Other models of time Seasonal view of time (agriculturalists) Tidal view of time (fishermen) Flower time (Australian aborigines) Fruit season Dark-light season (Arctic dark night seasons)
What is life like without a clock? Oecological cycle (Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer) Diurnal rhythms of the sun Alternations of the season Livestock rhythms
Algerian peasants (Pierre Bourdieu): when the sky is a little red, the time of the first prayer, when the sun touches the earth Length of time: time to cook an egg, time to cook a locust To tell a year in the past: the year in which there was a plague, the year in which there was snow for many days.
Calendars Marking of days, weeks, months, years Help to situate ourselves in the world and history 2007 AD (Anno Domini, in the year of Our Lord). Variation: CE (Common Era) Jewish calendar: in 2000 AD, Jewish calendar showed 5760 years since the world began. Chinese calendar is lunar – 4698.
Meanings and values attributed to time are context-dependant Think of the examples where social characteristics (e.g. age, class, etc) can affect how the time is spent.
The transition to mature industrial society entailed a severe restructuring of working habits Clocks to discipline workers. Regimentation Work is timed according to the clock. The time belongs to the employer. Time is money Work and home become antinomes (opposites) Time is Money
Cultural notions of time Carol Delaney in her description of Turkish village: notion of šimdi (now) When the time is ripe.
Notions of time Task-oriented OR ecological (oecological) Industrial OR clock time
Task-oriented or ecological notion of time Orientation to fulfilling a task The daily timepiece is the cattle clock, the round of pastoral tasks (Evans-Pritchard) Ecological time-reckoning: time of the year that corresponds to the natural phenomenon. E.g. month when the ice melts, month of the pollen, month of cutting the grass
Is time structural for the hunters and pastoralists? Yes, because the activities are co-operative, they are coordinated and conceptualised collaterally. Another reason for co-ordination of activities is biological. E.g. summer and winter pastures, moving reindeer accordingly.
It is not time that tells the herders what activities to carry out, but by the activities the time can be predicted. Notion of time is ripe and right moment
The Nuer and the time The Nuer have no expression equivalent to time in our language, and they cannot, therefore, as we can, speak of time as though it were something actual, which passes, can be wasted, can be saved, and so forth. I do not think that they ever experience the same feeling of fighting against the time or of having to coordinate activities with an abstract passage of time because their points of reference are mainly the activities themselves, which are generally of a leisurely character. Events follow a logical order, but they are not controlled by an abstract system, their being no autonomous points of reference to which activities have to conform with precision. Nuer are fortunate (Evans-Pritchard 1940: 103).
Why do we not keep time by task- orientation? We have a different perception and relation to time. Time for us is not a medium in which life is lived, but a commodity to be used.
Industrial time keeping or clock time Industrial revolution has changed our perception of time. Railway workers – a clear example of industrial time keeping
But does that mean that we have lost entirely the feeling for the task-oriented time keeping? E.g.: After I have done the assignment I will have a cup of coffee as opposed to At 1 oclock I will have a cup of coffee.
Task-oriented time keeping in industrial societies Does task oriented time keeping exist only in pre- industrial societies? According to Ingold, housewives and children keep time by task orientation. The mother of young children has an imperfect sense of time…she has not yet altogether moved out of the conventions of pre-industrial society (Thompson 1967: 79).
Has task-orientation been banished from the workplace? From Kemnitzers arguments it follows that even locomotive drivers have a sense of task-orientated time keeping (in Ingold 2000: ). Not only operation of the railroad system is not that intense time-conscious due to computer programming and radio communication. Another sense of time which lies in the ability to integrate time, distance, and subjective estimates about weight, slope and speed in making decisions about the movement of cars and engines in switching (Kemnitzer in Ingold 2000: 335). No task-oriented time keeping at work place then?
In a sense, clock time is alien to us as it is to the Nuer; the only difference is that we have to contend with it. If we differ from the Nuer, then, it is not because they have a task-orientation and we do not. The difference is rather that we are forced to accommodate this orientation – so fundamental to our personal and social identity, to our knowledge of place and people, and to the practice of our everyday skills… (Ingold 2000: 338).
Important readings: Bourdieu, P The attitude of the Algerian peasant toward time. In: J.Pitt-Rivers (ed.). Mediterranean Countrymen. Paris: Mouton and Co, pp Delaney, Carol Investigating Culture: An Experiential Introduction to Anthropology. Malden: Blackwells, pp Evans-Pritchard, E.E The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People. Chapter 3, Time and space. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp Ingold, T The Perception of the Environment: Essays in Livelihood, dwelling and skill. Chapter 17, Time and experience in the household and the workplace. London: Routledge, pp
Lectures Perceiving the world
Vision and sight Vision and sight are the ways of orienting in the world These are primary sources Assumption that in all societies the world is perceived by the way of the sense of sight.
Visualism Visual bias in modern western societies is sometimes called visualism or ocularcentrism Everyday idioms: I see what you mean, far- sighted, perspective, etc. Visualism goes back a long way in the history of thought. Aristotle: ranking of senses. The lowest were taste and touch – animal senses. Smell, hearing and sight were regarded human senses. Sight was the highest of senses, according to Aristotle.
BUT: Every culture has its own sensory model based on the relative importance it gives to the different senses. The sensory model is expressed in the language, beliefs, and customs of a culture.
Two ethnographic studies: In many non-western societies, the sense of sight is not privileged over the other senses. Paul Stollers ethnography of the Songhay people, in Niger, West Africa Alfred Gells study of the Umeda of Papua New Guinea
The Songhay people Two musical instruments: a single-stringed violin and a gourd drum Instruments are played at the spirit-possession ceremonies Noises are produced by the instruments. Spirits are believed to exist as the sounds, not separate beings that produce sounds. In sorcery: the sound heals or damages the person.
The Umeda people The environment is dense and virtually unbroken forest. Therefore vision is not the primary sense. Instead hearing and sense of smell are more significant. The world is apprehended dynamically.
Concept of presence for Umeda: Audible but invisible object is entirely present Hiding implies concealment of auditory clues
Not only animals and plants but also landscape features such as mountains, ridges, knolls, and pools are grasped in the first place as movements rather than static forms.
Vision and hearing With vision, it is as though we stand outside the world Vision sets up a distance between the spectator and the object seen With hearing we are immersed within the world Sound penetrates the individual and creates a sense of communication and participation Thus auditory culture is a culture of sympathy, according to Gell. Stoller states: sound penetrates the individual and creates a sense of communication and participation
Inuit hunter is heavily dependent on his powers of vision. But does he imagine himself standing outside the world, looking from it afar? Inuit are immersed in a dynamic environment where they are participants rather than observers.
Vision with qualities of hearing French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty on vision: visual space as both surrounding and passing through the perceiver In order to convey the sense of what he means by vision, Merleau-Ponty has occasional recourse to auditory metaphor. Quality, light, colour, depth, he writes, are there only because they awaken an echo in our body and because the body welcomes them.
If hearing is a mode of participatory engagement with the environment, it is not because it is opposed in this regard to vision, but because we hear with the eyes as well as the ears. It is very incorporation of vision into the process of auditory perception that transforms passive hearing into active listening. But converse applies too: it is the incorporation of audition into the process of visual perception that coverts passive spectating into active looking or watching.
Nelson: The Koyukon people live in a world that watches and hears. The trees are invested with spirits that can hear as well as see. Among the Yupik Eskimos, there is a similar awareness that people are constantly under the watchful eye of spirits. The cosmos ella is conceived as an immense eye, but one that can hear too. It could also smell.
Writing has fundamentally altered our conception of the world We are used to see a printed word behind the spoken word. When we listen to speech, we readily imagine it to be written down. So we hear the spoken words as if looking at them on paper. But for people in oral cultures words are the sounds
Sight isolates, sound incorporates. Whereas sight situates the observer outside what he views, at a distance, sound pours into the hearer…Vision comes to a human being from one direction at a time…When I hear, however, I gather sound from every directions at once: I am at the centre of my auditory world, which envelopes me, establishing me at a kind of core of sensation and existence…You can immerse yourself in hearing, in sound. There is no way to immerse yourself in sight.
Key readings: Gell, A The language of the forest: landscape and phonological iconism in Umeda. In: Hirsch, E. and M.OHanlon (eds.). The Anthropology of Landscape: Perspectives on Place and Space. Oxford: Clarendon, pp Stoller, P The Taste of Ethnographic Things: the Senses in Anthropology. Chapter 6, Sound in Songhay possession. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, pp
Edward Sapir, a famous American linguist: Human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to reality essentially without the use of language and that language is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of communication or reflection. The fact of the matter is that the real world is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group. No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached (Sapir 1949: 69).
World English Spanish Russian Hopi English world Spanish world Hopi world Russian world
Adamic or naïve view of language LANGUAGE reflects WORLD WORDS are THINGS
Theories of language Ferdinand de Saussure ( ): language is a system of interdependent terms in which value of each term results solely from the simultaneous presence of the others.
Language as a symbolic system Each of us inherits a language; we learn it as babies. No society, in fact, knows or has ever known language other than a product inherited from proceeding generations (Saussure 1959: 71). Language – social invention and a social institution – no one person invented it. (Compare: Esperanto, computer languages).
The sign, the signified and the signifier (Ferdinand de Saussure) The signifier (sound) The signified (concept, idea) The Sign (word) [TRI:] A perennial plant TREE
A sign, a word, gets its meaning only in relation to or in contrast with other signs in a system of signs. fathermother uncleaunt sister brother " The essential feature of Saussure's linguistic sign is that, being intrinsically arbitrary, it can be identified only by contrast with coexisting signs of the same nature, which together constitute a structured system"
Language is not just a system, it is a completely symbolic system. There is no necessary connection between a sound/word and the concept signified. Different languages have different words for the same concepts. That means that the relation is arbitrary and symbolic. Each word represents a concept. Rather than representing or reflecting the world, each language represents a conceptual scheme. Words unite not a thing and a name, but a concept and a sound-image (Saussure 1959: 66).
The meaning of the particular sign does not exist by itself but emerges only in relation to all the other signs, not the external word. Words are defined by other words. Meaning, therefore, is a function of an environment of signs. Example: afraid, fear, terrified, and dread. The relation is one of intensity.
Language, culture and reality Assumption: we all see the same things YET: we see what we are trained to see, what we are socialised to see. Benjamin Whorf: explosion of empty gasoline barrels. What was the cause: fumes or the language? In English there is no word to describe ambiguous condition of empty but not empty.
Whorf-Sapir hypothesis The background linguistic system (grammar) of each language is not merely a reproducing instrument for voicing ideas but rather is itself the shaper of ideas…We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native language. The categories and types that we isolate from the world of phenomena we do not find there because they stare every observer in the face; on the contrary, the world is presented in a kaleidoscopic flux of impressions which has to be organized by our minds – and this means largely by the linguistic systems in our minds.
The Hopi language The Hopi language differs dramatically from Standard Average European language (SAE) Tenses: English has three major tenses. People can only experience present. Past and future are abstractions But Westerners think of them as real, because their language forces them to do so. Hopis perception of time: lack of tenses and resulting attitude towards it.
It is not possible to test Whorf-Sapir hypothesis. Possible solution: to look at the problem developmentally: in the development of a child what comes first, thought or language? Melissa Bowerman: linguistic and cognitive development proceed in parallel, each guiding and supporting the other.
Key readings: De Saussure, F Course in general linguistics. Part 1, Chapter 1, Nature of the linguistic sign. New York: Philosophical Library, pp Delaney, Carol Investigating Culture: An Experiential Introduction to Anthropology. Malden: Blackwells, pp Hall, E. and M. Hall The sounds of silence. In: Spradley, J and W.D. McCurdy (eds.). Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology. New York: Longman, pp Thomson, D The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: worlds shaped by words. In: Spradley, J. and D.W. McCurdy (eds.). Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology. New York: Longman, pp Whorf, B.L The relation of habitual thought and behavior to language. Reprinted in: Duranti, A Linguistic Anthropology: A Reader. Oxford: Blackwell, pp
Everyday Knowledge Scientific Knowledge Versus
Tim Ingold and Terhi Kurttilas article (2000): Two understandings of knowledge: one in the modernist frameworks of the state apparatus and the other in the everyday life of local people
Thus, everyday knowledge of the environment people inhabit is: Contextual. Essentially practical rather than theoretical. Knowing how rather than knowing that. Multisensory awareness of the weather is crucial to spatial orientation and to the coordination of activity. Personal.
Local knowledge is not that different from scientific knowledge. Argue against modernist vision of knowledge. Knowledge is local because it is in the heads of local people. But: knowledge is local because it inheres in the activity of inhabiting the land. Modernist vision: traditional knowledge is linked to genealogical model that is passed down from predecessors. But: traditional knowledge is passed through the experience of participation. Modernist view: science and traditional knowledge are opposed. But: the weather is no less real than the climate recorded by scientists. Each knowledge grows out of engagement.
Bourdieu Language and Symbolic Power Questions how we came to frame everyday practices as homogenous and autonomous knowledge No reflection on social, historical and political conditions of the process Twentieth century scholarship treats knowledge as something neutral If we want to know how indigenous knowledge proliferated, we need to concern ourselves with the social conditions under which such knowledge becomes defined, produced, reproduced, and distributed
Paul Nadasdy: The Politics of TEK The initial idea was: to collect and document traditional ecological knowledge and integrate it with scientific knowledge of the environment. But little success to integrate traditional and scientific knowledge. Why?
What are the reasons then? 1.TEK became a politically expedient thing 2.Terms like sustainable development, ecological crisis do not have analogues in Native American languages. Institutionalising such official language will set bad precedents of redefining Native cultures through Western cultures. Morrow and Hensel: term traditional. 3.Knowledge. Traditional knowledge is for aboriginal people is a way of life.
4. Compartmentalisation of TEK. Western science is compartmentalised: social science, natural science, pure science, applied etc. Forestry expert, water expert, mining expert. But knowledge in the bush has to be holistic, not separated. 5. Distillation of TEK. Knowledge has to be converted into numbers and should be expressed numerically.
What constitutes knowledge? Knowledge in hunting societies is encoded at critical points in a belief system, sustained over centuries, that conceptualises animals and humans as sharing a common world and their connections as mutually sustaining. When it becomes incorporated into a Western framework, it is reconstituted to formalize relationships between people and becomes embedded in hierarchy and inequality…Knowledge is not amenable to direct questions, nor can it be easily formulated as a set of rules. It must be demonstrated so that others can see how it is used in practice. Such knowledge is a relational concept, more like a verb than a noun, more process than product, and it can easily be construed as a written, formally encoded, reified product (Cruikshank 1998: 69-70).
Knowing is a concept which is not codified but is demonstrated by example (Anderson 2000: 117). A person performing his/her knowledge competently earns respect and gains status. In learning process – usurpation of tasks is humiliating, but also removes opportunity to demonstrate knowledge.
Knowledge involves an interpersonal relationship with animals. Kwon (1993): hunters do not reveal their hunting intentions so that not to scare the animals. Knowledge of hunting is also in skilled concealment of human qualities. To learn to hunt you have to learn from a cunning fox (Kwon 1993: 121).
Fundamental difference: - Western tradition is preoccupied with analytic and theoretical ways of knowing, episteme, devaluing and misrepresenting practical and contextual knowledge. -But: knowledge means engagement in a skilful act. Rosaldo (1987) example of the basketball game.
Knowledge has to be demonstrated (Cruikshank 1998:70) This concept is a relational concept, more like a verb than a noun, more a process than a product, and it cannot be easily construed as a written, formally encoded, reified product. In hunting societies, Cruikshank states, knowledge has to be demonstrated, shown to the others. Anderson (2000: 117) proposes the term 'knowing the land', where knowledge of the landscape goes beyond conventional map reading.
Key readings: Ingold, T. and T.Kurttila Perceiving the environment in Finnish Lapland. In: Body and Society, 6 (3-4), pp Nadasdy, P The politics of TEK: power and the integration of knowledge. In: Arctic Anthropology, 36 (1-2), pp Anderson, D Identity and Ecology in Arctic Siberia: The Number One Brigade. Chapter 6 Sentient ecology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp Cruikshank, J The Social Life of Stories: Narrative and Knowledge in the Yukon Territory. Chapter 3. Yukon Arcadia: oral tradition, indigenous knowledge, and the fragmentation of meaning. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, pp Argounova-Low, T (in press). Landscape as narrative, memory and knowledge. In: Jordan, P. (ed.). Landscape and Culture in the Siberian North. London: University College London Press.
Lectures Religion. The ways we believe
Religion All societies have beliefs Any set of attitudes, beliefs, practices as pertaining to supernatural power
Natural and the supernatural Not all languages or cultures make such distinction. Depends on how is natural and supernatural determined by a society. (E.g. illnesses)
In some societies: Religious is embedded in aspects of everyday life. Difficult to separate religious from economic or political aspects Such societies have no-full time priests, no purely religious activities.
Universality of religion Religious beliefs are found in all contemporary societies. Signs of religious beliefs date back at least 60,000 years ago. Herodotus (V BC) made fairly objective comparisons among the religions during his travels.
Reasons of origin of religion: Religions are created by humans in response to certain universal needs or conditions: - need for intellectual understanding - reversion to childhood feelings - anxiety and uncertainty - need for community
The need to understand Edward Tylor in Primitive Culture (1871): religion originated in peoples speculation about dreams, trances, and death. Beliefs in souls was the earliest form of religion: animism. Humans developed religions in order to explain things.
Reversion to childhood feelings Sigmund Freuds theory of a dominating tyrannical man. Sons who killed and ate him later experienced remorse and guilt. Expressed this guilt by prohibiting the killing of a totem animal. When adults feel out of control or in need, they may unconsciously revert to their infantile and childhood feelings. They may then look to gods or magic to do what they cannot do for themselves, just as they looked to their parents to take care of their needs. Freud: humans would eventually outgrow the need for religion
Anxiety and uncertainty Bronislaw Malinowski: people in all societies are faced with anxiety and uncertainty. Religion is born from the universal need to find comfort in inevitable times of stress. Carl Jung, Erich Fromm and others viewed religion more positively than Freud: relieves anxiety and is therapeutic. Jung suggested that it helps to resolve their inner conflict and attain maturity.
The need for community: Some social scientists believe that religion springs from society and serves social rather than psychological needs. Social forces: public opinion, custom, law – seen as mysterious forces made people to believe in gods and spirits. Emile Durkheim: religion arises out of the experience of living in social groups. Religious belief and practice affirm a persons place in society, enhance feeling of community and provide confidence.
Durkheim: society is the object of worship Durkheim explained totemism:nothing inherent in a lizard, rat, or any other animal that would make them sacred for aboriginal groups. Totem therefore must be a symbol. People are organised into clans. Totem is the focus of the clans religious rituals and symbolises both the clan and the clans spirits.
Religious change as revitalisation Cargo cults, nativistic movements, messianic movements, millenarian cults. What may explain such cults? Important factor: existence of oppression. Relative deprivation. Times of stress. People resort to magic in situation of chance, when they have limited control over the success of their activities.
Key readings: Gmelch, G. Baseball magic In: Spradley, J. and D.W. McCurdy (eds.) Conformity and Conflict:Readings in Cultural Anthropology. New York: Longman, pp Leavitt, S.C Cargo beliefs and religious experience. In: Spradley, J. and D.W.McCurdy (eds.) Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology. New York: Longman, pp Merrill, W.L Gods saviours in the Sierra Madre. In: Spradley, J. and D.W.McCurdy (eds.) Conformity and Conflict:Rreadings in Cultural Anthropology. New York: Longman, pp
Anthropology of Art Lectures 19-20
People express themselves creatively in dance, music, song, painting, sculpture, etc. Hunters and gatherers have been painting and carving for thousands of years. Only recently, since they have entered the Western art world, these people became involved in the production of art. Hunters and gatherers of the past were painting and carving, but they were not producing art.
Indeed, many native cultures are lacking the word for art or aesthetics. Perhaps because art in societies with relatively little specialisation, is often an integral part of religious, social and political life. But even without the word people associate with aesthetic experience – sense of beauty, harmony, pleasure.
Several qualities of art It expresses as well as communicates It stimulates the sense, affects emotions, and evokes ideas. It is produced in culturally patterned ways and styles. It has cultural meaning. Some people are better at it than the others. But in many societies people who do art are not full-time specialists.
In the 19 th century, art was one of the concepts used to exclude people from civilization and to distance them from European culture. However just as art could be used to distance other people from civilised Europeans, it can be used as a rhetorical device to include them within a world culture.
Definition of art Those things are considered to be art which are made by human beings in any visual medium, where production requires a relatively high level of skill on the part of their maker, skill being measured when possible according to the standards traditionally used in the makers society (Anderson 1979:11) Art from Old French (ars) meaning skill.
What are some ideas about art in Western society? Anything useful is not art. BUT: totem poles for practical use (to support the dwelling); beautifully embroidered boots or parkas are to keep people warm. To be considered art, a work must be unique. An artist should be original. BUT: in some societies the ability to replicate a traditional pattern is more valued than originality.
Indigenous art and museums How Western museums and art critics look at the visual art of native cultures? By their things we shall know them remains one premise of representing indigenous art Nameless Timeless Primitive art Tourist art
Indigenous people should represent themselves, rather than be represented by others. Anthropologists are no translators of culture.
Museums and indigenous art Difference in interpretations of artefacts For many indigenous people the museum artefacts are ways of relating to their history and ancestry Should museums repatriate tribal masks and other items to the tribes where they originally belong?
Key readings: Eyo, E Repatriation of cultural heritage: the African experience. In: Kaplan, F. (ed.). Museums and the Making of Ourselves: the Role of Objects in National Identity. London: Leicester University Press., pp Myers, F. R Culture-making: performing aboriginality at the Asia Society Gallery. In: American Ethnologist, vol. 21, N 4, pp Film Cracks in the Mask
Your exam: Your exam is on May 29, Tuesday. From The exam is held in Marischall College, Mitchell Hall. It is in the centre of the town, NOT in the campus. You have to answer three questions. You have two hours.
Read the questions very carefully. Engage with each word. Choose three questions. Start with the most difficult one. Make a structure of your essay. Explain clearly what you are going to argue. Start with the key concept. Provide theoretical argumentation. Give ethnographic examples. Conclude.
Helpful phrases: In this essay I intend to analyse/introduce… Religion can be interpreted as… According to X. in_____ In the words of X. … As X. shows in … G indicates(suggests, argues, demonstrates, implies, claims)…