{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

Wk10-DouglasplusBiehl(1).pdf

Wk10-DouglasplusBiehl(1).pdf - INTRODUCTION TO CULTURAL...

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: INTRODUCTION TO CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY PROFESSOR COLEMAN Week 10 – Purity & Danger and REVIEW Review: Theories of Religion •  Santayana: Religion is belief in another world. •  Mentalistic / Idealistic description of religion •  GeerF: Religion is structured set of symbols that connects self to world (moods & motivations / cultural differences) •  Symbolic / Cultural conception of religion •  Asad: Religion is powerful institution that is expressed in adherent’s practice and body—not just a set of ideas or an unique cultural identity, but a practice. •  Political Analysis of religions Review: Body Techniques What did Mauss write about? Body techniques—ways of training the body and communicating something by how we use it. •  How we learn to “comport” ourselves in a given society. •  Varies between societies and reveals the interaction of: •  sociological forces—the power of other people and our community. •  psychological forces—the power of our inclinations and thoughts. •  biophysical forces—training, musculature, biology. •  Examples: Table Manners / Sport / Rituals Review: Body Techniques •  Key Point! Body techniques are meaningful •  They are a symbolic system! From Body Techniques to Comparative Religion [DOUGLAS: FIRST PARAGRAPH]: “Comparative Religion has always been bedeviled by medical materialism. Some argue that even the most exotic of ancient rites have a sound hygienic basis. Others, though agreeing that primitive ritual has hygiene for its object, take the opposite view of its soundness. For them a great gulf divides our sound ideas of hygiene from the primitive’s erroneous fancies. Both of these medical approaches to ritual are fruitless.” •  What is the argument that Douglas is challenging? •  That EITHER rituals have a “medical” basis or they are basically false, obsessive habits. Matter out of Place •  Dirt is what is excluded from an orderly system •  Shoes are dirty on a table, not so much on a floor. •  Confronting dirt: “laughter, revulsion, and shock” •  Why does water feel “clean” and jello feel “gross”? Matter out of place •  “Cultural categories are public macers” •  “A private person may revise his pacern of assumptions . . . But this remains private.” •  “We must approach uncleanliness through order” •  As a symbolic system and a set of practices •  —not through its isolated qualities or its supposed hygienic benefits. From Body Techniques to Comparative Religion •  Medical or Ritual? A false dilemma •  “Are our ideas hygienic where theirs are symbolic? Not a bit of it” (Douglas, p. 34-­‐‑35). •  “Our ideas of dirt also express symbolic systems and the difference . . . is only a macer of detail.” •  Is there a difference between spiritual pollution and infection? YES. •  But is the fear of spiritual pollution less real than the fear of biomedical infection? NO. A Medical Case •  Public health campaigns in Brazil in the 1990s sought to educate people about risky or unsafe sex. •  Created new kinds of “danger.” • The state also instituted universal, free HIV testing. •  Who used the free testing services most? And what does that tell us about their ideas of purity and impurity? •  Educated, middle-­‐‑class people with low risk. •  Repeat testees—test technology meant no infection three months prior to the test would be found –“Open Window” because of single low-­‐‑risk sexual contact •  High rates of testing = A new social order of purity and danger. Review – Key Topics Weeks 1-10 •  Cultures: systems of norms and values •  Fieldwork & Ethnography: The method of anthropology •  Race and Evolution: Deep Time vs. Lived Time. •  The Gift and “primitive” exchange: Theories and examples of cycles of reciprocity (Mauss) •  Competitive Hospitality; Gender, Descent, & Social Organization (Meneley) •  Kinship and Marriage •  Kinship terminologies •  Diversity of “families” •  Social Construction of Identity •  “Body Techniques” •  Medicine, Religion, Health: Cross-Cultural Systems •  Classification, The Body, and the power of symbols ...
View Full Document

{[ snackBarMessage ]}