What do we have to learn through the study of different cultures? I was hoping for some wonderful revelation in the collection of writings. I may have found one. This book was a difficult read for me. I am not sure whether it’s my age or my inexperience with classical readings. I also found it difficult to formulate a report on a collection of readings, the last report I did was on Laura Ingall’s Little House on the Prairie. This reading was a little more challenging. The main point that seemed to jump out at me is that perceptions change, our theory of reality changes with every viewpoint. Every culture can seem primitive, self destructive, nonsensical, immoral or just wrong, depending on who is doing the observation and what perspective they are observing from.
In the first reading, Narcirema, points very clearly to the fact that our own culture could seem very odd, irrational, and ritualistic to an outsider. But aren’t we all outsiders to everyone else? Don’t we see ourselves as “normal” and everyone else as “abnormal”? I think it is human nature more than ethnocentrism. My daily rituals would seem very irrational to another woman of my age in different circumstances. That’s where the saying comes from that you don’t really know a person till you walk a mile in their shoes.
The second reading of “Queer Customs” gets right to my point that culture is an abstraction; therefore each person doing the viewing views it differently. Culture is pointed out as being a “way of thinking, feeling, and believing” and since I have never met anyone who thought exactly the way I did about everything, one would have to conclude that we each have our own culture and our own views of other cultures.
I wasn’t really sure that the next reading really fit in with the others in the book. Rapport-talk versus Report-talk seemed insignificant to the other passages. It is a well-known fact, in all walks of life that men and women of any race, creed, or culture are different and that we have different and sometimes contrasting ways of communicating with each other. I was surprised to find this seemingly simple theory in this book. Yet again back to my question; am I getting the intended message from the author?
The Christmas Ox story made so much more sense to me and had great importance when I read the passage on Potlach....
... middle of paper ...
...tely cause the demise of the entire culture. Sharp’s and Bodley’s detailed description of simple “helpful” actions that have generational, historical implications are dramatic and still, and maybe even more so, relevant to modern cultural diffusion. We don’t often think critically about our efforts to “help” others. We just dive in and “fix things”, this seems to come with the thinking that “we know better than they do”. This is a common problem in today’s governments around the world. This is the result of ethnocentrism.
This book has certainly taught me one thing. American culture is very ethnocentric. Ours is one that is a “nightmare” to navigate the good and the bad because there are so many double standards. I think this speaks to the very core of contention among Americans these days. Very few of our leaders do what is right, and each of us has our own definition of right. Maybe if more people could really walk outside of their own daily rituals, beliefs, habits and commandments, and truly look at human kind without a superiority gauge, then the world would be a better place with less war, less suffering, less judgment and more peace, happiness, success, and creativity.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Anthropology encompasses four main aspects in the field: archaeology, linguistics, physical anthropology, and cultural anthropology. All four areas must collect data and find a way to interpret the data collected. Data is then interpreted with the use of theories. The data would be useless to any anthropologist without any meaning. Theory helps an anthropologist choose what data to collect and how to interpret the results. Authors McGee and Warms assert that theory “helps us think about who and what we are as human beings,” (2).... [tags: Anthropology, Culture, Sociology]
1358 words (3.9 pages)
- In the third chapter of the Scupin book, contemporary theories on Religious Anthropology are discussed. Unlike both the Rational and Antirationalist of the past, contemporary theorist attempted to gain a more empirical understanding of religion. Leading the fight against the 19th century unilinear evolutionists was Franz Boss. Boss focused his studies with the Kwakiutl tribe in Canada, and he focused on the importance of field work. He was outspokenly critical of past anthropologists claiming that their “arm chair” tendencies lead to falsified data and forged conclusions.... [tags: Anthropology, Cultural anthropology, Culture]
1132 words (3.2 pages)
- Cultural Anthropology and Ethnographic Fieldwork James P. Spradley (1979) described the insider approach to understanding culture as "a quiet revolution" among the social sciences (p. iii). Cultural anthropologists, however, have long emphasized the importance of the ethnographic method, an approach to understanding a different culture through participation, observation, the use of key informants, and interviews. Cultural anthropologists have employed the ethnographic method in an attempt to surmount several formidable cultural questions: How can one understand another's culture.... [tags: Cultural Anthropology Papers]
1792 words (5.1 pages)
- Cultural anthropology has taught me a lot in such a short time. This class has been very eye opening to me and has made me think more about the different cultures around me and just how important it is to learn about them. One of the things I have learned is how religion is related to culture. Culture is behaviors of a community such as the food they make, the music they listen to, and the rituals they take part in. This can be very similar to religion because a culture is based off of their religious beliefs.... [tags: Culture, Anthropology, Sociology]
784 words (2.2 pages)
- The Devlopment of Reflexive Anthropology Reflexive anthropology has pressured scholoars to recognize their own biases and look increasingly inwards when studying “other” cultures. Reflexive anthropology is a break away from the traditional study of a clearly defined “us” and “them,” that seeks to shift towards indentification rather than difference. It attempts to uncover the politics behind ethnography. Reflexivity shows how “we” are effected by “others”, and how “others” are effected by “us.” It holds anthropologists accountable for what they write, and how they represent culture.... [tags: Cultural Anthropology Essays]
737 words (2.1 pages)
- Anthropology: Examining the Physical and Cultural Characteristics of Humankind This course has provided interesting field studies of cultures that are drastically different than what I would consider “everyday life.” Anthropology examines not only who we are as a people, but also, importantly, who we were as a people. The studies of past cultures is a good place to start to answer questions about societies and cultures today, and to bridge together the gap between the past and present, and maybe even predict where we are headed in the future.... [tags: Anthropology]
503 words (1.4 pages)
- The Few by Alex Kershaw In the summer of 1940, World War II had been in progress for nearly a year. Adolf Hitler was victorious and planning an invasion of England to seal Europe’s fate. Everyone in the United States of America knew it. The Germans were too powerful. Hitler's Luftwaffe had too many planes, too many pilots and too many bombs and since Hitler was Europe's problem, the United States claimed to be a neutral country (Neutrality Act of 1939). Seven Americans, however, did not remain neutral and that’s what this book is about.... [tags: Book Report Kershaw ]
1080 words (3.1 pages)
- The Chronicles of Narnia: Book Report Digory and Polly were good friends. They both lived in England for all of their lives. One day they were playing when Polly wanted to show Digory her secret place. It was up in her attic. She hid many things there. She hid fruits and snacks to eat and a lot of other stuff to. Digory noticed a door across the attic. Back then the houses were connected together and they thought that if they would cross the rafters and open the door they could sneak into a house and the next and so on.... [tags: Book Report Chronicles Narnia Essays Papers]
1735 words (5 pages)
- Introduction: Cultural Anthropology is a term that is in everyday lives and topics. When one thinks of anthropology they think of the study of old remnants commonly referred to as archaeology. This, however, is not the only form of anthropology. There are four types of anthropology and they are archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. However, Cultural anthropologists are every where and study people of all walks of life. One can find a topic and find some type of study that an anthropologist has conducted on the matter.... [tags: Anthropology Culture Essays]
3071 words (8.8 pages)
- Anthropology: Cultural Norms Before taking this class, I often thought that our advanced society was the standard in which to measure all other societies from, but after reviewing the material in this course, it is impossible to make such a comparison. Many of the people in a culture similar to the U.S. would probably find most of the cultures we have studied to be “slow”, strange, or undesirable. In fact, it seems that many of the societies actually prefer to live the way they do and accept it as normal.... [tags: Anthropology Essays]
619 words (1.8 pages)