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Comparison Differences –Source –Connections to other aspects of culture history, religion, political structures, economics, kinship systems, etc. –E.g.

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Presentation on theme: "Comparison Differences –Source –Connections to other aspects of culture history, religion, political structures, economics, kinship systems, etc. –E.g."— Presentation transcript:

1 Comparison Differences –Source –Connections to other aspects of culture history, religion, political structures, economics, kinship systems, etc. –E.g. concepts of the person Universals –Commonalities among all cultures –Generalizations 2 kinds –Statistical cross-cultural comparison –Controlled comparison

2 Statistical Cross-cultural Comparison –HRAF – Human Relations Area Files Massive bank of ethnographic data George P. Murdock (Yale 1940s) –Large samples –Correlations –Beatrice Whiting Witchcraft in 50 societies No centralized authority  witchcraft accusations –Quantitative (numerical data) vs. Qualitative (words & actions) Large, dispersed sample vs. small, regional Data removed from cultural context Reliability of data questionable The Internet

3 Controlled Comparison –Retain context, qualitative –Small number of similar cultures, small differences –S. F. Nadel – witchcraft in 4 African societies 1930s Nigeria –Nupe: women’s power  witchcraft accusations –Gwari: male dominance  both sexes accused –Frustration-aggression hypothesis Sudan –Property rights and enjoyment of life linked to age –Mesakin men old at 25  frustration  witchcraft beliefs –Korongo men old in 50s  no tension  no witchcraft

4 Anthropology’s Roots Ancient travel writers –Herodotus ( BCE) Greek “Father of History” Precursor of ethnography –Marco Polo - Italian ( ) –Ibn Khaldun ( ) Tunisian politician & historian Developed ‘Science of culture’ European exploration, colonial expansion 15 th –19 th centuries –Age of Discovery/Age of Exploration The modern study of anthropology originated in European exploration and colonization in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. Contacts with very different peoples created an interest in understanding and explaining human diversity, which are the goals of anthropology.

5 First Academic Anthropology –U.K.: 1884 Oxford –U.S.: 1896 Columbia E.B. Tylor Franz Boas

6 Anthropological Theory Statement about relationships among phenomena Explain and predict Nadel’s theory regarding witchcraft accusations –Observation: similar cultures, but difference in witchcraft accusations –Hypothesis: tension  retaliation frustration-aggression –Explains Nupe & Gwari: women’s power –Predicts Mesakin & Korongo: inheritance patterns

7 Development of Anthropological Theory: 19 th -century Evolutionists Philosophers: Hobbes, Rousseau, Adam Smith (18 th -19 th century) Auguste Comte –Organic analogy Society has organs like a biological organism Function of one determined by its place in whole Charles Darwin –Biological evolution –Natural selection  increasing fitness –Change is result of competition

8 Herbert Spencer ( ) Developed organic analogy  social evolution Social progress = evolution of social systems –Struggle for survival –“Survival of the fittest” Simple  complex –Least complex societies: many similar parts –Most complex societies: interdependent parts of whole All societies follow same developmental sequence Societies classified by degree of complexity Less complex societies give clues to evolutionary past

9 Karl Marx ( ) Capitalist industrial society: –Not positive result of survival of the fittest –Unjust Social evolution: –Consequence of class struggle –Drives social change in a particular direction Societies evolve through modes of production (economic systems) –Primitive communism –Ancient –Asiatic –Feudal –Capitalist –Socialist/communist All modes except communism exploitative of workers

10 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels Economic system Social organization Ideology Materialism –Material conditions determine human consciousness Economic base (infrastructure) –Means of production = land, tools, equipment, factories, etc. used for livelihood –Relations of production = class relations between »Owners of the means of production (bourgeoisie ) »Non-owners who labor ( proletariat) –Determines superstructure »e.g., law, political & social structure, ideology Physical environment  making a living Social evolution: Contemporary societies fitted into categories of modes of production primitive  ancient  feudal  capitalist  communist

11 19th-century Anthropologists Unilineal Cultural Evolutionists Universal evolutionary stages of cultural development from “primitive” to complex societies (“civilization”) Lewis Henry Morgan Sir Edward Tylor (U.S ) (U.K )

12 19 th -century Cultural Evolutionists All societies pass through stages from less to more complex (“lower” to “higher”) Savagery  Barbarism  Civilization Cultural differences explained in terms of these stages Western culture highest, most evolved Morgan – kinship (matrilineal  patrilineal) Tylor – religion (magic  religion  science) Psychic unity of humankind –All peoples have same capacity for change –Differences due to history & contact, not innate

13 Themes of Unilineal Evolution All societies evolve through same developmental stages –Progress is unidirectional toward higher (more complex) levels of culture –Highest level is civilization Victorian (Euro-American) society = civilization in its currently highest form ‘Primitive’ cultures = ‘living fossils’, clues to past Psychic unity: Human minds develop along the same lines

14 Boas: American Historicism Cultural relativism Rejected evolutionism Inductive vs. deductive Emic Historical particularism/American Historicism: –Detailed descriptions of particular peoples within their own historical contexts Anti-theory Methodological rigor in ethnography Famous Columbia students: –Lowie, Kroeber, Benedict, Mead Anti-racist Culture concept: –Culture, not biology, determines behavior


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