Genuine Culture - Yim 1 John Yim Professor David Frye...

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Yim 1 John Yim Professor David Frye Anthropology Culture 222 13 October 2011 The Lethal Illusion of Culture In “Culture, Genuine, and Spurious,” Edward Sapir exposes the compelling concept of how a culture becomes genuine. Sapir (1924) defines that a genuine culture results from a community’s unified and consistent attitude towards life. However, the genuine blossoming of a culture isn’t because the community has been newly formed; it is rather the ramification of that community’s coming of age (Sapir 1924). Despite the persistent existence of civilization, culture isn’t static and is incessantly subject to transformation. So if culture is said to be dynamic, how is it possible to truly attain a genuine culture when a community is constantly undergoing a coming of age? The repercussions of a community’s coming of age therefore must account for just that community’s culture at the given time and must not be compared to other cultures. Sapir’s denotation of a genuine culture is thus in relation to the historical experiences a culture encounters and how those events may affect a community’s tenets of beliefs. This perception of culture correlates to the Runakuna , the people of Sonqo, in Catherine J. Allen’s The Hold Life Has: Coca and Cultural Identity In An Andean Community . The Andean culture did in fact exist; the culture primarily exists as a response to the traditions passed down from their ancestors. The practice of hallpay , or coca chewing, for instance, is a ritual that affirms the reciprocal bonds between the Runakuna , the people, and the Tirakuna, the sacred land. These form of practices dictate how “the unconsciousness associated with habit is an economy both of thought and of consciousness” (Allen 2002:18). This refers to the concept
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Yim 2 of habitus in which the cultural identity, the sense of the self as Runa , inadvertently takes shape through the routine activities that are habitually carried out. Coca chewing signifies the Runakuna’s cultural loyalty to and identification with traditions handed down from the Incas. These rituals do not merely reflect and symbolize the Andean traditions, but are rather the direct
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This note was uploaded on 01/14/2012 for the course ANTHROCUL 222 taught by Professor Davidfrye during the Fall '11 term at University of Michigan.

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Genuine Culture - Yim 1 John Yim Professor David Frye...

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