Day of the week on which you were born yet as we saw

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- day of the week on which you were born - yet as we saw, the 16 th century Mixtec categorized everyone by which day of the 20- day month they were born on - to them this was an obvious and essential feature of identity - there were 18 months of 20 days each, covering 360 of the 365 days in a year - 5 days every year did not fit into any month, and did not have the standard names
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Intro to Cultural Anthro F 2011 / Owen: Constructing identity… p. 6 - the day of birth was so central to identity among the Mixtec in the 16 th century that people born in the five-day year-end period without these named days had no normal identity! - they were said to be worthless - not even to have a real physical existence, so if they got ill, they were not treated - height - which is why the song “Short People” by Randy Newman was funny: - it treated height as a legitimate way to categorize people - that is, it treated short people as a social category, when we do not normally categorize people that way - what is this song really about? - these are not deemed relevant to identity in our culture - yet in other cultures, they might be - Yale university is made up of 12 residential colleges. At Yale, the first question when freshmen meet is “Which college you are in?” - despite most people being assigned randomly to a college, one’s college immediately become a major part of one’s identity - yet totally irrelevant to anyone but another Yale student - college membership is a completely arbitrary, culturally constructed category - yet it was essential to categorizing people’s identities - by the way, this is no accident. From the Yale admissions website: “Before arriving as a freshman each student is randomly assigned to one of the twelve residential colleges, giving Yalies a built-in community from the moment they arrive. Most Yalies quickly become convinced that their residential college is the best…” - othering : establishing identity by contrast to some other group - defining others as different in order to define ourselves by what we are not - emphasizing the importance of the difference between the groups - they have a distinctly different identity from us - usually not a positive one - emphasizes or creates solidarity in one’s own group, in opposition to the other - example: Berkeley students versus Stanford students - example: US citizens vs. “illegal aliens” - lumping and describing the “others” like this is a way for the speaker to define his/her own group by contrast - implies that “aliens” don’t belong here, take “our” jobs, are under-educated… - while “we citizens” are legitimately here, we deserve those jobs, we are well- educated…” - “we citizens” have much in common, which contrasts with “those others” - What specific practices teach or establish identity?
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