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6 Theories of culture and how they relate to Language (Duranti Ch.2)

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1 6 Theories of culture and how they relate to Language (Duranti Ch.2)
Premise: Language as Cultural Practice What is “Culture”? Critiques: reductive of complexity - colonial agenda and supremacy - dichotomies “them” versus “us” Minorities within mainstream Anthropologies need to be aware of their role Access to elite academic culture New explore root metaphors and concepts Avoid 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 learned The “nature/culture” dichotomy Evidence of “crossroad” in Language capacity 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 Hegel Culture 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 Socialization Shapes 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 knowledge Premise: If culture is learned then much of is is Knowledge about the world Re-cognize: objects, places, people ideas Share common patters of thought, ways of understanding the world Ways of making inferences and predictions In 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-that Referential function of language is key Natural kinds- ethosemantics How do people turn into objects? (p. 29) Procedural Know how Shift toward innativist view (Chomsky)

11 Culture as socially distributed knowledge
How people think is real situations (Lave) math in weight watchers, math in grocery shopping Two assumptions One, Individual is not endpoint of acquisition Two, not everyone has access to same information or uses of techniques Example Hutchings and navigation as team

12 Study of quarter-masters
Quote by Hutchins Unit of analysis for talking about cognition Include 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 Participants Learning from formal instructions is rare… More like cooking: need to be in the task, watch an expert Hence apprenticeship is the most common way to transmit knowledge

14 Stereotyping through Language
As a system of classification As a practice, a way to “taking and giving” to the world (p32) Implication: using the “same” expression does not connot4 the “same” meaning Rather “capacity for mutual prediction” Wallace 1962 Gumpez (1982) shows how language can be a barrier to social integration

15 3. Culture as communication
3.1 Levy Strauss and the Semiotic approach Extends Jacobson to The Cooking example: The raw and the cooked Binary distinctions

16 2.3 Clifford Geertz and the interpretative approach
Cultural differences are not seen as variations for universal abstract thought Interest in method of inquiry “never-ending interpretative process characteristic of human experience Following 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 wink Thick description describes the context of the practices and discourse in the society Participation 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 signs Language 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” Wikitionary metaphors allow us to understand one domain of experience in terms of another Time flies like an arrow She broke the silence The head of state (states as beings with a head)

20 4. Culture as a system of Mediation

21 5. Culture as a system of Practices
Based on Heidegger “way of being in the world” Heath?

22 6. Culture as a System of participation

23 On Predicting and interpreting

24 Conclusion


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