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Structuralism - Levi-Strauss and Ortner
Transcript of Structuralism - Levi-Strauss and Ortner
Language and Culture Relationship as a Human Phenomenon The various levels Individual cultural ramifications of the relationship Two Critical Facts: Language is the means thru which culture is transmitted Both Language and Culture are visible manifestations of the same underlying processes Linguistics is the most scientific Social Science Study the Culture Know the Language Some Marxist influence Society is a manifestation of the patterns that ultimately reside in the Human Mind Kinship Systems Indo-European Sino-Tibetan Sherry Ortner Four Winnebago Myths Is Female to Male as Nature is to Culture? Marriage Rules Social Organization Kinship System Circular systems, either resulting directly from explicit rules or indirectly from the fact that the choice of a mate is left to probability. Numerous social units, with a complex structure (extended family types) (1) Subjective
(2) Few Terms Circular systems, present in juxtaposition with systems of symmetrical exchange Few social units, with a simple structure (clan or lineage type) (1) Objective
(2) Many Terms Based on Radin's ethnographic work of the Winnebago These myths can be grouped together because their are of the same genre They Complement each other The Two Friends who became Reincarnated: The origin of the four night's wake Every individual is entitled to a specific quota of years in life and experience. If an individual dies before his time, his unutilized years of life can be recycled and returned to the "capital" of life Full Life Full Death Reincarnation
Half-life, Half-death Opposition
(1) Heroic Life (renewable, shortened life)
(2) Ordinary Life (non renewable, full life) E.G. Achilles
1 Full life = 1Full Death, "If one renounces life and seeks death, one increases the life of his tribesmen" The Man who brought his wife back from Spiritland The Journey of the Ghost to Spiritland,
as told in the Medicine Rite Immune to death, mithraditized, renouncing a full ordinary life to gain a lifelong succession of half-lives and half-deaths How an Orphan Restored the Chief's Daughter to Life Village origin myth altered beyond recognition Theoretical problem, dissimilar to the other three Reflects a stratified society Social Positions and Natural Positions shift drastically The four myths deal with extraordinary in opposition to ordinary
Fourth myth deals with material trials Sino-Tibetan Indo-European In Conclusion... Myth 1 Myth 2 Myth 3 Myth 4 The degree to which Language is separable from Culture The relationship between Language and Culture as a whole, not just singularly Relationship between
Linguistics and Anthropologists And... Importance of Silence Cultural Attitudes Towards Language Anthropologists should be envious
Before Ethnographic work Linguistics can be used to analyze culture because they are the result of the same mental processes Female Male Nature Culture Universal Gender Asymmetry Problem: MEN women Why is it that the position a woman holds varies from culture to culture, but women are universally held in a lower regard Physiologically oriented Physiologically oriented Biological make up imposes Social roles and psychic structure Biologically freed up to influence Culture Creates Perishable Human Beings Mother-Infant Bond
2) Reproduction Based on Arbitrary Assumptions Has Modern Society lessened the Bond between Mother and Child? Create lasting
Material Culture Limited to no
bond with infant,
bond Levels of Asymmetry 1) Universally, women have a second class status
2) Ideologies, Symbolizations, and socio-structural arrangements vary from culture to culture 3) Observed activities, contributions, powers, influence, etcetera, of women > MEN women VS. ...Even in our
Mythic Past In Recent History... Check Her Mad Skills!! Digression Alert: First Lady of the USA W
lothes Muslim Woman Stoned for Alleged Adultry Woman Wearing Hijab Sandra Bullock Queen Mother Elizabeth Taylor The Indominable Vodou Priestess Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton Great Britain's Can You Say Feminist Anthopology? Marx Stalin Mao Assumes that Biology and Psychology force females into a more "Nature Oriented" manner Women are "more enslaved to the spacies"
- De Beauvoir Ortner ignores instances that could invalidate the premise of this work. e.g., " in nature hunting and killing" could put men closer to nature Ortner uses Tylor's less favored definition of culture (arts, laws, morals, etc.) as opposed to Boas' In Conclusion, Ortner states that this is a construct of Culture rather than a fact of Nature. Women are closer to culture when enculturating Children