Culture def

Classified in Social sciences

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eek One Movie:

* man forced into Custody

* elders believed when People died so did their cultures

* Native true culture Was changed because of contact with white people/culture

* surveyors took Everything the Indians needed to survive through the winter and took pictures With the fur coat they stole from them

* custody person spoke A different dialect and was Yahi (Indian/ Yahi people)

* Journey of the dead- Extinction of Yahi people

* Journalist went from The ferrie ( California, San Francisco) to find out who the last yahi person Was and called him ishi (means man) because he wouldn't say his name and he was The last of Yahi people and only through him and talking to him would people be Able to understand yahi culture because he was the last one

* Ishi found remains of Things from him family and things and materials of Yahi culture in an Exhibition but did not show hatred

* Culture- represented By objects- language, grammar, baskets, other material things

* Didn't know if Ishi Had lived in hiding for 40 years

* Krober reached out to Someone who knew little about yahi culture etc, but he was busy with his own Stuff in Canada

* creation methodology To clan history is how Yahi culture was perceived to have originated

* several Anthropologist were telling Ishi what to do and show everyone how he used to Throw his shooting arrows (one said he seemed like a wild Indian because of how He and his culture was being perceived)

* Ishi thought water Nobs and door nobs and other normal stuff was shocking but most shocking was The amount of people (He'd never seen more than forty people at a time when he Was young- and that too, those people were taken from him)

* Golden rush- many People flew and tried to get to it

* Every year Yahi People struggled to find food to survive during the winter (others would get Meat from animals but people would kill Indians to get the meat- violence)

* People saw Indians as Everything but humans- the Indians would eat ants etc

* Public thought Ishi Needed a wife- went to see white british singer and newspapers twisted his Experience into him and the girl but in reality he was more surprised by the Amount of people

* at Krober's Anthropology exhibit, there was a living figure of culture- Ishi- he became a Man attendees would come to see and Ishi would show people how to start fire And stuff and Ishi was said to be a great craftsman

* Ishi got pneumonia After opening of exhibition- but people wanted to still see him- but they Couldn't touch him

* Ishi was said to be Brought from the jungle and entertained people because of his culture and his Difference

* Krober used tech to Understand Ishi's language (measuring wave lenghts) - over 400 recordings on Wax cylinder tech

* they could translate Some words but the story remained un identifiable and they couldn't understand What Ishi wanted to say

* Soon Ishi knew few 100s word of English

* Krober gave Ishi a Job of janitor at exhibition and he would also go over to the hospital near There and sing Yahi songs to the children and the ill

* Krober was critized For keeping Ishi at the exibhition and people noticed it and Krober did say That Ishi you are free to go back but Ishi didn't want to

* Ishi still wouldn't Talk about his past

* And Krober found info About how Yahi people were killed and families would suffer and thus those that Survived were called Yahi Heros

* Massacar- first 30 Died then another massacar- 40 Yahi's died- this is also when his dad died, Ishi and his mom were able to escape along the dead bodies in the water through Floating, other massacar- 45 more Yahi people were killed and bodies were Everywhere

* Ishi and his mom went Into hiding for many years with the few Yahi that survived

* Ishi set out on Another journey after persuasion north to around where he was from

* Anthropologist tried Looking for clues of Yahi people over 20 years but only had photos and little Info from Ishi

* Ishi was worried About the spirits that may still exists from those Yahi that have died and said He heard his sisters voice

* Ishi went out on a Walk and came back and told everyone he was satisfied as he believes everyone (Yahi people) found their way

* Ishi became teacher In his country and the anthropologists would watch and learn

* A specific way to Kill creature- person would have to smell not to strong in any sent and then Shoot and kill and even told one of the anthropologist to stop smoking because It violated the guidelines that need to be followed before killing animals for Food

* The anthropologist Said you couldn't understand the Yahi people until you went through the actual Journey and way of the life in the country of Yahi poeple

* The hiding spot of The remaining Yahi people had many restrictions until surveyors discovered Their camp- the remaining Yahi lived in fear (battlefield like environment)

* Statue of the End of The Trade stood in the middle of a fair like event in the community displaying The tragedies of the Yahi and people from that time and Ishi stood there at the Event as well of someone with importance

* Canadian Sapier guy Finally came down to meet with Ishi after Krober had told him several times Before

* Ishi went to University Hospital In san Fransisco because he had TB and then he passed away

* Krober did not want The hospital people to perform an autopsy of Ishi (Indian-last of Indian tribe) Because he was the last of Yahi people

* Krober went into a Psychology field to discover things out and then went back to anthropology and Rose in his field but never spoke about Ishi (when he did it was with remorse- Was his great friend)

* Wild man (Ishi) was No longer portrayed as a threat and when the Yahi people and culture were Destroyed there was nostalgia and the importance of its extinction rose

Week 2 LECTURE- Anthropological Fieldwork

* Student randomly Getting up and leaving room is weird because lecture is still going on and it Diverts people attention into thinking about where the person is going or why

* What happened: Something occurred, washroom break, wrong classroom- action, cultural thing Like discomfort?, and especially for a student to leave at the beginning of Class is weird too

* it shows disrespect, You may be signaling you don't like the lecture or the movie and there is a Certain level of communication happening

* classroom setup- Authority, attentive learning, produce bodily affect of discipline

* to understand this Situation we had to draw upon our everyday knowledge to interpret the event and Shows how dense the situation really is

* the question of why It happened really requires a lot of context to understand- that's the point of Fieldwork

* people carry history With themselves that is useful for knowledge and field work per say

* superficial Explanation of situation- asking student why they did that- you would only get A partial explanation of the situation not the whole thing

* Thick description- Whole context of the event that took place and taking into account cultural Reasoning and our knowledge, thin is the opposite

* context/meaning

* communication- what Is communicated through body positioning like slouching and difference between Actual intent many be different- the student may not have an intent that is Being given off

* deeper- into history, Context, meaning- hierarchy, space, time

* How do we understand Human action then?- simple one word descriptions not enough

> observation- Physical movement- like analyzing atoms (in which this would be enough) but not In social sciences

> measurement- can Measure consumer behaviour in economics- if something is desirable (don't have To imagine it, you can measure it), prediction of what happened

> lab- control Variables and take them out of their context and it gets you closer to a more Scientific approach to human nature, actions are based on whats happening in The lab so you wont be able to get out info about the individuals social life Or whatever

LECTURE 3: History of Anthropology and the Culture Concept

Anthropology and Colonialism

§ Darwin: we are one species § Savage slot as justification for conquest – civilize §Science of the colonized –expanded to study colonial system §Their Social institutions work – don’t disrupt – create disorder

Evolutionary Stages State of nature(genes)

§No Concept of property §No Industry, inequality §No Government §License To conquer §Terra Nullius

Manifest destiny

Survival of Fittest – not Darwin’s view of humans – one species, same dispositions and Mental faculties (SCP17)

Inferior Races destined to die out

“Social Darwinism” = Herbert Spencer,


Lewis Henry Morgan 1818-81

Recognized Complex and diverse systems of social Organization among natives

Elements Cohered in a package – technology/ mode of livelihood, kin structure, political Organization

Evolution: Over time more individualism, private property, erosion of groups, towards State-like structures

Beginnings Of theory in anthropology

Role of theory In research

Shapes perception, creates facts

Enables interpretation and explanation

Explicit – a tool - not merely a “bias”

Subject to revision - paradigm shifts

New theories

New findings

New concerns

Some Theories

Evolutionism – Morgan and others

British School: social institutions; structures; systems; functionalism– how do Elements relate, how does it work, what does it do

American School: culture, meaning, uniqueness, “the natives point of view”

Contemporary “socio-cultural” combines both

grasp meanings and place in context of social, Political, economic rels

Culture Concept

“The complex whole that includes knowledge, belief, Art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by Humans as a member of society”  (SCP p267)

Culture As system of meaning

How Elements of a cultural system are related to one another and expressed in Individual lives

Provides Standards of value through which action is judged

Enables Us to interpret behaviour – what does it mean?  What makes it sensible, not random?

Usually Unconscious, taken-for granted reality for people who share it

Culture As an integrated whole?

Unique/ Particular to a social group, though acquired by diffusion (Boas)

Arbitrary – culture determines forms, not natural environment (Sahlins)

Bounded, Whole entities – hard at the edges like billiard balls – hence “cultures” or “cultural  areas” – shapes on a map

Total Web - integrated – all the parts add up


“ethnographies Of the particular” (Lila Abu-Lughod)

Political And economic processes have connected all of us for centuries – no “people Without history” – hence no “cultures” and “peoples” as wholes (Eric Wolf)

Villages Are part of state systems – linked to cities – not worlds apart (SCP 47-51)

Cultural Invention is continuous – as people adapt, adopt, reflect, and struggle Eg Ghost dance as cultural revival; Ishi learned, adapted

Cultural Relativism (not judging) requires understanding across boundaries – imperfect, But possible…

Chapter 2:

1.     Compare and contrast The British and the American Schools of anthropology using examples from the Work of Malinowski, Richards, Boas, and Mead.

  • British School: After major tenets of early evolutionary anthropology In process of being completely disproved, anthropologists forced Themselves out of their armchairs and into the field (observing and Participating vs. Theorizing):
    • Synonymous with structural Functionalism
      • Society is the composition And sum of many major structures, each with their function.
      • E.G. Richards’ study on the Centrality of food to social life among Bemba
    • Commitment to scientific Approach to understanding society
    • Considerations: Synchronic Approach: they did not consider history of society but restricted Analysis to present; did not consider aspects of “material culture” or Impact of individual, ideology + environmental factors
    • Instead of material culture Those in British school focused on social structures, such as family + Economy (structural functionalism)
    • Believed kinship Systems/social organization of family had greater impact on society Than any other institution esp. Preindustrial societies
    • Key figures
      • Radcliffe-Brown

·Society function like biological Organism

·Three stages of Scientific investigation in anthropology

oObservation, taxonomy and generalization.

The latter would later be contested


·Committed To establishing anthropology as rigorous science.

·Focus On “basic needs” and how an culture as adaptive mechanism functions to supply Them (nutrition, sexuality etc)

Richards= Concluded food as social glue

·Food production, Distribution among Bemba people

·People relied on finger Millet, in spite of recurring scarcity

oShe observed discussions about food, and Concluded it to be something of a social glue.  

oSocial relationship created and defined through Production and consumption

American School

Inductive approach:rather than using data to prove a Preconceived hypothesis Boas applied an inductive approach whereby explanation And theory only emerged from massive amounts of data and that could only be Collected through an extended period in the field.

Argued for discipline which subjects scientific “truths” to criticism and further interpretation

Social, political, religious, economic beliefs And behaviour across time were considered

Historical particularism: considered unique history of each culture to Be influential and central to understanding present

Key figures

Franz-  Boas -

·Instrumental in Dismantling social evolutionism

·So, changes in culture Didn’t happen in unilinear fashion

·Asserted each culture Consisted of elements diffused from other cultures

·Stressed importance of diversity And wary of generalizations and universal truths

·Strong proponent of Cultural relativism (wrote The Mind of Primitive Man - to disprove Superiority of white race and inferiority of others)

      • Margaret Mead

·Studied young girls in Samoa

·Undertook purposeful Sampling (only selecting the individuals best suited to her research)

·Believed qualitative Research to be the most appropriate

·Discovered no Differences in the behaviours of young girls based on age, as contrasted to American girls (due to societal pressures)

·This was all discovered inductively.

Direct comparisons

British Focused on psychosocial solidarity vs. American approach which highlighted Diversity of culture

Criticisms Of structural functionalists: ignoring history, change + diversity in order to Maintain concise explanatory theories

Americans Critiqued for descriptive approach that lacked theoretical sophistication + Depth

American School “institutionalized an approach that highlighted cultural diversity” (SCP 38).

2.     Explain the structural functionalism approach to Anthropology by discussing the work of Audrey Richards among the Bemba in what is now Zambia.

  • Structural functionalism: lens through which society is conceptualized as Composed of major structures comparable to the organs of a biological Organis (heart lungs blood etc. ; each structure has a function + healthy Societies those that stable + functioning well
  • Richards’ work revolved around how the traditional Tribal/cultural attitudes towards food are among the most important Unifying, cohesive forces in a community.
  • Food is seen to satisfy basic Needs, but it is more than that; like Malinowski believed, it was glue of Social life (major structures of society were directly connected to the Ideology of food). Richards believed and demonstrated how the value of Food was the  focus and glue of social life - demonstrated the Functions of social structures and their interconnectedness.
  • In a structural functionalist Way, Richards examined how various social structures function and how life Is permeated by the basic human need for food.
    • By systematically studying and Tidily organizing and aligning social structures and identifying what Connects them
    • She did not see a random Series of unconnected facts, she saw a social system at work as a Whole that survives when all of its components function together. The Interconnectedness of patterns and social institutions lends itself to The tidy framework which is a requirement of structural functionalism

3.     Explain Boas’ anthropological approach, and Identify how it is different from that of evolutionary anthropologists.

  • Boas’ inductive Approach: rather than using data to Prove a preconceived hypothesis he applied an inductive approach whereby Explanation and theory only emerged from massive amounts of data and that Could only be collected through an extended period in the field.
  • He argued for a discipline Which subjects scientific “truths” to criticism and further interpretation
  • Historical particularism: Considered unique history of each culture to be influential + central to Understanding the present
  • Identification of problems with Social evolutionism:
    • Societies don’t pass through Stages of development (e.G. Matrilineal to patrilineal forms of Inheritance)
    • Each culture/society contains Elements diffused from other cultures. Changes in culture don’t occur in Single, unilinear process, but instead in multiplicity of converging + Diverging trends.
    • Cultures should not be ranked In hierarchy as proposed by social evolutionary anthropologists
    • Unlike predecessors who sought To locate culture in relation to development of other societies, Boas Though study should be limited to cultural areas
    • Wary of universal categories And generalizations that attempted to convey scientific truths about Groups of ppl
    • Instead stressed importance of Diversity, the individual + the need to historically contextualize Research
    • Strong proponent of cultural Relativism: each culture is unique + should be understood in terms of Its own beliefs; ideals of that culture not judged according to another
    • Value of anthropology its Ability to break down barriers that prevent greater understanding between People and the lessening of ignorance the result
    • The Mind of Primitive Man: Book set out to prove biological explanation of superiority of white Race; nutrition, access to shelter + clothing affect physical growth and Development
    • Part of major shift of Thinking occurred in twentieth century by him and students Mead and Sapir In light of nature vs. Nurture debate

4.     Describe Margaret Mead’s theoretical and methodological Approach to studying adolescent girls in Samoa.

·Coming of Age in Samoa

oResearch Question: Is adolescence a time in the life history of every girl child Which carries with it symptoms of conflict and stress as surely as it implies a Change in the girl’s body?

oStudied Language to communicate with participants

·50 girls chosen for study: 11 no Signs of puberty, 14 who likely to mature in next 18 months + rest who were Past puberty

oPurposeful Sampling (method whereby research participants selected based on having Certain characteristics researcher deems necessary for inclusion) of subjects Based on assertion that detailed investigation more valuable than more diffused + general study based on less accurate knowledge of a greater number or Individuals

·Small number of participants but Thought qualitative research (aims to why and how of human behaviour through Methods such as participant observation + interviews)

·Used intelligence testing to gauge Mental capacity of girls

·Examined social organization of Community + roles girls would most likely play + relationships would have + Deviance

·9 months of observation and Research

5.     Describe how Mead’s Findings from Samoa influences the discipline of anthropology and our understanding Of human diversity.

  • Mead’s findings contributed to Defeat of biological-determinist thinking in US
  • Illustrated childhood is not a Universal experience + is just as susceptible to the environment and Social conditions as other stages of life
  • Mead’s contribution highlights One of basic tenets of anthropological research - the power of research to Increase understanding between diverse groups of people
  • Human diversity is evident - Childhood is not a universal experience.

6.     Summarize the criticism Of Mead’s work from a contemporary perspective.

  • From a contemporary perspective Meads assumption and portrayal of non-western societies like many Anthropologists of her time influenced the manner in which she spoke to And approached her participants which in turn influenced the way they Interacted with her, thus affecting her findings completely.
  • At the time the American public Could not get enough of the carefree and sexually promiscuous lives of the Exotic South Pacific Islanders, the way Mead illustrated and understood Them to be while conducting her investigation on adolescent girls in Samoa.
  • Mead’s contribution to Anthropology is undisputed but by her presenting her assumptions and Making them clear provided us with the much needed context to understanding Her conclusions
  • Derek Freeman, a fellow Anthropologist, came to the conclusion that her participants essential “duped” her and her conclusions were all wrong because of her Predetermined assumptions.

Chapter 3:

1.     Define reflexive Thinking and explain the purpose of employing reflexive thinking while in The field.

  • Considering how one’s beliefs Influence the way they interpret a culture/situation.
  • Considering how others view of People (including oneself), view activities, and practices, influences Beliefs overall
  • While in the field, participant Observation allows the anthropologist to observe the culture and Interactions going on around them while also being aware influence by Their presence.  They can then make connections between the happenings And formation of beliefs from within.

2.     Explain the terms culture Shock, ethnocentrism, and cultural relativism using examples from the work Of Fernea.

  • Culture shock: Immersion in another culture resulting in feelings of confusion, insecurity, Difficulty feeling accepted (ex. In Iraq, Fernea had trouble connecting with the other women on a personal Level though she participated in the same activities, she felt they were Talking about her)
    • Feelings of Confusion/insecurity that arise from living in a new culture.
  • Ethnocentrism: judging other cultures by the standards and values of One’s own (ex. Initially refusing to wear an abayah - a head-to-toe Veil)
  • Cultural relativism: the idea one should suspend moral judgment and Assumption in order to appreciate and understand a culture on its own Terms rather than compare (ex. Conversation sometimes turned to beatings At the hands of one’s husband, Fernea never voiced her own opinion on this In that conversation)

3.     Compare and contrast The inductive approach as used by Geertz in Bali and Gluckman in South Africa.

  • Comparative method: consideration of how a theory fares when applied to Another culture.
    • Collect info about local Happenings and compare to your culture.
    • Ex. Small’s use of term “rite Of passage” cross-culturally
  • Inductive approach: the process of determining that which is important Against that which is not, based on what people themselves have to say About their lives.
    • Theory Emerges from large amounts of data from the field.
    • Ex. Clifford Geertz in Bali on Cockfights.
      • Interested in roles of Symbols: through thick description (close examination of Individual cases) able to arrive at general conclusions about the Balinese society.

·Interpreted symbols Through explanation and context of behaviour

·Discovered cockfights to Encompass social relationships by way of gambling. Cock is symbolic of powerful Men, and has the same double-entendre as it does in the English Language.

Ex. Max Gluckman In Zululand on Bridge opening.

Observed the white-man dominated ceremonial Opening of the bridge, and saw an opportunity for involvement with the natives.

Noticed how the Europeans and natives went their Own way during the post-event celebrations (“color bar”)

·Interpreted this as a “social Situation” wherein “analysis reveals the underlying system of relationships” in The society.


Geertz sought “deep” cultural Elements, while Gluckman was after a more “sociological” approach in the Interplay between race and class.

Geertz wanted to achieve a holistic Understanding of Balinese society by the sum of his deep observations, while Gluckman used his observations to explain how the different races came together At a moment of time, governed by the contextual demands of the situation.

Geertz accepted Balinese culture as having an Identity of its own, whereas Gluckman framed his observations in context of Colonialism.

4.     How does Small’s work At AnyU differ from that of Malinowski in the Trobriand Islands and Fernea in Iraq? Outline the ethical implications of this difference.

  • Unlike Malinowski and Fernea, Small did not disclose her relationship or why decided to return to University
    • Ultimately conducted her Research without the knowledge or consent of her participants
    • Ethical anthropological Methodology stipulates that participants be made aware of the study so That a level of trust can be established by all parties involved
    • Malinowski and Fernea both Conducted the fieldwork for their ethnographies with full Knowledge/consent of the participants, and maintained the Relationship of anthropologists and participant without deception.
  • Additionally Small’s work provides an example of “native” Anthropology.
    • She was insider and chose to Study a population familiar and native to her
    • Malinowski and Fernea Conducted regionally specialized research removed from their home turf
    • Typically those who are not of Western European background are not the focus of anthropological research As it has historically arisen to examine and explain “the other”
    • Malinowski studied Trobrianders and Fernea studied a distinct group of women in a small Iraqi village whose cultures, society, and region were completely Different to those of their own

Finally, the relationships Small was able to Maintain with the college students while undercover greatly differs from those Malinowski and Fernea were able to maintain

    • By going undercover Small was Able to bridge cultural gap
    • The relationship and Perception of researcher and participant are vitally important in Determining which information anthropologists are given access to
    • Fernea had lot of trouble Being seen as an outsider with these women and not being able to see Establish close relationships right away as a result. She had some social Similarities but was not able to bridge the cultural gap
    • By blending in to her Surroundings completely and by being seen by other members of the setting To identify with that particular group, Small was able to participate and See the intimate details of the lives of college students that would Otherwise not have been visible to her
    • Malinowski and Fernea were Both seen as outsiders and while they could observe and participate, they Did not have the benefit of doing so while being seen as a member of that Particular group

5.     Define the term native Anthropologist. Outline origins of this term and the limitations it places On so-called native researchers.

  • Native anthropologists study their own culture/ethnicity/community.  Assumption is that as an “insider” they will have greater access and Thus provide more authentic portrayal.
  • Limitations: it may be harder to be aware of the Nuances/commonalities we take for granted daily. Also many factors affect Our identities such as education, gender, sexual orientation, class, race, Or sheer duration of contacts that outweigh the cultural identity we Associate with insider status. Moreover, our identities being dynamic due To our experiences impacts the interactions of native anthropologists with The people they study.
  • Idea of Native anthropologists originates from Realization of the tendency to study the exotic “other” through Self-reflection over past 50 years by anthropologists.
  • Ex. Cathy Small (Rebekah Nathan) - Research on US Freshmen University Students

8.     Describe the concepts Of unity and diversity and use examples to explain how they can coexist Within the same context.

  • Question to answer as anthropologist: are there shared characteristics That are fundamental, regardless of one’s culture?
  • Diversity emphasizes on our differences as humans (something that Distinguishes us - such as cultural differences - diversity of cultures)
  • Unity on the contrary - our similarities - related to the concept of Human nature - something that we all share as human beings
  • Holding some of such similarities may allow us gain Access to certain social groups by default
  • Example of Fernea and women in Iraq - she was accepted as a member of the Group, was able to participate in all the activities, attend events etc. - Whereas her husband being a man- would never be able to do the same. Therefore in this situation gender provided sense of unity
  • However due to the cultural diversity between Fernea (being a Western woman) and Iraqi women - obstacle to developing Relationships within the group diversity creates cultural gap
  • While certain characteristics such as gender, race, Culture etc can unite, they only provide a sense of unity to a Certain degree. Diversity among groups must also be considered… Generalizations in anthropology are dangerous.
  • Another example - Small’s AnyU
    • where university as a social structure creates Diversity (students of different background, cultures etc) however Struggles to create a sense of unity based on for example certain Interests and hobbies (extracurricular activities) particularly because American Culture - embraces individualism therefore here is cultural diversity Cannot coexist with unity - as it directly contradicts its essence
    • Attempt to force a community (via communal classes) Failed, due to the neglect of the importance of diversity within the Student population.
  • Unity and diversity cannot be spoken as a general Concept, cannot simply divide individuals into categories - have to be Looked at together in the particular cultural context
  • What distinguishes one culture from another - also acts On the basis of unity - as it unites certain individuals into a group

Lecture 4: Chapter 5:

1.     Using the example of Chesler and her family, explain the tension between social identity and genetic Identity.

  • In the case of Chesler, her IVF procedure utilized the father's DNA, but an unknown Mother's DNA.  Jewish laws deems Jewish identity as a product of the Mother's lineage; since Chesler's son did not have any actual DNA from Her, Jewish lawyers debated whether the child's genetic identity was truly Jewish. However, Chesler herself maintained that her son was Jewish, Because she would raise him in a way that promoted the same identity and Ideals of her ethnicity.
  • This shows That genetic versus social identity is all a matter of context; depending On the culture, beliefs, and economic/political circumstances, one of the Identities--social or genetic--will take precedent.

2.     Summarize the Concepts of family structure, endogamy, inheritance, and group formation using The biblical stories or Sarah and Hagar and Rachel and Leah as examples.

  • Family structure: the fact that For Abraham to have a “legitimate” son, Sarah would have to bear him/her.
  • Endogamy was rampant, in that a Person would marry within the family (FBC)
  • Inheritance was patrilineal, so Too was group forming.

3.     Describe Radcliffe-Brown’s Approach to studying kinship and outline his contribution to anthropology.

  • AR Radcliffe Brown worked up from the smallest and most Local parts of a system toward a consideration of the greatest whole. This Thinking led to advancements in ethnographic literature which now Attempted to show how the parts of such systems work in an integrated Fashion and result in a more or less orderly society.  
    • Social function of marriage was deemed by an analysis Of how it links persons involved.
  • Example; marriage can be looked at as an arrangement Which enables people to live together and co-operate with one another. However, for the greater whole, marriage would play an important role if Conflict were to arise between descent groups.

4.     Explain the concept Of marriage and its role within kinship systems from the perspective of “the Gift” and descent.

  • Gift giving in marriageis a total social Phenomenon in which religious/moral/lawful/political institutions are Expressed all at one time.
    • The gift is often the common denominator in these Relationships.
  • Marriage is an affair between groups of people, (a rite Of passage),  that establishes economic and political ties that Can span generations.
    • Bridewealth can transfer property between families
    • Dowries can provide for future children in a marriage
    • Bride-service is when a man works for his in-laws for Their daughter.
  • Property and integrity can also be maintained within Families for generations through cross cousin marriages.

5.     Outline the matrilineal Form of descent amongst the tribes of North America. Explain how Europeans Interpreted these kinship systems and why Morgan’s Western ideas about Biological kinship were inappropriate in this context.

  • Descent had the following order
    • Ego’s brothers
    • Ego’s sisters
    • Egos sister's’ children
    • ** B/Z follow order of age.
  • Iroquois differentiate between the mother’s siblings and The father’s siblings by using different names, they don’t just refer to Them all as aunt and uncle.
    • Cousins are Called the same name as siblings, just differentiated by sex.
  • Intermarrying (endogamy) was Prohibited.
  • Europeans interpreted this as a time-point Issue (again) in that matrilineal systems were the “earliest form Of human kinship”..
    • Synonymous to L.H. Morgan’s perspective on the Iroquois.
  • Morgan concluded that if entire groups referred to one Another as brothers and sisters (b/c no real differentiation between Cousins), then this must reflect a bygone practice of group marriage.
  • His mistake was projecting Western ideas about Biological kinship onto this different system.

6.     Using the example of Baby Veronica, compare and contrast the genetic and social understandings of Kinship and explain how cultural beliefs impact whom one identifies as kin.

  • Baby Veronica was put up for adoption by her biological Mother and was adopted by non- Native American parents.
  • Her Native American biological father didn’t know about The adoption and when Veronica was 27 months old, he filed for custody
  • For the Cherokees (the father’s tribe), the adoption Meant the loss of tribal knowledge and traditions because Veronica would Grow up without learning them
  • It was concluded that because Veronica was only 1.2% Native American and neither of her biological parents lived on a reserve (meaning they weren’t even well connected to their culture), the Cherokee Had little to lose through her adoption
  • Veronica stayed with her adopted parents - the welfare Of the child was deemed more important than any property rights

Lecture 5: Individuals- Society

Individuals and Society

1)Why Do people do what they do? 

2)What Is society and how is it re/produced?

Why do people do what they do?

Psychological View Perception, cognition, motives, emotions  Question: Are they fixed or variable? 

Biological View Genes, given in nature and/or respond to context?

Sex, gender, role, sexual orientation

Sociological View 

Social Relations Networks, norms Socialization, culture History, context

C. Wright Mills:

The Sociological Imaginationhow Do 'the personal troubles of milieu’ link to 'the public issues of social Structure.’? 

solidarity v. Selfishness

Are We basically selfish, atomistic creatures, inclined to compete and look out for “number one”? 

Are We inclined to solidarity, cooperation, trust?

If These ways of being are historically produced – what are the conditions for one Or the other? 

What Models do we find in popular culture?

What Kind of person does the university encourage you to become?

What is The role of marriage and children in forming the “social structure” of Contemporary city life?

What is society and how is it reproduced?

"The People who live in any society may be unaware, or only dimly aware, that it has A structure. It is the task of

social Anthropology to reveal it" 

E. E. Evans-Pritchard 

Margaret Thatcher

"They Are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there's no such thing as Society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no Government can do anything except through people, and people must look after Themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look

after Our neighbours." – in an interview In

Women's Own in 1987

structure and agency 


institutions, Ways of organizing

social Life, norms, roles  agency: 

individuals' Abilities to reflect on society and culture and take independent action 


No outside, no “free will”

Never zero – some room for manoever

Strong sense: projects, plans, consciously pursued

Weak sense: internalized structures, desires, habits Form most of what we do

– but we can Critically reflect

Note unintended consequences of action

People re/produce structures

The Subject and Power (Michel Foucault)

We are all formed by power (subject to) 

We also become subjects through power

power forms our desires, intentions, capacities, Actions

Power both constrains and enables

we are all formed by power (subject to)

we also become subjects through power

power forms our desires, intentions, capacities, Actions

power both constrains and enables

the erosion of choice, the closure of possibilities: In theory you have a choice, but not really… like the

pressure for higher education these days (in theory i Could choose not to go to university, but not


the system is set up to sort of value a sort of Education more

the outcomes have been set up to induce a kind of Behaviour/choice in education

-how our tastes are Formed, how society educates us to desire certain things, same goes for power

More of Michel Foucault's Concept of power:

-" Let us come back to the definition of the exercise of power as a Way in which certain actions may

structure the field of Other possible actions. What, therefore, would be proper to a relationship of

power is that it be a Mode of action upon actions. That is to say, power relations are rooted deep in The

social nexus, not Reconstituted "above" society as a supplementary structure whose Radical effacement

one could perhaps dream Of. In any case, to live in a society is to live in such a way that action upon

other actions is Possible-- and in fact ongoing. A society without power relations can only be An

abstraction. Which, be it Said in passing, makes all the more politically necessary the analysis of power

relations in a given Society, their historical formation, the source of their strength or fragility, The

conditions which are Necessary to transform some or to abolish others. For to say that there cannot Be a

society without power Relations is not to say either that those which are established are necessary Or, in

any case, that power Constitutes a fatality at the heart of societies, such that it cannot be Undermined.

Instead, I would say that The analysis, elaboration, and bringing into question of power relations and The

"agonism" Between power relations and the intransitivity of freedom is a permanent Political task

inherent in all social Existence [. . . .](Foucault 1982:222).

How does power work?

“Power often makes its presence felt through a variety Of modes playing across each other. The erosion of choice, the closure of Possibilities, the manipulation of outcomes, the threat of force, the assent of Authority or the inviting gestures of a seductive presence, and the Combinations thereof….” (John Allen, 2003:196)


How does power form you

A)at Home

B)at Work

Lecture 6: World View Religion Meaning


Encompassing Picture of reality

·Created, shared by members of society


A system ofassumptions,concepts,values, andpractices that constitutes a way of viewing reality.

Aconceptualframework anestablished thought process.

Paradigm Shift

time when the​usual andaccepte​              d way of doing or ​thinkingabout Something ​changescompletely

Afundamental change in approach orunderlyingassumptions

Think: Religious conversion.  Being “reborn” in Evangelical Christianity: no longer inhabit the same world

“Belief Is the least of it”: becomes embodied, embedded in practices, taken for Granted, common sense

World View

Assumptions about how the world works

Criteria for evaluating what is true/false

System of meaning

Sets of practices and attitudes

Rules that govern actions and beliefs

Habits, dispositions, “habitus,” etiquette

Ideas about health, illness, about race, gender

Like language –  Needs translation -“challenge is how to read code”

Sets of elements – interwoven – a web

Comparing Worldviews: What is the Value? 

Rosaldo, Ilongot Headhunters

Try to get inside mindset – why hunt heads?

What is their justification for killing?

Opens to question – what are our justifications for Killing?

Not to make them morally equivalent – may  view their justification as mistaken, ours as Correct

But through comparison, our way perhaps unsettled –available for reflection – open to critique – other perspectives - can be Uncomfortable

19th Century Evolutionary ideas as a paradigm


Superstition Magic








Science Compared...

Have we seen gravity?

scientific Knowledge socially constructed, has communities institutionally supported, made authoritative paradigms shift

Thomas Kuhnm 1962

 Religion compared

“ideas and practices that postulate reality beyond That available to senses” Or “a world view in which cosmic forces interfere in Life”

animism, spirits guarding landscape ancestral spirits, dead still active in present 

spirits sent by witches

gods directing human fate


can we adjudicate between knowledge systems? incommensurable worlds? can non-believer  Understand believer's reality?  Or Judge it false?

E-P On Azande: “In this web Of belief every strand depends on every other strand and a Zande cannot get Outside its meshes because it is the only world he knows … it is the texture of His thought and he cannot think his thought is wrong”

Functions Of Religion

explain contingency, random Eg Azande observe: granary Had termites

why did the granary fall on YOU? Misfortune sent by witches rational – if you believe In them Zande religion like ours – based in different Assumptions, expressed in different idiom


Misfortune caused by human ill will

No concept of Devil, god, evil Question: who Bears ill will towards me?  What can be Done about it?   Socio-centric...

Oracles – provide answers. Cannot be proven wrong. Circular.

All Word views – religious/other

Promote solidarity,  Social integration, conformity

Exclude or discipline deviants

Stabilize meanings

Manage counter evidence

Legitimate power

Anthro focus is on how They do this – training, habits, practices That produce conformity (Lurhmann); and effects.

Are world views ever total?

Can Be disputed, adapted, blended, or incompatible views held simultaneously.  

We don’t always make them add up (nor did the Azande).

Can Also become totalizing – everything interpreted through a single lens.

“It Is the will of god” (Luhrmann) 

Contemporary Politics, silos, different worlds?

Chapter 6:

1.     Summarize the various Definitions of culture referenced in this chapter.

  • Edward Burnett’s definition: Culture/civilization in its wide Ethnographic sense is complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art Morals, law, customs + any other capabilities and habits acquired by man As a member of society
    • Summary: If culture is system of meaning, on some level There has to be rules + regulations or life would be chaotic
    • Culture not totally rigid: not clearly defined object With visible outlines
    • Culture= sets of practices + attitudes that are very Complex, particularly in day off mass media + migration
    • notion that specific cultures associated with specific Geographical locations no longer relevant
  • Culture as rules that help govern people's actions and Unite them as community or a society
  • Material things specific to particular area
  • Terre Satterfield: culture has multiple origins + is a multi faceted Resource from which individuals draw- it is not a force that directs an Individual’s behaviour, but a collection of ideas, behaviours, and beliefs That inform the way an individual lives
    • Sharing of ideals and values, and how people interpret Experience and behaviour
    • Cultural resources e.G. Symbols + meanings, manifest in Everyday actions of groups who share cultural identity
    • Broad and general definition
  • Culture does not bind individuals, but rather provides “a network of choices” in which the individual chooses, subconsciously or Not, how they will believe or act
    • ’Cultural symbols + traditions vital in understanding World
  • Ruth Benedict: greatest contribution to modern conception of culture: Culture in terms of forms, the configuration, and pattern- made up of Related elements in much of the same way as language itself, A culture, Like an individual, is a more or less consistent way of thought and action - elements are in a meaningful relationship with one another.
    • Culture and language: cultural traits similar to Fundamental meaningful units of a spoken language
    • Human vocal capacity can produce any number of Meaningless sounds BUT, a given language selects few and places Them in particular order in relationship to one another to make Meaningful speech

1.In cultural life as in speech, Selection of prime necessity

    • Benedict’s idea does not account for validity: whether A particular interpretation satisfying
    • The deviant: those not capitalized in his culture

2.     Temple Grandin once Said that she feels like an “anthropologist on Mars.” Explain how autism Spectrum disorder might lead her to use this metaphor.

  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) Can provide a view of culture and human behaviour from the perspective of An outsider
    • Cannot understand the Intricacies of human interaction, but has a strong grasp on universal emotions.
    • Somewhat of a “deviant” as R. Benedict would say!
  • People with ASD may have Trouble understanding complex emotions and various nuance games people Play, difficulty with adapting to different situations and social contexts
  • From the perspective of an Outsider, these behaviours (gestures, emotions, nuances)  are Highlighted rather than taken for granted - it becomes the challenge of Learning to imitate something you don’t have the capacity to understand

3.     What did Mauss mean By the terms bodily techniques and habitus? Used examples from the text And from your own culture to illustrate these terms.

  • Marcel Mauss - french ethnologist 1872 - 1950
  • Bodily techniques is the way we perform our everyday Tasks, the way we move, the way we walk, sleep, eat, dance, gender and age Differences in development, variations in athletic types, sexual positions Etc - Etiquette
  • Habitus - unconscious activity that governs our daily lives, What became ‘second nature to us’, however was installed in us by culture, Society we grow up into
    • Very “culturally-relative”
  • Therefore the process behind it is a goal of Anthropology and habitus is to restore that lost world to consciousness And expose the hidden processes behind it
  • In other words, reading the code behind our unconscious Actions
  • Culture and history plays the huge role in everything That we do
  • Examples from the book: Nilotic Africa resting technique - Standing on one leg from Mauss’s research
  • Ruth Benedict - study on Japanese- bowing correctly - Sign of respect
  • Add your own cultural example:

4.     Explain how etiquette And the concept of “the gift” are related to Mauss’ concept of habitus, Using examples from the text.

  • Mauss’ concept of habitus is The meaningful yet unconscious activity that pervades our daily lives. A Clear example of this would be the way you hold an infant or silence you Give people when they’re speaking.
  • Etiquette is related to this Concept in that it is the subconscious use of ethics and manners. One example Is the subconscious effort of eating with utensils instead of your hands. People eat with utensils because they want to show decent behavior.
  • In terms of “the gift” which is The concept of ritually preparing, the obligation of giving and receiving Food, habitus can be found in the subconscious behaviors that come with This ritual such as the giving rituals.

5.     Outline Benedict’s Perspective on cultural patterns and explain why she believed so-called Primitive societies were central to understanding cultural patterns

  • Ruth Benedict’s theory on Cultural elements is that they are like phonemes in language. “Out of a Vast range of possibility, a given culture selects only some elements for Emphasis” (SCP: pg. 101)
    • Analysis of culture: “not an Experimental science in search of law, but an interpretive one in search Of meaning (SCP 101)
  • She claims that we can learn a Lot from primitive cultures because they help us understand the diversity Of human institutions.
    • Due to their isolation, they Emulate a laboratory.
  • She also believed that these Societies were more consistent with their culture because they were Isolated.

6.     Explain how our Understanding of language can be used to understand culture as a system of Meaning.

  • Language similarly to culture - has crucial elements Constituting it - lexicon, vocabulary, grammar
  • So does the culture consisting of different patterns of Actions, behaviour, ideas, concepts, beliefs
  • Although there are also hidden meaning behind Each and every one of them
  • Therefore  on the contrary to language, culture and History is not enough to understand certain meanings- it needs to be Looked at the context - has sociological dimension
  • Everything that is spoken cannot be looked at separately - needs to include the situation, local circumstances
    • “Statement is never detached from the situation in Which it has been uttered” (SCP 104)
  • The use of our language - has the meaning behind it - The words and phrases we use to express certain thought

7.     Summarize Evans-Pritchard’s findings of Zande witchcraft and oracles. Explain how this Worldview is considered sociocentric.

  • Applied contextual approach
  • Primitive practice of witchcraft now replaced with view It rational approach to world
  • Observed how Zande found themselves in difficult Situations (chronic illness, envy, jealousy etc.) + underlying all this Was assumption by Zande that all misfortune due to human ill will
    • It is not like Zande have no clue of natural causes
    • They do but merely add another element: witchcraft to Explain misfortune
  • Zande power held by people with inner mystical power Which they may not even know they possess
  • When there is misfortune the Zande expect hostility from Neighbours, family, etc.
  • Two functions: function of situations of misfortune, Function of personal relations
  • Zande witchcraft has intrinsic + implicit moral Philosophy to explain why bad things happen to them
  • Had a sociocentric theory(looking for causes Internal to society rather than to impersonal notions such as fate or Physical causality)of why bad things happen to them
  • Oracles: technical procedures that could sniff out the Truth (E.G. Poison oracles: putting poison in chicken’s throat and asking It yes and no questions)
  • Observed and sought out experts such as oracles and Witch doctors to understand paradigm - they are stuck in this Concept full of unconscious assumptions about how the world works.

8.     Outline Durkheim’s Study of religious practice. Why did he focus on religious practice Rather than belief? What is meant by the term mana?

  • To him religion was central to Societies, and understanding religion of “primitive” societies will unveil Truths about religion itself.
    • Ex, Aboriginal Australians Which he studied were part of a larger social structures based on Unifying morals and traditions
  • These, Durkheim believed came From the moral bond created by religious practice, founded on religious Feelings.
    • Being in groups introduced the Concept of a powerful outside power.
  • “Primitive” people however, Dont see the world like this, so they project their emotions onto totemic Symbols
    • These then become the source Of a certain power, termed mana.
  • He focused on religious Practice because the practice brought together groups, which to him was The setting wherein transcendental powers were able to be birthed.
    • A power that is interpreted From emerging from within the individual

9.     How did Luhrmann's Study of American Evangelicals differ from other anthropological studies of Religion? Compare and contrast her methods and findings with those of Evans-Pritchard And Durkheim.

  • She followed suit with Durkheim In her understanding of the social concepts of divine power, but as Opposed to the others, she actually immersed herself in the religion - in Part due to the fact that it was much easier to do this as an American Herself.
  • Evangelicals too project their Beliefs onto “totemic” symbols (in their case, things like prayer).
    • Focus: bring past (bible) and Present together in real time.
  • She focused on groups that Attempted to establish a relationship with God. 

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