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Chapter 1-38

ANT 252 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-38: Zakat, Azawagh Arabs, Grameen Bank

Course Code
ANT 252
Dr.Alison Greene

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Case Studies
Nanook of the North
Itivimuit: arctic, foraging society.
Basic group unit is the “nuclear family.” Occasionally two wives.
“Anti-frostbite faces.” Extra fat and larger noses; shorter bodies, more “barrel-chested”
Nunavut: Independent Inuit Territory in Canada; created 1999
oInuit/Yupik languages
Body Ritual among the Nacirema
Challenging cultural bias
Culture, ritual, ethnocentrism
Belief in the body as ugly, with a tendency toward debility and disease
Internal house shrines for body rituals
Medicine men, mouth men, and the latipso
Women baking head in over (salon)
Miners 3-fold purpose:
oTo lampoon anthropologists’ style of writing and thinking in describing others
(tending toward superiority complexes)
oTo show anthropologists’ early lack of reflexivity and their obvious ethnocentrism
oTo encourage critical outside view of our own society ad corollary attempts to
understand internal logics of other cultures
Plastic Red Rituals
The cup is the “great equalizer” – knocks down barriers
Social drinking is a ritualized act; there are social codes for acceptability
When you have the red cup at a party, you’re part of the group, you belong
Sikiana toddy drinking: one person serves pass around one cup
oIt’s a community connector like our red cup
oIf you show up late, you must catch up

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Xhosa (South Africa): beer-drink (public drinking event), beer kept in either cast-iron
pots or plastic/wooden containers; served in tin beakers (billy cans); receivers have
certain expectations on the size of their beakers based on the current state of their beer-
exchange relationship with the givers
oPossession of drink and cup equalizes you with everyone, makes you officially a
part of the group
Army Enlists Anthropology in War Zones
Human Terrain Team
“mercenary anthropology”
oExploits social science for political gain
Worry that anthropologists will be viewed as intelligence gatherers
“armed social work”
Operation Khyber
Militarizing anthropology, or anthropologizing the military?
No one in the group spoke Arabic
Globalization from the Ground Up
Tagharghist, Morocco
Genealogies and kinship charts, life histories
Western, capitalist era is not the only “global system"
Shows power of ethnographic fieldwork
Would give meat to people who cooked for him
Toileting behind a rock, throwing stones at kids
When road came, the town could grow food to eat and sell
oMany migrated to the city
They weren’t “choosing” in a consumerist way; edge of survival
This town has long been a part of the “global,” celebrating their own history

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They haven’t always been “isolated”
Primary motivation for labor migration is to achieve traditional goals, not to go succeed
in the “modern world”
Globalization: 3 theories
1. McDonaldization: huge corporations are selling similar products in similar ways,
organizing people to produce these products in similar ways, and thereby swamping local
cultural distinctiveness with an overwhelming uniformity. Blamed on capitalism. (From
George Ritzers book) (market homogenization)
2. Clash of Civilizations Hypothesis: communities aren’t being fused into a single global
culture, but instead they consolidate into large cultural blocs or “civilizations.” Main
proponent is Samuel Huntington. Believes one bloc, “the West,” is culturally
incompatible with others. (people reject domination by “the West”)
3. Hybridity: mixing of cultural elements. Goes back to Boas (and his ideas of diffusion and
historical particularism). Two things drive hybridity: agency (ability of people to choose
what they want) & technology. (blend of cultural, tech., social, & economic traits)
You are How You Eat
Rules: communal meat and veggies. Rice = fan, always have a bowlful. Rice > meat.
When meat > fan, = glutton = bad.
Eating rice while the bowl is on the table shows disinterest or dissatisfaction
Restaurants structured that even though you’re alone it doesn’t seem like it
Overriding rule: deference to others
The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race – Jared Diamond
Horticulture developed in Lebanon
From agriculture came the gross social and sexual inequality, disease and despotism
Progressivists view credits agriculture with the remarkable flowering of art; gives us free
time; enabled us to build the Parthenon and compose the B-minor Mass
Revisionist interpretation is the opposite:
Farmers work more than hunter gatherers
HGs are stronger, taller, healthier
Farmers take quantity > quality
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