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Anthropology: Socialization and Rites of Passage.

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1 Anthropology: Socialization and Rites of Passage

2 Up to this point we have looked at Socialization mainly from the viewpoint of psychologists and sociologists. Anthropology also has important contributions to our understanding of Socialization. Anthropologists focus on differences in socialization from culture to culture and their effects on the individual.

3 Beliefs Rituals Expectations based on gender, social class, race Acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and attitudes Rites of Passage

4 Two men holding hands in public indicates that they are equals and friends If my father dies, it is best that my mother marry my uncle Family compatibility is more important than romantic love when choosing a marriage partner Fat women are more desirable than thin women Homosexuals should be allowed to legally marry A tattoo indicates that you are a responsible adult The best way to gain status in society is to give away a lot of material goods Family and parental wishes should always be more important than personal desires or needs

5 How many ceremonies can you think of that are intended to be helpful in life transitions, such as birth, death, coming of age or adulthood?

6 A ceremony, ritual or event that marks a change in life or status. Commonly: birth, adolescence, marriage and death But a large variance in HOW these events are marked For example, after a death: Canada – funeral last for a few hours, maybe a wake Maori – large gathering of extended family for a week or more to give speeches, celebrate, and mourn Judaism – immediate family sit shiva, which lasts for a week, and mourners are not supposed to work or attend school

7 Rites of passage exist to help individuals move from one stage of life to another, reduce stress, create emotional bonds, and strengthen the fabric of society. Common Canadian rites of passage – how do we celebrate the following? Which is most important? Reaching puberty Religious initiations (bar/bat mitzvahs) First date Driver’s licence Graduating high school Drinking alcohol First sexual experience Moving from the parent’s home Graduating from postsecondary Getting a job Getting married Buying a home Having children

8 Amish rumspringa – begins when Amish youth turns 16 Not subjected to church’s rules about behaviour until they are baptized Youth go into the world and experience – rumspringa ends when a youth agrees to be baptized and thus to take up the responsibilities involved with being an adult member of the Amish community Aborigines of Australia – expected to be alone in the wilderness for several days, with no food or drink, seeking guidance from the spirit world (often a vision quest) Kikuyu of Kenya – initiates live together in a special dwelling for a year Receive special instruction from elders and perform specific duties

9 Indicate a transformation from child to adult Occur at a specific point in life Male rites of passage are more common than female rites Can be painful and traumatic, especially in societies that engage in warfare regularly Often involve: scarification, beatings, fasting, genital mutilation, tattooing, and intimidation through threats and stories Hardships thought to strengthen boys and help turn them into men –

10 Often the transition from childhood to adulthood revolves, for girls, around first menstruation Rites often include instruction in the responsibilities of womanhood – often focused on being a wife and mother Ex: Debutante ball – ‘coming out’ into society and exposure to potential marriage partners Ex: Jewish bat mitvah’s at 12 Ex: Mescalero Apache – all girls who have had their first menstruation in the past year gather, don ceremonial dress, are blessed by singers, relatives and friends, participate in songs, dances, and historical stories What are the differences in attitude and gender roles between the rights of passage? How are the rituals different?

11 Often a part of rites of passage Tattoos, piercings, scarring and branding In NA, become a way to express Identity

12 Scarification – an age-old practice (originally from Africa) that is part of the rite of passage into adulthood


14 Tattoos were once seen as a sign of deviance. Do some people still feel this way? Is there a difference in opinion between generations about where and when tattoos are acceptable.

15 Graduating, finding a job and becoming financially independent are all Western rights of passage But, with changes in the job market, schooling (post- graduate) can extend well into a person’s 20’s With high unemployment and the number of students graduating with large student loans, some studies say that Western nations don’t hit adulthood until as late as 35. More people have also been delaying leaving the family home (student debt, no jobs, saving, etc.)

16 jobless.html

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