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Global Changes and the Role of Anthropology

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Natalie Keefer

on 17 June 2013

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Transcript of Global Changes and the Role of Anthropology

Global Changes and the Role of Anthropology
Culture is the medium through which our
species adapts to environmental, political, social and economic changes.

China, Jordan, Israel, Russia, Thailand
This can lead to culture loss - the abandoning of existing cultural practices, systems of knowledge and understanding.
Acculturation - massive changes occur in a society as a consequence of firsthand contact between their group and a more powerful one. i.e. colonial India, Americas and Africa
Ethnocide - destruction of a nationality or ethnic group due to subjugation. i.e. Tibet, Amazon rainforest
Syncretism - blending of indigenous and newer cultural traits to form a new system. i.e. Voodoo, Cricket in the Trobriand Island
Globalization and Global Culture
globalization and technologies facilitate the transfer and migration of people, capital and ideas at a faster rate than ever before
Global Culture
Ethnic Preservation
resists globalization
regional distinctiveness
unique cultural heritage
respect for indigenous groups
Structural Violence indirectly deprives humans
of basic needs and human rights
environmental destruction
Structural violence is caused by exploitation
and unjust social, political and economic
"Not only are the poor more likely to suffer, but they are more likely to have their suffering silenced."
-Dr. Paul Farmer, Pathologies of Power
Environmental Degradation
Shell in Nigeria
Modern day slavery
So, what can anthropologists do?

Applied anthropology!
not just preservation of indigenous cultural systems
research issues related to structural violence
advocate on behalf of indigenous or minority ethnic groups
help others (governments and multinational corporations) understand unfamiliar social, cultural, religious and economic practices
work within international organizations and NGO's
PAR - (participatory action research), partnership research with indigenous groups
PAR helps indigenous groups reach community goals

Consequences of globalization:
Diffusion is the spread of ideas, customs, practices, culture, technologies from one culture to another
Modernization - economic change when less developed countries acquire some of the characteristics of developed, Western countries.
The major emphasis is on material progress. Supporters think the benefits of modernization (electricity, healthcare) outweigh the costs.
Others criticize it because it leads to increased social inequality, destruction of indigenous cultures, and environmental degradation.
It includes five subprocesses:
Technological development – scientific knowledge and techniques developed in the industrialized West.
Agricultural development – a shift in emphasis from subsistence to commercial farming.
Urbanization – population movements from the rural to the urban
Industrialization – a growing reliance on machines and fossil fuels while human and animal power becomes less important.
Telecommunication – a growing reliance on electronic and digital media to share news, commodity prices, cultural features, and political opinions. Information flows freely.
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