PSY 802 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Christian Mortalism, Shanidar Cave, Christian Death

134 views43 pages
Published on 27 Apr 2016
School
Ryerson University
Department
Psychology
Course
PSY 802
Professor
Chapter 3
Multicultural nature of today’s societies brings challenges to traditional cultural identities
These challenges apply to the general population; not only immigrant populations
Worldwide, most people adopt “hybrid”/bicultural identity: combination of local
cultural identity and identity linked to elements of global culture
People tend to view the world from their own, single perspective; thus, individuals tend to apply
their own cultural criteria as benchmarks against which to judge other communities’ values
Ethnocentrism: fallacy of making judgments about others in terms of one’s own cultural
assumptions/biases
Stereotypes may be a learning strategy to organize and interpret information
However, in reality, there may be more differences within cultures than between
cultures
Culture: all that in human society that is socially – rather than biologically – transmitted
Broadening perspective to include cultures other than our own increases range of options
available in encountering death
Cultural competence allows us to be better prepared to respond appropriately/skillfully
to diversity in culturally pluralistic societies
Engaging customs/ideas of other cultures protects against ethnocentrism
Society: group of people who share a common: culture, territory, and identity; and who feel
themselves to constitute a unified and distinct entity which involves interacting in socially
structured relationships
Structural view of society: enduring and patterned aspects which provide context
and background against which people live out their daily lives
Society may be thought of as organic whole, in which constituent parts work
together to maintain each other and the whole society
Social institutions are related; change in one leads to changes in others
Institutionalized bases of death attitudes/behaviours
E.g. in poverty-stricken northeastern Brazil, political authorities do not bother to
record infant mortality rates (thus, economy impacts political system, in turn,
affecting social reality of poor Brazilian families)
find more resources at oneclass.com
find more resources at oneclass.com
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-3 of the document.
Unlock all 43 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in
Meaning of death created by socially shaped ideas/assumptions
In North America, cultural death expectations reflect technology-oriented,
bureaucratic (concerned with procedure) social reality
Appropriate death occurs naturally and in old age (correctly timed)
Bureaucratic aspect prevents disruptions/preserves social equilibrium
Death moved to perimeter of social life
Symbolic interactionism: people actively respond to – and create – social structures and
processes
E.g. European Canadian caregivers and Native Canadian patients differ in interpretations
of appropriate care; engaging one another in interactions to resolve conflict between
disparaging views results in changing attitudes and behaviours (thus, “meanings”) on
both ends
Social learning: behaviour rewarded/reinforced when it conforms to social norms; behaviour is
punished/unrewarded when it violates social norms
Vicarious reinforcement: occurs when person observers others reinforced for behaviour,
but has not been directly reinforced themselves
Social norms accepted as natural, “the way things work”; thus, we may be unaware of our
conforming to them
Cultures occupy a continuum from “death-welcoming” to “death-denying”
Paul Koudounaris: in Western world, we consider death as a non-negotiable,
irreducible boundary; many other cultures conceive it as transitionary, placing
importance on dialogue between living and dead
Pre-Modern Death Rituals
First evidence of human funerary behaviour approx. 300 000 years ago in Atapuerca, Spain
Intentional human burial remains found in Europe in Upper Paleolithic period (40 000 to 10
000 years ago)
Neanderthals (150 000 years ago)
Shanidar Cave in Iraq: burial grounds for tens of Neanderthals/Shanidar IV: skeleton of
adult male 30-45 y/osignifies burial rituals existed long before our time
Interred with different species of flowers (perhaps chosen for medicinal
properties)
find more resources at oneclass.com
find more resources at oneclass.com
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-3 of the document.
Unlock all 43 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in
Inferred that Shanidar IV was important leader/shaman (visionary in
community who facilitates communication with decedents)
Orderly distribution; deliberate arrangement of remains, as well as flowers
(fetal position)
Traditional Cultures
Unclear whether earliest burials intended to maintain continuity/communication with dead; or to
protect against harmful power of unburied dead/wandering spirits
May have begun to avoid unpleasant odors, disease, or dangerous scavengers
European human remains from Upper Paleolithic period (40 000 to 10 000 years ago)
recognized as intentional burials
Sometimes, corpse stained with red ochre and positioned in fetal posture; suggested
rebirth/revitalization of body
Accompanied by manufactured objects, personal effects, and other grave goods
Food buried with dead implied belief of usefulness of such items in journey
between lands of living and dead
oIt is the living who are responsible for easing dying persons’
transitions
Reminder that dead are treated and disposed of by the living
Burial of living matter alongside dead; concern with passage from life to death
Giambattista Vico: burial of dead classified as basic social institution; humanity received
Latin name “humanitas” from Latin root word “humare” (to bury)
Traditional Death Rituals
Many differences; common themes:
Representative of amplified awareness of death
Challenge boundaries between living and dead; community is partnership between
living and dead
Convey respect for dead; honoring of ancestors
Dead revered; acknowledgement of ancestors’ contributions
Facilitate communal mourning
find more resources at oneclass.com
find more resources at oneclass.com
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-3 of the document.
Unlock all 43 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in