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Sc2218 lecture 13 (2010)


Lecture 13: World Anthropologies and Review

Lecture 13: World Anthropologies and Review

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  • 1. SC2218: Anthropology and the Human Condition Lecture 13: World Anthropologies, Review of Lectures Eric C. Thompson Semester 1, 2010/2011
  • 2. The Final Lecture…
    • Challenges for Anthropology Today
    • World Anthropologies
    • Reflections on the Course
      • A Rapid Review
      • What to Make of Anthropology?
  • 3. Anthropology in the 21 st Century
    • Three Challenges to Anthropology:
    • 1. The Human Challenge
      • Who are the anthropologists of the 21 st century?
      • How and why does it matter who the anthropologists are?
    • 2. The Theoretical Challenge
      • What are anthropology’s major theoretical frameworks?
      • How will they change and how are they relevant to contemporary questions?
    • 3. The Empirical Challenge
      • How is the world changing?
      • How is anthropology relevant in a new kind of world?
  • 4. In a changing world, how shall anthropology get on with the job?
  • 5. Who are the Anthropologists? “Strangers Abroad” and Others . . .
  • 6. The Human Challenge: Anthropologists in the 21 st Century
    • Three Models of Anthropologists:
    • “ Colonial Encounters”
      • 19 th & 20 th Century historical roots of Anthropology
      • Rivers, Evans-Pritchard
    • “ Native” Anthropologists
      • Non-Europeans studying their “own” society from an anthropological perspective.
      • George Hunt, John Waiko
    • Post-colonial “Strangers Abroad”
      • Anthropology in a post-colonial, global era
      • Beyond a North-South, West-East relationship
      • Amitav Ghosh
    Amitav Ghosh John Waiko
  • 7. “ A Man without Pigs”
    • How does John Waiko’s approach to anthropology compare to that of other anthropologists we have studied in this course? What are some of the similarities and differences ? How does John Waiko’s experience compare to that of other “strangers abroad”?
    • What is John Waiko’s status in his home village? How does that compare with and relate to his status outside his village?
    • What sort of politics and economics do you see in action in the film? How would a structural or structural-functional analysis help us to understand Bendari political-economy? How would a poststructural (discursive, historical) analysis help? What would be key features to focus on in each type of analysis?
    • How is the system of debts and relationships changing? Why?
  • 8. American Anthropology, c.2010
    • Early 20 th century: Anglo-American Anthropology (British & American)
    • Late 20 th century: American anthropology became dominant; British anthropology declined in prominence.
    • American Anthropology is the most influential anthropology worldwide today.
    • What are recent trends in American Anthropology?
  • 9. Twenty-three Influential Scholars in American Anthropology Today
    • Survey of Graduate Students (October 2010)*
    • Venerable Generation (pre-1970s PhD)
      • Benedict Anderson, Talal Asad, Mikhail Bakhtin, Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Foucault, Clifford Geertz, David Harvey, Edward Said
    • Senior Generation (1970s PhD)
      • Arjun Appadurai, Joan Comaroff, John Comaroff, Veena Das, Bruno Latour, George Marcus, Sherry Ortner, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Michael Taussig
    • Recent Generation (1980s PhD)
      • Phillippe Bourgois, James Ferguson, Akhil Gupta, Webb Keane, Anna Tsing, Aihwa Ong
    *Survey of Six leading graduate schools in cultural anthropology. Conducted by NUS Graduate students in SC6212: The Anthropological Perspective.
  • 10. Who is Shaping American Anthropology? (Based on List of 23 Scholars)
    • Nationalities: American(7), French(3), Indian(3), British(2), South African(2), Australian(1), Malaysian(1), Palestinian(1), Saudi(1)
    • 17 Men, 6 Women
      • All 7 of the “venerable” generation are men.
      • 9 men, 6 Women in more recent generations.
      • In 6 departments surveyed, faculty members are 61 men and 60 women; those with PhD’s since 1991, 29 women and 14 men.
    • Disciplines: American Anthropology(11), British Anthropology(4), French Sociology(3), Literary Theory(2), Geography(1), Indian Social Anthropology(1), Politics(1)
  • 11. Trends by PhD Field
    • PhD Fields by Generation:
      • Pre-1970s: French Sociology(2), Literary Theory(2), American Anthropology(1), British Anthropology(1), Geography(1), Politics(1)
      • 1970s: American Anthropology(4), British Anthropology(3), French Sociology(1), Indian Social Anthropology(1)
      • 1980s: American Anthropology(6)
    • Few anthropologists in pre-1970s generation.
    • None trained outside American Anthropology in most recent generation; but several “immigrant anthropologists” (not American by birth).
  • 12. Trends in American Anthropology
    • Few anthropologists from pre-1970s
    • Influence of French Sociology (Bourdieu, Foucault, Latour)
    • Declining influence of British Anthropology
    • Rising influence of anthropologists and others from former British colonies (India, Malaysia, Palestine, Middle East)
  • 13. Two Trends
    • American Anthropology becoming more International
    • Development of World Anthropologies
  • 14. The Theoretical Challenge: Culture, Discourse, & Theory
    • Evolving Anthropological Theory:
    • 19 th Century: Race
    • 20 th Century: Culture
    • 21 st Century: Discourse, Power
    • New concepts and ways of understanding human diversity evolve out of ongoing empirical research and theoretical reflection.
  • 15. Evolving Anthropological Theory:
    • 19 th Century: Race
      • Human behavior and variation explained by biology
    • 20 th Century: Culture
      • Human behavior and variation explained by symbolic systems (culture) and human relationships (society)
    • 21 st Century: Discourse, Power
      • Culture is a process, always changing, always in motion; not a fixed thing, structure or ‘product’ (see: film “Sight Unseen”)
      • Culture is not neutral. It involves Power; contested ideas of understanding of ourselves and others.
  • 16. Trends in American Anthropology Theory and Practice, 1980 - Now
    • Critique of Traditional Anthropology
    • Postcolonialism
    • Postmodernism
    • Poststructuralism, Discourse
    • Nationalism, Imagined Communities
    • Globalization
    • Neoliberalism
    • Applied/Action Anthropology
  • 17. The Empirical Challenge: Globalization & Postmodernity
    • Historically, anthropology has focused on (cultural) difference associated with (relative) isolation .
    • Radical “time-space” compression is a hallmark of globalization and postmodernity.* (*See for example: Arjun Appadurai (1996) Modernity at Large ; David Harvey (1989) The Condition of Postmodernity )
    • Anthropologist now must apply their concepts (culture, social structure, discourse, etc.) and develop new concepts for understanding phenomena such as:
      • Mass Culture (mass communications, television, etc.)
      • Multiple identities (e.g. John Waiko: Professor of Anthropology, Member of a Binandere Clan)
  • 18. What to make of ANTHROPOLOGY?
  • 19. 1st Generation Cultural Structures (Grammars, Words, Styles, Signifiers) 1st Generation Agents (Subjects/Individuals) (Drawing on the Structures to relate to others , influence action , interpret meanings – their own and others ) Culture as an Iterative Process Agents are “Subjects” of (“subject to”) cultural structures – they cannot operate meaningfully outside of the structure. Cultural Structures are emergent structures, dependent on the agents for their existence.
  • 20. 1st Generation Cultural Structures 1st Generation Agents (Subjects) 2nd Generation Agents (Subjects) 2nd Generation Cultural Structures Culture always changes, CULTURE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT!
  • 21. Anthropology
    • anthropos = humankind
    • logia = study of
    • the study of YOU, AND ME AND ALL OF US
  • 22. AND NOW… A RAPID REVIEW Email: [email_address] For consultation during Reading Week
  • 23. Anthropology
    • anthropos = humankind
    • logia = study of
    • the study of people
  • 24. The Objective of Anthropology
    • Why do people do the things they do?
    • Before Modern Anthropology:
      • Because of their race (biology).
      • Because they are less intelligent.
      • Because they are superstitious.
      • Because they are primitive or less evolved.
    • Modern Anthropology: Culture
    • Current Anthropology: Discourse, Power
  • 25. Themes: Major Topics that Anthropologists study from a Cultural Perspective
    • Families and Kinship
    • Gender and Sexuality
    • Economics and Exchange
    • Ethnicity, Race, Nationalism and other forms of “Imagined Communities”
    • Anthropologists Study many other aspects of “the human condition”
      • Medical Anthropology
      • Religion
      • Emotions
      • Politics
      • And many other topics!
  • 26. The Concept of Culture
    • Holistic views of human affairs (e.g. E.B. Tylor’s definition).
    • Respect for cultures as unique ways that different people have developed.
      • Boas’s attack on 19 th theories of unilinear social evolution
      • Cultures have to be understood on their own terms (not as “stages” in human development)
    E.B. Tylor Franz Boas
  • 27. Dr. Eric’s definitions of Cultural and Social
    • Culture refers to our signaling systems (which, among other things, coordinate our actions)
      • Culture is learned, shared knowledge
      • Cultural systems are systems of meaning
    • Social refers to our behavioral systems , specifically those behaviors through which we relate to other people (e.g. exchanges)
      • Social Systems are systems of relationship and exchange.
  • 28. Culture is…
    • A system of shared meanings.
    • A system for signaling and reproducing those shared meanings.
    • Social-Cultural Systems:
      • Kinship and Marriage
      • Gender and Sexuality
      • Economics and Exchange
      • Communities and Identities
  • 29. Kinship
    • Kinship = Social-Cultural Elaborations of Biological Reproduction
    • Marriage = Cultural recognition of a sexual relationship; legitimization of paternity.
    • Kinship is “based in” biology.
    • But kinship is not determined by biology.
  • 30. Gender and Sexuality
    • Gender and Sexuality are a cultural systems “ built on ” sex
      • They are socially and culturally constructed
    • Sexual biology matters – if we were hydra or clown fish, we would have different gender systems or none at all.
    • BUT, we can and do build many different gender and sexual systems.
  • 31. Economics and Exchange
    • Economics: the study of the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.
    • Economy: a system of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.
    • Exchange:
      • Distributing Goods and Services AND
      • Creating/Enacting Relationships among People
  • 32. Culture of Economics & Exchange
    • Economics does not just meet “basic needs”.
    • People enact relationships based on beliefs and knowledge (cultural models).
    • Examples:
      • !Xharo exchange
      • Kula Ring
      • Potlatch
      • Wholesale Sushi
      • Branding, Modern Stock Exchange, Money
  • 33. Commodification of Human Relationships
    • Culture Values in Modern, Economically “Rational” Markets:
    • Money
      • Arbitrary symbolic value based on shared beliefs
    • Commodity Fetishism
      • Valuing the relationship among goods; devaluing relationships among people
  • 34. Community
    • Communities are based in senses of belonging and identity.
    • Markers of commonality are arbitrary. They are socially and culturally agreed upon.
    • Communities exist because people imagine them to exist. (They are fundamentally cultural – shared belief, ideas, feelings).
    • Communities are not “fictional”… They are social and cultural realities .
  • 35. The “Crisis of Representation”
    • How have anthropologists represented the people they study?
    • How and why are these representations problematic?
    • Issues from the reflexive “Writing Culture” movement of the 1980s & 1990s.*
    *Reflexive – an action directed or turned back on the agent of that action; marked by or capable of reflection
  • 36. Anthropology c.1960-1980
    • Scientific, Structural-Functional Approach
    • Cultural Relativism; Non-hierarchical (no culture is better than another; they are just different)
    • Non-evolutionary (rejection of unilinear evolution of cultural ‘stages’ from 19 th c.)
    • Societies and Cultures seen as “Whole”, functional, equilibrium systems (structures) of thought and behavior
    • Most anthropologists are white (European / American) men doing research in the “Third World”.
  • 37. Problems c.1960-1980
    • If cultures are whole, equilibrium systems, how does one account for change?
    • Entry of larger numbers women and non-Europeans into anthropology, began to question male and Euro-centric biases.
    • Critique of Ethnography: Representations of “Others” by Europeans for Europeans
    • Critique of Colonialism, Anthropology’s Role
    • Globalization, Urbanization, Rapid Change
  • 38. Trends in American Anthropology Theory and Practice, 1980 - Now
    • Critique of Traditional Anthropology
    • Postcolonialism
    • Postmodernism
    • Poststructuralism, Discourse
    • Nationalism, Imagined Communities
    • Globalization
    • Neoliberalism
    • Applied/Action Anthropology
  • 39. World Anthropologies
    • New Anthropological Traditions
    • Native Anthropology
    • National Anthropologies
    • What is next… ?
    • Networking New, World Anthropologies
  • 40. Questions? Email: [email_address] For consultation during Reading Week