4 EvolutionismDominate intellectual perspective in the middle of the 19th century.Evolutionism eventually overtaken by historical particularism and structural functionalism.Evolutionism, historical particularism, and structural functionalism were most significant theoretical orientations for almost 100 years.
5 Evolutionism – Early Controversies Do all human beings have a common origin (monogenesis) or different origins and developments (polygenesis)?Much of this theory contained racial predjudice
6 Basic Features of Evolutionism EthnocentricTended to evaluate cultures of the world in terms of model of Victorian EnglandUnderlying assumption that evolutionism culminated in England and EuropeArmchair SpeculationEarly anthropologists did not do fieldworkRelied on data supplied by untrained amateursFocus was the comparative method, with the assumption that societies could be arranged into a taxonomy
7 Basic Features of Evolutionism Assumption all cultures had gone through same stages of evolution, in the same orderInevitable ProgressEmphasis on progress, order, rationality
9 Edward B. Tylor ( )Born into a wealthy family in London, EnglandNever conducted in-depth, original fieldwork1871 – Primitive CultureFocus on religionDefined religion as a belief in spiritual beingsArgued culture evolved from the simple to the complexThree StagesSavageryBarbarismCivilizationTylor stressed the rationale basis of cultureSocial institutions are driven by reasons, and customs
10 Lewis Henry Morgan (1818-1881) Born in the United States Ethnographic studies focused on Native Americans1877 – Ancient SocietyLike Tylor, argued society evolved over three stagesSavageryLowerMiddleUpperBarbarismCivilizationShift from lower to higher stage was introduction of a significant technological innovation
11 Morgan also associated with distinction between classifactory and descriptive kinship terminology Classifactory System – same terms that apply for relatives such as husband and wife may be applied to a wider range of kinDescriptive Terminology – terms such as father or daughter designate a specific and narrow range of individuals characterized by biological or marital relations.
12 Terminological Adjustments For Tylor and Morgan, the transition from lower to higher stage meant progress, not only technological sophistication but also in morality.Racist perspectiveTerminological AdjustmentsSavages Hunters & GathersBarbarians HorticulturalistsCivilized People citizens of modern, stratified states
13 Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) Born in England Two Stages of Evolution Militaristic (central authority)Industrial (individual freedom)At an advanced stage of evolution, the parts of society (individuals) dominate the whole (the state) rather then the reverseBelieved society evolved from simple to the complexSome of Spencer’s ideas paved the way Darwin“Survival of the fittest” coined by SpencerBelieved humans subject to same natural laws as non-humansEventually society would progress to perfection
14 EvaluationEvolutionism placed emphasis on survival of the fittest and with the assumed superiority of the EuropeanProvided support for colonialism & imperialism
16 DiffusionismHistorical particularism was main argument in America against evolutionismMain aspect was diffusionismDiffusionism – an aspect of culture, such as discover of the wheel, religious belief, or marital practices tend to spread from one culture to another, eventually becoming integrated into all of the cultures in a given geographical areaNo longer need for each culture to evolve through specific stages in a specific order
17 Three schools of Diffusionism Kulturkreise SchoolExplain the development of culture through migration and diffusionBritish DiffusionismImplausable claim that Egypt was source of virtually all cultural traits and innovations, which then diffused to rest of the planetShort-livedHistorical Particularism
18 Basic Features of Historical Particularism Focus on one culture (or cultural area) and that the history of that culture be reconstructedDiffusionAny particular culture was partly composed of elements diffused from other culturesCulture is a loosely organized entity, rather then a tightly fused systemCulture is to some extent uniqueFocus on emic analysisSocial life is guided by habit and traditionRelativismSince each culture is to some degree unique, unacceptable to pass judgment on beliefs and actions found in other culturesCautious generalizationsEmphasis on original fieldworkInductive procedure
20 Franz Boas (1858-1942) Born and educated in Germany Focus on importance of cultureConcentrate research efforts on Native people of the west coast of British ColumbiaDescriptive accounts of potlatch among Kwakiutl (1897)Rigorous fieldwork standardsCollect native texts, vernacular accounts of aspects of cultureInductivistOnly after masses of solid data had been collected could stabs at explanation and generalization be madeImpact on American anthropologyTaught at Columbia from 1896 – 1937Trained and influenced a lot of anthropologists
21 Ruth Benedict (1887-1948) Trained by Boas 1934 – Patterns of Culture Leading figure in culture and personality schoolBelieved each culture promoted a distinct personality type, and that there was a high degree of consistency between cultural type and patterns of emotionModal PersonalitiesA statistically most prominent personality which left room for other typesEventually view emerged that each culture had several modal personalities
22 Margaret Mead (1901-1978) Student of both Boas and Benedict Selected Samoa to demonstrate overwhelming importance of culture1928 – Coming of Age in Samoa1930 – Growing Up in New Guinea1935 – Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive SocietiesFocused on gender studies in her later years
23 Evaluation Boas’s emphasis on: Subjectivity (personal interpretation) Insistence on collection of original texts (emic)Distrust in grand theoretical schemesPromotion of relativism
24 Structural Functionalism AIM: How did structural functionalism become the dominant anthropological theory?Structural Functionalism
25 Structural Functionalism Initial reaction in British anthropology against evolutionism took form of diffusionsimFrom late 1800s until 1950s/60s, structural functionalism was leading theory in British anthropology
26 Basic Features of Structural Functionalism Organic AnalogySociety is like a biological organism, with structures and functionsNatural science orientationEmpirical, orderly, patternedNarrow conceptual territoryInvestigations should be restricted to social structure (society)Rarely paid much attention to art, language, ideology, the individual, technology, or environmental factorsExisting structures and institutions in any particular society contained indispensable functions without which the society would fall apart, and these structures and functions or their equivalents were found in all healthy societies
27 Basic Features of Structural Functionalism Significance of kinship system and the familyEquilibriumSociety was not only thought to be highly patterned, but also in a state of equilibrium and would re-equilibrate when disruptions occurredSociety exhibited long-term stabilityAnti-historicalDid not encourage a historical perspectiveFieldwork OrientationDevoted to first-hand, participant observational research
29 A.R. Radcliffe-Brown (1881-1955) Born in EnglandDisciple of DurkheimPowerful theoreticianPromoted three stages of scientific investigationObservation (collecting data)Taxonomy (classifying the data)Generalizations (theoretical excursions)Believed cross-cultural comparisons and generalizations were essential to anthropologyNatural science model of society was unable to cope with complexities of social life
30 Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942) Born in Poland, but taught in LondonFather of Modern FieldworkLong-term participant observation in a small communityResearch among TrobriandersRemained among them for four years, setting standard for future fieldworkKula Ring
31 The Kula RingNecklaces were exchanged clockwise from one Trobriand island to anotherArmshells were exchanged counter- clockwiseExchange was ceremonial (neither item had any intrinsic value)Exchanges increased level of interaction and decreased the degree of hostility among the people of various islandsMade bartering for valuable resources possible with othersCould not barter with groups you exchanged necklaces or armbands withContributed to social solidarity and prevented squabbles over who got the best deal
32 Malinowski vs. Radcliffe-Brown Malinowski placed emphasis more on function than structureFocused more on what institutions actually contributed to a societyRadcliffe-Brown gave priority to social structureMalinowski argued that the function of institutions was to satisfy biological needs. Radcliffe-Brown saw their function as fulfilling the mechanical needs of societyMalinowski stressed the importance of gathering native texts, or accounts of beliefs and behaviors in native’s own wordsMalinowski & Radcliffe-Brown held many of the same views as well
33 EvaluationStructural functionalism provided anthropology with a coherent and tidy frameworkAt its most basic level, procedure only required ethnographers to identify patterns of action and belief, and specify their functions.Downplayed conflict and almost ignored social changeStructural functionalism suited to maintaining colonial empires once they had been established
34 CONCLUSIONSThrough the first phase of anthropology, there was a general commitment to establishing a scientific study of culture or society
35 AIM: What methods did anthropologists use through the first phase of theories?
36 Methods Methods courses were almost unheard of until the 1960s / 70s Very little attention paid to ethics1874 – Notes and QueriesPublished by British Association for Advancement of Science in era before anthropologists began to collect their own dataProvided a guide to amateurs, highlighting themes and categories they should focus their inquiries on
37 The Fieldwork Situation In the late 1800s, there was a division of labor between the professional anthropologist and amateur fieldworkerAnthropologist remained in comfort of the library and museumAmateurs travelled to remote parts of the world collecting materialsBy early 20th century, anthropologists themselves began to do fieldworkAt first the emphasis was on fieldwork rather then participationWhen 1913 edition of Notes and Queries was published there was an argument for intensive participant observation studies, to be carried out by a sole researcher in a small population over a period of at least a year
38 Basic Techniques and Related Elements - Fieldwork Participant observationReliance on informantsThe interview (usually unstructured)Genealogies & life historiesCollecting census materialLong period of fieldworkLearning indigenous languageEmphasis on actor’s point of view (emic)Emphasis on informal rather than formal structureBack rather then front stageEmphasis on validity rather than reliabilityValidity implies ‘truth’Reliability just means that repeat studies will produce same resultsLimit on size of populationComparative method as alternative to controlled lab experimentInductive research designReaching conclusion based on observation: generalizing to produce a universal claim or principle from observed instancesSearch for virgin territoryExaggeration of the degree of cultural uniquenessThe more exotic, the betterOne’s research site should be as remote and isolated as possible so no other anthropologist will ever check up on one’s ethnographic findingsFieldwork personalityFlexible and perceptive, sense of humorStrong constitution, good listenerSustained disbeliefDoubt about what people said, about their explanations for beliefs and behavior…anthropologists had to get to the truth
39 Part Two: Patching the Foundation AIM: How did future theories help to fill in some of the holes of earlier anthropological theories?Part Two: Patching the Foundation
40 AIM: How did future theories help to fill in some of the holes of earlier anthropological theories? Cultural ecology
41 By 1950s & 1960s anthropological landscape had changed Historical particularism in America and structural functionalism in Britain proved to be the leading theoretical approaches, dominating the discipline up to World War IIBy 1950s & 1960s anthropological landscape had changedCultural ecologyConflict TheorySocial Action Theory (…)Each orientation, in different ways, attempted to keep the dream of a scientific study of society alive by patching the cracks that had begun to weaken historical particularism and structural functionalism
42 Cultural Ecology (and Neo-Evolutionism) Julian Steward developed theoretical orientation about influence of the environment on cultureEventually grafted into a revitalized version of evolutionism
43 Basic Features of Cultural Evolutionism Culture is shaped by environmental conditionsTechno-economic factors combine with environment to influence social organization and ideologyHuman population continuously adapt to techno-economic-environmental conditionsCulture also shapes techno-economic-environmental factorsEmphasis on etic rather then emic dataMeaning is a product of social structureCulture is purposeful and functionalDe-emphasis on the individualSocial structure, social groups, ecological and technological factors explain cultureEmphasis on etic dataCapable of producing causal explanations and lawsEvolutionary contextEcological and technological factors driving force in human interaction, also fundamental to historical development of society
45 Julian Steward (1902-1972) Influenced by Boas 1955 – Theory of Culture ChangeEcology defined as adaption of culture to environmental and technological factorsLess developed the level of technology in a society, greater the influence of the environmentHunting-and-Gathering societies at whim of environmentSocial organization and population dictated by environmentNo economic surplus to permit stratificationAs level of technology in a society improves, there is greater control over environment, increased economic surplus and population density, and a shift from egalitarianism to class stratificationIn highly advanced societies, environment ceases to be a controlling forceCultural ecology loses influence when environment does not matterToday, environmental factors such as pollution, deforestation, global warming are making people think twice about environment ceasing to be a controlling factor
46 Steward divided culture into core and periphery Not only did environmental conditions shape culture, but each culture was composed of thoroughly practical and useful adaptions to its environmentIf a foreign culture consisting of agriculturalists and possessing different social organization was plopped into ecological zone occupied by hunters-gathers, the alien culture (agriculturalists) would have to adapt their social organization and values to surviveSteward divided culture into core and peripheryCore consisted of enduring and causal features of cultureCore includes social organization, politics, religionCannot escape impact of techno-economic factorsPeriphery consists of fortuitous or accidental featuresIncludes artistic patterns, fads, quirksLargely independent of techno-environmental base
47 Steward and Evolutionism Emphasis on critical role of environment in evolutionary schemeRejected notion of unilinear developmentParticular cultures diverge significantly from one another and do not pass through unilineal stagesCultures have evolved along several different lines, at different ratesMulti-linear evolutionismRejected old assumption that evolution equals progressNeo-evolutionistsUnilinear vs. Multi-linear
48 Leslie White (1900 -1975) American anthropologist Emphasized etic rather then emicSaw culture as a highly integrated entity rather then a loose bundle of traitsAssigned contributing priority to techno-economic factors, while dismissing individual and personality as irrelevant to anthropologyCulture is utilitarianCulture composed of four sectors:TechnologySocial StructureIdeologicalAttitudinalWhite believes the symbol has replaced the gene in importance as an explanatory toolWe live today in a symbolic universe, guided more by culture than heredityDistinction between signs & symbolsMeaning of signs is inherent in things; meaning of symbols in things is arbitraryCulture advances according to increase in amount of energy per capita per yearE x T = C (E represents energy, T represents efficiency of tools, C represents culture)Amount of energy varies across culturesSimplest societies rely completely on human energy
49 Marvin Harris ( )Essentially an armchair anthropologist instead of a fieldworkerCultural MaterialismFocuses on and assigns causal priority to the material conditions of life, such as food and shelterBefore there can be music and poetry, people must eat and be protected from the elementsHuman activity organized to satisfy the material conditions of life is affected and limited by our biological make-up, the level of technology, and the nature of the environment, which in turn generate ideological and social organization responses.Harris downplayed importance of emic data.People’s consciousness, perspectives, interpretations, ideas, attitudes, and emotions never explain their reactions.
50 India’s Sacred CowThe refusal of Indians to eat their cattle has often been interpreted as a perfect example of just how irrational cultural practices can beAccording to Hindu doctrine of ahimsa, Indians should worship their cattle rather then eat them, even if they are starving.Spiritual obsession obligates material welfare
51 India’s Sacred Cow Harris suggests… India’s undersized cattle are far less important as a source of food than they are as a source of power, fertilizer, transportation, and fuelUndersized, undernourished cattle in India are perfectly suited to difficult environmental conditions they faceRather then being irrational, it plays a positive and critical economic role in India
52 John Bennett (1916 – 2005)Bennett recognized that culture not only adapts to ecological conditions, it also modifies themKey to cultural ecology is adaption1969 – Northern PlainsmenDescribing various ways in which four different groups of people adapted to the same environment
53 Evaluation of Cultural Ecology Emphasis on causality and objective conditions, especially technology and the environment, constituted a massive repudiation of historical particularismCultural ecology and neo-evolutionism aspired to be scientific, but to achieve that ‘soft’ data such as meaning, emotions, and individual motivation had to be relegated to the sidelines.Does not match up with contemporary anthropology and its data
54 AIM: How did future theories help to fill in some of the holes of earlier anthropological theories? Conflict theory
55 Conflict TheoryStructural functionalism was dominant theoretical orientation in British social anthropology right up to the 1950sA healthy society rested on a unified set of indispensable, universal functions and equilibrium was maintainedCritics complained it puts cart before the horseStructural functionalism was incapable to cope with social change
56 Basic Features of Conflict Theory Conflict is normal and widespreadOpposite to structural functionalismConflict was viewed as abnormal and rareConflict knits society together, and thus maintains society in a state of equilibriumConflict with an outside group generates internal solidaritySociety consists of criss-crossing identities, loyalties, and strains which ultimately nullify each other, resulting in harmony and integrationSocietal equilibrium is the product of the balance of oppositions
58 Max Gluckman (1911 – 1975) Guru of Manchester school of anthropology Gluckman influenced by Radcliffe- BrownGluckman argued conflict is essential to social interactionSociety achieves equilibrium, product of conflictPeople tend to create different sets of loyalties and allegiances which clash with each otherCriss-crossing loyalties cancel each other out
59 Lewis Coser (1913 – 2003)Several scholars, independent of each other, were promoting the same ideasOverlap with GluckmanPortrayed conflict as normal, widespread, and positive, contributing to the integration of society and acting as a safety valve for strains that might otherwise build up and tear society apartGroup cohesion due to external conflictIn some cases, external conflict is intentionally fostered by societal elites in order to deflect hostility and tension within a community onto an imaginary enemyRealistic ConflictArises from frustration between two or more personsNon-Realistic ConflictFree-floating frustrations; aggression flies off in all directions, and rather than resolving the frustrations, aggression is an end in itselfCriticism was conflict model was disguised as an equilibrium model, slightly different then structural functionalism
60 EvaluationDuring the several decades in which structural functionalism had dominated, conflict and strain had been ignoredConflict theorists emphasize interests which divide people in society unite them, not common values
61 AIM: How did future theories help to fill in some of the holes of earlier anthropological theories? Social action theory
62 Social Action Theory (Interactional Theory) When conflict theory proved to be an inadequate substitute for structural functionalism, British social anthropologists began to play around with other theoretical approachesCentral message in structural functionalism is that human beings conduct their behavior in accordance with the rules laid down by societyOthers argued social life is messy and disjointed. People say one thing but do another; rather than adhering perfectly to the rules of society, they bend, twist, and ignore these rules as self-interest dictatesTheory that emerged had the capacity to cope with both social change and conflictReferred to as processual, interactional, or transactional model
63 Basic Features of Interactional Theory Society is constantly changingNorms are ambiguous and unclear, even contradictoryThere is a gap between normative order and actual behavior, which means rules or norms do not explain behaviorHuman beings are in constant competition for scarce goods and rewardsHumans must constantly choose between alternativesEmphasis on the individual as a self-interested manipulator and innovatorEmphasis on reciprocity, exchange, and transactionFocus on informal (back stage) rather than formal structure (front stage)
65 F.G. Bailey ( _ )British social anthropologist who worked under Gluckman1969 – Stratagems and SpoilsBailey challenged assumption that there is a simple, direct relationship between normative order and actual behaviorAssumption fails to take into account the degree to which individuals manipulate the world around themMost people are guided by self-interest, thread our way between norms, seeking the most advantageous routeBailey distinguishes between normative and pragmatic rules of behaviorNormative rules – general guides to conduct; make up the public, formal, or ideal rules of a societyPragmatic rules – deviations from the ideal rules; tactics and strategies that individuals resort to in order to effectively achieve their goalsWhen pragmatic rules drastically increased, the normative order, or ideals of a society, must be rebuilt to fit current realitiesBailey’s assumption is that pragmatic rules more closely correspond to how people actually behave
66 Stratagems and Spoils was an innovative work The people portrayed by Bailey are not puppets controlled by institutional frameworkPeople are active, choice-making agents locked in competitive struggleSocial structure is dynamic, continuously being reshaped by shifting allegiances, coalitions, and conflicts that characterize human interactionSocial Action model provides an alternative to structural functionalismIn addition to laying the groundwork for a new theoretical orientation, Bailey also provided a vocabulary to articulate it
67 Jeremy Boissevain (1928 - __) 1974 – Friends of FriendsSocial life unfolds in the informal arena, where what counts is one’s contacts – who one knows rather than what one is qualified to doIn reality, people do what is best for themselvesBoissevain believes structural functionalism just documents how people are supposed to behave, not how they actually behaveEveryday life is acted out in an arena of competition and conflict, and social change rather than stability is the normal state of affairs
68 Fredrik Barth (1928 - __) Norwegian anthropologist 1966 – Models of Social OrganizationDescribes relationship between leaders and followers as a form of transactionLeaders provide protection, followers allegianceSelf-interested individuals manipulating values and norms to their own advantage, choosing between alternative strategies, and establishing relationships and alliances governed by reciprocity, with the whole process feeding back on and transforming the value system and social organizationAdvocated a focus on the processes that produce structural formCentral to this is the capacity of people to make choicesEnd products are patterns of behavior which are formed and reformed over time
69 Victor Turner (1920 – 1983) British cultural anthropologists Studied under GluckmanWorked on symbolism, ritual, and rites ofpassageTurner analyzed three types of conflict:Conflict between principles of social organizationContradictions embedded in the social structureConflict between individuals and cliques striving for power, prestige, and wealthInconsistent, even contradictory, norms exist side by sidePeople must select and discard norms most advantageous to their interestsInternal conflict between egoism and altruism (selfish or social motives)
70 Max Weber (1864 – 1920) Influenced by Marx According to Weber, society consisted of 4 quasi-autonomous spheres - economic, political, legal, religious – and ideas, beliefs, and values had an independent causal impact on human conductWeber made important contribution to study of power, authority, the state, bureaucracy, class, and statusWeber believed there were significant differences between natural and the social sciencesWeber defined social action as intentional, meaningful, and oriented to othersThe only real or concrete phenomenon was the individual human actSocial institutions are not concrete realities, instead, they consisted of a plurality of actors who only have a high probability of interacting for a particular purposeSocial Relation – two or more persons guided by meaningful conduct and oriented to each otherBridged the gap between actor and social institution.
71 EvaluationSocial action or transactional model can be traced back to the Manchester school presided over by GluckmanTrained Bailey, Boissevain, and TurnerGap between what people say and what they do, or between rules of behavior and actual behaviorIncorporated conflict into framework
72 CritiqueBy concentrating on the intricate and complex maneuvers of individuals and coalitions, focus is lost on the larger social structural contextFail to take history into account, and the degree to which it explains the presentMacro-Micro DilemmaHow to achieve a sensitive, detailed analysis of the local situation while simultaneously bringing into play the wider structural-historical context
73 Nature of anthropological theory changed dramatically from phase one to phase two, the pursuit of science remained the same
74 AIM: What methods did anthropologists use through the second phase of theories?
75 MethodCultural ecology, social action theory, and conflict theory tried to keep true to scientificUnintentionally made goal of science more difficultConflict theorists rejected assumption of unified central value systemSocial Action writers promoted the image of a choice- making, manipulative actor, and the porous, shifting social structurePhase Two begins to see first gaps between theory and method
76 Methods LiteratureMajority of anthropology professors of the time belonged to the sink-or-swim schoolRather then being provided with techniques, students were advised to take lots of notes and participateYoung anthropologists began to write about their own fieldwork experiences and set off an explosion of publications on ethnographic methodGoal was make open and public what has been previously closed and mysterious‘How To’ textbooksQualitative methods became very popularProfiled qualitative methods as a distinctive research approach, and gave it some legitimacyMuch of this literature was published by American anthropologistsStudents learned methods by actually doing research, which was basically the attitude of earlier anthropologistsPurpose of methods literature was to demystify the fieldwork process, to render it more scientificSlight problem degree to which one’s data and interpretations are shaped by one’s informantsTwo different informants can result in two radically different ethnographiesAlso pointed out role played by chance and accident in fieldworkCast doubt on anthropology as science
77 Fieldwork SituationMost of the basic assumptions and elements of research that existed in phase one continued into phase two, with some modificationsGreater emphasis was placed on theory, and fieldwork became shorterStudents were encouraged to narrow the focus of their studies, and to concentrate on limited number of sharply defined problems rather then trying to cover everythingRecognition that outside social and historical forces always penetrate and shape the small community and must be taken into accountRecognition that cultures being studied were no longer primitiveInterview emerged as a principle techniqueIncreased emphasis on the ethics of fieldworkGreater sensitivity to ethical issues (rationalization)Anthropologists began to accept they did not have a right to intrude on people’s livesDemand for research to be usefulFieldworkers to make research goals explicitSeek permission from and respect the privacy of people
78 New Rules of Thumb for Fieldwork Use multi-methods, not just participant observation and informantsKeep daily diary on methodsAppendix on methods in report, thesis, or bookInformation for the reader to understand methodological approachKeep data separatedDistinction between actor’s and observer’s interpretation is usually blurredClearly identify native analytic concepts and observer analytic concepts in report, book, or thesisSelect research project on basis of a problem to be solved, rather than an area or tribe to investigateLeading up to WWII, anthropologists looked for virgin territoryLet the research problem dictate your choice of methodsLearn to countQuantitative data…more specific then “more, less, a lot, a little”Provide universities in countries where research is conducted with copies of one’s publicationPart of new ethical stanceAssure informants represent all sectors of a communityDo fieldwork abroad and at home
79 Formal AnalysisIn the American school there was an even greater effort to introduce more systematic research proceduresFormal analysis supposedly was able to provide a scientific explanation of mentalist dataSometimes labeled cognitive anthropologyFormal analysis can be written off as a quick blip on the anthropological record with few followers
80 Case Study One: A West African Utopia Challenge of impression managementAge, sex, ethnicity, country of origin, religion, etc. all will have an impactFour distinct research rolesComplete participantParticipant who observesObserver who participatesComplete observerManaging deviantsFirst individuals who cozy up to anthropologist tend to be deviants, people who for some reason or other are marginal in their communitiesParticipant observation is crucialNeed informants to interpret what you have observed and provide information to which you have not had accessMoral &Transactional informantsMoral based on trust and friendship; transactional informant is paidNothing ever works out as plannedCritical turning point – an event or situation that has determined whether the project continued or was abandonedHow do you know when to stop your fieldwork?
81 Case Study Two: The Radical Right in Canada Influence of anthropologists background and bias
82 ConclusionThe theoretical literature, the methods of literature, and actual fieldwork had begun to head in different directions, a trend that picked up speed in phase three
84 TheoryFor the one hundred years prior to the 1970s, the discipline of anthropology of swung back and forth between hard and soft versions of scienceObjective conditions such as technology and environmentSubjective conditions portraying people as robots controlled by a rigid social structure, or active, manipulating agents in an ever-changing universeGoal throughout was of a scientific study of societyEmergence of structuralism, postmodernism, and feminist anthropology basically discarded scienceStructuralism – questioned positivism, emphasis on empirical data, evidence, confirmation of a hypothesisPostmodernism & Feminists – questioned fieldwork. Ethnographic fieldwork accused of gender and cultural bias, as powerful and privileged academics misrepresented the lives of natives and women for the benefit of Western males.Aim was not to patch up scientific foundation of anthropology as in phase two…phase three aimed to dismantle discipline and start over again
86 StructuralismStructuralism in the 1960s and 1970s was a theoretical perspective with a distinct methodological approachOffered an alternative to positivism
87 Basic Features of Structuralism Deep structure vs. Surface structureStructuralists examine the underlying principles and variables (deep structure) that generate behavior instead of empirical, observable behavior (surface structure)Structuralists focus analysis on deep structure, where the range of key variables is more confinedPrimacy of unconscious over consciousWhat motivates people lies beyond their consciousness at the level of deep structureEtic vs. Emic analysisStructuralism places priority on etic analysis.Relegates to the explanatory sidelines the individual human being, whose motives and actions are seen as largely irrelevant and merely a distraction to the researcherStructuralism sometimes described as having an anti-humanistic orientationEmphasis on synchrony vs. diachrony (change)Structuralists are concerned with repetitive structuresDifferent forms of social organization are produced over and over again by the underlying principlesReversibility of timeDistinction drawn between chronological (historical) and mechanical (anthropological) timeChronological time is cumulative; events unfold across historyMechanical time is repetitive, events unfold across spaceAccording to structuralists, social organization supposedly is reproduced generation after generation
88 Basic Features of Structuralism Transformational analysisAssumed different institutions of human existence – economic organization, marriage systems, architecture, ritual – are transformations of each other, manifestations of the same finite set of underlying principlesLinguistic analogyAspects of culture derive their meaning in the context of the overall system of relationships in which they are embeddedVarious cultural institutions constitute codes or messages that anthropologists decode, to tell us what they are sayingFocus on mental lifeEmphasis on belief systems, cognitive maps, and oral and written thoughtMain focus on mythology, understood as a distinctive ‘language’ or ‘code’ that reflects the way the human brain operates and articulates fundamental themes, dilemma's, and contradictions in lifeNeurological reductionismBehind the level of observable behavior (surface level), lies the principles that generate everyday interactionAssumption culture is modified and restricted by the operations of the brain, which are thought to be universal across humankindStructuralists strive to detect the impact of the brain on cultural organizationDialectical methodThe brain is assumed to operate in terms of binary oppositionsNature-culture bridgeIs there any difference between humans and other animals?Humans as classifiersCentral to structuralism is contention that what makes humans unique is capacity for classificationReduced modelsTypes of culture or categories of culture reduced to most simplistic, elementary propertiesPrimitive culture contains basic elements that characterize human existence everywhere
90 Claude Levi-Strauss (1908 – 2009) Structuralism in anthropology was almost single-handedly established by Levi-StraussChallenged empirical, positivistic tradition, arguing that culture is more like a language or logical system of signs than a biological organism (analogy used by structural-functionalists)Implication was epistemological and methodological approach favored in natural science was not appropriate for anthropologySeveral reasons, according to Levi-Strauss for not focusing on surface structureAt the level of observable human interaction there are too many facts, too much going onAt the empirical level there is a degree of randomness that makes systematic analysis exceedingly difficultWhen investigating cultural life, the focus is on underlying principles which generate the surface patterns, not the patterns themselvesLevi-Strauss always tried to reduce data to binary oppositions
91 Best known for his imaginative analysis of mythology Assumed that myths constitute a kind of languageMyths are vehicles which supposedly take the analyst close to the workings of the brainConcerned with what myths indicate about the brain ‘operations’Not so much in what humans think as in how they thinkRejected basic methodological principle beliefs and behaviors must be explained in their specific cultural contextOne version of a myth is not better then anotherAttempts to explain myths that occur in one part of the world with those that are found in other parts of the worldIn mechanical time, cultural materials such as myths do not progress chronologically; they are simply reproduced across spaceConsists of decoding the messages in a cultural institution, and tracing these codes as they are transformed from one institution to another
92 Edmund Leach (1910 – 1989) Trained by Malinowski Political Systems of Highland Burma (1965)Drew a distinction between actual behavior and anthropological models used to explain it.Everyday behavior is dynamic, messy, driven by choice, contradiction, powerAnthropological models, in contrast, are always equilibrium modelsProvide a sense of orderliness in an otherwise chaotic universeLeach’s achievement was to retain a fundamental feature of structural-functionalism, the notion of equilibrium, while simultaneously promoting social action model contained in Malinowski’s work
93 EvaluationLevi-Strauss placed big question about humankind back on the anthropological agenda…what does it mean to be human?There are no superior societiesThrew out conventional, positivistic scienceArgued structuralism constituted the appropriate scientific procedure for the investigation of cultureDefined social structure not as a general representation of the empirical world, but rather as an abstraction or model in which variables consist of logical relationships between things instead of things themselvesIn the 1960s & 1970s, Levi-Strauss was probably most highly regarded anthropologist aliveGiven his popularity, it is amazing how quickly structuralism fell out of favorDealt almost exclusively with mentalist data, failed to relate data to material world, and sidestepped major social and political issues
95 PostmodernismAlthough Levi-Strauss thought he was still engaged in scientific work, it was radically different version of scienceNon-positivistic & non-verifiableWith postmodernism, no longer was the case of science being unobtainable due to technical obstaclesPostmodernists regarded fieldwork as a political activity whereby powerful Westerners have traditionally represented (or misrepresented) the lives of non-Westerners, depersonalized and objectified them as scientific specimens
96 Basic Features of Postmodernism (Interpretive Anthropology) Challenge to anthropological authorityArrogant for anthropologists to assume they have capacity and responsibility to describe, interpret, and represent lives of people in other cultures. Assumption is people in other cultures lacked capacity to speak for themselves.Dialogical and polyvocal approachesComplex dialogue between ethnographer and ‘the natives,’ a joint venture out of which meaning and interpretation emerge. Anthropologist lets go of some authority and allows for voices from research subjects.Ethnography as a literary textCan be analyzed in terms of tone, style, and literary devices. Can be analyzed using the tools of literary criticism.Focus on interpretation and meaning rather than on causality and behaviorCulture is regarded as a system of signs and symbols, a complex of meanings. Anthropologist joins forces with ‘the natives’ and interpret it.Trend away from grand theory and generalizationPositivism is regarded as both inadequate and immoral. It cannot cope with the vision of culture as an endless complex of changing and contested individual interpretations and meanings.Postmodernists, in contrast, emphasize the particular and the unique, valorize (give validity to) ‘the other’ (subjects of the research), and are comfortable with an image of social life that is inherently fragmented, disjointed, and incomplete.Renewed emphasis on relativismRelativism, pioneered by Boas, emphasized uniqueness of each and every culture.Simple view that customs had to be understood initially in their specific cultural context and it was unacceptable to comment on the moral worth of customs, especially by comparing them negatively to those in one’s own culture.Author-saturated rather than data-saturated ethnographyAuthor has taken center stage – how the author ‘knows’ a culture and interprets data, how meaning is negotiated between researcher and the researched, self-conscious musings on the subjective experience of fieldwork.
98 George Marcus & Michael Fischer “Interpretive Anthropology”Social life must fundamentally be conceived as negotiation of meaningsImportance of relativism –subjective value according to differences in perception
99 Clifford Geertz (1926 – 2006) American cultural anthropologist “Thick Description” essay (1973)“Believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of a law but an interpretive one in search of meaning.”Interpretive anthropology aims for ‘thick description’ by generalizing deeply within cases.Emphasis on texts and writing and the switch from structure causality to meaning and interpretation.“Anthropological writings are themselves interpretations.”Geertz continues to regard interpretive perspective as a science
100 Evaluation Criticisms against Postmodernism Postmodernists demand that the author as the sole authority step down, that books be dialogical, recognizing all voices that are involvedCritics believe this goal is not feasiblePostmodernism may amount to a post-fieldwork modelIf research, especially in our own cultures, is unsound both on epistemological grounds (how can we ‘know’ the other) and on ethical grounds (what right do we have to represent the other), why not just give up on it completely?Postmodernism, with its heightened sensitivity to ‘the other,’ and its critique of positivistic, colonial anthropology, appears to be radical, even revolutionary.Sometimes contended that there are no standards in postmodernism, that one cultural account is as good as any other, that anything goes.Views postmodernism primarily as a power play, with academics jockeying for influence, mobility, tenure, and promotion.
101 Feminist Anthropology AIM: Why did Feminist Anthropology appear?Feminist Anthropology
102 Feminist Anthropology Academic feminism has been paralleled and fuelled by the ongoing actions and changes in the empirical world, notably in connection to the women’s movement.Anthropology has provided the basis for exploring numerous issues significant to feminism, such as whether gender roles and female oppression have been universally the same or culturally diverse.
103 Basic Features of Feminist Anthropology All social relations and knowledge is genderedGender must be included alongside class, status, role, power, and age as a basic termDistinctive epistemologyResearch should be a collaborative, dialogical affairSubjectivity (bias) is associated with females, and is superior to ‘male’ objectivity (neutrality)Urges female scholars to incorporate their own subjective experiences of oppression into their research projectsDistinctive ethicsPrimary purpose of research is to empower women and eliminate oppressionAnti-positivismLanguage of science is regarded as the language of oppression. Positivistic research is said to serve the interest of elites.Value-neutrality, even if possible, would be ruled out, because feminist research unapologetically promotes the interests of women
104 Basic Features of Feminist Anthropology Preference for qualitative methodsEmpathy, subjectivity, and dialogue supposedly allow the investigator to understand the inner worlds of women, helping them to articulate and combat their oppressionThe life historyA specific qualitative technique, was very prominent in the social sciences before WWII, had been rediscovered by feminist writers.Seen as a means to give voice to people, vividly to capture institutional and historical forces as they impinge on and are experienced by individuals.Female essenceProvides a counter-balance to misogynist representationsUniversal sexual asymmetryAnthropology has proved to be fertile ground for examining two key questions.Has gender inequality existed in all cultures at all times?Has gender inequality increased or decreased as human societies have moved through history?Anthropology of women versus feminist anthropologyAnthropology of women was the forerunner to feminist anthropology
106 Marjorie Shostak Nisa: The Life and Works of a !Kung Woman (1981) Wanted to find out what it meant to be female among the !KungSome people question the ethnography because the fact that only in the two-week period before Shostak’s departure did the focus on the woman called Nisa crystalize.Apparent lack of deep rapport, and the businesslike arrangement (Nisa was paid for her interviews) that Shostak was forced into with Nisa in order to obtain her cooperation, raise considerable doubt about the validity of the central theme of the book; Nisa’s obsession with sexGives voice to and humanizes a !Kung woman
107 Elvi Whittaker Canadian anthropologist “Decolonizing Knowledge: Towards a Feminist Work Ethic and Methodology”Concerned with the representation of women by menRelationship between men and women is comparable to that between the colonized and colonizer.In both, Western, white, heterosexual males have imposed their world view on the other (women and colonial peoples)
108 Feminism and MarxismBoth center on issues of inequality and oppression, with women compared to nativesMarxists charge feminism with promoting gender at the expense of class, resulting in an analysis that props up the ruling class.Feminists accuse Marxism of being male-oriented approach that serves the interests of men by promoting class at the expense of gender, obscuring women’s rights.
109 Feminism and Postmodernism Both concerned with the issue of representationFeminism – woman’s voicePostmodernism – multiple voices
110 EvaluationAlthough there are a several varieties of feminism, they all start off from the assumption that conventional social science has been male-biasedFour reactions to this…Don’t do anythingHow most social scientists have respondedAdd women when convenient to one’s analysisWomen-centered researchNon-sexist research
111 AIM: What methods did anthropologists use through the third phase of theories?
112 MethodWith the emergence of postmodernism and feminist methodology, science took a poundingHope was qualitative research would be seen as rigorous and explicit as quantitative research
113 Methods LiteratureMajor change was the emergence of literature on the use of computers in qualitative researchSoftware programs are no substitutes for the researcher’s insights and interpretationsTendency to exaggerate scientific quality of their reports , assuming that because they have used a computer their work must be valid
114 The Fieldwork Situation In phase three, there was a huge gap between the theoretical and methods literatureBy the 1990s, a few changes in the fieldwork situation had become apparentLife history had been revived as the principle techniqueComparative method was not deadBy phase two it had been recognized that no community was isolated and that the external forces that impinged on it had to be taken into considerationBy phase three, outside forces didn’t just intrude into the small community; they were an essential part of the communityTendency of shorter field work continued from phase two into phase three