Anthro Notes - 1 st lecture Two Tasks of Anthropological...

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Unformatted text preview: 1 st lecture Two Tasks of Anthropological Observation 1. Defamiliarizing: Making the familiar strange; unsettling what is taken for granted. Something is so familiar that it becomes unfamiliar. 2. Familiarizing: Making the strange familiar; trusting in the unknown. Provide interpretation of an object. Concepts crucial to the two tasks?- Interpretation – provides an understanding- Context – people in different places have different concepts. The challenge of familiarizing interpretations-Thick and Thin Descriptions (Example: blinking and winking) Thick – many layers. Secret? Flirt? Parody? Thin – just biological. There are many layers of interpretation. The challenge of defamiliarizing interpretations- Deeply engrained patterns The difficulty of resisting interpretation brain provides comforting interpretation (familiar) so defamiliarizing interpretation is uncomfortable. Ex: birds flying in the distance Both interpretation and context are always in action Humans are always on stage and in the audience. Example: ImprovEverywhere Everyone believes they have the universal story of Hamlet. People think that their understanding of the world is the correct one. 2 nd lecture The Big Questions of Culture (What is it? What does it do? How does it do it?) What is culture? Sharing of common beliefs. We are individuals, but we shall share common beliefs (children should go to school, hard work leads to success) When our culture is questioned, we have very negative reactions to it. Culture is made, not given in nature. It is deeply engrained and unconscious....
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This note was uploaded on 01/14/2012 for the course ANTHRO 101 taught by Professor Peters during the Winter '08 term at University of Michigan.

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Anthro Notes - 1 st lecture Two Tasks of Anthropological...

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