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FRAMING “NO AGING IN INDIA” Ethnography – doing & writing culture Anthropology of the body Temporalities of self & society Social stratification Age &

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Presentation on theme: "FRAMING “NO AGING IN INDIA” Ethnography – doing & writing culture Anthropology of the body Temporalities of self & society Social stratification Age &"— Presentation transcript:

1 FRAMING “NO AGING IN INDIA” Ethnography – doing & writing culture Anthropology of the body Temporalities of self & society Social stratification Age & aging Representation, experience, and the production of subjectivity

2 FIELDWORK(S) TYPES OF KNOWLEDGE Emic – local knowledge: how people think, perceive, categorize the world; what has meaning in their world-the natives point of view Etic -- shift focus from the “native's point of view” to that of the anthropologist

3 FIELDWORK(S) TYPES OF KNOWLEDGE -- Reflexivity Intersubjective KNOWLEDGE Self/scholarly awareness of the impact on the data produced in the context of doing fieldwork and writing culture how the anthropologist effects the thoughts, actions of informants how the ethnocentrism of the anthro colors the interpretation and representation of others thinking & actions

4 FIELDWORK(S) Field data are constructs of the process by which we acquire them -- intersubjective The problem is a “hermeneutical one” –hermeneutic – interpretation... “as the comprehension of self by the detour of the comprehension of the other” Fieldwork is dialectic –DIALECTIC BECAUSE NEITHER THE SUBJECT NOR THE OBJECT REMAIN STATIC

5 Reflexive Knowledge and Doing Anthropology as Negotiated Reality a mutually constructed ground of experience and understanding an acknowledgement of the dialogue between the anthropologist and the informant in the experience of fieldwork anthropologists are historically situated through the questions we ask and the manner we seek to understand and experience the world anthropologists receive from our informants their interpretations that are also mediated by culture and history the data is doubly mediated –first by presence of the anthropologist –Then by a second order self-reflection of our informants

6 Anthropology and the Ethics of Fieldwork Anthropological researchers -- members of many different communities, each with its own moral rules or codes of ethics anthropological researchers –must be open about the purpose(s), potential impacts, and source(s) of support for research projects with funders, colleagues, persons studied or providing information, and with relevant parties affected by the research.

7 Ethics and Informant Relationships Anthropological researchers have primary ethical obligations to the people they study and to the people with whom they work –avoid harm or wrong –respect the well-being –consult actively with the affected individuals or group(s) INFORMED CONSENT

8 Ethics Beyond the Field Responsibility to scholarship and science Responsibility to the public Responsibility to students and trainees

9 “THICK DESCRIPTION” CLIFFORD GEERTZ interpretive anthropology The object of ethnography –Sorting out the structures of signification (9)... and determining their social ground and import Doing ethnography is like trying to read a manuscript [text]

10 GEERTZ Culture is not a power, something to which social events, behaviors, institutions, or processes can be causally attributed; it is a context, something within which they can be intelligibly -- that is thickly -- described (14) The ethnographer inscribes social discourse; he writes it down (19) -- from event into an account

11 GEERTZ Culture -- as a set of symbolic devices for controlling behavior, extrasomatic sources of information, culture provides the link between what men are intrinsically capable of becoming and what they actually, one by one, in fact become (52) He finds them already current in the community, when he is born, and they remain, with some additions, subtractions, and partial alterations he may or may not have a hand in, in circulation after he dies

12 COHEN interpreting culture through Heideggerian “breakdowns” Breakdowns – the interrupted moment of our habitual, standard, comfortable ‘being-in-the- world.’ Narrative shifts from Boston to Varanasi multiple and interlocking worlds of meaning and institutions of social regulation within which the body becomes a series of subjects over time

13 COHEN’S FIELDWORK(S) book is about senility, dementia, hot brain, sixtyishness, Alzheimer’s, dotage, weakness, enchantment, and other states A language of behavioral inappropriateness and the practices of exclusion that come to encompass the lived experience of many old people structures – bodies, generations, households, neighborhoods, neurons, classes, and cultures – that mediate and sustain the relationship between experience, significance, and practice.

14 ANTHROPOLOGIES OF THE BODY Scheper-Hughes & Lock – “the mindful body” Phenomenology & embodiment Bourdieu – Structure, habitus, practice

15 “the mindful body” “The body as simultaneously a physical and symbolic artifact, naturally and culturally produced, anchored in a particular historical moment” Three bodies – individual body, social body, and body politic The three bodies – three separate but overlapping units of analysis –three different theoretical approaches –phenomenology, structuralism and symbolism, post- structuralism (practice theory – structure & agency)

16 PHENOMENOLOGY & EMBODIMENT Body is not an object to be studied in relation to culture, but is to be considered as the SUBJECT of culture body is a setting in relation to the world; consciousness is the body projecting itself into the world Experience not a primordial existential given but a historically and culturally constitutes process predicated on certain ways of being in the world

17 STRUCTURE, HABITUS, PRACTICE Structure – a particular class of conditions of existence produce habitus Habitus – regulated and regular without being in any way the product of obedience to rules habitus can be collectively orchestrated without being the product of the organizing action of a conductor

18 STRUCTURE, HABITUS, PRACTICE Practical sense (practice) -- proleptic adjustment (anticipatory) to demands of a field (structure) encounter between habitus and a field which makes possible the near-perfect anticipation of the future inscribed in all the concrete configurations (structure) the experience -- objective structures -- played out as the feel for direction, orientation, impending outcome

19 Temporalities of self & society: the body in time temporal categories provide both ways of thinking and ways of acting Lived experience is multistranded temporality – the play of time Life-course and social structure

20 SOCIAL STRATIFICATION the unequal distribution of goods and services, rights and obligations, power and prestige all attributes of positions in society, not attributes of individuals universality of stratification

21 Stratification & Status status - ascribed & achieved ascribed status - social positions that people hold by virtue of birth achieved status - social positions attained as a result of individual action shift from kin based societies to modern society involves growth in importance of achieved status

22 Elements in Social Stratification Roles -- tasks & activities that a culture assigns to people Stereotypes -- oversimplified strongly held ideas about the characteristics of people Stratification -- unequal distribution of rewards (socially valued resources, power, prestige, personal freedom) between people reflecting their position in the social hierarchy

23 Stratified Society stratification means –there are significant breaks in the distribution of goods services, rights, obligations, power prestige –as a result of which are formed collectivities or groups we call strata

24 Class Society Unequal access to all 3 advantages, economic resources, power, prestige Open & closed class systems –the extent to which mobility occurs allowing people to pass through inequalities Closed system –No mobility –tend to persist across generations Open system –ease of social mobility permitted

25 Caste Systems caste systems –closed, hereditary systems of stratification often dictated by religion –hierarchical social status is ascribed at birth, people locked into their parents social position – legal & religious sanctions, occupation, commensality applied against people who seek to cross them apartheid - caste like system, legally maintained hierarchy based on skin color (the color bar)

26 Open Class Systems facilitates mobility individual achievement & personal merit determining social rank hierarchical social status is achieved on the basis of people's efforts ascribed status (family background, ethnicity, gender, religion, skin color) less important blurred class lines & wide range of status positions

27 Ascribed Status & Open Class Systems Phenotype Age Gender “Race”

28 Age & Social Stratification: Age as “difference” AGE-SETS, AGE GRADES, AGE MATES differentiation of social role based on age Age sets are a type of sodality –nonresidential groups that cut across kinship ties and thus promote broader social solidarity Age grades may be marked by changes in biological state, such as puberty –Or by socially recognized status changes such as marriage, the birth of a child, menopause, retirement Persons of junior grade may defer to those of more senior grade who in turn teach, test, or lead their juniors.

29 AGE & CULTURE in N. AMERICA: AGE-SETS/GRADES & THE LIFE-CYCLE Age Sets –‘Childhood’ –‘Youth’ –‘Middle-aged’ –‘Elderly’ Age Grades/Classes & Social Power –Elderly & children – dependent –Youth & Middle-Age – independent economic, political, social power –Elderly -- dependent

30 AGE CLASSES The social production and cultural construction of age & aging In class and state formation people’s functions in the division of labor come to be discernible with reference to categories of gender, age, and skill abstracted from their particular kinship connections and meanings

31 AGE CLASSES Where people become identified independently of kinship as a constituent of class for example, biological differences or functions as defined in the culture rather than social identities become increasingly important

32 AGEISM "ageism" -- like other forms of bigotry such as racism and sexism a process of systematic stereotyping and discrimination against people because they are old. any prejudice or discrimination against or in favor of an age group

33 AGEISM in NORTH AMERICA Older persons are constantly "protected" and their thoughts interpreted. Older persons falter for a moment because they are unsure of themselves and are immediately charged with being 'infirm.‘ Older persons forget someone's name and are charged with senility and patronized. Older persons are expected to 'accept' the 'facts of aging.' Older persons miss a word or fail to hear a sentence and they are charged with 'getting old,' not with a hearing difficulty. Older persons are called 'dirty' because they show sexual feelings or affection to one of either sex. Older persons are called 'cranky' when they are expressing a legitimate distaste with life as so many young do. Older persons are charged with being 'like a child' even after society has ensured that they are as dependent, helpless, and powerless as children."

34 The “Dark Age” intensified by certain dominant values in American culture –individualist tradition –Independence & dependence –productive achievement

35 AGEISM, Social Mobility & Open Class System Ascribed status of age Achieved status and aging –Viagra –Working

36 NARRATIVE EXPERIENCE Self continuity and narrative Complex negotiation of representation and experience through which subjectivity is produced Cohen -- Age as a way of representing and understanding other sorts of differences between individuals and classes of individuals is critical to the articulation of individual bodies and collective ones


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