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Transcript
A Brief History of
Anthropology
Anthropology: A Branch of History
`the history, not of tribes or nations, but of the
condition of knowledge, religion, art, custom, and the
like among them' (Tylor 1871 I: 5).
"no conception can be understood except through its
history is a maxim which all ethnographers may adopt
as a standing rule". (Tylor 1871).
`the past is continuously needed to explain the present
and the whole to explain the part' (Tylor 1865: 2).
`there seems no human thought so primitive as to have
lost its bearing on our own thought, nor so ancient as
to have broken its connection with our own life' (Tylor
1871).
Australia
The Savage Becomes
the Primitive
Making Stone Tools New Guinea
`the master-key to the
investigation of man's
primeval condition is
held by Prehistoric
Archaeology.
This key is the evidence of the Stone Age, proving that
men of remotely ancient ages were in the savage state'
(Tylor 1871 I: 58).
“Looking over a collection of their [quaternary man's]
implements and weapons on a museum shelf we may
fairly judge by analogy that in their moral habits, as in
their material arts, they had much in common with the
rudest savages of modern times, users like them of
chipped stone and flint.” (Tylor 1873a: 702)
Central tenet
“The condition of savage
and barbarous tribes
often more or less fairly
represent stages of
culture through which
our own ancestors passed
long ago' (Tylor 1871)
Anthropologists could then use
the `indirect evidence' provided
by contemporary savagery `as a
means of re-constructing the
lost records of early or
barbarous times' (1865: 5).
universal sequence
of “stages” through
which it was
hypothesized all
societies will sooner
or later pass unless
their development is
arrested by some
exogenous
circumstance
(extinction, conquest,
absorption by
another society or
achieving a perfect
equilibrium with the
environment)
CIVILIZATION:
Writing, urban life;
flowering of arts,
architecture
BARBARISM:
settled life; markets,
rise of chiefs and kings,
agriculture, arts develop
SAVAGERY:
hunting
and gathering; no surplus
production; no permanent
cohesive unit wider than
band, stone tools
UNIFORMITY OF STAGES
A present day society in
the stage of Barbarism
(e.g. Hawai’i or Samoa)
could shed light on the
distant past when
northern European
society was in the stage
of Barbarism
just as an Australian
Aboriginal society could
inform Europeans of
their history in the stage
of Savagery
Hawai’i
Australian
Aborigines
Europeans
Uniformitarian principle
The same kind of development in culture which has gone on
inside our range of knowledge has also gone on outside it, its
course of proceeding being unaffected by our having or not
having reporters present. If any one holds that human thought
and action were worked out in primæval times according to
laws essentially other than those of the modern world, it is for
him to prove by valid evidence this anomalous state of things,
otherwise the doctrine of permanent principle will hold good,
as in astronomy or geology. That the tendency of culture has
been similar throughout the existence of human society, and
that we may fairly judge from its known historic course what
its prehistoric course may have been, is a theory clearly
entitled to precedence as a fundamental principle of
ethnographic research. (1871a I: 32-33)
The phenomena of Culture may be classified and arranged, stage by
stage, in a probable order of evolution” p. 6
Hand Gonne
c.1400
Matchlock
1400-1700
Wheellock
1500-1820
Flintlock
1608-1865
“it is desirable to work out a systematically as possible a
scheme of evolution of this culture along its many lines”. P. 21
Survivals
“evidence aiding
us to trace the
course which the
civilization of the
world has
actually
followed”
Maypole Dancing Outskirts of London, 1891
These are processes, customs, opinions, and so forth which have been
carried on by force of habit into a new state of society different from
that in which they had their original home, and they thus remain as
proofs and examples of an older condition of culture out of which a
newer has evolved…. Such examples lead us back to the habits of
hundreds and even thousands of years ago, p. 16. “games, popular
sayings, customs, superstitions, and the like”.
E.B. Tylor 1832-1917
1871 Primitive Culture
correlates the three levels
of social evolution to types
of religion:
•Savagery — animatism
•barbarism — polytheism
•civilization — monotheism
Also linked to morality
John Ferguson McLennan, (1827-81)
1865 Primitive Marriage: An Enquiry into the Origin of the
Form of Capture in Marriage Ceremonies
first stage was a time of
sexual promiscuity
Female infanticide led to a
shortage of women, who had
to be shared in a polyandrous
matriarchal situation
Because men don’t like to
share wives they captured
them from neighbors
(exogamy) – patriarchy and
monogamy
Lewis Henry Morgan
1851 League of the Iroquois
(1818 – 1881)
1871 Systems of
Consanguinity and Affinity
1877 Ancient Society
Assumptions of Nineteenth Century
Evolutionism
1. Like the natural world the cultural world is
governed by laws that science can discover.
2. These laws operated on the distant past as they
do on the present. - Uniformitariamism
3. The present grows out of the past by a
continuous process - developmentalism
4. This growth is simple to complex.
5. All humans share a single psychic nature.
6. The moving force of cultural development is
interaction with the environment.
Assumptions of Nineteenth Century Evolutionism
Continued
7. Different development is due to different environments.
8. These differences can be measured.
9. In these terms cultures can be ordered in a hierarchical
manner.
10. Certain contemporary cultures are like earlier stages.
11. In the absence of data these stages can be reconstructed
by the comparative method.
12. The results of the comparative method can be
confirmed by the study of survivals.
CRITIQUE OF EVOLUTIONISM
Is the Central Tenet Valid
Is it Ethnocentric?
Did the Data support the theory?
Is the Doctrine of survivals valid?
The Growth of Fieldwork
N. Chagnon in Brazil with the Yanomamo
3 Impetuses
1. Increasing knowledge of other cultures
2. dissatisfaction with the quality and
quantity of much of the data contained in
the ethnological writings
3. the belief that the `savage' tribes in their
`natural' state were rapidly disappearing in
the face of contact with the more civilized
nations
Increasing knowledge of other cultures
 Explorers and travellers were replaced by
government officials and missionaries who formed a
closer association with the people they were in
contact with.
 Appearance of Literary journals such as
•The Fortnightly Review (1865-1934),
•The Nineteenth Century (1877),
•The Academy (1871)
•The Contemporary Review (1866- )
 First Monographs
Eg. The Native Tribes of Central Australia (1899), B.
Spencer and F. Gillen's
 Questionnaires
Notes and Queries on
Anthropology 1874
Purpose: `to promote accurate
anthropological observation on the part
of travellers, and to enable those who are
not anthropologists to supply the
information, which is needed for the
scientific study of anthropology at home'
(BAAS 1874: vii).
Fear that “primitive” tribes were rapidly disappearing
•Tierra del Fuego has
probably been inhabited for at
least 9000 years.
•Around 1880 there were
between 3500 and 4000 Ona
•In 1919 there were < 300
•By 1930 < 100 Ona remained.
Onas hunting in Tierra Del
Fuego c. 1900
•the last full-blooded Ona died
in 1977.
`In view of the fast vanishing "primitive" cultures, and the rapid
extinction of some of the more primitive and ethnologically
interesting races the importance of such efforts to secure
information ere it is too late cannot be over-estimated' (Balfour
1905: 15).
Alfred Court Hadddon (1855-1940)
W H R Rivers 1864-1922
1898 Cambridge Expedition to the Torres Straits
Survey Versus Intensive Fieldwork
A typical piece of intensive work is one in which the worker
lives for a year or more among a community of perhaps
four or five hundred people and studies every detail of their
life and culture; in which he comes to know every member
of the community personally; in which he is not content
with generalized information, but studies every feature of
life and custom in concrete detail and by means of the
vernacular language. It is only by such work that one can
fully realise the immense extent of the knowledge which is
now awaiting the inquirer, even in places where the culture
has already suffered much change. It is only by such work
that it is possible to discover the incomplete and even
misleading character of much of the vast mass of survey
work which forms the existing basis of anthropology”
Rivers 1913
Still Evolutionary Theory
 Rivers’
“the goal of anthropology is the
reconstruction of the history of `primitive' peoples
 Balfour “the ethnographer's purpose
determine their `place in time' (1905: 18)
is
to
 Haddon's aim “to elucidate the `nature, origin and
distribution of the races and peoples of a limited
ethnological area and to define their place in the
evolutionary tree‘
Two things were absent from fieldwork at this time
1. participation
 `at Bendiyagalge we were particularly well situated to
observe their behaviour, our camp being out of sight of the
Vedda camp but within two hundred yards of it, here we
could listen to their unrestrained chatter and laughter'
(Seligman and Seligman The Vedda 1911: 85).
 Most ethnographers at this time also relied heavily on
translators
 Fieldwork conducted under an evolutionary paradigm did
not necessitate participation. Since ethnographers were
interested in establishing historical links with other cultures,
the meanings which the myths and ceremonies they were
describing had for the people concerned was of little interest
2. sociological theory
Emile Durkheim
1858 - 1917
 The Division of Labour
in Society 1893
 Rules of the
Sociological Method 1895
 Suicide 1897
Elementary Forms of
the Religious Life, 1912
What is a Social Fact?
“A social fact is every way of acting, fixed or not, capable of
exercising on the individual an external constraint; or again, every
way of acting which is general throughout a given society, while at
the same time existing in its own right independent of its individual
manifestations”
When I perform my duties as a father or a
husband for example, I fulfill obligations
which are defined in law and custom and
which are external to myself and my actions.
Even when they conform to my own
sentiments and when I feel their reality
within me, that reality does not cease to be
objective, for it is not I who have prescribed
these duties; I have received them through
education.
Social Facts Characteristics
External to the Individual
• found ready-made at birth
• Objective
Leaned
•Relative
Endowed with coercive power
A new variety of phenomena
•source is not the individual but in society a
collective phenomenon
Rules of the Sociological Method
Society is part of nature and a science of society
must be based on the same principles as those of the
natural sciences
 Social facts must be treated as things I.e.
objectively
The properties of the totality cannot be deduced
from those of the individuals who combine to form
it. Rejection of “methodological individualism”
Social facts have to be explained in terms of their
function
Functional Explanation
Functional
function of a social item refers to its correspondence with “the
general needs of the social organism not the individual
Function must be clearly distinguished from intention or purpose
The root idea in functionalism:
 Human societies consist of a number of institutions
which
over time achieve a harmonious “fit” to one
another
 integration
serve adaptive ends — i.e. contribute to the
survival of the overall society
 function
do not just reflect universal human nature, but
shape it in distinctive ways
 determinism
Functionalist view of a society (1)
INSTITUTIONS
SOCIETY
PERSON
• A society consists of a distinct set of institutions
which introject distinctive motivations into its
members from earliest childhood
Functionalist view of a society
• Different institutions produce different
persons with different motivations
Functionalism in a Nutshell
how does a social phenomenon
contribute to the survival of the
society as a whole
BRONISŁAW MALINOWSKI
1884 - 1942
1884 born in Kraków, Poland, then
part of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire
1910: emigrates to England to
begin postgraduate work in
anthropology at the LSE
1912 receives a Ph.D from the LSE
for a library dissertation on the
Australian aborigines
1914 travels to the British
Association for the Advancement of
Science’s meeting in Melbourne
Sept 1914 War is declared while en
route and Malinowski is classified as
an enemy alien.
 spends 2 ½ years in the
Trobriands
Trobriand Is.
“Imagine yourself suddenly set down surrounded by all your gear on
a tropical beach close to a native village while the launch or dinghy
which has brought you sails away out of sight”.
“Imagine yourself then, making your first entry into the village”
“Some natives flock around you, especially if they smell tobacco”
“He ought to put himself in good conditions of work, that is, in the
main, to live without other white men, right among the natives”
“One step further in this line can be made by the Ethnographer who
acquires a knowledge of the native language and can use it as an
instrument of inquiry.” (p. 23)
The Goal of Ethnography
The goal [of the Ethnographer] is, briefly; to
grasp the native's point of view, his relation to
life, to realise his vision of his world” P. 25
Perhaps through realising human nature in a
shape very distant and foreign to us, we shall
have some light shed on our own. P. 25
Participant
• It is good for the Ethnographer
sometimes to put aside camera,
note book and pencil, and to
join in himself in what is going
on p. 21
inside
view
Observation
• An ethnographic diary, carried
on systematically throughout
the course of one’s work in a
district would be the ideal
instrument for this sort of study
outside
(analytical)
view
A functional account is an analyst’s account which
asks what is the `sociological function of these customs
what part do they play in the maintenance and
development of civilization?”
Functional accounts don’t worry about how an
institution arose
–most institutional origins lost in the mists of time
–can at most speculate about them (“conjectural
history”
For functionalists, what is important is not how
things originated but how they work (function)…
–how they contribute to peoples’ lives
Various Institutional Functions
language  binds the community together
Magic  warrants a myth's truth,
Myth  expresses, enhances, and codifies belief; it
safeguards and enforces morality'
Scientific knowledge  ensures Man's survival
Religion  establishes, fixes, and enhances all valuable
mental attitudes, such as reverence for tradition, harmony
with environment, courage and confidence in the struggle
with different cultures and at the prospect of death
law  curbs certain natural propensities, to hem in and
control human instincts and to impose a non-spontaneous,
compulsory behaviour'
Malinowski’s Hierarchy of needs
‘Basic’ needs
Food, shelter, sex, etc.
universal
this supplies a certain commonality to all human
cultures and is ultimately what makes them comparable.
Also makes ethnology scientific
each culture responds to the particular needs of its
members through institutions
every institution centers around a fundamental need
For example, tools function to provide Man's food, and
construct his shelters
The variation in the form of the institution is culturally
determined
2. STRUCTURAL FUNCTIONALISM
The dominant theoretical
paradigm of the British
school of social
anthropology, 1930–1955.
Associated with the
theoretical writings of A.
R. Radcliffe-Brown in
Structure and function in
primitive society
A. R. Radcliffe-Brown 1881-1955
Biopsychological Functionalism
or “Needs” Functionalism
(Malinowski)
Structural Functionalism
(Radcliffe-Brown)
Exchange Functionalism (Mauss)
Structural Functionalism
Structuralism: theory examines cultures in terms of
systems of structured relationships between social
phenomena.
Functionalism: theory that all social facts can and
should be explained by their function in relation to
society.
Structural Functionalism: societies seen as having
structure and order, and all phenomena occurring
within the culture are seen to have the underlying
goal of maintaining the overall societal structure and
order, despite individual motivation..
FIVE BASIC PRINCIPLES
1. Society is seen as an organically structured whole akin
to a biological organism.
2. Society has a social structure - an ordered arrangement
of parts.
3. Structure is ideally integrated, unified, and exists in
equilibrium.
4. This structure is the object of analysis; the most valued
data is the structure you can abstract.
5. The function of Social activities and institutions is
ultimately interpreted in terms of maintaining the whole
social structure of the society
THE STRUCTURE IS INTEGRATED
INSTITUTIONS:
 Distinguishable sets of roles, norms, and statuses
within a social system e.g. kinship system
 it is to institutions that the concept of “function” is
applicable
 the function of an institution is its contribution to the
overall perpetuation and adaptation of the society
 For social life to persist or continue the various
institutions must exhibit some kind of measure of
coherence or consistence
THE FUNCTION OF INSTITUTIONS IS TO
MAINTAIN THE STRUCTURE
 The problem for society is to survive — to maintain its
structure
 But basic human nature is inherently selfish and is
therefore inimical to that survival.
 Therefore the behaviour of individuals must be
molded to the requirements society needs to survive
 Conflict must be restrained and the conduct of
persons in their interrelations with each other must be
controlled by norms or rules of behaviour
 Failure of the individual to follow these norms results
in sanctions.
CRITIQUE OF FUNCTIONALISM
What is the Functionalist view of Human Nature?
What is the Relationship between the individual and
the society?
How do Functionalists account for change?
How do functionalists deal with conflict?
How is the function of a given institution determined?
How does one decide, or know what is good for the
society as a whole?
Must all institutions have a function?
What is its methodology?
REACTION AGAINST
EVOLUTIONARY THEORY
1870
1880
1890
1900
1910
1920
DEVELOPMENT OF
NATIONAL SCHOOLS
1930
1940
AMERICAN
CULTURAL
ANTHROPOLOGY
Boas
EVOLUTIONISM
BRITISH
SOCIAL
ANTHROPOLOGY
DIFFUSIONISM
Malinowski
FUNCTIONALISM
Radcliffe Brown
DURKHEIMIAN
SOCIOLOGY
PERIOD OF GRAND THEORY
FRENCH
ETHNOLOGIE
MODERN PERIOD
FRANZ BOAS
1858-1942
Boas en route to Baffin
Island 1883 and Central
Inuit; to study of
reflectivity of sea-water
Analyst seeks to understand phenomena by grasping
how they make sense within the framework of the
subject’s thought-world i.e relatively
posing as a Kwakiutl dancer for a National Museum diorama, 1895
1885: First expedition
to Northwest Coast
(Bella Coola)
1886: First collecting
trip for American
Museum of Natural
History (New York City)
to Nootka and Kwakiutl
— massive
documentation of
Northwest Coast culture
Anti-Diffusionist
 Claims for historical contact for enormously large areas
unlikely
 Improbable that cultural traits remained unchanged for
thousands of years
 traits are arbitrarily selected only to prove the theory
 No attempt to demonstrate whether similar cultural
traits are due to independent invention eg. Marriage
patterns
 Uninterested in how cultures change
CULTURAL/HISTORICAL
PARTICULARISM
Three pillars explain cultural customs
1. Cultures can only be understood with
reference to their particular historical
development. Therefore each culture is
unique
2. Environmental conditions
3. Individual psychological factors
CULTURAL/HISTORICAL
PARTICULARISM
idea was not to make a preconceived hypothesis,
but to collect as much data about a particular culture without
any theory
general theories of human Behaviour would arise once
enough data had been collected
“We refrain from the attempt to solve the fundamental
problem of the general development of civilization until we
have been able to unravel the processes that are going on under
our eyes”
Hallmark of historical particularism became the intensive
study of specific cultures through long periods of fieldwork
BOASIAN CONCEPT OF CULTURE
• superorganic —the product of collective or
group life; but the individual has an influence
• unconscious — a filter through which reality is
perceived, but which is not itself the object of
attention
• adaptive — culture ultimately helps individuals
adapt to their environment.
Four Field Approach
SOCIAL
AND
CULTURAL
ARCHAEOLOGY
ANTHROPOLOGY
PHYSICAL
ANTHROPOLOGY
LINGUISTICS
FRANZ BOAS
 Cultural/historical particularism
 “race, language, and culture” as independent
variables
 Relativism
 superorganic
 Cultural Determinism
 Data Collection “without” theory
 Emphasis on Fieldwork
 4-field approach
Alfred Louis Kroeber
(1876-1960)
“ no culture is
wholly intelligible
without reference
to the noncultural
or so-called
environmental
factors with
which it is in
relation and
which condition
it" (Kroeber,
1939: 205).
Arapaho camp with buffalo meat drying near
Fort Dodge, Kansas 1870. William S. Soule
“cultures occur in nature as wholes; and these wholes can
never be entirely formulated through consideration of
their elements.
ARCTIC
NORTHWEST
COAST
Cultural and
natural
areas of
Native North
America
(1939)
SUBARCTIC
PLATEAU
PLAINS
BASIN
PRAIRIE
CALIFORNIA
BAJA
CALIFORNIA
SOUTHWEST
NATIVE NORTH AMERICA:
CULTURE AREAS
EASTERN
WOODLANDS
N-E
MEXICO
MESOAMERICA
The Superorganic
“The superorganic or superspsychic or super-individual
that we call civilization appears to have an existence, an
order, and a causality as objective and as determinable as
those of the subpsychic or inorganic”
 individuals have very little if any impact on a culture’s
development and change
 Culture plays a determining role in individual human behaviour.
 Culture has an existence outside of us and compelled us to
conform to patterns that could be statistically demonstrated
 e.g. changes in fashion show that cyclical patterns of change
have occurred beyond the influence or understanding of any
given individual. Kroeber showed that hem length, height, and
width tended to move up and down in regularcycles,
Alfred Kroeber
 Culture Areas
 Superorganic
 Deterministic
 First American Textbook
in anthropology (1923)
1922 Barnard College
under Boas, Meets Ruth
Benedict.
1925-26 8 months
Fieldwork in Samoa
Margaret Mead 1901-1978
Coming of Age in Samoa 1926
Is adolescence a
universally traumatic
and stressful time due
to biological factors or
is the experience of
adolescence dependent
on one's cultural
upbringing?
nature vs nurture
based on a detailed study of 68 girls between 8 and 20 in three
contiguous villages
Mead described sexual relations as frequent and usually without
consequence – or issue
The basic conclusion was
that adolescence in Samoa
was not a stressful period
for girls
Because, in general, Samoan
society lacked stresses
1983 Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making
and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth
Mead did not spend enough time in Samoa
and lived in naval dispensary with an American
family rather than in a Samoan household
 was not familiar with the Samoan language
 ignored violence in Samoan life,
Derek Freeman
(1916-2001)
Failed to consider the influence of biology on
behavior
Mead had been lied to by two of her female informants and
thus came to erroneous conclusions about Samoan culture and
the sexual freedom of the girls
She also went to Samoa with preconceived intention of showing
that culture, not biology, determined human responses to life’s
situations.
Sex and Temperament in Three
Primitive Societies (1935)
sought to discover extent
temperamental differences between
the sexes were culturally determined
rather than innate biological
 Mead found a different pattern of
male and female behavior in each of
the cultures she studied, all different
from gender role expectations in the
United States at that time.
The gentle mountain-dwelling Arapesh
Arapesh child-rearing responsibilities
evenly divided among men and women
The fierce cannibalistic Mundugumor
a natural hostility exists between all members of
the same sex”. Mundugumor fathers and sons,
and mothers and daughters were adversaries.
The graceful headhunters of Tchambuli,
While men were preoccupied with art the
women had the real power, controlling fishing
and manufacturing
Mead's contribution in separating biologicallybased sex from socially-constructed gender was
groundbreaking, gender roles."
Characteristics of Mead’s anthropology
Relativism
Ahistorical
Holistic
Participant observation
Romanticism
Humans select their culture, choosing some
traits and ignoring others.
Culture and Personality - Critique
Where’s the history?
How are culture & individual psychology related? For
example, does culture somehow 'cause' individual
personality?
Is individual behaviour patterned? How? What best
accounts for the observed patterns?
Circular -- Basic personality structure was inferred
from some aspects of behaviour then used to explain
other behaviour
linked anthropology with psychology