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Running head: ETHNOGRAPHIC COMPARISON 1 Ethnographic Comparison Erica Rae Hardwick Argosy University HUM 215 M5A1 Professor Shyamal Das
ETHNOGRAPHIC COMPARISON 2 Ethnographic Comparison Introduction For this assignment, I have chosen to do an Ethnographic Comparison between Ethiopian and Indonesian society. I have chosen to evaluate these two societies based on the element of change in their human culture, as well as religion, as Ethiopia has seen a great progression from the ways of the earliest dynasties to the modern era, and I believe that while Indonesia has a very different way of life, they have experienced a great deal of cultural change as well. I feel that it will be a very interesting cultural comparison, as these two countries have very different in common concerning the seven elements of culture -social organization, customs and traditions, language, arts and literature, economic systems, and religion- with a few eerie similarities in progression of culture, and are mirror images in the sense that the two major religions have Christianity elevated on one hand, and Islam on the other as the two major religions inversely (Hyland, n.d.). “Emile Durkheim is responsible for the development of sociology and wrote that “...religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden.” His focus was the importance of the concept of the “sacred” and its relevance to the welfare of the community. Religious beliefs are symbolic expressions of social realities without which religious beliefs have no meaning.” (Cline, 2018). Considering the vast difference in the social realities of these two cultures, it seems fitting to expound upon the different undercurrents of social realities that keep both societies afloat. What are these differing social realities? I will begin by discussing the factual elements that have created both Ethiopian and Indonesian societies. Ethiopia, from the Greek meaning “land of the burned face peoples” is located in Eastern Africa, slightly west of Somalia. At 439,580 square miles (1,138,512 square kilometers) it is the
ETHNOGRAPHIC COMPARISON 3 tenth largest country of the continent. A very diverse terrain comprised of varied altitude makes for a diverse climate that ranges from regular periods of snowfall in the mountainous areas to scorching heat waves in excess of 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the northernmost regions. Present- day Ethiopian borders were drawn in the late 19 th Century by Emperor Menelik II. Ethiopia had been a monarchy for over 1500 years until the last emperor of Ethiopia was overthrown in 1974 by communist forces. Haile Selassie, prior to overthrow by Soviet and Cuban-backed communist Derge forces, established Ethiopia as the only African member of the League of Nations. Three democratic groups known as the EPRDF defeated Mengistu Haile Mariam and deposed the Derge in 1991, establishing the quasi-democratic governmental structure of Ethiopia today.

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