anthro101lec23.mar14.y08 - Anthropology 101 Winter 2007...

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Anthropology 101 Tom Fricke Winter 2007 03.16.07 Being a Person Note: These notes are a combination of the material from the powerpoint slides & quotes from Ernestine McHugh’s book. Excerpts from her book are preceded by the page numbers you can find them on. The best way to study the themes illustrated is to go to those pages and read the whole vignette rather than just the excerpt presented here. I. We start by highlighting the idea of a society organized in terms of morally tinged concepts such as honor, greed, and generosity: A. To take Yhebe again, reflecting on the people of Timling and on life more generally, the root of problems is in greed (quotes from Fricke 2006, essay on coursetools): “All this fighting, all this looking for difference. Even the Christians say they’re one kind or the other. But they’re all really the same. Some honor Isu’s mother, some don’t. There’s not much difference there.” “But everybody looks for difference -- the Maoists, the parties, everybody. And then they fight. When I think about it, I think I liked the old ways best, before foreign money came, when the old habits were honored, when nobody sought their own advantage. .. You know, it’s greed that makes us look for difference.” B. And then, a similar highlighting from McHugh: 79 “Gurungs consider graciousness to be a mark of honor and to treat someone else with disrespect is to call your own standing into question.” II. A way of reading the book: Some things to look for in Ernestine McHugh’s book: A. nature of the person if we start with cultural notions of what it takes to be a person, we can broaden out into the implications for relations between people, the moral expectations one has -- so in reading McHugh, especially in her chapter 3, we might give attention to the notion of A personhood” B. nature of the social -- societies can be said to have certain key ethical dimensions -- the Gurung, for example, might be said to be characterized by the A ethic of exchange” C. We can take just these two dimensions, personhood and ethic, and look for how these two things permeate different domains of culture and social life: religion a person’s life 1
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Anthropology 101 Tom Fricke Winter 2007 03.16.07 Being a Person III. On the physicality of honor and a certain kind of social life among the Gurung 39 “Honor is passed through blood and bone. It is physical, inherited, essential, yet it must be enacted to be socially real, through gifts and hospitality, through power and ownership. It is inherited, yet must be cultivated. It is essential, yet can be lost.” 31 “There, the proper place for bodies is together. From infancy a child is in the midst of people, enveloped in social life. . . . “‘Don’t you ever want to be alone?’ I asked Tson.
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This note was uploaded on 04/04/2008 for the course ANTHRO 101 taught by Professor Peters during the Winter '08 term at University of Michigan.

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anthro101lec23.mar14.y08 - Anthropology 101 Winter 2007...

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