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anthro101lec24.mar17.y08 - Anthropology 101 Winter 2008...

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Anthropology 101 Tom Fricke Winter 2008 03.17.08 Being Related I. An outline of the chapters covered so far in McHugh’s Book A. B. Personhood Morality, honor, generosity Beyond the human -- the supernatural C. Belonging and Relationship -- Kinship (Chapter 5) Shaping obligation through relation Marriage D. Living on the margins -- misfits (Chapter 6) On thin connections On tragedy in life On not being connected at all II. So where are we with McHugh’s Book? A. A sense that the cultural idea of a person is central to that culture’s morality. -- Gurung soul & heart-mind implies a close relation to others for health -- obligations to others flow from this -- a social world motivated by generosity and exchange -- giving & generosity are linked to honor & strength; this is linked to the enlargement of the heart-mind; and this in turn protects the person from external threats B. Does the idea of a person really tie to moral action in all societies though? -- consider the debate on the death penalty -- consider the abortion debate Thomas Aquinas’s views on abortion in contrast with orthodoxy today -- consider "just war theory" versus pacifism C. But is this idealization of Gurung motives and morality all a story of pure altruism? Gurung motives for action are complex, says McHugh (pp. 41-42, the mix of love and 41 -42 “In the West, we tend to think of motives as clear and singular even though we know their tangled complexity. ‘Why did she do that?’ we will ask, as though there were a single answer, a note rather than a chord determining behavior. 1
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Anthropology 101 Tom Fricke Winter 2008 03.17.08 Being Related “’A person should be nice to everyone,” said our neighbor Leela, ‘because you never know whose help you will need.’ . . . Her generosity was not modulated according to anyone’s use-value, yet it was informed by this pragmatic sense, an attention to the practical necessity of giving and taking in the world in which she lived. “This was very different from what I had known, growing up in a place where pragmatism and feeling were considered so separate as to contaminate each other. . . . I was pragmatically useful to Ama, and I think she loved me. Though I had no practical goals at that time of obtaining a professional credential or an advanced degree, coming with more diffuse and insidious personal ambitions to understand something like the meaning of life, Ama offered me essential pragmatic assistance, providing the home, the training, the base of information needed to live in that world. I loved her, too.” III. A. Kinship orders the social world 94 “As we approached the village she would prime me: ‘Now we will stop at our relatives’ house. You must call the woman ‘father’s-middle-born-sister’ (Panni). Call the man
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anthro101lec24.mar17.y08 - Anthropology 101 Winter 2008...

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