What did anthropology look like at the beginning of the 20th century?
- almost no fossil evidence of human origins
- racial classifications based on anthropometrics
- linguistics was only historical, reconstructing a protolanguage
What are the major developments in physical anthropology?
- African fossils
- Timeline for the development of upright posture
- Neanderthals are no longer considered ancestors to modern humans
- Dating methods
What was the role of Gordon Childe in archeology?
- He put together all the available information from European countries to create a prehistoric chronology for Europe
What was the negative effect of the Chomskian revolution?
- anthropologists were turned away from discribing the world's lesser known languages - they switched to using bits of data from their own languages
British anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski is remembered as the father of the functionalist school of anthropology as well as for his role in developing the methods and the primacy of anthropological fieldwork. Malinowski first rose to prominent notice through his studies of Pacific Islanders, especially those conducted among the Trobriand Islanders whose marriage, trade, and religious customs he studied extensively. His best known works include his classic book Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922) as well as Crime and Custom in Savage Society (1926), The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia (1929), and the posthumously published Magic, Science, and Religion and Other Essays (1948). Malinowski helped develop the field of anthropology from a primarily evolutionary focus into sociological and psychological fields of enquiry. Some of the more noteworthy byproducts of his fieldwork in this direction was various evidence that debunked the Freudian notion of a universal Oedipal Complex and also showed that so-called primitive peoples are capable of the same types and levels of cognitive reasoning as those from more "advanced" societies. Malinowski's ideas and methodologies came to be widely embraced by the Boasian influenced school of American Anthropology, making him one of the most influential anthropologists of the 20th century.
What are the two schools that relate anthropology to development?
- Development anthropology
- Anthropology of development
What is the role of the World Bank in development anthropology?
What is the difference between anthropology of development and development anthropology?
developent anthropology: working in development institutions, applied work in development
anthropology of development: language and discource seen as constitutive of social reality
What is the weakness of development anthropology?
- Critics suggest that the underlying framework – development – inspires a cultural politics of dominance over “Third World” countries.
The role of F. Boas in US anthropology.
Franz Boas was born at Minden, Westphalia, Germany, on July 9, 1858. After studying at the Universities of Heidelberg, Bonn, and Kiel, he received a Ph.D. in physics with a minor in geography from the University of Kiel in 1881.
His first fieldwork experience was among the Eskimo in Baffinland, Canada, from 1883 to 1884. From 1885 to 1886, Boas conducted fieldwork under the auspices of several museums on the North Pacific Coast of North America. During this time he was also involved in an important project to bring the cultures of Native Americans to the general public as part of the Chicago World's Fair from 1892 to 1893.
Franz Boas pioneered the concept of life group displays, commonly known as dioramas, and exhibited skulls of various peoples to demonstrate the irrelevance of brain size and argue the diminished significance of theories of racial distinction between humans.
- genealogical method
- life histories
- local beliefs and perceptions
Local beliefs and perceptions - two approaches:
Emic approach- how local people think
Etic approach – scientist-oriented approach
Founding fathers of anthropology:
Lewis Henry Morgan
Sir Edward Burnett Tylor
Evolutionism in Anthropology:
Morgan‘s Ancient Society:
(Savagery, barbarism, civilization
Tylor‘s Primitive Culture:
(Development of religion from animism to polytheism to monotheism);
Both were interested in survivals – practices that survived from earlier evolutionary stages
Franz Boas bullet points:
Father of American four-field anthropology
Race, Language, and Culture
Boas showed that human biology was plastic
It could be changed by environment, culture, etc.
Biology does not determine culture
Functionalism in anthropology
Role of culture traits and practices in contemporary society
Malinowski: all customs and institutions are interrelated, change in one would cause the change in the whole system (function)
Radcliffe-Brown: shift in social anthropology from diachronic to synchronic
Evans-Pritchard: structural functionalism
Mead and Benedict
Culture seen as integrated
Mead in Samoa studying sexual behavior of adolescent people
Culture, not biology or race, determines variation in human behavior and personality
Blamed Boasians of completely rejecting evolution as whole
White argued that human economies had evolved, socipolitically there has been evolution as well
Particular cultures might not evolve in the same direction
Marvin Harris: all societies had an infrastructure, consisting of technology, economics, and demography
Structure: social relations, kinship, distribution
Superstructure: religion, ideology, etc.
Infrastructure determines structure and superstructure
Symbolic and Interpretive Anthropology
Victor Turner: how symbols and rituals are used to redress, regulate, anticipate, and avoid conflict
Close links with psychology, psychoanalysis, etc.
Clifford Geertz: culture as ideas based on cultural learning and symbols
Human minds have certain universal characteristics, which originate in common features of the Homo sapiens brain
Such common mental structure lead people to think similarly regardless of their society
Universal aspect of classification is opposition, contrast – binary opposition
Strategies for innovation
Dev. anthropologists must work closely with local people to help them realize their own wishes
Overinnovation (too much change)
Underdifferentiation: tendency to view the less-developed countries as more alike than they are
Indigenous models: local knowledge, ability of people to feed themselves
Chomsky's view on language:
Noam Chomsky: human brain contains a limited set of rules for organizing language (universal grammar)
This is supported by creole and pidgin languages
Pidgin may develop in creoles
China, West Africa, Papua New Guinea
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
Different languages produce different ways of thinking
English divides time into past, present, future
Hopi does not – they think about time in different ways
Sociolinguistics - style shifts
Languages in regional variations
People can switch dialects – diglossia
People employ high variant at universities, etc., and low variant in ordinary conversation
Gender differences in phonology, grammar, vocabulary, etc.
With a loss of a language, cultural diversity is reduced as well
Past 500 years, half of languages died
Colonial languages have expanded at the expense of indigenous languages
20 % are endangered
Roots of ethnic conflict:
Types of Economic production
Symbiosis with their herds
Livestock used in variety of ways
Herds used for meat, blood, milk (yoghurt, butter, cheese)
Transhumance – some people move with their herds but others stay in their villages
What is a potlatch?
Potlatch - a festive event within a regional exchange system among tribes of the North Pacific Coast of North America