Theory of queer custom


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Theory of queer custom

  1. 1. Article #1 Body Rituals Among the Nacirema: Horace Miner -the point is that rituals hold together a society...not all societies. Rituals are part of what makes a society; therefore, in order to understand someone of a different sociological background, one must think outside the box that is America's way of viewing things. -He describes the extreme rituals that people hold in America which he introduces his topic, ritual activity, "the focus" of which is the human body, the appearance and health of which looms as a dominant concern in the ethos of the people rticle #2 Queer Customs: Clyde Kluckhohn -Refers to culture as a "design for living." -Examined culture by showing how it is different from biological influences on our behavior, how culture influences biological processes, how it is learned rather than being genetically transmitted, and how it functions to help people adapt to their environment. -Reminds us that the study of other cultures allow us to better understand our own culture -Culture arises out of human nature -Culture is a way of thinking, feeling, believing -The biological functioning of individuals is modified if they have been trained in certain ways and not in others Ferraro Article 3: Rapport-talk and Report-talk: Deborah Tannen -Women verbally communicate in order to build rapport with others, which involves emotional self-disclosure and emphasizes showing empathy and understanding. -Report-talk involves verbally communicating in order to establish and maintain status and power. Personal disclosures are often avoided so they do not appear vulnerable to the other. -More men feel comfortable doing "public speaking" -More women feel comfortable doing "private speaking" -The problem with communication between couples is a difference in conversational style. Women and men have different styles of talking and therefore different expectations when it comes to communicating between each other. The reason there is differences is the way they have grown up, culture. Ferraro Article 4: The Sounds of Silence: Edward T. Hall The main point of this article is that there are numerous other ways of communicating and expressing oneself without ever speaking or verbally communicating. -This nonverbal communication can be used both intentionally or unintentionally, consciously or subconsciously, to tell other people how you feel about yourself or them. -These nonverbal cues vary from culture to culture so it becomes challenging to fully comprehend nonverbal communication. -Show members of your own culture what kind of person you are, how you feel about others, how you'll fit into and work in a group, personality traits (assured or anxious),
  2. 2. the degree of comfort with own cultural standards, and deep feelings towards yourself -While it is impossible to ever completely know the importance of each nonverbal signal it is important to realize the power of the signals and their affects. Article #5 Eating Christmas in the Kalahari: Richard Lee -shows not only how tough it is for an ethnographer to get away from his own beliefs, but it also gives us an example of how personal interpretations can interfere between people. -Classic example of cross-cultural misunderstanding -Lee tried to understand other peoples' behaviors in terms of the assumptions of their own culture -Lee was a target for enforcing humility -brought them a fat ox as a gift -Believe that unusual gifts always involve some ulterior motive so they denigrate these gifts -The reaction conforms to a model of reverse dominance hierarchy -use ridicule in order to instill humility Article # 6 The Domestication of Wood in Haiti: Gerald F. Murray -He submitted his report fully expecting it to be "as dutifully perused and as honorably filed and forgotten as similar reports I had done elsewhere" (218). To his surprise, he was called on to implement his recommendations in a rare instance of a project "whose very existence was rooted in anthropological research and whose very character was determined by ongoing anthropological direction" (222). By taking enough time to truly understand the peasants' motivation to destroy the trees they were coerced to plant by day and to thoroughly examine the institutional roots of earlier project failures, Murray was able to succeed in getting trees growing again in Haiti. -Using his anthropological knowledge of Haitian peasants, Gerald Murray designs and administers an astoundingly successful reforestation project. Wood as a cash crop makes good economic sense to Haitian farmers; as a consequence, both production and agricultural earnings increase. Article #8 Death Without Weeping: Nancy Scheper- Hughes The relationship between chronic child loss and poverty and a mother's ability to express maternal love is the central theme of the book. Scheper-Hughes proposes that when conditions of high fertility and high infant mortality prevail, the death of a child is the norm for poor families; mothers do not grieve when a fragile child dies, and maternal acceptance (routinization) of child death may actually jeopardize the life of certain children. Mothers invest only in those infants likely to survive and distance themselves psychologically from vulnerable infants and withdraw love and care. This thesis rejects current research on mother-infant interaction and the belief (which Scheper-Hughes call a modern "bourgeois" notion) that mother love is a universal phenomenon). -given its depiction of women forced by horrific circumstances to ration their love and
  3. 3. favor towards infants and toddlers who seemed to have the best chance of survival, and (even more controversial) her description of mothers "collaborating" and "hastening" the deaths of infants thought to be lacking a will (desejo), a knack (jeito), or a taste (gusto) for life. Death without Weeping has become something of a classic within the field of medical anthropology -Non traditional ethnographic work Article #9 Society and Sex Roles: Ernestine Friedl -Comparing a variety of hunting and gathering groups, she concludes that relations between men and women are shaped by a culturally defined division of labor based on sex, not by inherited predisposition. Given access to resources that circulate publicly, women can attain equal or dominant status in any society, including our own. -For many of the societies that Friedlanalyzes the inequality between men and women exist in the capacity to own power and objectifications of it. --Friedl argues that the reason lies in the division of public and private realms. In social orders where males were seen as public figures, or individuals who had an identity outside of the home, there was a greater sense of social prestige and a higher propensity to view the private as not as important as the public. In social orders where both genders were able to partake in the public, there is greater sexual equality present -The overarching theme in both examples is that the glorification of the public realm and who is able to exercise power within it is what helps to define sexual equality in these social orders. Article #11 TheKpelle Moot: James Gibbs -has attempted to add to our understanding of informal dispute-settlement procedures in one African society by using an eclectic but organized collection of concepts from jurisprudence, ethno-law, and psychology -Moots being private are less susceptible to the surveillance of the anthropologists than courtroom hearings, thus there are fewer transcripts of moots than court hearings. -The informal moot, a method of resolving disputes among the Kpelle of Liberia, is significantly different from our court system. It emphasizes the mending of social relations between the disputing parties; the process of the hearing is therapeutic. The moot is a useful alternative model for settling disputes in our own society. -identified factors that contributed to the long-term reconciliation of the problem. First, the proceedings, although "spirited," remained orderly and open—any person present was allowed to speak at any time. This allowed for all parties to feel they had been "heard" on the issues at hand. They also felt they had an impact on the final resolution of the dispute. A second factor was that the faults of both parties were pointed out. Though Wama Nya was found to be in the wrong, he was not singled out and labelled as deviant. -Disputes include matters such as a son seducing his father's wives, a grown son disobeying his father, or a husband or wife failing in his or her duties to a spouse. Disputes between unrelated persons involve matters like quarrelling, abuse, assault, false accusations, petty theft, adultery, and failure to settle debts. Ferraro article 12: Anthropology and Counterinsurgency
  4. 4. -the absence of the application of cultural anthropology in the US military establishment. -Lack of cultural understanding caused by.... US military/national security establishment completely ignored the field of cultural anthropology. -Anthropologists have avoided working with the national security establishment due to fear of jeopardizing their ethical responsibility of protecting lives of individuals they study -Successful counterinsurgency depends on... Attaining a holistic total understanding of cultures Cultural understanding must be very deep -To defeat the insurgency in Iraq, the US must recognize and exploit the underlying tribal structure of the country, the power held by traditional authority figures, the use of Islam as a political ideology, the competing interests of Shia, the Sunni and the Kurds, the psychological effects of totalitarianism, and the divide between urban and rural. Article # 13 The Notion of Witchcraft Explains Unfortunate Events: E.E. Evans- Pritchard -Zande philosophy can supply the missing link"(23). Where we say chance or coincidence, the Zande say witchcraft. Their theory is not opposed to scientific, empirical causation - it simply goes beyond that. They link all events to causes in the social world, not just the natural world. In this way, witchcraft is not only a system of explanation but a method for restoring social harmony. -Any misfortune may be due to witchcraft, unless it is clearly the person's fault through immoral behavior (i.e. they stole, lied, committed adultery, etc.). If someone falls unexpectedly ill, it may be witchcraft. If someone experiences an unfortunate "accident," it may be witchcraft. If someone dies, it may be witchcraft. Essentially, witchcraft explains unfortunate events and disrupted social relations. -E.E. Evans-Pritchard gives the example of an old granary collapsing. This simply happens from time to time. It is a common occurrence because termites eat the beams and, besides, all wood eventually decays -they said it was witchcraft Article # 14 Baseball Magic: George Gmelch -Americans pride themselves on their scientific approach to life and problem solving. But as George Gmelch demonstrates in this article, American baseball players, much like people in many parts of the world, also turn to supernatural forces to ensure success in their athletic endeavors. Gmelch shows that magical ritual, taboos, and fetishes surround aspects of baseball that are least predictable, thus most likely to challenge human control. -To professional baseball players, baseball is more than just a game. It is an occupation. Since their livelihoods depend on how well they perform, many use magic to try to control or eliminate the chance and uncertainty built into baseball. In baseball there are three essential activities; pitching, hitting, and fielding. Each varies in the amount of chance and uncertainty associated with it. The pitcher is the player least able to control the outcome of his own efforts.