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A Brief History of Anthropology

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1 A Brief History of Anthropology

2 19th Century Characteristics
Industrial Revolution Science Positivism Rationalism – Reason Rapid Change Progress Christianity under attack Age of Empire Philosophy of History With the industrial revolution literally steaming ahead the 19th century was a century of rapid change

3 To the Victorian mind it was far better to be civilized than to be a “savage”

4 Anthropology: A Branch of History
`the history, not of tribes or nations, but of the condition of knowledge, religion, art, custom, and the like among them' (Tylor 1871 I: 5). "no conception can be understood except through its history is a maxim which all ethnographers may adopt as a standing rule". (Tylor 1871). `the past is continuously needed to explain the present and the whole to explain the part' (Tylor 1865: 2). `there seems no human thought so primitive as to have lost its bearing on our own thought, nor so ancient as to have broken its connection with our own life' (Tylor 1871).

5 The Savage Becomes the Primitive Making Stone Tools New Guinea
Australia The Savage Becomes the Primitive `the master-key to the investigation of man's primeval condition is held by Prehistoric Archaeology. Making Stone Tools New Guinea This key is the evidence of the Stone Age, proving that men of remotely ancient ages were in the savage state' (Tylor 1871 I: 58).

6 “Looking over a collection of their [quaternary man's] implements and weapons on a museum shelf we may fairly judge by analogy that in their moral habits, as in their material arts, they had much in common with the rudest savages of modern times, users like them of chipped stone and flint.” (Tylor 1873a: 702)

7 Central tenet Ona of Tierra del Fuego “The condition of savage and barbarous tribes often more or less fairly represent stages of culture through which our own ancestors passed long ago' (Tylor 1871) Anthropologists could then use the `indirect evidence' provided by contemporary savagery `as a means of re-constructing the lost records of early or barbarous times' (1865: 5).

8 Writing, urban life; flowering of arts, architecture
CIVILIZATION: Writing, urban life; flowering of arts, architecture universal sequence of “stages” through which it was hypothesized all societies will sooner or later pass unless their development is arrested by some exogenous circumstance (extinction, conquest, absorption by another society or achieving a perfect equilibrium with the environment) BARBARISM: settled life; markets, rise of chiefs and kings, agriculture, arts develop SAVAGERY: hunting and gathering; no surplus production; no permanent cohesive unit wider than band, stone tools

9 U N I F O R M I T Y O F S T A G E S A present day society in the stage of Barbarism (e.g. Hawai’i or Samoa) could shed light on the distant past when northern European society was in the stage of Barbarism just as an Australian Aboriginal society could inform Europeans of their history in the stage of Savagery Europeans Hawai’i Australian Aborigines

10 Uniformitarian principle
The same kind of development in culture which has gone on inside our range of knowledge has also gone on outside it, its course of proceeding being unaffected by our having or not having reporters present. If any one holds that human thought and action were worked out in primæval times according to laws essentially other than those of the modern world, it is for him to prove by valid evidence this anomalous state of things, otherwise the doctrine of permanent principle will hold good, as in astronomy or geology. That the tendency of culture has been similar throughout the existence of human society, and that we may fairly judge from its known historic course what its prehistoric course may have been, is a theory clearly entitled to precedence as a fundamental principle of ethnographic research. (1871a I: 32-33)

11 “The phenomena of Culture may be classified and arranged, stage by stage, in a probable order of evolution” (1871 I: 6) Hand Gonne c.1400 Matchlock Wheellock Flintlock “it is desirable to work out a systematically as possible a scheme of evolution of this culture along its many lines”. P. 21

12 Survivals Among evidence aiding us to trace the course which the civilization of the world has actually followed, is that great class of facts to denote which I have found it convenient to introduce the term “Survivals”. Maypole Dancing Outskirts of London, 1891 These are processes, customs, opinions, and so forth which have been carried on by force of habit into a new state of society different from that in which they had their original home, and they thus remain as proofs and examples of an older condition of culture out of which a newer has evolved…. Such examples lead us back to the habits of hundreds and even thousands of years ago, p. 16. “games, popular sayings, customs, superstitions, and the like”.

13 E.B. Tylor 1832-1917 1871 Primitive Culture
correlates the three levels of social evolution to types of religion: Savagery — animism barbarism — polytheism civilization — monotheism Also linked to morality

14 John Ferguson McLennan, (1827-81)
1865 Primitive Marriage: An Enquiry into the Origin of the Form of Capture in Marriage Ceremonies first stage was a time of sexual promiscuity Female infanticide led to a shortage of women, who had to be shared in a polyandrous matriarchal situation Because men don’t like to share wives they captured them from neighbors (exogamy) – patriarchy and monogamy

15 Lewis Henry Morgan (1818 – 1881) 1851 League of the Iroquois
1871 Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity 1877 Ancient Society

16 Assumptions of Nineteenth Century Evolutionism
1. Like the natural world the cultural world is governed by laws that science can discover. 2. These laws operated on the distant past as they do on the present. - Uniformitarianism 3. The present grows out of the past by a continuous process - developmentalism 4. This growth is simple to complex. 5. All humans share a single psychic nature – are rational 6. The moving force of cultural development is interaction with the environment.

17 Assumptions of Nineteenth Century Evolutionism Continued
7. Different development is due to different environments. 8. These differences can be measured. 9. In these terms cultures can be ordered in a hierarchical manner. 10. Certain contemporary cultures are like earlier stages. 11. In the absence of data these stages can be reconstructed by the comparative method. 12. The results of the comparative method can be confirmed by the study of survivals.

Is the Central Tenet Valid? Is it Ethnocentric? Did the Data support the theory? Is the Doctrine of survivals valid?

19 The Growth of Fieldwork N. Chagnon in Brazil with the Yanomamo

20 3 Impetuses Increasing knowledge of other cultures
dissatisfaction with the quality and quantity of much of the data contained in the ethnological writings the belief that the ‘savage’ tribes in their ‘natural’ state were rapidly disappearing in the face of contact with the more civilized nations

21 Increasing knowledge of other cultures
Explorers and travellers were replaced by government officials and missionaries who formed a closer association with the people they were in contact with. Appearance of Literary journals such as The Fortnightly Review ( ), The Nineteenth Century (1877), The Academy (1871) The Contemporary Review (1866- ) First Monographs e.g. The Native Tribes of Central Australia (1899), B. Spencer and F. Gillen Questionnaires

22 Notes and Queries on Anthropology 1874
Purpose: `to promote accurate anthropological observation on the part of travellers, and to enable those who are not anthropologists to supply the information, which is needed for the scientific study of anthropology at home' (BAAS 1874: vii).

23 Fear that “primitive” tribes were rapidly disappearing
Tierra del Fuego has probably been inhabited for at least 9000 years. Around 1880 there were between 3500 and 4000 Ona In 1919 there were < 300 By 1930 < 100 Ona remained. the last full-blooded Ona died in 1977. Onas hunting in Tierra Del Fuego c. 1900 `In view of the fast vanishing "primitive" cultures, and the rapid extinction of some of the more primitive and ethnologically interesting races the importance of such efforts to secure information ere it is too late cannot be over-estimated' (Balfour 1905: 15).

24 Alfred Court Hadddon (1855-1940)
W H R Rivers 1898 Cambridge Expedition to the Torres Straits


26 Survey Versus Intensive Fieldwork
A typical piece of intensive work is one in which the worker lives for a year or more among a community of perhaps four or five hundred people and studies every detail of their life and culture; in which he comes to know every member of the community personally; in which he is not content with generalized information, but studies every feature of life and custom in concrete detail and by means of the vernacular language. It is only by such work that one can fully realise the immense extent of the knowledge which is now awaiting the inquirer, even in places where the culture has already suffered much change. It is only by such work that it is possible to discover the incomplete and even misleading character of much of the vast mass of survey work which forms the existing basis of anthropology” Rivers 1913

27 Still Evolutionary Theory
Rivers: “the goal of anthropology is the reconstruction of the history of `primitive' peoples Balfour: “the ethnographer's purpose is to determine their ‘place in time’” (1905: 18) Haddon's aim: “to elucidate the “nature, origin and distribution of the races and peoples of a limited ethnological area and to define their place in the evolutionary tree”

28 Two things were absent from fieldwork at this time
participation `at Bendiyagalge we were particularly well situated to observe their behaviour, our camp being out of sight of the Vedda camp but within two hundred yards of it, here we could listen to their unrestrained chatter and laughter' (Seligman and Seligman The Vedda 1911: 85). Most ethnographers at this time also relied heavily on translators Fieldwork conducted under an evolutionary paradigm did not necessitate participation. Since ethnographers were interested in establishing historical links with other cultures, the meanings which the myths and ceremonies they were describing had for the people concerned was of little interest 2. sociological theory

29 Emile Durkheim 1858 - 1917 The Division of Labour in Society 1893
Rules of the Sociological Method 1895 Suicide 1897 Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, 1912

30 What is a Social Fact? “A social fact is every way of acting, fixed or not, capable of exercising on the individual an external constraint; or again, every way of acting which is general throughout a given society, while at the same time existing in its own right independent of its individual manifestations” When I perform my duties as a father or a husband for example, I fulfill obligations which are defined in law and custom and which are external to myself and my actions. Even when they conform to my own sentiments and when I feel their reality within me, that reality does not cease to be objective, for it is not I who have prescribed these duties; I have received them through education.

31 Social Facts Characteristics
External to the Individual found ready-made at birth Objective Learned Relative Endowed with coercive power A new variety of phenomena source is not the individual but in society a collective phenomenon

32 Rules of the Sociological Method
Society is part of nature and a science of society must be based on the same principles as those of the natural sciences Social facts must be treated as things I.e. objectively The properties of the totality cannot be deduced from those of the individuals who combine to form it. E.g. Suicide rates Social facts have to be explained in terms of their function

33 Functional Explanation
function of a social item refers to its correspondence with “the general needs of the social organism not the individual” Function must be clearly distinguished from intention or purpose

34 The root idea in functionalism
Human societies consist of a number of institutions which over time achieve a harmonious “fit” to one another Integration serve adaptive ends — i.e. contribute to the survival of the overall society  function do not just reflect universal human nature, but shape it in distinctive ways  determinism

35 Functionalist view of a society (1)
INSTI- TUTIONS SOCIETY PERSON A society consists of a distinct set of institutions which introject distinctive motivations into its members from earliest childhood

36 Functionalist view of a society
Different institutions produce different persons with different motivations

37 Functionalism in a Nutshell
how does a social phenomenon contribute to the survival of the society as a whole

38 1884 born in Kraków, Poland, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
BRONISŁAW MALINOWSKI 1884 born in Kraków, Poland, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire 1910: emigrates to England to begin postgraduate work in anthropology at the LSE 1912 receives a Ph.D from the LSE for a library dissertation on the Australian aborigines 1914 travels to the British Association for the Advancement of Science’s meeting in Melbourne Sept 1914 War is declared while en route and Malinowski is classified as an enemy alien. spends 2 ½ years in the Trobriands

39 Trobriand Is.

40 “Imagine yourself suddenly set down surrounded by all your gear on a tropical beach close to a native village while the launch or dinghy which has brought you sails away out of sight”.

41 “Imagine yourself then, making your first entry into the village”

42 “Some natives flock around you, especially if they smell tobacco”

43 “He ought to put himself in good conditions of work, that is, in the main, to live without other white men, right among the natives”

44 “One step further in this line can be made by the Ethnographer who acquires a knowledge of the native language and can use it as an instrument of inquiry.” (p. 23)

45 The Goal of Ethnography
The goal [of the Ethnographer] is, briefly; to grasp the native's point of view, his relation to life, to realise his vision of his world” P. 25 Perhaps through realising human nature in a shape very distant and foreign to us, we shall have some light shed on our own. P. 25

46 Participant It is good for the Ethnographer sometimes to put aside camera, note book and pencil, and to join in himself in what is going on p. 21 Observation An ethnographic diary, carried on systematically throughout the course of one’s work in a district would be the ideal instrument for this sort of study inside view outside (analy- tical) view

47 Functional accounts don’t worry about how an institution arose
A functional account is an analyst’s account which asks what is the `sociological function of these customs what part do they play in the maintenance and development of civilization?” Functional accounts don’t worry about how an institution arose most institutional origins lost in the mists of time can at most speculate about them (“conjectural history” ) For functionalists, what is important is not how things originated but how they work (function)… how they contribute to peoples’ lives

48 Various Institutional Functions
language  binds the community together Magic  warrants a myth's truth, Myth  expresses, enhances, and codifies belief; it safeguards and enforces morality' Scientific knowledge  ensures Man's survival Religion  establishes, fixes, and enhances all valuable mental attitudes, such as reverence for tradition, harmony with environment, courage and confidence in the struggle with different cultures and at the prospect of death law  curbs certain natural propensities, to hem in and control human instincts and to impose a non-spontaneous, compulsory behaviour'

49 Malinowski’s Hierarchy of needs
‘Basic’ needs Food, shelter, sex, etc. universal this supplies a certain commonality to all human cultures and is ultimately what makes them comparable. Also makes ethnology scientific each culture responds to the particular needs of its members through institutions every institution centres around a fundamental need For example, tools function to provide food, and shelter The variation in the form of the institution is culturally determined

50 instrumental’ needs but tools require skilled artisans and trade groups etc. In a sense, the tools themselves have needs. These are instrumental needs the three primary ones being economic organization, law, and education integrative needs these institutions must in turn be functionally adjusted to each other in order to form a more or less consistent pattern… this produces requirements not of individuals but of the cultural system itself

The dominant theoretical paradigm of the British school of social anthropology, 1930–1955. Associated with the theoretical writings of A. R. Radcliffe-Brown in Structure and function in primitive society A. R. Radcliffe-Brown

52 FIVE BASIC PRINCIPLES 1. Society is seen as an organically structured whole akin to a biological organism. 2. Society has a social structure - an ordered arrangement of parts. 3. Structure is ideally integrated, unified, and exists in equilibrium. 4. This structure is the object of analysis; the most valued data is the structure you can abstract. 5. The function of Social activities and institutions is ultimately interpreted in terms of maintaining the whole social structure of the society

INSTITUTIONS: Distinguishable sets of roles, norms, and statuses within a social system e.g. kinship system it is to institutions that the concept of “function” is applicable the function of an institution is its contribution to the overall perpetuation and adaptation of the society For social life to persist or continue the various institutions must exhibit some kind of measure of coherence or consistence

The problem for society is to survive — to maintain its structure But basic human nature is inherently selfish and is therefore inimical to that survival. Therefore the behaviour of individuals must be molded to the requirements society needs to survive Conflict must be restrained and the conduct of persons in their interrelations with each other must be controlled by norms or rules of behaviour Failure of the individual to follow these norms results in sanctions.

55 In the Trobriand Islands, a shaved head and a body blackened with charcoal are signs of mourning. This is followed by ritual wailing by the deceased maternal kin How does this ritual mourning contribute to the survival of the society as a whole?

What is the Functionalist view of Human Nature? What is the Relationship between the individual and the society? How do Functionalists account for change? How do functionalists deal with conflict? How is the function of a given institution determined? How does one decide, or know what is good for the society as a whole? Must all institutions have a function? What is its methodology?


58 FRANZ BOAS Boas en route to Baffin Island 1883 and Central Inuit; to study the reflectivity of sea-water

Inuit can perceive and name hundreds of colors and qualities of sea-water and surfaces unknown in European languages… distinctions which can be described ‘scientifically’ in physics and optics and which are of adaptive value to a sea-mammal hunting culture Boas’ study: earliest anthropological attempt to describe a non-European ‘ethno-science’ in phenomenological terms

60 Analyst seeks to understand phenomena by grasping how they make sense within the framework of the subject’s thought-world i.e relatively posing as a Kwakiutl dancer for a National Museum diorama, 1895

61 1885: First expedition to Northwest Coast (Bella Coola)
1886: First collecting trip for American Museum of Natural History (New York City) to Nootka and Kwakiutl (Kwakwaka'wakw) — massive documentation of Northwest Coast culture

62 Anti-Evolutionist Evolutionism assumes what it is trying to prove Order of cultural traits is arbitrary, eg representative and geometric art forms positioning individual cultures on the savagery-barbarism-civilization ladder discounts their particularity and integrity sidesteps the important task of reconstructing unwritten histories for non-Western peoples Rational psychological explanation is misleading i.e. people did not reason themselves out of their primitive state because one of the fundamental characteristics of people is that they act automatically and unconsciously

Three pillars explain cultural customs Cultures can only be understood with reference to their particular historical development. Therefore each culture is unique Environmental conditions Individual psychological factors

idea was not to make a preconceived hypothesis, but to collect as much data about a particular culture without any theory general theories of human Behaviour would arise once enough data had been collected “We refrain from the attempt to solve the fundamental problem of the general development of civilization until we have been able to unravel the processes that are going on under our eyes” Hallmark of historical particularism became the intensive study of specific cultures through long periods of fieldwork

superorganic —the product of collective or group life; but the individual has an influence unconscious — a filter through which reality is perceived, but which is not itself the object of attention adaptive — culture ultimately helps individuals adapt to their environment.


67 FRANZ BOAS Cultural/historical particularism
“race, language, and culture” as independent variables Relativism superorganic Cultural Determinism Data Collection “without” theory Emphasis on Fieldwork 4-field approach

68 Alfred Louis Kroeber (1876-1960)
1897 enrolled in a course in American Indian languages at Columbia University offered by Franz Boas 1901 completed his dissertation on symbolism in Arapaho art in Montana and received the first doctorate in anthropology to be awarded by Columbia first instructor of newly created anthropology dept. at U of California, Berkeley

69 “no culture is wholly intelligible without reference to the non-cultural or so-called environmental factors with which it is in relation and which condition it" (Kroeber, 1939: 205). Arapaho camp with buffalo meat drying near Fort Dodge, Kansas William S. Soule “cultures occur in nature as wholes; and these wholes can never be entirely formulated through consideration of their elements.

70 Cultural and natural areas of Native North America (1939)

71 The Superorganic “The superorganic or superspsychic or super-individual that we call civilization appears to have an existence, an order, and a causality as objective and as determinable as those of the subpsychic or inorganic” individuals have very little if any impact on a culture’s development and change Culture plays a determining role in individual human behaviour. Culture has an existence outside of us and compels us to conform to patterns that could be statistically demonstrated e.g. changes in fashion show that cyclical patterns of change have occurred beyond the influence or understanding of any given individual. Kroeber showed that hem length, height, and width tended to move up and down in regular cycles,

72 Alfred Kroeber Superorganic Deterministic
Culture Areas Superorganic Deterministic First American Textbook in anthropology (1923)

73 Culture and Personality
seeks to understand the growth and development of personal or social identity as it relates to the surrounding social environment Margaret Mead Ruth Benedict )

74 1922 Barnard College under Boas, Meets Ruth Benedict.
months Fieldwork in Samoa Margaret Mead

75 Coming of Age in Samoa 1926 Is adolescence a universally traumatic and stressful time due to biological factors or is the experience of adolescence dependent on one's cultural upbringing? nature vs nurture

76 based on a detailed study of 68 girls between 8 and 20 in three contiguous villages
Mead described sexual relations as frequent and usually without consequence – or issue The basic conclusion was that adolescence in Samoa was not a stressful period for girls Because, in general, Samoan society lacked stresses

77 Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth (1983)
Mead did not spend enough time in Samoa and lived in naval dispensary with an American family rather than in a Samoan household was not familiar with the Samoan language ignored violence in Samoan life, Failed to consider the influence of biology on behavior Derek Freeman ( ) Mead had been lied to by her female informants and thus came to erroneous conclusions about Samoan culture and the sexual freedom of the girls also went to Samoa with preconceived intention of showing that culture, not biology, determined human responses to life’s situations.

78 Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935)
sought to discover extent temperamental differences between the sexes were culturally determined rather than innate biological Mead found a different pattern of male and female behavior in each of the cultures she studied, all different from gender role expectations in the United States at that time.

79 The gentle mountain-dwelling Arapesh
Arapesh child-rearing responsibilities evenly divided among men and women The fierce cannibalistic Mundugumor a natural hostility exists between all members of the same sex”. Mundugumor fathers and sons, and mothers and daughters were adversaries. The “graceful” headhunters of Tchambuli While men were preoccupied with art the women had the real power, controlling fishing and manufacturing Mead's contribution in separating biologically-based sex from socially-constructed gender was groundbreaking

80 Characteristics of Mead’s anthropology
Relativism Ahistorical Holistic Participant observation Romanticism Humans select their culture, choosing some traits and ignoring others.

81 1922 begins teaching at Barnard College as assistant to Franz Boas and meets Margaret Mead
Ruth Fulton Benedict

82 Patterns of Culture 1934 Demonstrated the primacy of culture over biology in understanding the differences between people Contrasted the ways of life of the Zuni, Natives of Dobu and Kwakiutl

83 Zuni Wealth is a sign of greediness.
Individual fame is a sign of selfishness Solutions Share all the wealth with other members of the tribe. Dare not to do anything that brings them individual fame. Extremely passive.

84 Kwakiutl Overbearing Vigorous Zest for life
Strive for ecstasy in ceremonies self-aggrandizing Megalomaniac paranoid

85 Why are they so different?
Can’t be “fixed human nature.” Why not? Suppose - Newborn Zuni baby is raised by Kwakiutl parents (or vice versa). How would this baby behave when he or she becomes adult? Like their adopted parents.

86 Culture and Personality
A set of core values shapes larger cultural practices resulting in a distinctive pattern of culture cultural differences were multifaceted expressions of a society’s most basic core values cultural values relative Societies have a dominating cultural personality Culture is “Personality writ large” The goal of anthropology was to document these different patterns

87 Culture and Personality
“We have seen that any society selects some segment of the arc of possible human behaviour”… and in so far as it achieves integrations its institutions tend to further the expression of its selected segment and inhibit opposite expressions”. Integrated Holistic Deterministic Individual psychology is plastic, i.e. Is molded principally by cultural experience

88 During World War II, Benedict worked for the Office of War Information, applying anthropological methods to the study of contemporary cultures. 1946 The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture

89 Culture and Personality - Critique
Where’s the history? How are culture & individual psychology related? For example, does culture somehow 'cause' individual personality? Is individual behaviour patterned? How? What best accounts for the observed patterns? Circular -- Basic personality structure was inferred from some aspects of behaviour then used to explain other behaviour linked anthropology with psychology

90 Culture and Personality - Critique
Where’s the history? How are culture & individual psychology related? For example, does culture somehow 'cause' individual personality? Is individual behaviour patterned? How? What best accounts for the observed patterns? Circular -- Basic personality structure was inferred from some aspects of behaviour then used to explain other behaviour linked anthropology with psychology

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