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Anthro1795. Theories of Culture

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Tilsa Ponce

on 4 February 2013

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Transcript of Anthro1795. Theories of Culture

A. Duranti. Chap. 2 Theories of Culture (one)
As Distinct from Nature - Culture as "learned" (two)
As Knowledge - If culture is "learned," then knowledge of the world Premise: Language as a Cultural Practice What is "culture"? Critiques: Reduction of complexity, Colonial agenda and supremacy, dichotomies "us" vs. "them" --> Anthropologists need to be aware of their role in the production and legitimation of marginalization. - Nature/Culture Dichotomy. - Philosophical assumptions: Boas, Kant, Hegel. - Socialization: Shapes the child's mind and behavior towards ways of thinking, speaking, and acting accepted by a community. - Language as part of culture: + Systems of Language specific classification + Linguistic labels and types of social distinctions. + Re-cognize: objects, places, people ideas
+ Share common patterns of thought, ways of understanding the world.
+ Ways of making inferences and predictions - Linguistic homology: knowing a culture / knowing a language. - Types of knowledge: Propositional (know-that) and Procedural (know-how). - Culture as socially distributed knowledge.- +Two assumptions: 1) individual is not endpoint of acquisition, 2) not everyone has access to the same information. + How people think in real situations. - In sum, Knowledge distributed amongst:
+ Tools and Participants.
+ Learning from formal institutions is rare.
+ Apprenticeship as the most common way to transmit knowledge. (three)
As Communication (2) Geertz and the interpretative approach (3) Indexicality and Metapragmatics (4) Metaphors as folk theories of the world (four)
As a system of Mediation (five)
As a system of
Practices - Marx's "instruments of labor:" whatever humans use to control the environment and produce resources. - Material and Ideational structures are instruments that are "between" us and the world, mediate our experience of it. - But, the model needs further development: + Internal organization of the elements in the mediation process. + Is there experience out of mediation? + Methodology - Poststructuralism - Interest in moment-by-moment and dialogic construction of interpretations. - Heidegger: way of being in the world. - Bourdieu's practice theory: stresses the inextricable relationship between knowledge and action-in-the-world, past and present conditions. - Language as a system actively defined by sociopolitical processes and within a system of dispositions (habitus) shared in the community. - Individual acts are within larger frames of reference. (six)
As a System of
Participation - Premise: any action in the world has a inherently social, collective, and participatory quality. - To speak means to choose a particular way of entering the world and a particular way of sustaining relationships with others. (1) Levi-Strauss and Semiotics System of Signs - Culture as sign systems that organize the world in binary oppositions. - Myths communicate through people. - But: The concrete human being vanishes in this model. - Human experience as a never-ending interpretative process. - Ethnography and "thick description:" uncover the "webs" of culture. - Not just representing aspects of reality but connecting individuals, groups and individuals to each other. - A way to point towards, bringing into the present beliefs, feelings, identities, events = the indexical meaning of signs. - Figurative Language: The specific form of our speech can be see as a guide to our experience of the world. - Crossroads of biology and culture; inheritance and acquisition. i.e: Language.
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