Anth1 Theory Ch03


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Anth1 Theory Ch03

  1. 1. Method & Theory In Anthropology Theoretical Perspectives Chapter 3 Prof. Fortier
  2. 2. Recap 3.1: Ethnography and Survey Research Contrasted
  3. 3. Theories of Cultural Anthropology <ul><li>Evolutionism (Cultural Evolution) </li></ul><ul><li>Historical Particularism (The Boasians) </li></ul><ul><li>Functionalism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Structural Functionalism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Configurationalism (Patterns of Culture) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Neoevolutionism (Multilinear Evolution) </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Materialism & Cultural Ecology </li></ul><ul><li>Symbolic & Interpretive Anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>Structuralism </li></ul><ul><li>Processual approaches </li></ul><ul><li>Political economic approaches </li></ul>
  4. 4. Cultural Evolution <ul><li>Unilinear evolution </li></ul><ul><li>Lewis Henry Morgan </li></ul><ul><li>Ancient Society 1877 </li></ul><ul><li>Savagery> Barbarism> Civilization </li></ul><ul><li>Fixity of the Species </li></ul>Depiction of the “Great Chain of Being”
  5. 5. Edward Burnett Tylor <ul><li>Parent of British Anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>1871 - Primitive culture </li></ul><ul><li>Unilinear evolutionary idea about belief systems (religions) </li></ul><ul><li>Animism > Polytheism > Monotheism > Science </li></ul><ul><li>“ Survivals” e.g., belief in ghosts a survival of animistic stage </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Boasians <ul><ul><li>Contributed to cultural, biological, and linguistic anthropology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Showed human biology was plastic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alfred Kroeber - One of 1st Ph.D. students of Boas; Started anthro depts in California; studied Native Americans of Calif. region </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Franz Boas ( 1848-1942) is parent of four-field American anthropology </li></ul>
  7. 7. Historical Particularism <ul><li>Historical particularism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Diverse cultural histories can converge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Native histories important to study </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Collect data first; theorize later </li></ul>Franz Boas (1848-1942)
  8. 8. Independent Invention versus Diffusion <ul><li>Boasians such as Alfred Kroeber stressed diffusion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Culture trait </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trait complexes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Culture area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Historical particularism and diffusion were complementary </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Evolutionists stressed independent invention to explain cultural generalities </li></ul>
  9. 9. Functionalism <ul><li>Malinowski: customs and institutions in society are integrated </li></ul><ul><ul><li>humans have universal biological needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Culture functions to fulfill biol. needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One of early modern ethnographers </li></ul></ul>Trobriand Islanders at
  10. 10. Structural Functionalism <ul><ul><li>A.R. Radcliffe-Brown </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Andaman Islanders 1922 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Object of anthropology is to discover social laws </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customs (social practices) function to preserve the social structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ahistorical; concerned w/ structure & function, not history </li></ul></ul>Early & Recent Depictions of Andaman Is.
  11. 11. Configurationalism <ul><li>C ulture is integrated and patterned </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ruth Benedict - Patterns of Culture; The Chrysanthemum & the Sword </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Margaret Mead - Coming of Age in Samoa </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Psychological Anth </li></ul>Ruth Benedict
  12. 12. Neoevolutionism <ul><ul><li>White: General evolution : energy capture main measure and cause of cultural advance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Steward: Multilinear evolution : culture evolved along different lines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Also pioneer in cultural ecology (known as ecological anthropology) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Technology and environment main causes of cultural advance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>White and Steward reintroduced evolution with study of culture (1950) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Multilinear Evolution <ul><li>Julian Steward </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theory of Culture Change (1955) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cultural Ecology </li></ul><ul><li>Ecological Anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>Core culture </li></ul>Carrier Indian (British Columbia, Canada) consultant with J. Steward; courtesy of National Anthropology Archives
  14. 14. Materialist principles <ul><ul><ul><li>Cultures adapt humans to environment. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Environment shapes cultures </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Culture change is a process of adaptation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cultures change towards equilibrium </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Technology & economy are core elements </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Secondary cultural elements - religion, ritual, world view, myth </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Marvin Harris, Julian Steward , Elman Service </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Cultural Materialism <ul><ul><li>Marvin Harris (1927-2001) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Studied cultural-ecological relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Infrastructure> Structure > superstructure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Superstructure: religion, ideology, play determined by structure and infrastructure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sacred Cow-evolution of the cow as a taboo food </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cannibals & Kings 1977 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cows, Pigs, Wars, & Witches 1989 </li></ul></ul>Courtesy:
  16. 16. Symbolic Anthropology <ul><li>Victor Turner (1920-1983) - The Forest of Symbols (1967) </li></ul><ul><li>Symbolic anthropology (study of symbols in cultural context) </li></ul><ul><li>Rituals in rites of passage </li></ul><ul><li>Performance studies </li></ul>Rice feeding ceremony, Nepal
  17. 17. Symbolic principles of The Culture Concept <ul><li>Culture is a system of knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>etic/emic knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>rules of appropriate behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Competence & performance </li></ul><ul><li>Ideologies & practices </li></ul><ul><li>Universals of human cognition </li></ul><ul><li>Binary oppositions </li></ul><ul><li>Claude Levi-Strauss: “Universal structures of the human mind” </li></ul>
  18. 18. Interpretive Anthropology <ul><li>Culture is like a text with meanings to be deciphered </li></ul><ul><li>Emic approach highlighted </li></ul><ul><li>Clifford Geertz </li></ul><ul><li>Interpretive anthropology explores culture as a set of ideas </li></ul>Balinese Cockfighting
  19. 19. Structuralism <ul><li>L évi-Strauss (1908-) - claimed there are “Univ. structures of the human mind” common to Homo sapiens </li></ul><ul><li>Goal: Outline the structure of myths and understand the underlying ideology of the society </li></ul><ul><li>Binary oppositions (human/animal, life/death, good/bad, new/old, etc.) </li></ul>Greek Myth: Hercules & Minotaur
  20. 20. Processual Approaches: Practice Theory <ul><li>Practice theory : individuals within society have diverse motives and intentions and different degrees of power and influence </li></ul><ul><li>Agency : Individual actions </li></ul><ul><li>Pierre Bourdieu, Sherry Ortner </li></ul>Habitus: A field of choices; From P. Bourdieu, A Theory of Practice
  21. 21. World System(s) Theory (WST) <ul><ul><li>Capital – wealth or resources invested in business, with the intent of producing a profit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Capital is a social relationship, not an object </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Capitalist world economy – single world system committed to production for sale or exchange, with the object of maximizing profits rather than supplying domestic needs </li></ul>
  22. 22. Wallerstein’s World System Theory <ul><ul><li>Primarily concerned with exporting raw materials and agricultural goods to core and semiperiphery nations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Core nations - those with value-added products, highly mechanized </li></ul><ul><li>Semi-peripheral nations - those with some mechanization & export to peripheral nations </li></ul><ul><li>Periphery nations – nations with few mechanized economic activities </li></ul>
  23. 23. World Systems Theory (WST) <ul><ul><li>Immanuel Wallerstein (1930-) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Publishing since 1961; a recent book is World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Redistributes resourcces from periphery to core nations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1st world, 2nd world, 3rd world... </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Political Economy <ul><li>Emphasis on tracing history of power relations </li></ul><ul><li>Eric Wolf - Europe & the People without History (1982) </li></ul><ul><li>Sydney Mintz- Sweetness & Power (1985) </li></ul>Aurelio Tarrillo, in Peru discussing farming issues Photo: J. Fortier
  25. 25. Political Economies & Culture <ul><li>Sydney Mintz’s Sweetness & Power </li></ul><ul><li>the development of modern sugar production and consumption </li></ul>Sugar cane harvesting in the West Indies, c. 1830s
  26. 26. Recent Studies <ul><li>Anthropological studies have focused recently on - </li></ul><ul><li>Identity formation </li></ul><ul><li>Systems of power </li></ul><ul><li>Diasporas & migration issues </li></ul><ul><li>Globalization & tourism </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural resistence, resilience, revitalization </li></ul><ul><li>Medical issues in immigration camps </li></ul>
  27. 27. Recap 3.2: Timeline and Key Works in Anthropological Theory