First Lecture First lecture notes on chapter 1 in the textbook
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010
What is anthropology?
- Study the ways which people live
- Study cultures
o Culture; is shared beliefs or views. How we define societies and the material
things they produce.
o Different ways which people earn their living may be seen as their culture
o Traditions people follow, e.g. Christmas.
o Hockey or sports may not be played in all parts of the world, so it is Canada’s
o Separate eras hold different cultures.
o Religious books e.g. the Bible, shapes people’s views or beliefs and changes their
o Basket weaving is an art only certain cultures use.
o Tim Hortons represents Canadian culture ( take out coffee not available in all
o Western society also has a different culture when dealing with animals. Dogs are
also a product of their culture based on how they are groomed, fed, sheltered,
o Everything is mediated through culture, we are always apart of culture.
- Raymond William’s Theory of Culture:
o Culture has a wide range of meanings (i.e. inhabit, protect, honor with
worship; the tending to something (crops and animals); cultivation.
o One of the most difficult words in the English language
o Culture can refer to “a general process of intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic
o May also suggest “a particular way of life, whether of a people, or period or a
o Can refer to “the works and practices of intellectual and specialized artistic
activity” (products of culture) e.g. poetry, ballet, fine arts.
o Culture- The system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors and
artifacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and with
one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation
- Williams – Civilization vs. Culture dichotomy
Study cultures: culture; is shared beliefs or views. Dogs are also a product of their culture based on how they are groomed, fed, sheltered, etc: everything is mediated through culture, we are always apart of culture. Williams civilization vs. culture dichotomy: the west/ culture- the rest; civilization vs. , barbarism; civilization as Ethnocentrism; the opinion that one"s way of life is natural or correct, indeed the only way of being fully human it reduces the other way of like to a distorted version of one"s own. Ethnocentrism in tourist industries; -hawaii for example: beautiful, empty, tries to westernize by not showing hawaii"s own culture. Afghanistan: soldiers, aftermath, no regular civilians, empty (no people, no victims, no worries). Eurocentism (a type of ethnocentrism) -the opinion of european (and neo- European) culture is natural or correct the only way of being human . Hugh trevor- roper (1965: unrewarding gyrations of barbarous tribes in picturesque but irrelevant corners of the globe .