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Unformatted text preview: Week Three: Fieldwork and Culture Ethnography of a record store in Philadelphia. Who are "the people"? What are their cultural habits? What are their major values? What are some of the central cultural conflicts or tensions in their world? What methods does the ethnographer use? Are they effective? Ethnographic Video: "The Record Store" Is Anthropology "Objective"? Objective: Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices Subjective: Particular to a given person; personal The Objectivity Question Challenges of Fieldwork
"Tricking and Tripping: Fieldwork on Prostitution in the Era of AIDS" What is the anthropologist's ethical obligations to her prostitute consultants? How did she gain trust? "Anthropology and Counterinsurgency" Should anthropologists help the war effort? What does McFate say? Why? The "Culture" Concept Culture: The learned behaviors and symbols that allow people to live in groups. The primary means by which humans adapt to their environments. Six Features of Culture: 1) Learned; 2) Symbolic; 3) Integrated; 4) Shared; 5) Adaptive/Maladaptive; 6) Changing #1. Culture is Learned We are socialized (enculturated) from the moment of our births to the time of our deaths. 2. Culture is Symbolic We organize and classify information constantly, giving meaning to what we see and experience. Through culture we transform physical reality into experienced reality Geertz: "A human being is an animal suspended in webs of significance which he himself has spun." Cultural Symbols Symbol: something that is accepted by the groups as standing for something else. Powerful symbols of... The UI? Illinois? The United States? Your own social context? 3. Culture is Integrated Cultural beliefs, categories and understandings encompass broad fields of behavior and experience. Consider the cow among Hindus in India... Consider the Automobile in American society... 4. Culture is Shared Norms: ideas members of a culture share about the way things ought to be done. Values: shared ideas about what is true, right and beautiful that underlie cultural patterns and guide society in response to the physical and social environment. What !Kung Bushman norms and values did Richard Lee come in conflict with when he gave the Christmas Ox? Culture is Shared...Sort Of Conflict: Not everyone agrees on norms or values. Subcultures: groups within a society that have norms and values different from those of the dominant culture. Change: Over time, subcultures can become dominant culture. 5. Culture is Adaptive (and Maladaptive) Cultural (rather than biological) adapation is the principal tool humans have to acquire food and shelter. Advantage: Ability to change to changing environment Building a House in Thailand Maladaptive Elements of Culture Consider the automobile in American society.... What destructive cultural beliefs created our global environmental crisis? 6. Culture is Always Changing ...
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