Week Two

Week Two - Anthropology 100 Week Two: Language and Culture...

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Anthropology 100 Week Two: Language and Culture September 4, 2008 Neo-evolutionism Multilineal-adaptation-cultural ecology-historical nationalism Post-modernism Symbolic- Interpretive- Geortz- Idealism British Structuralism more empirical than French structural imperialism Schools of thought during the first world wars o Certain amount of communication between them World War Two intervened Office of Strategic Services (later the CIA) o Went out to deter fascism o Anthropologists went to work for the war department o One very famous work by Benedict: The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: to have people understand Japanese culture/character Understanding of kamakazi and bombing of Pearl Harbor Understanding the Japanese psyche After WW2 there was great opitimism in the world because fascism had been defeated o Revived interest in notions of evolution, change and progress o People began to take an interest in the way human societies evolved o Neo-evolutionism was different than the evolutionism of the 19 th Century because it was multi-lineal rather than uni-lineal Before it was looked at as man kind as a whole, but the neo- evolutionary movement emphasized the divergent character of human evolution Focused on specific cultures in human environments What are the constraints that an environment imposes on a society? How do people creatively exploit their environment? Generally materialist in its thrust; concern for material life of human beings with a stress on processes of evolutionary adaptation o Julian Stewart: teacher of his teacher o Simultaneous with the neo-evolutionary movement came the concern with the symbolic evolutionary process Leslie White: what made human beings so special and unique was their ability to communicate symbolically Speech/language: predetermined symbolic messages The entire process of human life involves communication with symbols Derives from the Boazian tradition before WW2 Climaxed with what has become known as the “Interpretive” School of Anthropological thought
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o Clifford Hughes: perhaps the most widely known contemporary anthropologist o The Idealist school of evolutionary anthropological thought Post-modernists: Around the 1980’s and 90’s (beginning in literary criticism) began to question the social sciences of the past to find the regularities and patterns o Emphasis on chaos o Focus on the unpredictable, the spontaneous, the temporary, non- structured o Belittle the scientific dimension of anthropology o Questioned science as a means of understanding human processes o Stressed the uniqueness of all human situations o
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This note was uploaded on 01/04/2009 for the course ANTH 100 taught by Professor Tell during the Fall '08 term at USC.

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Week Two - Anthropology 100 Week Two: Language and Culture...

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