LECTURE THURSDAY 9/25/08 KEY CONCEPTS FROM THIS LECTURE follow-up notes on language: grammar (in the linguistic / anthropological sense) = deep structure, not technically ?proper? use no language is biologically more difficult than any other: differences we perceive as ?natural difficulties? are often actually cultural rules of language (examples: |aa [?to hold? in N|uu]; ngombe [?cow? in Chichewa]) thinking more about symbolism Victor Turner on symbolism among Ndembu people Healing, coming of age Noticed recurring symbols properties of symbols polarization of mention-sensory or ideological poles polarization of meaning ideological pole abstract, values, norams of a group of people anthropologists, job is to investigate sensory pole related to outputs of something condensation many things can be put into 1 symbol multivocality it means different things to different people ambiguity no small definition for the symbol football statue Sensory Ideological Erect phallus masculinity Corn midwest/agriculture Piled footballs/trophy achievement examples: mudyi tree, ?Nail?s Tales? statue near Camp Randall stadium tree stands for many thing, common nourishment symbolism in art art as integral in most cultures rather than separate category (example: infection control committee song) aspects of art: no difference between fine art, craft, decorative art in many cultures integral part in many cultures, religious and political all cultures have several forms of art art often evokes feelings music evokes similar feelings to art. decoration message ?affecting presence? -- evokes emotional response ? but this response is culturally specific (examples: graffiti; musical chords) symbolism in stories tales: told or performed as fictional; reinforce cultural values (example: Tiv story of husband, wife, and vulva) legends: told as truth; often involve historical figures; reinforce appropriate and inappropriate behaviors (example: the Mexican pet rat legend) myths: stories of cosmology; relation between gods / humans / nature; origins of the world (example: Dayak origin story) in some ways untrue -- in most cultures, not thought to describe events literally also key to the ultimate truths or moral foundations of society aphorisms: very condensed cultural messages (examples from Wisconsin and Malawi) jokes: condensed stories intended to be amusing; poorly translatable; enforce shared acceptance of cultural truths ? often, but not always, truths not palatable in plain language FURTHER MATERIAL FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED So much good anthropological work looks at symbol and narrative it is hard to know where to start. Anna Tsing?s 1993 book In the Realm of the Diamond Queen (about the Dayak people) is a fascinating contemporary example; Victor Turner?s (1967) The Forest of Symbols is a classic. Ask me or your TAs for other books if you want to read more.
Want to see the other 2 page(s) in 9-25-09?JOIN TODAY FOR FREE!