Anthropology 130 1/22/09 Human Universals - Any feature found in al societies and cultures - Practice and perceive these universals in different ways - Theories why these exist: 1. Humans have a similar set of needs and problems 2. Common biological ancestry- all humans have biological constraints - Generalities: widespread cultural features i.e. nuclear family (parents and offspring/ extended family) - Particularities: unique cultural features Religion, Ritual, Rites of Passage - Religion: ?Belief and ritual concerned with supernatural beings, powers, and forces.?? Anthony Wallace 1966 - Cross cultural differences: social roles, gender roles, content and nature of religious acts, events, processes, and organizations, language in prayers, myths, chants, texts, etc. Beliefs about the Supernatural - Mana: a force, power, or essence that endows people, animals, plants, or inanimate objects, fetishes - Totemism: belief system where people believe they are descendants of spirit beings or natural objects - Magic: supernatural techniques to achieve certain aims i.e. voodoo dolls - Religion based on faith: involves strong emotion, not based on empirical data Functions of Religion - Explain mysterious, Mobilize emotions, Personal or group transformation, Moral codes or values, Achieve specific aims, Create a sense of group unity, Create a sense of control over nature or reality, Maintain social order (social control), Reinforce social hierarchies, and Change, transformation Ritual - Formal and public or informal and private - Demonstrations of a belief - May involve individuals or groups - Scared or secular (religious/nonreligious, spiritual/non-spiritual) - Often play a significant role in religion - Hypothesis of risk and ritual: when there is uncertainty in an outcome then there will be more ritual/magic then risk involved. i.e. example in book about fishers Rites of Passage - 3 stages: 1. Separation: removed from society/what they know 2. Liminality: stripped of individual identity i.e. military/boot camp 3. Incorporation: reincorporation back into society - Examples: joining sorority/frat, going to college - Monks and nuns stuck in liminality (do not necessarily have to complete all steps) Language - A system of symbols with standard meanings through which members of a society communicate with one another Language and Culture - Sets us apart from other animals - Primary means of communication - Plays a role in the development of out worldviews - Way of encoding our experiences and understanding our world Features of Human Communication - Productivity: finite set of words, can continuously make new sentences out of this finite set, and can communicate these to others. - Displacement: use language to discuss certain objects, events, or people even when they are not present (talk about things in abstract ways) - Arbitrariness of sound: stress/sound/words we place on objects or actions (determined by convenience, preference) - Combining sounds: words and sounds are combined according to a shared set of rules (relative to that language) Types of Linguistic Studies - Structure of language - Phonology: vocal sounds organized and used - Morphology: structure and content of language - Syntax rules formation of sentences - Semantics: study of meaning in language - Language acquisition (?Universal Grammar?) biological capacity for language, similar capacity among all humans -> why we can learn new languages - Language and culture i.e. Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: argument that language determines our thoughts (deterministic approach) - Language and power (race, class, gender, dynamics) power relations (naturalize) reinforce social inequalities, tool in the creation and recreation of power -No language is superior to another language **What is considered proper language is considered by power/dominate group
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