Sc2218 lecture 13 (2010)


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Lecture 13: World Anthropologies and Review

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Sc2218 lecture 13 (2010)

  1. 1. SC2218: Anthropology andSC2218: Anthropology and the Human Conditionthe Human Condition Lecture 13: World Anthropologies,Lecture 13: World Anthropologies, Review of LecturesReview of Lectures Eric C. ThompsonEric C. Thompson Semester 1, 2010/2011Semester 1, 2010/2011
  2. 2. The Final Lecture…The Final Lecture… • Challenges for Anthropology Today • World Anthropologies • Reflections on the Course – A Rapid Review – What to Make of Anthropology?
  3. 3. Anthropology in the 21Anthropology in the 21stst CenturyCentury Three Challenges to Anthropology: • 1. The Human Challenge – Who are the anthropologists of the 21st 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. 4. In a changing world,In a changing world, how shall anthropologyhow shall anthropology get on with the job?get on with the job?
  5. 5. Who are the Anthropologists?Who are the Anthropologists? “Strangers Abroad” and Others . . .“Strangers Abroad” and Others . . .
  6. 6. The Human Challenge:The Human Challenge: Anthropologists in the 21Anthropologists in the 21stst CenturyCentury Three Models of Anthropologists: • “Colonial Encounters” – 19th & 20th 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. 7. ““A Man without Pigs”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. 8. American Anthropology, c.2010American Anthropology, c.2010 • Early 20th century: Anglo-American Anthropology (British & American) • Late 20th 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. 9. Twenty-three Influential ScholarsTwenty-three Influential Scholars in American Anthropology Todayin 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. 10. Who is Shaping American Anthropology?Who is Shaping American Anthropology? (Based on List of 23 Scholars)(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. 11. Trends by PhD FieldTrends 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. 12. Trends in American AnthropologyTrends 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. 13. Two TrendsTwo Trends • American Anthropology becoming more International • Development of World Anthropologies
  14. 14. The Theoretical Challenge:The Theoretical Challenge: Culture, Discourse, & TheoryCulture, Discourse, & Theory Evolving Anthropological Theory: • 19th Century: Race • 20th Century: Culture • 21st Century: Discourse, Power • New concepts and ways of understanding human diversity evolve out of ongoing empirical research and theoretical reflection.
  15. 15. Evolving Anthropological Theory:Evolving Anthropological Theory: • 19th Century: Race – Human behavior and variation explained by biology • 20th Century: Culture – Human behavior and variation explained by symbolic systems (culture) and human relationships (society) • 21st 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. 16. Trends in American AnthropologyTrends in American Anthropology Theory and Practice, 1980 - NowTheory and Practice, 1980 - Now • Critique of Traditional Anthropology • Postcolonialism • Postmodernism • Poststructuralism, Discourse • Nationalism, Imagined Communities • Globalization • Neoliberalism • Applied/Action Anthropology
  17. 17. The Empirical Challenge:The Empirical Challenge: Globalization & PostmodernityGlobalization & 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. 18. What to make of ANTHROPOLOGY?
  19. 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. 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. 21. AnthropologyAnthropology anthropos = humankind logia = study of the study of YOU, AND ME AND ALL OF US
  22. 22. AND NOW…AND NOW… A RAPID REVIEWA RAPID REVIEW Email:Email: For consultation duringFor consultation during Reading WeekReading Week
  23. 23. AnthropologyAnthropology anthropos = humankind logia = study of the study of people
  24. 24. The Objective of AnthropologyThe 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. 25. Themes: Major Topics that AnthropologistsThemes: Major Topics that Anthropologists study from a Cultural Perspectivestudy 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. 26. The Concept of CultureThe 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 19th 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. 27. Dr. Eric’s definitions ofDr. Eric’s definitions of Cultural and SocialCultural 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. 28. Culture is…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. 29. KinshipKinship • 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. 30. Gender and SexualityGender 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. 31. Economics and ExchangeEconomics 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. 32. Culture of Economics & ExchangeCulture 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. 33. Commodification of Human RelationshipsCommodification 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. 34. CommunityCommunity • 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. 35. The “Crisis of Representation”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. 36. Anthropology c.1960-1980Anthropology 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 19th 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. 37. Problems c.1960-1980Problems 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. 38. Trends in American AnthropologyTrends in American Anthropology Theory and Practice, 1980 - NowTheory and Practice, 1980 - Now • Critique of Traditional Anthropology • Postcolonialism • Postmodernism • Poststructuralism, Discourse • Nationalism, Imagined Communities • Globalization • Neoliberalism • Applied/Action Anthropology
  39. 39. World AnthropologiesWorld Anthropologies • New Anthropological Traditions • Native Anthropology • National Anthropologies • What is next… ? • Networking New, World Anthropologies
  40. 40. Questions?Questions? Email:Email: For consultation duringFor consultation during Reading WeekReading Week