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University of Toronto Scarborough
M Cummings

Cultural Anthropology Page 183-184 - A thin person is judged to be superior to a heavier person - Children described the “thinner” figure as friendly, kind, happy and polite while they described the heavier figure as lazy, lying, and cheating - Teachers perceive heavier children as having more behavioural problems than others and as being less well like by their classmates - People who overweight often face hostile work environments, and job discrimination - Workers judges unattractive by their peers – are described in more negative terms - Three year study among high school girls in Arizona o During adolescent they gain 11.5 grams of body fat and thus are more critical about their bodies o Thinness is good, fatness is bad and dieting is the way to get in shape o Most of the girls are thinking about their bodies “all of the time” or a “lot of the time” - Formed their perfect body image from television, films and magazines - The ideal women was tall, long hair, long legs, flat stomach and good clothes - Being thin was the ticket to happiness and popularity - They made moral judgements about them believing that if someone who was overweight really wanted to lose wight, they could - Not losing weight implied that the girl was unconcerned about her personal appearance or was lazy Trobianders Chapter 4 – Youth and Sexuality - Everyone knows about everyone - Girls start sleeping with boys when they are about 13 - Only sleep with boys of the same village and the same holds true for boys - When they talk about giving – they are talking about caring and generosity - Giving expresses not only about caring but also intention - Comminucates desires and plans but may also attempt to control others by establishing debt - Each act of giving was once a pledge of caring and an act of obligating another person - To maintain ones autonomy , a villager keeps his or her htoughts about other private but in the form and style of ones giving are messages about the givers intention - If her brother gave her yams that were too soft and small, that means he did not really want her to have them - To influence or even to try to control another person is difficult, yet such efforts are a major preoccupation - Adolescents learn to deal with the wills and plans of others through their sexuality - Intention is written in their bodies, in their walk and in their eyes o Want to “make somebody want you” Adolescent Sexuality - By the time they are seven or eight, they play erotic games or imitate adult seductive attitudes - Four or five years late they begin to pursue sexual partners in earnest - A rendezvous may be arranged at the beach or in a secluded place away from the gardens and the village - They do not sleep in their parents house - The young boys live in one ho - use and young girls in another – they have freedom of briging loves to their sleeping quartiers - Watched by older villagers who evaluate their potential - Little pressure to put them to engage full time in adult productive pursuits - Only when villagers are married, have children and are fully commited to economic and political endeavours will they be considered adults - Lovers send messages back and forth to arrange evening meet places - Conversations are filled with sexual metaphors that express a person intention - Young women are just as assertive and dominant as men in their pursuit or refusal of a lover - It is important to look attractive and to act in a manner that conveys independence and fearlessness - Individual arrogance gives amessage of overt competitive behavior - A person must learn to be strong without appearing to be - A persons intentions are carried out covertly through magic spells that are explicitely define the intensity of rivalry and the power of seduction - When a young women is complimented for her beauty, the compliment must be repaid so that the favored person does not become too proud o Weteli tied a string around Boiyagwa’s arm, symbolizing her beauty and talent o Boiyangas had to give Weteli tobacco and betal nuts as payment for tying the strong - To turn an initial attracton into a sexual liason demands more jokes and glances - Young men must give betal nuts and tobacco to the women they want, expressing their ability to continue to give presents as long as the relationship lasts - In seduction, giving is not enough, finally love magic must be used to overcome strong opposition Seduction with Magic - The most common way for young people to obtain magic spells is to learn them from their older kin by giving food, tobacco and money - When they die, they might not have taught the full spell or all the magic they knew – spells are often lost in part or fully - Married women learns something very important spells froma lover who is visiting from another island o The man gives the spell because he loves her very much and wants to give her more then betal nuts or tobacco - When men travel to other islands, spells may also be bought from others - Words for beauty magic chanted onto coconut oil, which is then rubbed on the skin or into flowers and herbs that decorate armbands and hair - Certain spells are though to make a person become so beautiful that even those recognized as physically ugly appear handsome in the eyes of women or man who wants them - Special beauty magic where a pearl shell is passed over the persons face so that they face will take on the white, shiny, qualities of the shell, making the person strinkingly enticing - When they reach their mid teens, the lovers meetings take up most of the night and a new affair may last for several months or longer - Seriousness will enter these meetings – where marriage may be the next important step - To project ones oewn will over someone else necessitates exercising control of another person feelings - Must resort to the most powerful kinds of magic spells known and practised by few adults - The person will not eat or listen to the advice of others, they will do nothing but long for her or his lover - The words of the strong love spell are chanted into betel or tobacco and then must be transmitted to the person o Have to be inhaled or ingested o Have to enter a persons body so it controls his or her thoughts - Believe that the agent carrying the magic only becomes effective when the words are chanted again and again throughout the night or for several days so that the betal nut or tobacco absorbs its power from the act of speech itself - However, a suspecting women may refuse the betal nut and the love magic can be averted – relationships are full of chance - The line between influencing others while not allowing others to gain control of oneself may be carefully learned - Effective spells collapse a persons autonomy and establish control over the other persons thoughts - Sexual liasons give adolescents the time and occasion to experiment with all the possibilities and problems that adults face in creating relationships with those that are not relatives - Must learn to be careful and fearless Choosing one Lover - When a man beings to meet the same lover again and agin – rejects the advances of others – strong love magic has been used - She spends the night with him in her house and must leave before the other villager awaken and begin to congregate on their verandas - No one should see lovers entering or leaving eachothers houses - A serious part of lovemaking is to bite off eyelashes and put scratches on their backs – news such as this gossip - There are not taboos about chewing betal or smoking together, lovers must never eat food in the company of one another - Peer constraints may upset the privacy of the relationship - Jealousy is a big problem – confrontations because two girls want to sleep with the same man o Ex. Ester and Ruth got into a public dispute, hitting eachother o Brought great shame to their matrilineal kins o Told to work hard leaning to make womens wealth rather then fighting for boys - Sometimes ones freedom is to have the person one wants is curtailed by public reprimands And peer retaliation - High status and rank provide added support for exerting ones will, but even young people who are members of chiefly lineages face rejection - As people get older, their interests turn to marriage, their independence becomes more restricted - Adult interference and marriage is about adult productive concerns Looking for a Spouse - Although there is a lot of emphasis on beauty , love and magi during adolescent years .. marriage is rarely considered only as a love match - Invoves not just two people but many other villagers as well - It if the men as fathers who provide a critical link in these alliance since the marriage of a mans children has important political consequences for him - A matrilineal clan is composed of many matrilinages - Each person is born into their mothers matrilineages, tracing descent through women to named ancestors - Each person at birth is a member of his or her mothers clan, there are no clan ancestors - Matrialineages are hundreds, there are only four Trobiand clans : Malasi, Lukuba, Lukwasisiga and Lukulabuta - Each clan has its own set of identifying totems but it owns no property in comman nor does it have any specific place of origin like a matrilinage does - Clans never unite for a specific cause or an event and are not reffered to as “same blood” like a matrilineage - But could read a persons lines on their palms to determine what clan they were from - Clans are exogamous – a mate must be a member of another clan - Marriages within the same clan considered incestuous - The best marriage of any villager is to marry someone of his or her fathers clan - Dabweyowa, a member of the martilineage A and the Lukwasiga clan, married a women who belongs to matrilineage C in the Malasi clan - Dabs father is a member of matrilineage D in the Malasi clan - Dabs wifes mother and mothers brother are now related to his father almost as if they were members of the same lineage - Call each other keyawa means “like the same matrilineage” - The word yawa is a synonym for dala, the more comman term for matrilineage - Villagers who are keyawa – are obligated to do much more then give each other food o Need to give away yams and other kinds of wealth for importantn exchanges - The keyawa kin are vital to the massive transactions of women’s valuables that take place after someone dies - If a man marries a women in his fathers clan, his children also will be members of his fathers clas and the same close relationship between his fathers matilineage and his wife will continue through his children into the next generation - Each marriage with a spouse from ego’s father clan gives ego’s father a new close kin relationships with villagers who are members of different matrilineages within the same clan o With a daughter cannot direct in discussing her choice of a husband because of the taboos associated with incest - Incest taboo prohibits sexual intercourse between a woman and her father or her brother, but the taboo equally prohibits a womans father or her brother from having any discussion with her about her love affairs - The sister-brother taboo is the most serious rule about social relations that exist in the Trobriands o The infringmene tof the sister-brother sexual incest taboo is perceived to be so horrifying that in it occurrence, bot had to commit suicide - Brother plays not role in discussions and decisions about selecting a spouse - Learns about the marriage after it happens , when his mother privately tells him o On hearing the news he remains in his house or leaves the village and goes alone to the beach or into the bush for a day or two because he is shamed that his mother had to tell him about his sisters lover - The rule of incest between father and daughter is less rigid then brother and sister – far more stories - It is the mans advantage to have his daughter marry someone who is a member of his clan so that her husbands mother and mothers brother will become keyawa kin to him - A girls mother plays the central role in descisions about the daughters marriage .. she can argure that the boy is lazy and ugly - She cannot however stop her daughter from continuing to sleep with him Eating Yams Together - No traditional marriage ceremony - Instead of leaving his hamlet before sunrise, she stays with him and they wait for the brides mother to bring them cooked yams o These acts make a marriage official - If the girls mother and brother approve of the choice, she cooks yams and carries it to her - When they eat the yams together , the marriage is recognized - If they disprove, then they hurry to the hamlet and make her leave with them - Yet the girl has the final word o May marry the man of the moms choice but then run away after - Can arrange a secret meeting with him, go the beach and live for several days and then once they start to live openly with eachother the parents must accept and respect the marriage - After they eat yams together, the mans sister bring three long skirts to her new sister-in-law - Cuts them so that their below the knee, she is no longer allowed to wear short mini-skirts - Both take off their red shell necklaces, if they remain on its indicative that their still looking for lovers - Sexual freedom and independence of choice run counter to jealousy, pride and the emotions of others - The lessons in adolescence are important because even after they will draw on the power of beauty and sexuality (political endeavours) Cultural Anthropology Pages 40-65 Introduction What do we talk about when we talk about progress? - 10 thousand years ago we lived in groups of 30 to 100 people - Ate by hunting and gathering - Today no human beings anywhere in the world live exclusively by foraging, although every society in existence is descended from such people - Todays society divided into wealthy and poor nations - Why after thousands of years as living as foragers, did some people try to change their way of life - Began to domesticate plants and animals and exchange their existence for a sedentary way of life - Should we assume that human beings chose to abandon a nomadic, foraging life because they discovered better ways of living - Should we assume that the few remaining small scale socities should adopt modern farming, wage labour and urban life - Should we explain the worlds division of wealth by saying that some natons have progressed while others have not - Progress – the human history has beena steady advance from a life dependant on natures whims to a life of control and domination over natural forces – a fabrication of contemporary socities based on ethnocentric notions of technological superiority - Many anthropoligcal ideas about modes of livelihood can be put into good use outside of the academy in the area of development - What exactly, does progress mean and for whom? Question 2.1 How and why did foraging societies switch to sedentary agriculture - Combining what we have learnd about human history from the work of archeologists and historians with information provided by cultural anthropologists who have worked among foraging and tribal socities creates a clear picture of culture change - Humans were scattered in 30 to 100 people nomadic bands, who lived by gathering wild plants and hunting small and large gme - Groups that were small and mobile – didn’t need political arrrangements or formal leaders - Specialist were people that were belived to have special powers like causing illness and death - Relations among people were of egalitarian nature – no individual weather or possesions - Then began to domesticat plant crops and wild animals - Became sedentary – settlements of 200 to 2000 people - Slash and burn agriculture – burned trees and brush and then planted crops in the ashes - Certain members assumed the role of chief or elder – authority to make decisions and resolve disputes - People organized themselves into clans – 200 to 500 people that claimed to be from a comman ancestor - Settlements combined to form states of many thousands of people - Slash and burn replaced with plough and irrigation agriculture o Organized labour for constructing roads, fortifications, religious structure - Leaders emerged, settlements grew into cities and competition between groups over available resources spurred the development of standing armies - Peopld began to develop special skills and to specialize in occupational tasks – led to increase of trade - Some of these hierarchical socities began to develop into large scale, industrialized states which are now found all over the world Does the Idea of Progress Help Us Understand the Shift from Foraging to Sedentary Agriculture - Human inventions resulted in bettwe ways of doing things: human culture progressed - Begand to question the idea that the life of foreigners was harsh and difficult Evolutionary Explanations for Culture Change: Lewis Henry Morgan and Leslie White - Sedentary agriculture was a easier, less dangerous and more productive way to get food - According to this explanation they had progressed - Lewis Henry Morgan, a lawyer in Rochester New York o Postulated a theory of human development in which human socities evolved through three stages that he labelled savagery, barbarism and civilizaiton o Further divided savagery and barabarism into early and middle and late stages o The passage of socities from one stage to the next required some technological invention o Early to middle savagery – control of fire o Middle to late – invention of bow and arrow o Late savagery to late barbarism- invention of pottery, agriculture and animal domestication - Leslie white o Like morgan saw technology as a driving force of cultural evolution o Sough energy from this technology and used it to survive o Energy that was put into work, the amount of food, clothing or other goods produced by the expenditure of energy was proportional to the effieciency of the technology available o Cultural development varied with the efficiency of the tools employed o Technology that was more efficient allowed human socities to transform more energy to fulfill their needs, these socities could then produce more food and support larger porpulations o Increased effiency allowed a few people to produce food for everyone, freeing others to develop skills and promote occupational specialization – led to trade and commerce o Population growth and increased contact among groups led to the formation of states  Coordinated activities and armies to defend the groups wealth What are the Shortcomings of these Theories of Progress - His theory holds the point of view that many people hold to this day: technology is the true measure of progress, and that the more energy human socities can harness through the development of new power sources, the more social, economical and poltical problems they will solve - Spurring new doubts was the studies of foraging societies that suggested that the life of a nomadic forager was not harsh and dangerous o The “original affl
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