ANTHROessay3 - Yim 1 John Yim Professor Frye AnthroCult 222...

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Yim 1 John Yim Professor Frye AnthroCult 222 December 13, 2011 Voice of Nowhere Modern societies are founded upon a basic relationship of power and knowledge. Governmental authorities culturally ingrain certain rules that they deem as acceptable in society into the citizen’s mind. Power relations evidently produce modern political states in which citizens actively participate in self-regulating behavior and, thus, positively collaborate with one another. But because abiding to laws and differentiating between what is right and wrong has become innate to these people, the function of power that the higher authorities have control is now less visible. What happens however to this function of power when some people in society, especially those of ethnic or racial minority, fail to adhere to the dominant social norms? When modern societies function through coercion as opposed to cooperation in Paul Christopher Johnson’s Diaspora Conversions and Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down , the self-regulation between the citizens break down as the submissive minorities reform their cultural beliefs: they attempt to restrain themselves from falling back into their punitive roles of complying to standards implemented by the higher authority. In Johnson’s Diasporic Conversions , the Garifuna shamans in New York perform yearly rituals in January to welcome the return of their ancestors; and in 2003, the ritual was held at a middle school gymnasium (Johnson 2007: 191). The problem here is that state laws prohibited the use of smoking and alcohol, and if broken, would result in great
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Yim 2 consequences. As a result, the group is forced to perform what may be considered a “less authentic” version of their ritual. The rum is normally spread onto not just the entrances of the ritual altar but also onto the people involved; this strengthens the power that is believed to purify the ritual process of bringing peace to the ancestors. Since they are limited by the
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ANTHROessay3 - Yim 1 John Yim Professor Frye AnthroCult 222...

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