itself changes as new elements adhere to its core. For example, like an avocado. There is the core the hard stuff and the mushy stuff around. Constructivist (anthropological) approach (3) –same elements, different meanings • Traditions are reconstructions • Habitual • Meaningful to daily life—meanings are reshaped. Like the best man at a wedding in the past had a different meaning as it has. • Symbolic models of the past—this thing was important to people in the past, and it still is. There’s nothing natural in these traditions, they are always being reinterpreted. • Traditions are inventions Perspectives on tradition • First type: naturalist, commonsensical, essentialist (Shils position) • Second type: Constructivist—meanings change over time Emergent Authenticity • “Since authenticity is not a primitive given, but negotiable, one has to allow for the possibility of its gradual emergence… [a cultural form]… may, in the course of tie, become generally recognized as authentic” (Cohen 1988, 379) • Similar “invention” of tradition and heritage Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia) – use as example for essay • Commercial on Tom hanks on colonial Williamsburg • American justice, perseverance, and the idea of America itself. Colonial Williamsburg—Why does history change? Naturalistic/Essentialist perspective: • “New facts are found”—more facts about the past and putting them together like science. History changes as we acquire more facts about the past • History as the steady discovery and organization of facts – • Mimetic realism (imitate the real) –imitate what the past was like • “Re-create a facsimile of the past and bring it to life” –it is becoming more and more authentic Constructivist perspective: • “History depends on your viewpoint” –what we feel is important from the past. For ex. do we keep the material things of the wealthy? This is like a selection process. Like for ex. what should go into museums? • History as a story with a moral or meaning that is created for it • Social history perspective • Facts/traditions placed within a conceptual framework History changes –Four periods at Williamsburg 1. “Colonial Revival” (1930’s) – the emphasis was on the buildings and style of the beauty of it. People were coming there to appreciate it aesthetically. 2. “Patriotic” (1950s) – the bloody war has just ended. Williamsburg becomes a symbol of American v
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