Presentation on theme: "Lecture 5: Mauss on the Person. Mausss contribution Establish the person as a concept Person as a social compound of jural rights and moral responsibility."— Presentation transcript:
Lecture 5: Mauss on the Person
Mausss contribution Establish the person as a concept Person as a social compound of jural rights and moral responsibility. Person vs. Self Self is universal – awareness of body, spiritually and physically Person varies
Mauss – historical development Personage - mask or character Persona/ Personne morale – legal entity. Role player and the real person behind the mask Moi– indivisible self/individual, possessing self knowledge and consciousness
Structural functionalists Radcliffe-Brown: The individual is a biological organism Person is a complex of social relationships.
Meyer Fortes The moi is universal Objective side – qualities, capacities and roles endowed by society Subjective side – how the individual knows himself/herself to be that person
Tallensi Personhood Non-human, corporate, inanimate or animate persons Biological embodiment and legal, moral, ritual status – Living entities contained within a social system Personhood is associated with office Moral career: birth, sibling, household, ritual office … Public person and individual identity (Sii) The union of social person and the inner self – ritual observance, observance of taboos, …
Social structure and the person Social structure is reflected in the definition of the person The constraints that shape a persons life are felt to be external – ancestors, mystical powers, Fate Self-awareness – as personne morale. The person is a microcosm of the social order
Durkheims legacy Evolutionary development of social solidarity and the individual Society as a social fact and the idea of collective conscience
Enduring concepts The social person is defined and created by society. Self – The human being as the locus of experience.
The Western notion of the self/person The Western conception of the person as a bounded, unique, more or less integrated motivational and cognitive universe, a dynamic center of awareness, emotion, judgement and action organised into a distinctive whole and set contrastively both against other such wholes and against its social and natural background, is … a rather peculiar idea within the context of the worlds cultures. (Geertz cited in Csordas, Self and Person)
Comaroff and Comarrof Misleading to oppose the autonomous person of modernity with the relational pre-modern person The autonomous individual is not the end point of a world-historical telos The Southern Tswana conception of personhood is also modern – there are multiple modernities
Tswana personhood Nobody could be known except in relation to a wide array of significant others Constantly engaged in a practice of self- construction – a state of becoming Tiro – labour/fabrication Self distributed in traces and relations Witchcraft or eaten by a more powerful other– stopped becoming Integration of the fractal human person at the funeral