Last Modified: 2014-07-02
Stangeness And Depth : Deep play : Notes on the Balinese cockfight, by
Geertz and his wife were not including within Balinese society until they experienced an important aspect of their culture
- Objectivity in the sense that culture is public trying to understand meaning, cock fighting is a metaphor of Balinese culture
- MEANING is important
--> still was an important part of the social context and communication in the society;
--> everything is compared to these cockfights.
--> different kinds of matches, the most “intense” he calls deep fights, in which the odds are almost 1 to 1 (the deeper the match, the better the match up).
--> unwritten rules about betting if your family member has a cock, or if it is an away match, or if you should bet or not.
--> This cockfighting will bring the participant more net pain than net pleasure. The deeper the match the more money, esteem=, honor, dignity, respect, status is at stake. (for exacts on the deep match implications see reading page 77.) “ the cockfight is a means of expression ; its function is neither to assuage social passions nor to heighten them (...) but (...) to display them”. “it is not an imitation of the punctuations of balance life but an example of it”.
--> basically a way to get all the jealousy, envy, and brutality out.
--> Thrill of risk, the despair of loss, the pleasure of triumph= it is of these emotions that society is built and individuals put together.
Ways of Anthropological knowing: Introduction : Grief and a Headhunter’s Rage, by
only by experiencing the death of his wife could he understand the emotions of the people he was observing (Grief and the Head Hunter’s Rage)
- critique of the way anthropologists do their work. - - to understand fully another people one must first be submerged in the culture and be aware of everything but also have no expectation.
- He argues that in order to be successful at understanding the complexities of other societies on must also be in the same mindset.
- The example he uses is Headhunters in a tribe (Ilongots) who kill and cut of the head of other human beings after suffering a loss. Rosaldo says he did not understand how the feeling of grief could create such rage, it was only after losing his wife that he realized how the grief could turn into rage and anger.
- Thus, the deepest things are not always the hardest but sometimes actually the simplest. And knowledge is simple; death does not need kin structure or empirical data to be understood, the simplicity of the experience is what is needed.
- He also talks widely about ritual and how anthropologists have studied the ritual of burial and death and that that is not the way to think of ritual, ritual may hide something deeper. “most anthropological studies eliminate emotions by assuming the position of the most detached observer”. “Rituals do not always encapsulate deep cultural wisdom.” “rituals are often but points along a number of longer processual trajectories.” “The truth of objectivism has lost its monopoly status.” “Social analysis must now grapple with the realization that its objects of analysis are also analyzing subjects who critically interrogate ethnographers.”
On Alternating Sounds, by
- The anthropologists didn’t understand primitive languages
- He is criticizing the way biologists viewed themselves as superior solely because they didn’t understand
- concludes that the phenomena of sound-blindness and “alternating sounds” originate by “alternating apperception”. So it really does matter where you come from to grasp and reproduce certain sounds you hear, thus having nothing to do with different race’s intelligence, or lack thereof.
- phenomenon similar to color blindness known as “sound blindness.”
- He says that some individuals based on where they come from, that is their culture and base language, will not be able to see the differences in sounds from another language, or even their own.
- This is because we may fail to perceive the peculiar character of each phonetic element.
-“The longer the interval the more readily one stimulus is mistaken for another similar one, or the longer the interval the greater the probability that a stimulus considerably differing from the original one is mistaken for the same.”
- Talks about the eskimo U vs O, or C vs S. Or in children the word fan.
- He concludes that the phenomena of sound-blindness and “alternating sounds” originate by “alternating apperception”. So it really does matter where you come from to grasp and reproduce certain sounds you hear, thus having nothing to do with different race’s intelligence, or lack thereof.
Coming of Age in Samoa, by
How we sexualize gender roles is viewed completely differently in other cultures
- This Introduction starts talking about how we (“easterner”) educate our children and about all the studies that have been done to understand our way of education.
-Then Mead goes on to say that we are doing it wrong. Our experiments are not controlled like in chem or physics or even economy. There are too many factors at hand in the education of a child.
- She argues the best way to study this is the anthropological way. It should be noted she states that we think all adolescents have troubles. She says that to make sure it is in all humans and not something our society has brought about, one must do an anthropological study.
- She does, in Samoa and follows adolescent girls. “we choose primitive groups who have had thousands of years of historical development along completely different lines from our own.” “Therefore we cannot venture any guess that they would ever have arrived at our solutions.”
- “Knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more lovingly, our own.” idea of anthropology. From these observations we may be able to “make newly and vividly self-conscious and self-critical [judgments], and to judge anew and perhaps fashion differently the education we give our children”
Body Ritual among the Nacerima,
- Making the strange familiar
- Don’t make differing cultures super exotic
- antrhopological ethnography about the body rituals of the Nacerima.
-At the beggining this group of people seems completely stange but one quickly realises that this
- He talks about how weird we are about going to the dentist, always being unhappy with our physical aspect, or how we always keep unfinished medicin in a so called ‘shrine box’. Or men ‘lacerate’ their faces every day (shaving). Or even how we go to a ‘temple’ to often die, the hospital.
- This was quite interesting in that it saw our culture and society from a different angle, questioning even the things that seem so evident or normal to us,
Funes, the Memorious, by
Jorge Luis Borges
Culture is also about forgetting you have to forget in order to learn
- Takes place in Argentina, talk about a guy named Ireneo Funes from the town Fray Bentos.
- He asked Borges to borrow latin books and a dictionary. One night after receiving a telegram saying that his dad was dying, borges goes to Funes house and finds him in the dark muttering words in Latin and Spanish.
- He said that he had an accident (falling off a horse)and that before he ‘looked
without seeing, heard without hearing, forgot everything but now it was just the opposite, he remembered every detail.
- ‘He was the solitary and lucid spectator of a multiform world which was instantaneously and almost intolerably exact.
- But although he could remember everything he was not very smart even if he had come up with a way of giving names to numbers and remembered everything.
by Bronislaw Malinowski
Navel-Gazing: to say there is a difference between the comprehension of yourself by relating to others and the comprehension gained by focusing on yourself
In this reading, the author states how anthropological fieldwork should be done he clearly lists how goals of ethnographic fieldwork should be approached.
1. FIRM OUTLINE: The organization of the tribe and the anatomy of its culture must be recorded in a firm clear outline. The method of concrete, statistical documentation is the means through which such an outline has to be given
2. WITHIN OUTLINE: Within this frame the imponderabilia of actual life and the type of behavior have to be filled in. They have to be collected through minute, dtailed obsrevations in the form of some sort of ethnographic diary, made possible by close contact with native life.
3. A collection of ethnographic statements, characteristic narratives, typical utterances, items of folk-lore and magical formulae has to be given as a corpus inscriptionum, as documents of native mentality.
Basically he says that the anthropologist should submerge himself in the culture and observe both the ways people act and what they do but also their behavior in order to fully understand the culture.
A diary in the strict sence of the term, by
How the self changes when they are embedded within another culture
- Thinking of his wife as he’s away from home; however, he is having sexual fantasies about a local
- imerged into Malinoswski’s fieldwork where he talks about his days and his life, with many references to his soon to be wife.
- Shows the kind of ‘deep hanging out’ or participant observation that was discused in class. - Also shows the down sides of the fieldwork and -the way the anthropologist is not really a native nor an ousider. He seems to show a bit of racism
Importance of preserving thinking through writing
- levi strauss talks about his fieldwork in Eastern Pakistan.
- how he went into the bush to see native, how it was dangerous, how they got there with gifts (paper and crayons) and how the natives did not understand writing but when they saw him the chief started making wavy line on the paper as if he was drawing. - Strauss talks about how the development of writing was not necessary for an advanced civilization but it was necessary for the enslavement of people, it gave power to the state, by making writen rules that could be enforced.
- He even argues it was not necesasry for the development of sciences! To be continued (best reading so far).
- His hypothesis is : the primary function of writing is to facilitate slavery. “everyone must be able to read so that the government can say : Ignorance of the law is no excuse”.
I swear I saw this, by
- Thinking through drawing woman or the man, what it represents to Taussig
- also talking about his fieldwork and especially about 2 people he saw in a tunnel how were enclosing themselves into a sort of cocoon to sleep in the tunnel where, according to his informant, ‘it is warm’.
Moral Models in Anthropology, by
- mocks and counters the fact that most modern anthropologists offer subjective analysis and says we should move to objective description and criticism.
- It should be an empirical science. “Science works because it produces unbiased accounts AND because its accounts are objective enough to be proved or disporved no matter you stance”.
- Telling a story is as bad as making a generalization. - Problems with the moral model
1) difficulty in getting reliable identification for basic terms
2) the objective world comes in many shades of grey but the moral tends towards black or white
3) tendency to believe that good things make good things and bad makes bad
4) objective model can be changed by data while moral models are hard to change.
The Primacy of the Ethica,
by Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Humanist feel the suffering of others so that you can change it
- She feels as if there are people suffering in this world and we need to stop thinking and act
- Goal: improve the solidarity of the collective
- Fieldwork and participant observation draws us into uncomfortable we see the dark side of human life
- Arguing against D’Andrade
- She is saying that moral relativism stands outside of culture
- Therefore ethical conduct and culture are independent of each other
- She believes that an anthropologist should be "politically committed and morally engaged ".
- Where the anthropologist is supposed to make people aware of the suffering going on, so they can feel empathy, and start doing something about this
The social Skin, by
Terence S. Turner
The idea that your body is the separation between your social life and your biological life
- Connections between the biological and sociological being
- For example: in some societies, they have to cut their hair when someone dies short; children grow their hair after they are done being nursed from their mother; they have to grow their hair to be married; they dress like birds because birds are social
- People allow their dress to represent their power within society
- Modernity: the time after science, a new era where we are focused on the profane (material) instead of the sacred
Making Up People,
by Ian Hacking
One and the many: the power of creating categories
- Emergence of categories: mentally ill, race, sexuality
- Enumeration people were getting labelled as falling under a certain category
- Biological characteristics are factored into political decisions
Breaking Up is Hard to do, by
The one and the many social media is changing our view on society
- Facebook makes us part of a larger, technological community is it really a community because it’s always changing? We don’t actually have a sense of the society
The Pre-eminence of the Right Hand: A Study in Religious Polarity,
Organic asymmetry we have a natural dualism
- Naturally, we have a stronger hand
- Culturally, we depict the left side as weak
by Robert Hertz
- Theories say that the preponderance of the right hand is due to the greater development in man of the left cerebral hemisphere by the author is not of that opinion it seems.
- He looks at religion, especially profanity and the sacred, and the duality in almost everything, high and low, black and white. The opposition presented by nature exhibits this fundamental dualism. (day and night, light and dark, etc)
- Primitive thought attributes a sex to all beings in the universe, male or female.
-This cosmic distinction rests on a primordial religious antithesis, man is sacred woman is profane. - The human body could therefore NOT be symmetrical.
- Hertz therefore says that the right hand socially created to be legitimate power, but the left hands power is always somewhat occult and illegitimate, inspiring terror and revulsion.
- Over the years this has shown man’s inherent will to be have sacred dominate the profane, to sacrifice the desire and the interest of the individual to the demands felt by collective consciousness.
Time, Sugar, and Sweetness, by
Sidney W. Mintz
- Something that you think is natural is deeply cultural, a product of culture
- Relative to colonialism and how power is significant to anthropology
- Paper about sugar and foods.
- She wants to reenliven the study of any subject matter that can be treated by seeing the patterned relationships between substances and human groups as forms of communicaiotn.
- Also interested in the relationship between production and consumption. Goes into great detail about the history of sugar and sweetness, mentioning their importance in modern society.
- She notes its importance with such phenomena as slavery and the conquest of colonies, and sugar’s use as a medicine, a sweetener, and a preservative.
- The changing habits of food consumption and the way they are used is conformed with the changes in character of the daily life, changes over which people had plainly no direct control.
- connection between capitalism and coffee drinking or sugar use.
- To find out what these substances come to mean is to reunite their availabilities with their uses in space and time.
- She concludes with: studies of the everyday in modern life, of the changing character of such humble matters as food, (…) might be one way to try to renovate a discipline now dangerously close to losing its purpose.
Supply side sushi, by (not fully read, skimmed, but read summary)
- Globalization anthropologists use the interdependence of different societies as a new way to study cultures/societies
- Borders are broken between cultures
- He calls his ethnography multi-sited.
- Market as the ‘center of the world’.
- Focuses on the Bluefin tuna trade that has grown to an international business, it’s the globalization of it. - - the interwoveness of the tading system and its overlappingness, he calls it the ‘complex temporal structure of the trade’ which requires coordination of producers and markets, supply and demand among many irreconcilable clocks.
- He calls his ethnography multi-sited.
- Market as the ‘center of the world’.
- the complex intersections of commerce, culture, and people to suggest that urban centers such as the Tsukiji Seafood market play in the generation of new forms of culture that are ‘globalized but intimately rooted in local activities’.
- he existence of a balance of power in such trade structures as evidence by the north American harpooners who have found ways to be ‘removed from and yet enmeshed in its social and cultural system’.
Terror as Usual, by
- The point of silence is not to forget about violence; its point is to drive the fear deep within the society
- Terror and violence is reproduced by the way we speak of them
- Violence is structured to the specific culture
--> The point of silencing is NOT to erase memory, but to drive memory deep within, so to create fear and uncertainty.
--> Talks about Roberto, how he got shot in the head, but did not die, now in hiding but did not really come back to life either.
The Girl in the Cast, by
-This is Ruth’s story after a car accident she had when she was 9, she was in her bed for a year, and couldn’t move and made her self conscious.
- Then later she was dancing and had an anxiety attack which basically stopped her from walking.
Her upbringing affected the outcome of her life her depression was a result of her parents’ blame
- Nature vs. nurture reflecting on one’s childhood to gain some insight on yourself
- She says this is where the value of the autobiography is evident: it creates forms of embodied knowledge in which the (adult) self and the (child) other can rediscover and reaffirm their connectedness.
- Paper talks about people and their indulgences when going to coffee cafés like starbucks where they ask for a drink with skim milk but add for example, say, whipped cream.
- The coffees are made to make you feel sophisticated. - All the marketing is done to encompass a greater market, for example, flavored coffee for the younger. These coffee cafés are places for social exchange.
- Two different kinds of fat: visible: added fats, while invisible are those in milk or meat. The more low fat foods being bought, the more fat and sugar being bought. Indulgence makes us happy, we are responding to moral messages that have been honed over several generations.
Digital Gambling: the coincidence of desire and design, by l
Natasha Dow Schul
- Talks about the new gambling, how the video game has taken over
- can change to user wants, more comfortable, lets them stay in the zone (being alone, not being interrupted, speed, choice, and tempo) longer, and makes them spend much more.
- In designing these machines, the aim is to speed up play as well as to extend its duration.
- The machines track everything about the player, maximizing their enjoyment as well as the revenue for the casino.
- The machine player is not merely socially isolated and made into a fragment of a man but is removed from the palpable dimensions of his own body. It’s not about winning, it’s about continuing to play.
The measure olf America, by
- This talks about Franz Boas’ life in general and his fight against ‘racisim’.
- He studied skull sizes to disprove this as well as that the primitive speech of some natives was actually a characteristic of the primitive ear of the anthropologist.
- From jewish decent, was obviously against Nazism. - believer in ‘steady empirical work’.
- With help from boss, Jesup, he tried to show that America was populated by migratory tribes from the Asiatic continent.
- Showed that all races could contribute to human progress.
- Eugenics: deals with the influences that improve the inborn qualities of race.
- Says he helped created the free country that America is, that the museum is his institution, and helped the brown vs board of education verdict.
American Anthropological Association Statement on ‘race’
Greater variation within racial groups than between them
One species: continued sharing of genetic materials, physical variations change GRADUALLY
o Lines of division among biological populations are both arbitrary and subjective
Race was a mode of classification linked specifically to people in the colonial situation, used race to justify slavery
Idea of race construted amongs leaders in Europe and America
o Strategy for controlling ‘sub-normal’ people
Human cultural behavior is learned, conditioned into infants at birth, and always subject to modification
o Temperament, dispositions, and personalities are developed within sets of meanings and values that we call culture
o All humans have the capacity to learn any cultural behavior
Thus, present day inequalities are not the consequences of their biological inheritance but products of historical and contemporary social educational and political circumstances.
The gender of Brazilian Transgender Prostitute, by
Not about sex, it’s about sexuality
- Sex: biological feature (nature construct)
- Gender: what you make of it (culture construct)
Talks about Brazilian transgender prostitutes and how this relates to the view of homosexuality and the duality it has with nature (biology)
In brazil: 2 types of gender male and non-male, or better yet, penetrator and penetrated
o As compared with euro American gender when system is based on sex, system structures travestis’ perception and actions base don sexuality
o Want to be more feminine, but NOT female! Note the difference in nature vs culture
o They have boyfriends that are considered men. The moment they want penetration or touch the travestis penis they are not men anymore and thus not bf
Quit Sniveling, Cryo-Baby…, by
Think kinship the lineage of kinship is becoming
- Eugenics using science to explain discrimination
- Choosing the ideal genes to create a perfect baby (what is the perfect baby?)
- Goes against natural selection
The Mindful Body, by
Nancy Sheper-Hughes and Margaret Lock
Body should be deconstructed into three
o The individual body
Experience of the body self and body image.
Rests on the fundamental dualities, nature/culture, mind/body (man is double, Durkheim), individual/society, as described by ying/yang, Islamic cosmology,
- Body imagery: refers to collective and idiosyncratic representations an individual entertains about the body in its relationship to the environment including internal and external perceptions, memories, affects, cognition, and actions.
o The social body
Representational uses of the body as a natural symbol with which to think about nature, society and culture
o The body politic,
Regulation, surveillance and control of body and bodies in forms of deviance and human difference
Its stability rests on ability to regulate populations
The companion Species Manifesto, by
- Also trying to get away from dualisms: other species ethnography
- How we think about an animal is just as important as how we relate to them
- Considers ‘dog writing to be a branch of feminist theory’
- Bringing together the human and nonhuman and thus nature and culture
Talks about people, dogs, and significant otherness
o Calls this significant other to each other love, a developmental infection
The symbolic Species, by
Terrence W. Deacon
- Symbolic meaning, reserved for humans (i.e. flags)
- Iconic representative, something that means something else, anything (i.e. smoke)
- Indexical representation of an icon, a relationship among icons (i.e. smoke means fire)
Symbols and the way we learn things
Semiology: study of language
o For construction of phrases
o For interpretation it is the other way around
Basically, symbols refer to other symbols, deacon says there is a threshold whereby prior associative learning strategies are replaced by categorical guesses among a few alternative.
Recognition means linking the relationship of something new to something already known ‘insight learning’
Throughout the paper he uses 2 chimps to represent this symbolical relationship, an experiment using lexigram relationships
o This exemplifies the hierarchic relationship between symbolic and indexical reference
Symbols do not get accumulated into unstructured collections that can be arbitrarily shuffled into different combinations
Because symbolic reference is inherently systemic there can be no symbolization without systematic relationships
Forgetting of Proper Names, by
Freud: The Forgetting of Proper Names
- Freud repressed his memory due to an incident which reminded him of something negative
- Forgot the person’s name because it reminded him of a patient who committed suicide and had the same name
- Ecologies of the mind: developing chains of thought, being in ourselves, and being able to capture being someone outside
- One thing relates to another which relates to another web of thinking
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