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SOAN101 Lec 2 F14

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Julie Jenkins

on 16 September 2014

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Transcript of SOAN101 Lec 2 F14

Anthropological Ways of Knowing
--a process
--a way to approach questions about the physical world
--through analysis & evaluation
Hypothesis that has been tested and subjected to verification through accumulated evidence
Are all opinions equal?
scientists are imperfect, cultural & social beings
--but ideally should be self-correcting as hypotheses are tested and knowledge accumulates
What is science?
keep the hypothesis that you can't disprove
What is a theory?
Is science affected by ethnocentrisms or biases?
Socio-Cultural Anthropology Debates
Can we be 100% objective?
Is socio-cultural anthropology a science? If not what is it?
Margaret Mead vs Derek Freeman
Mead- Samoa- 1920s
--Does every society experience distress, tension, & rebellion in the transition to adulthood?
--No-- Somoan youth have freedom to be sexually active and transition quite easily
Freeman- Samoa- 1980s
--argued that Mead's informants lied
-- Samoans highly value virginity
--Mead-- young women, not high ranking families
--Freeman-- elder men, high ranking families
--different time periods
Factors to take into account:
-my perspective & cultural background
-my ethnocentrisms
-informants perspective, social experiences, and social position
Call for 'Reflexivity'
What shapes our descriptions of cultures?
-Our culture's world-view?
Am I being ethnocentric?
Only the Anthropologist's Interpretation?
Informed interpretations based on extensive long term fieldwork, thick descriptions, and the emic perspective
Search for the diversity of explanations and experiences, not the 'right' explanation.
Why might Mead & Freeman have different findings?
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