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Department of Sociology and Anthropology 1 ANTHROPOLOGY 106: INTRODUCTION TO ANTHROPOLOGY II PROF. LAWRENCE LECLAIR A Re-Introduction to Anthropology 2 Anthropology 105 presents the student with a basic introduction to the various subfields of anthropology. Archaeology, physical anthropology, linguistic anthropology, cultural anthropology and the newest subfield, applied anthropology, were discussed in some detail. Anthropology 106 will now continue with your introduction to the field of anthropology and broaden the perspective. What is anthropology for? 3 Anthropology is for the curious. Humans are innately curious creatures. Many find themselves curious about human origins, or about the ways of life of other human groups. Anthropology provides a means for the curious to understand humanity. Who are we? Where do we come from? Why do they do that? Why are we here? 4 “The anthropologist is a human instrument studying other human beings and their societies.” Hortense Powdermaker Ethnography… 5 "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow- mindedness." Samuel Langhorne Clemens, (Mark Twain). Anthropology…origins 6 Where has the process of ethnography come from in anthropology? Why does it exist and why is it such an important, defining notion in the discipline? It was born from the process of discovery and colonialism that has gripped the world for the last 500 years. 7 Many studies in colonialism focus on the genocide/ethnocide of the last few centuries. Millions of people around the world perished as a result of early exploration and discovery. Early travelers served to open the Western mind. Through their narratives people were exposed to different and exotic cultures. The western mind had to come to understand these cultures and their beliefs in a non-religious context. 8 Ethnography then, is the formalized process of the discovery of culture. It is coincidental with the development of the western mind: it is the anthropologist in action. 9 Anthropology grew out of the intersection of European discovery, colonialism and natural science. Early anthropologists such as Lewis Henry Morgan were interested in reconstructing stages of human social and cultural development… Savagery Barbarism Civilization 10 Early 20th century anthropology was typically concerned with small-scale, technologically simple societies. These were cultures which were endangered basically and many students of the discipline were told to record what they could of quickly vanishing cultures. In biology, scientists talk of biological diversity and how we are entering into a time of diminished diversity of species. 11 As for human culture the same can be said. The last 500 years has seen a tremendous reduction in the number of autonomous cultures around the world. Globalization has meant a diminished diversity in the world’s cultural landscape. Bee Larvae and Onion Soup: Culture 12 American anthropology characterized by concept of ‘Culture.’ British anthropology …concept of ‘Society.’ What is the difference? In the early days of anthropology the term culture may have meant something which one possessed to a ‘greater or lesser degree.’ It came to mean ‘a particular way of life.’ Edward Burnett Tylor… 13 Culture, or civilization…is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society. (1871) Tylor’s focus on knowledge and belief as acquired, as well as his sense that these constitute an integrated system, is still relevant in anthropology. On the other hand there existed in his time a sense that ‘culture’ was something a society could have ‘more or less’ of. Franz Boas… 14 Culture embraces all the manifestations of social behaviour of a community, the reactions of the individual as affected by the habits of the group in which he lives, and the product of human activities as determined by these habits. (1930) Boas was fascinated by the idea that environment, cultural as well as physical, had a determining effect on the way one views the world. Early work on Inuit perception and categorization of colour of seawater. Ethnoscience… 15 An analysis of native categories of classification. Formal methods of analysis applied to areas such as kinship terms, flora and fauna, colour, diseases, plants, medicines, etc. Inuit classification of seawater or snow What is food and what is not? What is good food and what is junk food? Why do we have in this culture something we call ‘junk food?” Why does junk food exist? Whopper Virgins... 16 Boas described a ‘kulturbrille’, a set of ‘cultural glasses’ that each of us wears, lenses that provide us with a means for perceiving the world around us, for interpreting the meaning of our social lives, and framing them in action. Example from Monaghan and Just…bee larvae is not food for us. What is edible and what is not to be eaten? This is culturally determined. Claude Levi-Strauss… 17 Culture is neither natural or artificial. It stems from neither genetics nor rational thought., for it is made up of rules of conduct, which were not invented and whose function is generally not understood by the people who obey them. …if we look at all the intellectual undertakings of mankind…the common denominator is always to introduce some kind of order. All classifications are a surface representation of the underlying deep structure of the human mind. LeClair… 18 In the sense that it is something which classifies, orders and shapes the way we think about and view the world, culture is to humans as water is to fish. It is essential for our survival but we are generally not aware of how we utilize it. Alfred Kroeber… 19 …compared culture to a coral reef, which is built up by the secretions of millions of tiny animals, but which existed before any of its living members, and will outlast them all, providing a structure within which future generations will be constrained. Geertz… 20 Cultures can be read as texts, much as one might read a novel or poem…seek out cultural ‘texts’ that the people of the society themselves find compelling and to not only understand them as they see them, but to see the ways the themes of these texts illuminate other aspects of the society.