ANTH 202 - Spring 2018 - University of Waterloo
Dr. Mark S. Dolson
Lecture 1: May 1, 2018
homelessness, mental health, poverty, addiction. Ontario, Iceland. psychiatric anthropology. Insight in psychosis - patients capaciity to understand that they're ill. Schizophrenia - lack of insight. Psychologist - innate capacity. Anthropologist - social construction. Different reason for illness depending on culture. Lack of insight - dissonance between psychiatrist an dpaitent ofr treatment regimen.
"Shit Woman". Being house is a cultural construct of the West. Being close to nature and in tune with nature.
##Ethnographic fieldwork## - deep hanging out. Talking to people, doing things with people. shift away from exoticiszaiton to local. Also called ##participant observation##. Usually a year or more. Ethical commitment with who you study. Practical constraints - money.
According to Bronislaw Malinowski, the grandgather of cultural anthropoloy, is to grasp the native's point of view, to understand their prespective. To realize their vision of the world. Understanding the world on terms of research particpant's world.
C.S. Lewis: I happen to believe that you can't study men, you can only get to know them, which is quite a different thing - Tolkein, The Authorized Biography.
Syllabus: Analysis of news article, M/C midterm, written Final (2 essay questions, short answer), ethnography response essay (non traditional essay - 3 themes and talk abou them and how they articulate your own experiences).
chapter called Culture
Lecture 2: May 3, 2018
Scientific vs humanistic perspective. The scientific and humanistic study of human beings, which includes the evolutionary history of humanity, physical variation among humans, the study of past societies (usually from a material perspective), and the comparative study of present-day socities and "cultures". Can't do it all from one singular perspective. It's broken into subfields
At what scale and scope? 19th century: focus was on societies, and not on individuals. Talking to individuals and making grand generalizations. That was problematic. These days, it's looking at groups. EESubculture, street youthEE. We're seeing things as smaller. Smaller groups, sometimes individuals. The focus has a strong social justice angle - right the wrongs of poverty, social exclusion, marginalization. Focus on making things better. Excluded: socially, economically (capitalism - winners and losers, corporate greed), politically, religiously, health-related.
There are certain theories anthropologists need to employ. Two major theoretical constructs: 1) culture; 2) society;
What comes first, individual or society? "Thrre's no such thing as society, only individuals" - Margaret Thatcher. ##Society## is how society is organized and patterned. the social organizaiton of human life, patterns of interactions, social roles, and the various forms and relations of power (legal, economic, political, religious). Culture and society can be entangled sometimes but sometimes not.
Sir Edward Burnett Tylor - armchair anthropologist - sat there and wrote stuff. He looked at culture as a unit of understanding - one of the first to treat it as an academic thing. But he also focused on "primative" people. He understood culture to be bounded and associated with particular geographic regions. "Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, law, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society." Because he's not in the field, he's missing out on all the context. "This is how it is."
Nowadays, we have to be more critical. People started to question it. Has culture ever been a whole, homogenous? It's kind of messy sometimes. Owing to the frequency and accessibility of affordable and efficient jet travel, as well as the internet, the very concept of culture has become problematic. It's rendered Tylor's definition obsolete. We now have new ideas spreading ove rthe world in seconds due to the Internet. Migration is happening - people can escape hostile social situations and land in a better place in a matter of hours. Escape is a possibility. And culture travels with them. It can happen in a matter of hours. Cutlure is inside/outside of their bodies, in their heads. Culture is open to leakage, hybridizatin, hemmhoraging.
Matthew Engelke: Culture is...
Contemporary definition of culture. Janet Jenkins. CC"Culture is not a place or a people, not a fixed or coherent set of values, beliefs, or behaviours, but an orientation to being-in-the-world that is dynamically created and re-created in the process of social interaction and hisotrical context."CC
WE should add that culture is the basic way humans organize their world and use symbols to give it meaning, it has material expressions, and it is embodied. EECricket - ate cricket and vomited - violent reaction. EE In reality, though, culture is something that is highly changeable, variable, and contestable, even within families of the same "cultural group". You get people who disagree. It's a loose set of commonalities that change and shift across time and according to context. Depending on your age, political affiliantion, gender, socio-economic status, etc., your understanding of culture may be different. EE#bummerEE Culture practices are always changing and always being modified according to context - people inherit ideas and change them. Regardless of its sheer complexity, culture is still a learned and shared process. And this happens through what is known as enculturation. Quite simply, enculturation is the process of lerning to be a member of a particular group at a particular time. However loosely conceptualized, interpreted and understood they are, attitudes, motivations, values, perceptions and beliefs are first learned in the family or social unit. And then either solidified, questioned, or modified as individuals move through various institutions during their social life cycle (schools, religious institutions, the legla system, the role of th egovernment, hospitals, etc.). There's movement and change. It's always changing. Usually through ##cultural innovation## - sicnece, enginerring, art, religion, exposure of ideas, people modify/innovate things. Innovations happens by way of ##diffusion## - they interact, modify, create hybrids, they change. Through travel and internet.
##Essentialism## - an approach/prespective that views culture as having a core "essence" that is locked or frozen. Something that doesn't change. EEFirst Nations using motorboat - how is that authentic? - using this definition that culture doesn't change.EE Essentialism is the idea that cultures have an intrinsic, unchanging, homogenous, core sessence that can ultimately epxplain why and how people act in certain ways. This is the idea how Tylor and Morgan worked. They're all the same. Racism. They're not making an academic claim, they're making a moral one. In some instances, it can lead to make judgements/moral claims about those from other cultures. Cultural genocide. Judgements or claims that are negative can be called ethnocentric. When we make judgements about other cultures, it's called ##ethnocentrism##. It's judging other cultures from the perspective of one's own culture - one's own culture is the right culture - more beautiful, rational, and nearer to perfection. Historically, making essentialist arguments gives license and moral justification for colonialism and genocide. EEFirst Nations. We're all evolving culturally. Some are moving faster. British thought they were the pinnacle of civilization. Others were stuck and needed to be moved along. Take them over and make them just like you. EE
The antithesis/opposite of ethnocentrism is ##cultural relativism##. The perspective that cultures should be analuzed with reference to their own histories and values rather than according to the values of another culture. But we can't just explain it away. As soon as there is suffering involved, you have to pull back from ethnocentrism and reletavism.
Lecture 3: May 8, 2018
Pritchett- South Sudan. Claude Levi-Strauss - hated doing fieldwork.
Recap: Essentialism - there's this underlying core essence that's not changing. People from culture X believe that, will act like this is such and such in a situation, etc. The danger is that essentialism leads to cultural stereotyping. It assumes cultural homogeneity, leaves out any room for cultural improvisation, creativity, variation or contestation.
Excerpt from Nursing: A Concept-Based Approach to Learning (2017) Pearson Publishers - was about to go to publish. Focus on Diversity and Cutlure: Cultural Differences in Response to Pain - "A clicnet culture influences their response to and beliefs about pain." "Arabs/Muslims" It's unhelpful and scary. Some people still apply it as if it's common sense.
Victorian Anthropology - ##cultural evolutionism, ulinieal evolution## - that all cultures move through certain evolutionary stages. Problematic. It's a moral claim. Lewis Henry Morgan - major proponents of cultural evolutionism. Stages: 1) Savagery - cavemen, primitive, uncivilized, solutions came out of aggression; 2) Barbarism - slowly getting smarter. Cognitive and cultural evolution. Agriculture. Manipulating environment, but still brutal. Violence, cruelty. ; 3) Civilization - end goal, learn how to write, science, music, art. Teliology - goal-orient. Goal is civilization.
A very western construct, understanding that time is linear, cyclical. The trajectory was towards progress. Englightment, individualism. Simple movement from the more or less magical/mythical thought of "primitive" peooples to the more or less organized religion, and onto scientific thought.
Lewis Henry Morgan (American) (1812-1882) - wasn't an anthropologist at all. Railroad lawyer. Racist. Wrote Ancient Society (1877). His british counterpart: Sir Edward Burnett Tylor (British) (1832-1917) - didn't have a degree. Henry James Sumner Main (British) (1822-1888) - comparative jurist - Ancient Law. Sir James George Frazer (SCottish) (1954-1941) - magic and religion - The Golden Bough (1890).
What is ##civilization##? The pinnacle/endgoal of cultural achievement. Artistic/musical taste. Private property, art, science, etc. Private property - very European construct. According to Morgan, Tylor, Frazer, only European society had reached this evolutionary stage. All other groups in the world were aspiring to this stage - some were getting there, others were locked in a cultural stasis. Many of these primitive societies need assitance in reaching their true potential. This is where social/unilneal evolution gave moral sanction/imperative for racism and colonialism. Born from the idea of paternalism - these people are not civilized Europeans, so they're not as advanced as us, they don't know what's best for them, but we know what's best, so we have to be parents for them and get them out of this. Since they can't help themselves, we're gonna give them a hand. It was a temporal project. Colonial project took a few hundred years to get going. But when it did, it really took hold. Conversion. Come over to our way of thinking or you're gonna go to hell/get shot.
##Colonialism## - the confluence/coming together of ideas, institutions, and modes of domnination and knowledge production that enabled the conditions and created a moral imperative for the exploitation, oppression, and displacement of various indigenous peoples the world over.
Residential and boarding school system - get to the kids cause you can change them. The earlier, the better. First Nation Residential School, Canada - last one closed in 1996. Sami Boarding School, Northern Norway.
Franz Boas comes along - anti-racist, against all of this essentialist thinking. He was a true fighter against systematic racism. Germany (1858-1942). Jewish. He started out as a physicist. "The behaviour of an individual is determined not by his racial affiliation, bu tby the character of his ancestry and his cultural environment." Don't judge by the colour of their skin, but by where they come from. He was a very storng proponent of what is called ##cultural relativism##. He argued for an ##historical particularist## approach to culture - resisting ethnocentrism, essentialism - looking at a culture at their own specific moment of time; all societies or cultures have their own, unique hitory that cannot be reduced to a category or stage in a universalist scheme of evolutionary development; look at a culture as what it is, not as a stage; not universal. We do this by not sitting in a chair, have to get out there, spend time and talk to people.
Inuit of Artic Canada and the Kawakiutl First Nation in BC. Over time, anthropologists developed more idas about how to approach and understand cultural differenced based on long term research.
Bronislaw Malinowski comes in. Polish. He changed things in anthropology forever. Took it a step further from: spending time with people. His idea: to do this properly, you have to spend a long time with people - a year or more. You also have to learn the language - don't use interpretors, field assistants. That way, you don't have to worry about a middle person. Spent time with the Trobriand Islanders - Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922).
One of his most important theoretical insights was the idea of ##FUnctionalism## - finding genral laws that identify different elements of society, showing how they relate to each other and demonstrating their role in maintaing order/stability. EAch element has a function and if any one is taken out or has a problem, it all falls apart.
Both Boas and Malinowski developed is ##participant observation## - an ethnographic fieldwork technique that involves gathering social information by observing people's behaviour and participating in their lives. Hawthorne Effect - if you get to know people, you modify them. But you engage with them for a long time, you become a piece of furniture. You are no longer a modifying presence.
There are two general types of view point when conducting ethnographic fieldwork based on participant observation.
Lecture 4: May 10, 2018
CC"I hate travelling and explorers" - Claude Levi-StraussCC
Emic vs. Etic. Emic in general is generally what anthropologists do - perspectives fromw ithin, explanations, interpretations that are meaningful to participants. Etic - is that which comes form an outsiders perspective. Anthros don't spend any time with participants except for asking them to fill out a survey, explanations are not meaningful to participants.
What was different about Malinowski's approach? Functionalism - looking at the social function of different aspects. He stayed for a longer time - spending a lot of time with the individuals, but also immersing yourself int heir language and learning it. (Boas still used interpretors and did things in bursts.)
CC"The final goal.. is to grasp the native's point of view, his relation to life, to realise his vision of his world." - Bronislaw MalinowskiCC
What happens when you're not learning the local language? when you don't bother to learn and understand those mundane everyday aspects of your research participants' life? What happens if you ask questions that aren't formulated specifically to the individuals?
What happens in an extreme etic situation? Inuit community in nunavut - Igloolik - trying to understand motivation and imulsiveness in the Inuit. They apply an interview schedule called the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale, designed by American psychologists - measured imulsiveness and motivation. A one-time self-report survey - lots of issues - recall aerror, desiriabilityy bias, etc. Developed in 59, revised in 95. Still used in various contexts.
[Charlie Pisuck - isuma tv] - piece together why this guy is acting impulsively. A group affair. Etic in its extreminity. Not spending time with them, not learnign their language. Symbolic violence by using English. Western concepts - time. There was no consistency - wildly different answers from each person. The best way to understand what's going on is to spend time with them, tlak with them in different contexts. People are very fluid, very inconsistent.
One conducts ##ethnographic fieldwork## and writes an ##ethnography##. Ethnogrpahic fieldwork is based on participant observation - engaging in activities with research participants, but also observing. ("Informant" is saturated with power. Sounds very journalistic. Negative connotations.) Research participant or Collaborator. (Anthropologists often become good friends with their research participants.)
Various methods for participant observation:
Ethnographies are representations of what the anthropologist with their particpant researchers. Ethnographic fieldwork is the methodology, the ethnography is the written product/endpoint. EEDocumentaries, filmsEE
Classic ethnographics - EE Evans - Azande; Tristes tropiques - Claude LEvi-Strauss; Nancy Sheoherd Hughes - Saints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics.
Distinctive characeteristics of doing ethnographi cfieldwork: 1) ##Emergence## - the knowledge produced in ethnographic fieldwork is alway semergent. You're producing knowledge always. Never a given. Start with broad queestions, and patterns, relationships, what's at stake emerges slowly. You have to be very patient; 2) The anthropologist self is the actual social scientific instrument for collecting information. Poses problems as we're not objective. Who/what/how you are will influene the experience of fieldwork. How people rspond and interact with you, and what kind of knowledge you have access to. Huge problems: differences.
Lecture 5: May 15, 2018
Reading: 83-97. Skip over historical background of public anthropology.
Fieldworker is the scientific instrument. You and your background are serving as filters through which this info is passing. By default, it's biased. No way to get around it. Anything that makes you who you are - all things you need to keep in check. Cannot 100% be objective.
Biases influence your perceptions and interpretaitons. Wha tyou can do is be ##reflexive## - keep those biases in check - knowing wha tthey are a smuch as possible. Knowing how they may interfere with what you're seeing and how you might interpret things. Put them out there, know they're there, and work around it. Biases cloud perceptions. Taking them into the background and put them in the foreground - ##reflexivity## - check on visibilities and blind spots in the practice of ethnographic fieldwork. It's an awareness of biases: tastes, background, education, experiences, fears, interests. Doing fieldwork in your own city/community forces you to be thta much more reflexive - you have the tendency to make a ton of assumptions. Can't escape this entirely.
What happens when participant observation reaches a limit. What we really need to do is get sucked into the lives with the people. Forget being a researcher temporarily. When you come out of it, then you put that anthropologist hat back on.
Jeanne Favret-Saada (1934-). Parisian. Only 2 ethnographies. Such high quality, moving, in depth. Started out in Philosophy. Bocage REgion - close by but very different. Ethnographic result: Deadly Words - Witchcraft in the Bocage (1977).
Witchcraft in Bocage - takes place between regular everyday people. Nothing to do with worshipping anything, black magic, cauldron. It's communication - between individuals, between families. It's a way to understand the world.
Witchcraft is an explanatory model/process to think through an dunderstand misfortune in life. EEAzande - understood causal relationships. Chance didn't exist to them.EE Chance doesn't exist. When there are repeated family tensions, losses, etc. That's when people think, this isn't a coincidence. Someone has it out for me. Witchcraft was understood as inexplicably repeated misfortune. Accusations almost always took place between neighbours - next farm over. It's not by chance, someone did this to you. Couldn't have been natural. Attribution of misfortune to someone else's doing. Misfortune consisted of: financial trouble/failing - mismanagement, decisions; health - cancer, disease, irritations; accidents, death, injury; There's a chain of logical reason - if it's misfortune, go see doctor, but if visit doesn't yield tangible results, go to priest, if that doesn't yield any results, and misofrtune keeps happening - then this is something else. Has to be a process involved.
Witchcraft is an interpretation of what we would possibly call plain bad luck. Accusations arise out of famiyl rivalry and hatred between neighbouring farms, potential successors (inheritence). Can include extended family - estranged brothers, husbands of sisters, etc. It's always someone you know, but not too close. Farms are communicative vessels.
Usually just males who are implicated. Usually son who would inherit from father. Son will have to pay for it over a long term. Usually accusations are made from male to male (farmhead to farmhead). Based on that life force of a farm can be drained out. Witch drains the bewitched's capacity to produce and reproduce on the farm. They never say "I'm bewitched" - usaully someone else who says "I think you've been bewitched." The person accused of this have no idea. When trying to find the culprit, the unbewitcher will say it's so and so. If confronted, they will deny it. Spells work through just looks, in speaking, in touching. Ordinary means.
Perceived series of failures, other farm seems to be productive and healthy. Witchcraft can arise in the space beween the perceived disconnects beween success and failure.
Favret-Saada's issue with traditional ethnographic treatment of witchcraft - there was arrogance on their part - academic elite. The ##ethnographic gaze## was very narrow with them. They weren't willing to understand them. Because they failed to enage and participate with them, there was a huge power differential when it came to truth - they thought they had the truth. IF you can't see it, it doesn't exist. And if they think it exists, then they're backwards and overly superstitious. FS starts talking about participant observation. Participation was really weak - being there but talking to the wrong people, who don't engage in it everyday, the elites. Heavy on the observation, weak on the participation. Participation for them just meant being there in the same village. You could only latch onto witchcraft accusations, because you can observe accusations.
Epistemology - philosophy of knowledge.
Epistimological problem for FS. The previous approach was already figured out by these older ethnographers. They avoided the following aspects of everyday experience: saying - everyday tlak about withcraft to explain things; feeling - taking seriously the lived-effects of witchcraft; doing/acting - taking seriously how people actually go about being unbewitched; All in response to the lived-experience of witchcraft as a very real and horrible social process with somtimes disastrous outcomes. Forces people to become more aggressive than passive.
The ethnographic result: Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic Amogn the Azande (1937) - E. E. Evans-Pritchard. "Witches, as the Azande conceive them, clearly cannot exist." FS says, not so fast. To understand witchcraft, don't just talk to elites. You have to engage with it and participate in it. You have to get pulled and sucked into it.
Ethnographer has to take a risk of participating. YOu can't just understand any social processin a meaningful way just by observing it from a distance. Some experiences - non-representational experiences - so intense, shocks, just emotion - can't even write about it. Some experiences are beyond the confines of language. YOu experience it and can't articulate it.
Einfülung - how one can gain access to this knowledg eand modify one self - to do this, is through einfulung, a version of empathy that arises out of the immediacy of communication (both verbal and non-verbal). Happens only when one stop sbeing a researcher and starts being a fellow human being caught in social relationships. Taking your researcher hat off - enduring it. Rather than give epistemological precedence to purely observable data, FS is telling us to give an epistimelogical status to (knowledge needs to be given to): feelings and emotions (fear, dread, worry, freaked out); involuntary and unintentional communicative situations (nonrepresentational) - using it as a kind of knowledge. This should all count as ethnographic data and information.
Lecture 6: May 17 2018
Subbed in chernobyl for Youth Cosmopotalism, city, etc.
Clifford Geertz (1926-2006) - We may be faced with a world in which there simply aren't any more headhuntres, matriliealists or popel who predict the weather from the entrails of a pig. Difference will doubtless remain, bu tthe good old days of widow burning and canibalism are forever gone. Wider or broader publics.
Athropologists are usually a bit dif comapred to other social scientists because of ethnographic fieldwork. WE want to bring about awareness and change. Advocacy and social justice. More often than not, nothing happens.
According to Luke Eric Lassiter . ##Acadmeic antrhopology## is oriented towards academic professionals. ##Public Anthropology## is red-brick pragmatism - it's practical, solves problems, finds solutions. It was seen as being way too practical, so it's of no academic use. Academic anthropology does not really serve people - onyl serves academic peoples. Public anth should be more than an academic pursuit. Way more than just doing research
Public issues of interest usually centre on:
Public anthropologies are "aimed outwards", purpose is to bend the ethnographic genre towards broader, more diverse engagements, interests, and concerns. The ethnographic genre might include: ethnographies aimed towards non-academics, ethnographic films, and ethnographic-oriented photo-exhibits, photo ethnographies
You need to see the faces to really get a sense of what's going on with people. If you can't see the face, you can't see the pain. Public anthropology humanizes things, dehumanizing situations (drug use, poverty, etc.) Reports and statistics are faceless.
EEDope sick (withdrawal) - flu x100. Running partners - got each other's backs. Skin popping - right through shirt - impurity - infection - abcess. AA refused to skin pop - more care and precision. Hispancis and Caucasians were lazy about it. Despite structural violence, they enjoy life. EE
[Righteous Dopefiend] - not just social issues, but political/economic issues.
Academic ethnographies are oftentimes insular, and oriented toward other anthropologists. It doesn't meant hat they're not accessibile to either other academics or non-academics. Usually academic-oriented ethnographies/journal articles/book chapters are written in professionally oriented language (jargon).
EEeduardo Viveros De Castro - focus is on indigenous cosmology and philosophy in the amazon - difficult language - EE
Regardless of perspective (academic or public), anthropologists are for the people. The intention is the same. We act or write on behalf of the people we do research with. We act and write against forms of standardization, state power, and global neoliberalism.
There are 2 forms of writing against power: 1) $$Academically$$ - professional journals, conferences, audience is other academics, publish or perish, it's a performance. 2) $$Publicly$$ - accessible, inclusive manner is way easier said than do ne. Challenge to undo all of those year sof graduate training and rethink how to write in a jargon-free way.
Many anthropologists say that theonly way to do this (publically and inclusively), is through ##Collaborative ethnography## - only ethical way to do it right. Collaborating with communities and let them speak isntead of speaking for them. This is an ideal and not a standard - so it doesn't happen very often. It's impractical - they don't have the time. They've got other worries. You wanna be inclusive. Aimed at material, symbolic, political benefits for the research population. It involves side by side work of all parties in a mutually beneficial research program. All parties equal in: co-developing research questions, methodology, formulating interview questions, conducting the actual research., conducting interviews, writing fieldnotes, writing and co-theorizing the ethnography.
Only 3 ethnographies: Abalone Tales, Other Side Middletown, The Power of Kiowa Song.
Lecture 7: May 24, 2018
Are we, as social persons, the products of history, culture and society? What are we, as social people? Are we a product of social relations?
Or are we the products of our genes?
This hasn't been solved. Impossible to reduce things just to biology.
Or are we the product sof both?
All of this is still up for debate.
Thomas Hylland Eriksen (1962) - author of the chapter. Not considering the role of biological forces and the idea of the person. He's socio-centric, concentrating on social factors to the exclusion of others. But biology is there, you can't ignore it.
The social person: EMPHASIZES THE ROLE OF HISOTRICAL, SOCILA, CULTURAL FACTORS IN THE CONSTRUCTION OR THE CREATION OF "THE PERSON". The approach is an example of nurture over nature. The idea is that persons are produced or constructed through social interaction over time. The point is that there's variation. Depends on what language one speaks as well as the sociocultural environment one lives in.
Gananath Obeyeskere (1930-) - written a lot of articles on mental health. While ther emight be a biological substrate, social and cultural forces shape mental health (symptoms, course, and treatment). Americans: cilincal depression - but no, this is culture+religion, it's a normal dynamic. You're foisting a diagnosis on them, but this is their culture. There's melancholy.
George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) - personhood is the product of socila interaction. There is no innate personality that we're born with. We're all tabula rasa and formed by and through other peple.
##Psychodynamic theory## - extreme example. Sigmund Freud. The role of personal history, language, and the unconscious in th eformation of the person. completely exclusdes biology. Centers on history, ealry childhood experiences. WE are the product of our experiences that take place really early in childhood and exert a great influence on us as adults. He's still taken very seriously.
Carl Jung - took Freud's approach and extended it further. Certain archetypes of the personality that don't vary across time.
Jacques Lacan - neoFreudian. The mirror phase. Children have th eidea they're singular with their mothers and then they realize they're separate and not attached to their mother. PErsonhood starts.
Cultural variation - many scholars claim that there are aspects or instincts in humans that are inborn or hardwired. Predeterimined biologically and they don't change. They're just there. Academics trying to emphasize the similarities between people regardless of context. Nature over nurture. EERules of attraction - everyone chooses a mate based on the same principles and dynamics regardless of culture. The one thing we all have in common is biology, and we want to find a mate to pass on our genes. Exclusionary. Moral overtone. An "ought."EE EEGender differences - males and females have inborn differences - genetically determined. Anthropologists have said, nope. So much variation. EE EEaggression and violence EE
Example: Rules of attration - males look like they have good genes, so I want those genes for my babies. Narrow ideal type. It's way too heteronormative to be taken seriously. It's saying that attraction is teleological (goal-oriented) - the goal is to reproduce. But that's not really the case when it comes to attraction. There are other sexualities out there not based on this ideal. Missing thing here: companionship - getting along with them, compatibility.
There are many aspects of life that seem to hardwired, but they're not. They're products of social, cultural, and historical forces, working in accordance with biology. Biology is like clay an dyou can mold it. Thus, all of these aspects vary cross-culturally.
EEGreat variation in aggression and emotion. There's a spectrum. EE
Sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists - There's a lack of emphasis on difference and an overemphasis on the similarity of biology.
Signe Howell (1942) - Malaysia, indigenous peoples - Chewong. They had zero aggression. No displays of anger or violence. Nobody snapping. Socities at Peace. To be angry is not to be human, but to be fearful: Chewong concepts of human nature. For this group, if you're angry, you're seen as being inhuman. It's not a human trait. But to be fearful is. For them, if you leave your home, you're seen as being morally reprehensible and bad. TRavellers from other groups that came to theirs are bad, and therefore to be feared. Other groups were angry and was seen as negative - we don't do that. We're cautious and fearful. They're also non-competitive. Egalitarian. Non-hierarchical. Downplay differences between individuals. Animistic - they don't believe in a monolothic/monotheistic god - nature being suffused with spirits, appeasing those spirits, they have a powerful role in society, they live along side them.
Emotion. Renato Rosaldo (1941) - Phillipines. Illongot. Headhunting. Fieldwork with his wife. Wife died doing fieldwork. When there was a death in a tribe, they would get extremely emotional - it would give way to extreme aggression - and then it was culturally prescribed to kill someone in the next tribe and severe their head. Severing the head would get rid of the aggression that was born from grief. Here, we're passive about it. Other groups keep heads as trophies. With this group, you throw the head away - throwing away the anger -> resolution, reconciliation. Young men were not allowed to married until they did this. Only a man once they went through grief and headhunting.
Despire enormous cross-cultural variation, many scholars ignore it and try to expand the list of supposed human universals. Jean Paul Sartre - there is no such thing as "human nature".
One aspect that differs greatly is ##Social status## - the social position a person occupies in a particular social setting EEThe professor, the student, the doctor, the nurse, the shamanEE But there is no one way to be a student, a professor, etc. There's fluidity. Certain rights, duties, expectations.
##Social role## - the dynamic aspect of social status - how a person actually is when fulfilling a cetain status. A person's actual behaviour within the limitations set by one's status. EEprofessor - refuse to tuck in shirt, where a tweed jacket EE People are expected to be a certain way, but you don't have to be.
Status is the "what" (what is your status, I'm a X). Role is the "how" (how is status expressed, where you get variation, the lived experience in that status)
Many improvise and manipulate their social roles in order to liberate themselves from seemingly confining statuses. Social status never entails detailed rules for how to act in every situation. There is some room to play in every context. A role is never identical with one's status - it can be fluid. Always an element of creativity and improvisation in the lived-exprience of roles. One conceptualization of role enactment and role improvisation is by Canadian sociologist Iriving Goffman - particulary his notion of impression management. Goffman understood social life, according to this idea, as consisting of actors, roles and performances. Social life is almost as if it were a play. People have roles and performances, they're actors. This social life is explained by what he called a ##dramaturgical metaphor##. There's a backstage and a frontstage. Actors perform their socila roles in both front and back stages. The difference is that the backstage is where people can really be loose and fluid in terms of who they are - no imperative/pressure on them. Spaces of low social imperative and kick your shoes off. EEAt home, going to the mall with buds, with friendsEE In contrast with front stage, where impression management becomes important. Where people become very conscious of this. Peopl ehave to be aware what kind of impression they're making on others. There can be so much at stake. EEInterviews, professional work environment, academic conference - crafting the image of competence.EE
Individuals can shape their impressions and their social selves in ertain ways that fit the context. Roles can be overcommunicated or oxaggerated. Sometimes indiivdual will act ina calculated manner in a given way to give an impression to others that is likely to invoke a speicifc response. It's strategic. given the complexity and fluidity of rules, it makes human ehaviour super impossible to predict.
Lecture 8: May 29, 2018
Group identtity, like individual identty can be based on social factors and/or biological factors.
Fashion is another marker of identity and group identity. Common point of inclusion and exclusion. How you look and present yourself - strategies - socially and politically. Not just about clothes. It's about fashioning an identity of oneself, group, and city.
Suzanne Scheld - urban anthropology, globalization.
Senegal, West Africa. Capital city, Dakar. Port city - global processes.
Why did she write this? Saying youth are a waste, lost, with no purpose. But they're not, they're entrepreneurial, industrious, and it's difficult for them. To show how, despite urban decay and extreme poverty, youth fashion keeps the urban economy (informal) vibrant and moving. It's imperative to present yourself well. Descirbed how marginalized groups are able to shape and express their identities in the face of economic and social uncertainty. Youth, according to Scheld, are facing a social predicament. They are experiencing increasing marginalization. Disconnect with families. Families have to rely on their children. Children have to go out to a city, get jobs, and send money back home. Puts a wedge because there are also individual pressures - I haev to supopprt my family, but what about my needs? Do I buy clothes or do I send money home?
Older generation view youth as ##boule fale## - wayward, selfish, and individualistics - they're just for themselves. 20-25% of familities are living below the poverty line, youth experience pressure to asist familities financially. They struggle with shaping their own identities (which costs money) and providing money for their families each month. Situation becomes complicated when family members steal chidrens' earnings for own selfish reasons.
Youth become creative entrepreneus. Fashion is a way out of the constraints of family and society. Selling fashion. Looking good is not just about looking good, it's a way to create an identity and to escape all of those constraints/pressures of not being able ot find a formal job in a formal economy. Referred to as ##houselouman##. Self-fashioned hard worker, creates something from nothing. It's also a form of ##impression management## - express strategically one's identity and status in the fac eof tremendous restrictions.
Examples: Looking like a rapper - mystique and protection. Accessories - markers of success - sign you are doing well. Thrasher hat - skateboarding magazine - access to Western fashions that aren't yet available in the city center - occupying a super social status.
"Boy Town" - branché - plugged in to the latest trends. Trends that are readily available. Wears current western brand name clothing. high social status.
"Coming Town" - kaaw-kaaw. Backward, from country. Associated with crows. Usually kids who are migrant workers. Wears out of date clothes, not as many outfits - frequent repetition of outfits. Second class citizens. They strive as much as they can to look boy town.
"Venants" - one step further from Boy Town. Latest Western fashions not yet available in Dakar. High social status. They have access to a bit more money and overseas employment.
So how do youth take part in the informal clothing economy that Scheld referred to? Importing and distributing clothing; Street clothing vending; Making clothing
Their particular approach was Gor-goorlu ("be the man") or Débrouiller (débrouillardise - resourcefulness, clever manipulation) - manipulating social ties. Lie a little bit, cheat, etc. Knock off clothes. pass of used garments as new. To be a productive member of society, you have to engage in these manipulations, otherwise you're not gonna get by. They have to manage social networks - knowing who your friends are, what you can get away with, etc. Manipulate social ties; Hustle clothing; Steal clothing; Renting out clothing; Dundu du Degger ("hard life") - pooling resources, small group of individuals, but opens door for manipulation; Mbarane/mbaxal (flirting/using) - usually practiced by women, to play someone to get money/clothes, receive gifts from different men
Where do the clothes come from? Overproduction in the North; Dakar is a site for surplus clothing; Chinese imports (knock offs, tkk-teggy, wear it once only)
As a clothing-oriented city, the youth argue that breaking moral codes is necessary for fitting in.
##Cosmopolitanism## - you're a citizen of the world - access to travel and experience. All humans share a common morality in a shared market, political, or socio-cultural context. For Scheld, it's based on experience (knowledge, culturla sophistication, opportunity). Typically associated with middle-class adults (people who have money and opportunity to travel).
##Youth Cosmopolitanism## - fast-paced, based on cyclical migration flows + creative strategies for buying, selling, clothing. Movement through social networks. This makes youth cosmopolitanism in Dakar.
Lecture 9: May 31, 2018
Lecture 10: June 5 X, 2018
[Skipped lecture - Documentary]
Lecture 11: June 6, 2018
Midterm: 15 m/c(13)/t/f(1)/fillintheblank(1). Half a page short answers - 4/6 questions.
What is religion? Translating religous feelings, beliefs, and knowledge into academic concepts can be difficult. Whne you translate, you're deforming emotions, feelings, commitments into something that it isn't really. When you single things out like ritual, magic, and reiligion, depending on the person/group, these things might not exist as separate packaged concepts. If you take them out and put them in another context, it dforms them. ##Interpretative violence## - langauge makes something waht it's not. Such things might be understood as just everyday life. Ritual, magic, or religion might be inseperable from issues adn experiences with solving everyday problems. EEMuttering incantation over garden - is this magic? No, it's just everyday life.EE Just practical day to day affairs. Everyday problems: Food shortages and their solutions; Hunting and communicating with spirits; Finding the root cause of certain conflicts in the community; Issues with the weather; Health and healing; Protection (negative forces/events)
Shamanism - still exists in the world. saman(russian/tungusic). They undergo some sort of trance - technique of ecstasy - reaching a different plane of consciousness - a technique of communication with the other world. There always is another world to enter some form of communication with. Shamans can have ascribed or achieved status. Learn it or you have it. These individuals are separated from other community members because they have this sacred knowledge that other people can't access. Individuals thought ot have shamanic abilities were thought to meet the criteria of schizophrenia - incredibly ethnocentric. EESiberian shamanism - serves a political purpose to, identity.EE EENigerian shamanism - practiced before colonizaiton. It's still in existance. Flexing one's identity - we are not you, we are us. EE The worl dis comprised of sprits - understand them, appease them. Understand health. EENwowaidi - sami shamanism - usually always males - required the beating of a drum - went into a mirror world through portals - everyone was living in an upside down world (after they died) - negotiation. EE
One academic definition of religion by EB Taylor (unilinear evolution): Religion is the belief in supernatural beings. -> Very simplistic and ethnocentric definition.
Eriksen: reliigon = forms of social belief in supernatural powers which are public and which are given public expression through ritual. -> a lot of people are privately religious. This doesn't capture all of it.
Another definition by prof; Religion is a social institution characterized by sacred stories and symbols. IT also includes the existence of immeasurable beings, powers, forces, states, places, and qualities of feeling and emotion. There's a commitment, it's never unemotional. Includes the rituals and means of addressing the existence meaning and influence of historical figures of transhuman/transcendental entities or deities.
Historically, social scientists were interested primarily in the social function of religion. Emile Durkheim. Interested in the social function of religion and religioius institution. He believed that religion had two main functions: 1) ##Manifest## - it provided an explanation for seemingly inexplicable events; 2) ##Latent## - through ritual, it brought people together and thus enabled social cohesion, solidarity, and integration. The analytic crux of religion for the functionalists was to understand the basic social functions and structure of religion. Key question: What does religion do and how? They just wanted to observe (no interviews). The left out the role of meaning. They're interested only on the structure and the purpose of things. Need to look at: How does religion help individuals/groups make sense of the world? How does it give meaning and direction to existence?
Clifford Geertz comes in - father of interpretive anthropology. Helped pushed anthropology to take an ##interpretive turn##. Questions of meaning and interpretation were becoming more and more important. Questions of functionality fell out of fashion. He wrote the very influential Religion as a Cultural System. From Geertz's perspective, religion becomes something more complex compared to the functionalist conceptualization. While generalized, relligion, to Geertz, serves simltaneiously as a model of reality and a model for reality.
All religions are based on a ##Cosmology## - a cocneptualization of the universe eand its relationship with the entities which are part of it. Frameworks for interpreting events and experiences, and create models for action, beliefs about the creation of the universe.
Cosmologies can include: the origins/end of the world; greater beings; humans - their role in all of this, is there a hierarchy or not; animals; nature and its resources;
What happens when two cosmologies come into contact? One historic possibility is ##Colonialism##.
You have contact: who are these people, why do they look so different? Brought moralizing enterprise. We're gonna put cosmology on you. Colonial powers had firepower, which indigenous peolpe didn't have. The Great Chain of Being - Christian cosmology - ordering and hierarchy of the universe (Scala Naturae - Didacus Valades 1579) - God, angels, white people of title, aat the bottom is the savages (indigenous), resources. This understanding of how things worked and how it provides a model of/for reaction. Based on a fixed hierarchical model of the universe which placed humans beneath the heavenly beings. Animals were below humans. They were put there by god for humans to use. All creation was intended for the benefit of humanity. Colonizers would explout this will and moral orienting force of the christian god. Theere are resources, we need to take it and use it. Because indigineous people were savages, they needed god to be brought ot them. Therefore, the prime objective was to bring the salvation of Christ. This gave license to kill, take, etc/ Called the new world "terra nullius" - no man's land - because indigenous people didn't have the concept of owning property. Humans (white european man) were thought to have Dominion over everything (Genesis 2:26). Man was thought to have dominion over everything because god said so.
Relationship between god, religious belief, and economic action (accumulating capital).
indigenous people had no conceptualization of who jesus christ/godo was. They did have a cosmology of their own. Their understanding of the world was ##animism##. All objects of the natural world have a spirit (living and non-living). Includes humans, rocks, etc. Humans weren't dominant - they lived along-side animals, their spirit masters, and other entites like trees, stars, rocks, etc. Other entities are equal to humans. They were understood to have the ability to communicate with people. These entities were thought of as "other-than-human-persons". (Ojibwe cosmology.) When it's a relation between a human and other than human persons, the relatioin is between an individual and what is known as atiso'kanak - the grandfathers. Whether it be in Manitoba or Ontario, it's still understood to be grandfathers. Dominance over nature is non-existent. When you have th ebringing together of 2 cosmologies, it did not end well. Atiso kanak refer to characters of Ojibwa sacred muths. They are very poewrful, immortal and have existed since tiem immemorial. EEThunder. the flapping of the wings of the thunderbird. Natural phenomenon understood as an otherthanhuman person. The way to communicate is rituals, dreams, appeasing, treating it as if it is another person. EE
Stopped attending lectures