Notes_for_final - At the very beginning of the chapter...

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At the very beginning of the chapter Chagnon mentions Levi-Strauss again and how he was a structuralist. Now by saying structuralist, he is saying that literally speaking these are researchers or theorists who take the more wide or birds eye view approach. They look at all actions in a society or a culture and look at their functions and then relate them to a larger structure- they look at how these actions and these rituals all provide the structures on the basis of which meaning is produced. So basically by looking at these rituals and functions and what not a structuralist is hoping to find out what basic structures make up that culture and society. According to structuralists but most specifically Claude Levi-Strauss there are some universal structures in place. All human beings are born with some basic structures or universal codes in the brain and we choose to activate some and then act upon them or not dependent on the environment and the surroundings. So if you are part of one particular culture you are more likely to activate certain structures because they fit better into your environment. The basic problem here is that there is this assumption of innate structure. So while structuralism exists as a theory in anthropology it also came under a lot of fire simply because it assumes this innate code. On the other hand we can see that chagnon does not prescribe to this code and he tends to follow what he calles the more statistical models approach. This means to look at things in a much more microscopic way. According to this method you will tend to focus more on a few t hings at a time and it is a much more detailed way of looking at things. We already spoke about how males and females have a basic division in terms of status and prestige with males being ranked as higher and they even have
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higher noreshii than the women. One statement that Chagnon makes right at the beginning is how male chauvinistic this society is. The women work more than men and are supposed to serve the men. If they don’t then they can be beaten and that is taken as a very valid way of life. So we know that girls are supposed to assist their mothers in domestic duties while the boys don’t have as much to do and are given much more freedom. We also looked earlier at how sometimes girls are given away in marriage just after they are born or even when a woman is pregnant her husband can promise the baby away in marriage on the premise that if the baby is a girl then she can be your son’s wife etc etc. So women basically have very little or no say at all in what happens to them and their marriage. They are to an extent the means through which alliances are established and maintained. They are used for social relations. So girls don’t really have much of a say but it is their future husbands who can initiate relations by asking relatives to go enquire about a particular girl. The age difference between the husband and wife is often very large and so this tends to heighten the prestige and
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Notes_for_final - At the very beginning of the chapter...

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