Presentation on theme: "Culture and Power How can we understand & analyze aspects of culture (ideas, music, food, work, etc.) as they are embedded within institutional structures."— Presentation transcript:
Culture and Power How can we understand & analyze aspects of culture (ideas, music, food, work, etc.) as they are embedded within institutional structures of power?
How do young artists participate within and speak back to structures of power?
How do anthropologists participate within and speak back to structures of power?
4 APPROACHES Social Justice Historical “Subjective” Analysis Anthropology of Home
1. Social Justice Approach How humans are positioned within and negotiate systems of inequality hegemony = dominant culture or ideology (taken for granted); how people are expected to think we consent with the dominant culture when we do not ask questions
1. Social Justice Approach Ex. How is Kudi positioned within systems of inequality—in Nigeria, in the world? What are the hegemonic understandings of Muslim cultures today?
2. Historical Approach Investigating the origin of a an idea or discourse to denaturalize taken- for-granted categories
2. Historical Approach Ex. What is the origin of the idea of “sexuality” ? (History of Sexuality vol 1, Foucault 1978) Since the 17th c., a fixation with sexuality creating a discourse around sexuality. This discourse has created sexual minorities. In Western society, a “scientia sexualis,” the science of sexuality, was created: sexuality is sinful & must be confessed. As a result, Western cultures have become fixated on & obsessed with sexuality.
3. Subjective Analysis is More Objective As the anthropologist identifies and critiques her background or position in relation to her subject, she is able to produce a more “objective” account.As the anthropologist identifies and critiques her background or position in relation to her subject, she is able to produce a more “objective” account. The reader can better evaluate the study and its findings when she is clear about the researcher’s stakes.The reader can better evaluate the study and its findings when she is clear about the researcher’s stakes.
3. Subjective Analysis is More Objective Ex. Political background: civil rights, decolonization & global equalityPolitical background: civil rights, decolonization & global equality Personal interests: scholar, activist, yogi, dancerPersonal interests: scholar, activist, yogi, dancer Race/nationality/class/gender: white skin color privilege, US privileges, middle class family from NY, womanRace/nationality/class/gender: white skin color privilege, US privileges, middle class family from NY, woman Geography: grew up in FL; participated in mixed language, mixed class Cuban dance community; attended private middle & high school in FLGeography: grew up in FL; participated in mixed language, mixed class Cuban dance community; attended private middle & high school in FL
4. “Anthropology of Home” Is Legitimate Cultural Difference is not only “out there.” Focusing on home allows us to understand how cultural difference works close to home If we understand how cultural difference works close to home, we can better understand “other” places
NACIREMA/ AMERICAN Argument: (p.10) The Nacirema belief system rests on the idea that the human body is ugly & that its natural tendency is to debility and disease. The Nacirema have an aversion to the natural body and its functions. They are magic-ridden and masochistic people. But their exotic customs have meaning and will eventually guide them to higher stages of civilization.
Supporting Evidence/Data: Every household has at least one ritual shrine in which the “natives” perform daily, private rituals & ceremonies to prevent disease and ugliness. Medicine men prepare magical charms and potions for “natives” in exchange for gifts. “Charm-boxes” are usually overflowing. Every member of a family bows before the charm-box and mingles holy water in the font, a rite of ablution/cleansing.
Supporting Evidence/Data: “Natives” go to “holy-mouth- men” to rid the mouth of evils. This is like ritual torture. The culture has masochistic tendencies: men scrape and lacerate the surface of their faces with a sharp instrument, women bake their heads in small ovens. This is barbaric.
Objectifying Language Objectifying: Turning the thing or person being examined into an object (v. subject) of study, something separate/distant from the investigator 1920s-1960s Anthropology: culture & people are objects to be studied (like things). Anthropologists studied “people.” Since 1970s: Culture & people are subjects who have their own agency or will (desires, ideas, etc.). We study with people and communities as “collaborators.”
Miner’s Objectifying Terms: The NaciremaA Nacireman woman/man (names?) ritual activityeveryday practice shrinebathroom (what do they call it?) nativespeople charms/potionsmedicine, soap, toothpaste, etc. medicine mendoctors herbalistpharmacist charmboxmedicine cabinet fontsink holy waterwater rite of ablutionwashing face, brushing teeth Water Templewater purification tank
How can we write about other cultures? Pay attention to “cultural framing.” Is the event a casual event or a religious ceremony? Ask the people what they think! Participant Observation Interview:Formal & informal LISTENING Opening question: what do you think about… or what’s it like to..? List of 10 questions