Culture is Learned Cultural learning is unique to humans. Cultural learning is the accumulation of knowledge about experiences and information not perceived directly by the organism, but transmitted to it through symbols. Symbols are signs that have no necessary or natural connection with the things for which they stand. Geertz defines culture as ideas based on cultural learning and symbols. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Culture is Learned Culture is learned through both direct instruction and through observation (both conscious and unconscious). Anthropologists in the 19th century argued for the “psychic unity of man.” This doctrine acknowledges that individuals vary in their emotional and intellectual tendencies and capacities. However, this doctrine asserted that all human populations share the same capacity for culture. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Culture is Shared Culture is located and transmitted in groups. The social transmission of culture tends to unify people by providing us with a common experience. The commonalty of experience in turn tends to generate a common understanding of future events. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Culture is Symbolic The human ability to use symbols is the basis of culture (a symbol is something verbal or nonverbal within a particular language or culture that comes to stand for something else). While human symbol use is overwhelmingly linguistic, a symbol is anything that is used to represent any other thing, when the relationship between the two is arbitrary (e.g. a flag). Other primates have demonstrated rudimentary ability to use symbols, but only humans have elaborated cultural abilities—to learn, to communicate, to store, to process, and to use symbols. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Culture and Nature Humans interact with cultural constructions of nature, rather than directly with nature itself. Culture converts natural urges and acts into cultural customs. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Culture is All-Encompassing The anthropological concept of culture is a model that includes all aspects of human group behavior. Everyone is cultured, not just wealthy people with an elite education. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Culture is Integrated A culture is a system: changes in one aspect will likely generate changes in other aspects. Core values are sets of ideas, attitudes, and beliefs which are basic in that they provide an organizational logic for the rest of the culture. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. People Use Culture Creatively Humans have the ability to avoid, manipulate, subvert, and change the “rules” and patterns of their own cultures. “Ideal culture” refers to normative descriptions of a culture given by its natives. “Real culture” refers to “actual behavior as observed by an anthropologist.” Culture is both public and individual because individuals internalize the meanings of public (cultural) messages. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Culture is Adaptive and Maladaptive Culture is an adaptive strategy employed by hominids. Because cultural behavior is motivated by cultural factors, and not by environmental constraints, cultural behavior can be maladaptive. Determining whether a cultural practice is adaptive or maladaptive frequently requires viewing the results of that practice from several perspectives (from the point of view of a different culture, species, or time frame, for example). McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Generalization and Laws in Social Science: Most “Laws” in the natural sciences only apply in very specific, limited conditions. Scientific Laws are Predictive not Prescriptive Because we can make general predictions about the way in which people will respond under certain conditions, we can conduct a scientific study of culture. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Ethnocentrism & Cultural Relativism Ethnocentrism is the use of values, ideals, and mores from one’s own culture to judge the behavior of someone from another culture. Ethnocentrism is a cultural universal. Ethnocentrism contributes to social solidarity. Cultural Relativism asserts that cultural values are arbitrary, and therefore the values of one culture should not be used as standards to evaluate the behavior of persons from outside that culture. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Human Rights The idea of universal, unalienable, individual human rights challenges cultural relativism by invoking a moral and ethical code that is superior to any country, culture, or religion. Cultural rights are vested in groups and include a group’s ability to preserve its cultural tradition. Manny Anthropologists argue that cultural relativism does not preclude an anthropologist from respecting “international standards of justice and morality.” McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Human Rights This is an example of the study of ethnomedicine in Papua New Guinea. The notion of Indigenous Intellectual Property Rights has emerged to help preserve each societies cultural base, which may have commercial value. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by Credit: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Gamma rights reserved. Photo Ripoll/Association Kutubu/ Liaison Culture: Universal and Particular Cultural universals are features that are found in every culture. Cultural generalities include features that are common to several, but not all human groups. Cultural particularities are features that are unique to certain cultural traditions. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Universality Cultural universals are those traits that distinguish Homo sapiens from other species. Some biological universals include: a long period of infant dependency, year-round sexuality, and a complex brain that enables us to use symbols, languages, and tools. Some psychological universals include the common ways in which humans think, feel, and process information. Some social universals include: incest taboos, life in groups, families (of some kind), and food sharing. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Particularity Cultural practices that are unique to any one culture are “cultural particulars.” That these particulars may be of fundamental importance to the population is indicative of the need to study the sources of cultural diversity. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Diffusion Diffusion—defined as the spread of culture traits through borrowing from one culture to another—has been a source of culture change throughout human history. Diffusion can be direct (between to adjacent cultures) or indirect (across one or more intervening cultures or through some long distance medium). Diffusion can be forced (through warfare, colonization, or some other kind of domination) or unforced (e.g., intermarriage, trade, and the like). McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Acculturation Acculturation is the exchange of features that results when groups come into continuous, firsthand contact. Acculturation may occur in any or all groups engaged in such contact. A pidgin is an example of acculturation, because it is a language form that develops by borrowing language elements from two linguistically different populations in order to facilitate communication between the two. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Independent Invention Independent invention is defined as the creative innovation of new solutions to old and new problems. Cultural generalities are partly explained by the independent invention of similar responses to similar cultural and environmental circumstances. The independent invention of agriculture in both the Middle East and Mexico is cited as an example. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Convergent Cultural Evolution Cultural convergence is the development of similar traits, institutions, and behavior patterns by separate groups as a result of adaptation to similar environments. Julian Steward pointed to instances of cultural convergence to support the hypothesis that cultural change is governed by scientific laws. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Globalization Globalization encompasses a series of processes that work to make modern nations and people increasingly interlinked and mutually dependent. Economic and political forces take advantage of modern systems of communication and transportation to promote globalization. Globalization allows for the domination of local peoples by larger economic and political systems (these may be based regionally, nationally, and worldwide). Recognizing the breadth and nature of changes wrought through globalization carries the concomitant need to recognize practices of resistance, accommodation, and survival that occur in response to same. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Globalization These men in a coffee shop in Cairo, Egypt are using a laptop computer and smoking traditional hookahs (pipes). McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Credit: All rights reserved. Photo Barry Iverson The Relationship between Ethnological Theory and Ethnographic Fact Ethnography: The observational study of cultures. Ethnographers observe, record, and interpret aspects of particular cultures. Ethnology: The comparative study of cultures Generality Certain practices, beliefs, and the like may be held commonly by more than one culture, but not be universal; these are called “generalities.” Diffusion and independent invention are two main sources of cultural generalities. The nuclear family is a cultural generality since it is present in most, but not all societies. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Ethnography Ethnography is the firsthand personal study of a local cultural setting. Ethnographers try to understand the whole of a particular culture, not just fragments (e.g. the economy). In pursuit of this holistic goal, ethnographers usually spend an extended period of time living with the group they are studying and employ a series of techniques to gather information. The early ethnographers conducted research almost exclusively among small-scale, relatively isolated societies, with simple technologies and economics. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Participant Observation Ethnographers are trained to be aware of and record details from daily events, the significance of which may not be apparent until much later. “Participant observation,” as practiced by ethnographers, involves the researcher taking part in the activities being observed. Unlike laboratory research, ethnographers do not isolate variables or attempt to manipulate the outcome of events they are observing. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Ethnography Here, ethnographer Nadine Peacock works among the Efe of Congo. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All / rights reserved. Photo Credit: Irven DeVore Anthro-Photo Conversation and Interviewing Ethnographic interviews range in formality from undirected conversation, to open-ended interviews focusing on specific topics, to formal interviews using a predetermined schedule of questions. Increasingly, more than one of these methods are used to accomplish complementary ends on a single ethnographic research project. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Genealogical Method Early anthropologists identified types of relatedness, such as kinship, descent, and marriage, as being the fundamental organizing principals of nonindustrial societies. The genealogical method of diagramming such kin relations was developed as a formalized means of comparing kinbased societies. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Ethnographic Techniques Key Cultural Consultants are particularly well-informed members of the culture being studied that can provide the ethnographer with some of the most useful or complete information. Life histories are intimate and personal collections of a lifetime of experiences from certain members of the community being studied. Life histories reveal how specific people perceive, react to, and contribute to changes that affect their lives. Since life histories are focused on how different people interpret and deal with similar issues, they can be used to illustrate the diversity within a given community. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Ethnographic Techniques Anthropologists such as Christie Kiefer typically form personal relationships with cultural consultants, such as this Guatemalan weaver. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Inc. /All rights reserved. Photo Credit: Peggy /Companies, Yoran Kahana Peter Arnold, Inc. Emic vs. Etic An emic (native-oriented) approach investigates how natives think, categorize the world, express thoughts, and interpret stimuli. Emic means the “native viewpoint” Key cultural consultants are essential for understanding the emic perspective. An etic (science-oriented) approach emphasizes the categories, interpretations, and features that the anthropologist considers important. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Evolution of Ethnography Bronislaw Malinowski is generally considered the father of ethnography. He did salvage ethnography, recording cultural diversity that was threatened by westernization. His ethnographies were scientific accounts of unknown people and places. Ethnographic realism The writer’s goal was to produce an accurate, objective, scientific account of the study community. The writer’s authority was rooted in his or her personal research experience with that community. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Bronislaw Malinowski Malinowski believed that all aspects of culture were linked and intertwined, making it impossible to write about just one cultural feature without discussing how it relates to others. Malinowski argued that understanding the emic perspective, the native’s point of view, was the primary goal of ethnography. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Bronislaw Malinowski Here, Bronislaw Malinowski is seated with villagers of the Trobriand Islands. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Inc.and AllPolitical rights reserved. Photo Credit: British Library of Political & Economic Science London School Companies, of Economics Science Interpretive Anthropology Interpretive anthropologist believe that ethnographers should describe and interpret that which is meaningful to the natives. Geertz argues that cultures are texts that natives constantly “read” and that ethnographers must decipher. Meanings in a given culture are carried by public symbolic forms, including words, rituals, and customs. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Experimental Anthropology Experimental anthropologists, like Marcus and Fischer, have begun to question the traditional goals, methods, and styles of ethnographic realism and salvage ethnography. Ethnographies should be viewed as both works of art and works of science. The ethnographer functions as the mediator who communicates information from the natives to the readers. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Ethnographic Present The early ethnographies were often written in the ethnographic present, a romanticized timelessness before westernization, that gave the ethnographies an eternal, unchanging quality. Today, anthropologists understand that this is an unrealistic construct that inaccurately portrayed the natives as isolated and cut off from the rest of the world. Ethnographers today recognize that cultures constantly change and that this quality must be represented in the ethnography. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Problem-Oriented Ethnography Ethnographers typically address a specific problem or set of problems, within the context of broader depictions of cultures. Variables with the most significant relationship to the problem being addressed are given priority in the analysis. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Longitudinal Research Longitudinal Research is the long-term study of a community, region, society, or culture based on a series of repeated visits. Longitudinal research has become increasingly common among ethnographic studies, as repeat visits to field sites have become easier. Such studies may also encompass multiple, related sites. Team Research involves a series of ethnographers conducting complimentary research in a given community, culture, or region. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Why is theory important in doing Ethnography? It is impossible to describe all aspects of any cultural event at any given moment Every Researcher is selective in what facts they choose to record and what they think is important Our views on what we are explaining, and how, make up our theoretical perspective McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Special Problems of Ethnography: Relativism (Everyone has their own perspective) Important Points: All observers are biased Our biases should be made clear The objectivity of a discipline is cumulative, it does not exist in the minds of the individual observers but in the consensus of the community of observers. Human events are always historically contingent McGraw-Hill Social conditions change There are a lot of conditions to consider Some social conditions are historically unique The patterns of human societies can change very quickly and sometimes in radical ways. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. The Special Problems of Ethnography: Social Issues (What people want to know vs. what we can tell them) Many times anthropologists find themselves being asked to investigate phenomena that the larger society finds important, but which anthropologists are not equipped or prepared to investigate. Ideology (What people don’t want to hear) Anthropologists and scientists in general, are often criticized for views of subjects that are at odds with the culturally accepted norms It is a fact that research operates within the values and views of a culture, and that it has been shaped by those views. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Show Me The Money Anthropologists need funding to support their research in the field. There are a series of agencies that support anthropological research. National Science Foundation (NSF) National Institutes of Health (NIH) Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Show Me The Money In order to receive funding from any of these institutions, anthropologists must write grant proposals that summarize what questions are going to be addressed, where the research will be conducted, and how it will be done. Why this topic/problem? The grant writer must present the topic or problem that they will address during the proposed research. More importantly, the writer needs to convince the agency that the topic is important and worthy of being funded. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Show Me The Money Why this place? The grant writer needs to demonstrate the connection between the research topic and the location where the research will be carried out. Some locations address certain topics better than others. Why this person? The grant writer needs to identify the special qualifications that he or she brings to the research topic. Proficiency in the local language, previous research experience in the area, and strong local contacts are important. How will the study be done? The grant writer needs to discuss, as specifically as possible, how this research will be carried out. This section can include a discussion of the techniques and methods as well as the logistics of living in the study community and gaining permission from the study community to perform the research. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Ethics: People and Animals The primary ethical obligation of the anthropologist is to the people, species, or materials he or she studies. Researchers must respect the safety, dignity, and privacy of the people, species or materials that he or she studies. Researchers should determine in advance whether their hosts wish to remain anonymous or receive recognition. Researchers should obtain the informed consent of the people to be studied and of those whose interests may be affected by the research. Anthropologists who develop close relationships with individuals must adhere to the obligations of openness and informed consent. Anthropologists may gain personally form their work, but they must not exploit individuals, groups, animals, or cultural or biological materials. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Ethics: Scholarship and Science Anthropologists should expect to encounter ethical dilemmas during their work. Anthropologists are responsible for the integrity and reputation of their discipline, of scholarship, and of science. Researchers should do all they can to preserve opportunities for future field work. To the extent possible, researchers should disseminate their findings to the scientific and scholarly community. Anthropologists should consider reasonable requests for access to their data for purposes of research. Responsibility to the public. Researchers should make their results available to sponsors, students, decision makers, and other non-anthropologists. Anthropologists may move beyond disseminating research results to a position of advocacy. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Ethics: Teaching Anthropologists should conduct their programs in ways that preclude discrimination on the basis of sex, marital status, “race”, social class, political convictions, disability, religion, ethnic background, national origin, sexual orientation, and age. Anthropologists should strive to improve their teaching and training techniques. Teachers should impress a concern with ethics on their students. Teachers should properly acknowledge student assistance in their research and in the preparation of their work. Teachers must avoid sexual liaisons with those for whose education and professional training they are in any way responsible. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Ethics for Applied Anthropology Applied anthropologists should use and disseminate their work appropriately. With employers, applied anthropologists should be honest about their qualifications, capabilities, aims, and intentions. Applied anthropologists should be alert to the danger of compromising ethics as a condition for engaging in research or practice. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Survey Research Anthropologists working in large-scale societies are increasingly using survey methodologies to complement more traditional ethnographic techniques. Survey involves drawing a study group or sample from the larger study population, collecting impersonal data, and performing statistical analyses on these data. By studying a properly selected and representative sample, social scientists can make accurate inferences about the larger population. Survey research is considerably more impersonal than ethnography. Survey researchers call the people who make up their study sample respondents. Respondents answer a series of formally administered questions. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Survey Research Comparison between Ethnography and Survey Research ETHNOGRAPHY SURVEY RESEARCH is the study whole, functioning communities is the study a small sample of a larger community is usually based on firsthand fieldwork during which information is collected after a good, friendly working relationship, based on personal contact, is established between researcher and informants is generally interested in studying all aspects of a the informants’ lives (holistic) is often conducted with little to no personal contact between study subjects and researchers as interviews are frequently conducted by assistants over the phone or in printed form McGraw-Hill usually focused on a small number of variables, such as ones that influence voting, rather than on the totality of people’s lives © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Survey Research Comparison between Ethnography and Survey Research (continued) ETHNOGRAPHY SURVEY RESEARCH tends to be conducted outside the First (industrial) World, among communities that do not read or write is normally carried out in modern nations , where most people are literate, permitting respondents to fill in their own questionnaire makes little use of statistics since the societies being investigated tend to be smaller and less diverse is heavily dependent upon statistical analyses in order to make inferences regarding a large and diverse study community, based on data collected from a small subset of that community McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Anthropology in Complex Societies Anthropologists rely increasingly on a variety of different field methodologies to accommodate a demand for greater breadth of applicability of results. Kottak argues that the core contribution of ethnology remains the qualitative data that result from close, longterm, in-depth contact between ethnographer and subjects. McGraw-Hill © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.