Presentation on theme: "6 Theories of culture and how they relate to Language (Duranti Ch.2)"— Presentation transcript:
1 6 Theories of culture and how they relate to Language (Duranti Ch.2) Premise: Language as Cultural PracticeWhat is “Culture”?Critiques: reductive of complexity- colonial agenda and supremacy- dichotomies “them” versus “us”Minorities within mainstreamAnthropologies need to be aware of their roleAccess to elite academic cultureNew explore root metaphors and conceptsAvoid danger of defining
2 6 Theories of Culture as as Distinct from Nature (Goodenough) as Knowledge (Levy Strauss)as Communication (Geertz)as a system of Mediation (Marx)as a system of Practices (Bordieu)as a system of Participation (Lave)
3 Culture as distinct from Nature Evidence of culture as learnedThe “nature/culture” dichotomyEvidence of “crossroad” in Languagecapacity exists, particulars come from experience.Philosophical assumptions: Kant- Boas
4 Kant’s defines Anthropology “What a human being does because of his free spirit, as opposed to the natural laws which govern Human physiology”Duranti p. 25
5 HegelCulture as the process of estrangement or Entfremdung “getting out”Stepping out of one’s own limited ways of seeing things“Buildung” as in “build” and “picture” I.e. the image of God (Gadamer)Struggle to control instinct
6 SocializationShapes the child’s mind and behavior towards ways of thinking, speaking and acting accepted by a community beyond her family.
7 Language as part of culture Rich systems of language specific classification-Kant mathematics!Linguistic labels give cues about the types of social distinctions relevant for a give group (ex. No term for privacy, or “die” for people, animals and even machines!)-questions addressed by “Linguistic relativism”Structuralists carry out componential analysis: classes of objects, thoughts, actions, relationships, events, ideas, --Lexical distinctions (Goodenough, Spradley)
8 2. Culture as knowledgePremise: If culture is learned then much of is is Knowledge about the worldRe-cognize: objects, places, people ideasShare common patters of thought, ways of understanding the worldWays of making inferences and predictionsIn sum, cognitive view of the world
9 Goodenough, quote p. 27“Culture ….must consist of the end product of learning: knowledge in it’s most general sense. ..Not just things but their ORGANIZATION …The forms people have in mind, their models for perceiving, relating and otherwise interpreting them”Linguistic homology know a culture=knowing a language. Mental. How can we “explain” that bias?Goal of ethnography: describe cultural grammars.
10 Types of knowledge Propositional Procedural Know how Know-thatReferential function of language is keyNatural kinds- ethosemantics How do people turn into objects? (p. 29)ProceduralKnow howShift toward innativist view (Chomsky)
11 Culture as socially distributed knowledge How people think is real situations (Lave) math in weight watchers, math in grocery shoppingTwo assumptionsOne, Individual is not endpoint of acquisitionTwo, not everyone has access to same information or uses of techniquesExample Hutchings and navigation as team
12 Study of quarter-masters Quote by HutchinsUnit of analysis for talking about cognitionInclude human and environmental resources“Complex task involves web of co-ordination between media and processes inside and outside the individual task performance
13 In sum, Knowledge distributed amongst Tools and ParticipantsLearning from formal instructions is rare…More like cooking: need to be in the task, watch an expertHence apprenticeship is the most common way to transmit knowledge
14 Stereotyping through Language As a system of classificationAs a practice, a way to “taking and giving” to the world (p32)Implication: using the “same” expression does not connot4 the “same” meaningRather “capacity for mutual prediction” Wallace 1962Gumpez (1982) shows how language can be a barrier to social integration
15 3. Culture as communication 3.1 Levy Strauss and the Semiotic approachExtends Jacobson to The Cooking example: The raw and the cookedBinary distinctions
16 2.3 Clifford Geertz and the interpretative approach Cultural differences are not seen as variations for universal abstract thoughtInterest in method of inquiry “never-ending interpretative process characteristic of human experienceFollowing Weber man as “animal suspended in the webs of significance he himself spun”
17 Ethnography as Thick description Thick description of a human behavior is one that explains not just the behavior, but its context as well, such that the behavior becomes meaningful to an outsider.Difference between a “blink” and a “wink” the meaning of a wink depends on the context. As the context so does the meaning of the winkThick description describes the context of the practices and discourse in the societyParticipation produces and reproduces worldviews, including local notions of Person (or Self)
18 2.3.3 Indexicality and meta-pragmatics Communicative force of culture entails not just representing aspects of reality but connecting individuals, groups and individuals to each other.Communication as a way to point towards, bringing into the context beliefs, feelings, identities, events bringing them into the present= the indexical meaning of signsLanguage through indexicalitiy provides a theory of action or a meta-pragmatics
19 2.3.4 Metaphors as folk theories of the world Define metaphor: “The use of a word or phrase to refer to something that it isn't, implying a similarity between the word or phrase used and the thing described” Wikitionarymetaphors allow us to understand one domain of experience in terms of anotherTime flies like an arrowShe broke the silenceThe head of state (states as beings with a head)
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