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The Life-Course Anth101 SPR16

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Julie Jenkins

on 3 March 2016

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Transcript of The Life-Course Anth101 SPR16

The Life-Course:
When do you become an adult?

Objectives:
Discuss the different ways of categorizing people into 'age' groups.
How does this differ cross-culturally?
What role does rites of passages play in the life course?
What does the
'life course' refer to?
“Culturally- defined age categories through which a person passes between birth & death.”
What 'life' categories do we recognize?
What aspect of culture is this?
construction of reality-
how we categorize people into 'age'-related categories
Gussi in Kenya
infant
uncircumcised girl
circumcised girl
married woman
female elder
What happens if she never marries?
-understood in status to be a ‘circumcised girl’- her roles, status, and interactions with others will vary according to her culturally defined position

**Categories do not necessarily correspond to biological age
Is 'childhood' a universal category?
What expectations do we have for those who are 5, 10, & 15? What kinds of activities are these involved in?
socially constructed:
Victorian middle-class ideals taken up in mid-late 19th C
'family wage'
men-- breadwinner
women-- home-keeper
children-- education
Privilege & Class
Historically shifts
children contributing to household is not mutually exclusive with education
Cross-culturally, marriage is a signpost for 'adulthood.'
Adulting?
Rather than a state of being, is adulthood a set of actions?
Rites of Passage
-purpose to transform a person from one social status or state of being to another
-or transition between events, seasons, etc.
-change person's status individually and in the eyes of the social group generally
separation - transition - incorporation
preliminal - liminal - postliminal
Arnold Van Gennep
(1873-1957)
What kinds of rites of passage have you participated in?
Victor Turner
(1920-1983)

Focused on the liminal or transitional stage
creates ritual bonding between members
"communitas"
--where 'structural' distinctions are diminished
partly created through actual or symbolic violence
What occurs in the Kabre male initiations?
What is the purpose of the initiation?
What moments in the initiate demonstrate the principles of separation, liminality, & incorporation?
When did the male initiations seem to develop?
Ritual of cohesion
Emile Durkheim
1858-1917
The main issue is social integration and cohesion—the creation and perpetuation of the group as a group.
During rituals, social cohesion is achieved through a re-attachment to the social values of the community.
How are the Kabre reaffirming the social values of the community via the male initiation?
What is the purpose of the Kabre female initiation?
The 'Last' Rite of Passage
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