- Sex, Scams, and Street Life : The Sociology of New York City's Times Square
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London: Thames and Hudson. Lester, R. Innovation: The missing dimension. Lewin, K. Action Research and Minority Problems. Journal of Social Issues 2, 34— Macdonald, N. McCarthy, B. University of California, Davis News, 23 February. Observations on police undercover work. Criminology 25 1 , 27— London: Laurence King. Oakley, K. Sperry and A. Bakhshi Ed. The Art Book. New York: Phaidon Press Ltd. Raein, M. Goldsmiths, University of London. Harvard Business Review, 2 March. Wiseman, R. The Luck Factor.
New York: Miramax Books. Wootton, A. Website References www. Objects and tools represent a particular field of investigation; they lend themselves much better to being used as keys in the interpretation of complex relationships. Objects are the direct witnesses of the creative drive. The Anthropological Object in Design: From Victor Papanek to Superstudio his chapter explores the historical relation of design to anthropology, its objects and methodologies, focusing on the s as a crucial point at which the design profession questioned its social and ecological role in the making of commodities.
Austrian architect Hans Hollein was chosen to generate a provocative and interdisciplinary interpretation of. See for example Attfield The exhibit blurred the boundaries between product, urban design, and architectural design, and was refreshingly unhindered by the commercial and vocational pragmatism of US design culture. Cultural relativism was embraced in preference of the evaluative and didactic displays of the typical museum of decorative arts and design.
The vernacular and anthropological object was a remnant of a world as yet untouched by wanton commercialism, applied aesthetics, and alienating commodity culture. But the critique of fangled consumer gadgets also emerged in the more populist form of a West Coast US counter-culture publication, the Whole Earth Catalog, which, by , had garnered an enormous following.
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Consumer catalogs, such as those distributed by the Sears and Roebuck department store, had long been understood as symbols of the American dream of abundance and social cohesion in the form of consumption. Uniting diverse social classes and ethnic groups, consumer catalogs had offered a bewildering array of goods and designs since the 19th century to rural and urban Americans alike. And it drew on anthropology as an antidote to this alienated condition. For Design is the most powerful tool yet given to man with which to shape his products, his environments, and, by extension, himself; with it, he must analyse the past as well as the foreseeable future consequences of his acts.
As a leading design critic, Papanek interwove his interest in anthropology and the vernacular form into his design writings. This series was later developed into a commercial TV series titled Pop Culture that explored the nuances of advertising, popular culture, and its human consequences. It positively revelled in observations of the absurdity of everyday design malfunction, from ineffectual bottle openers to hazardous lavatory bowls Hennessy and Papanek FIGURE 3 A set of wooden Japanese combs collected by Papanek as exemplars of indigenous design tied to cultural ritual and evolved ergonomics in this case the elegant aesthetic of Geisha hairstyling.
The appropriation of vernacular, popular culture and anthropological objects by designers had its precedence in the decades of late-Modernism. Funded by the Ford Foundation, the Eameses spent three months immersed in Indian culture; collecting artifacts, recording landscapes and rituals. See Robbins As part of a broader discourse of alternative culture, the exhibit promoted the idea of self-empowerment by the adoption of low impact appropriate technology: a set of basic design instructions and a simple set of tools Hennessey and Papanek , But who better than designers to radically re-think the commodity form in a Post-Fordist age?
In , a ground-breaking MoMA exhibit Italy: The New Domestic Landscape, placed Italian industrial design at the forefront of an ideological shift in design practice. See Harman for a discussion of phenomenology and tool analysis. See Ambasz The emerging AntiDesign movement was desperately fragmented in its attempts to reassess the role of the commodity in society. The radical design group Superstudio, founded in , epitomized the contradictions and dichotomies of s design. The Global Tools initiative remained a provocative but largely unrealized project. Students embedded themselves in remote regions of Italy to document and record diminishing Italian peasant cultures.
Anti-Design found solace in the innocence of the anthropological object, shaped by an embedded cultural relevance to social life and authentic social relations. References Albrecht, D. Design Is a Method of Action. Albrecht Ed. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Ambasz, E. Italian Design. Walker and J. London: Pluto. Bicknell, J. Binkley, S. Getting Loose: Lifestyle Consumption in the s. Eisele, P. Design Issues 8 2 , 41— Gorz, A. Ecology as Politics. Boston: South End Press.
Harman, G. Tool-Being: Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Objects. Chicago: Open Court. Haug, W. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press. Hennessey, J. New York: Pantheon Books. Nomadic Furniture 2. Hollein, H. Vienna: Loecker Verlag. Kirkham, P. Lang, P. Menking Eds. Superstudio: Life Without Objects. Milan: Skira. Meadows, D. The Limits To Growth. New York: Universe Books. Packard, V. The Wastemakers. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Papanek, V. What To Design And Why. Mobilia , 2— Notes From A Journal. Albans: Paladin. Design for the Real World. Revised Edn. Poli, A. Nearing the Moon to the Earth.
Borasi and M. Zardini Eds. Robbins, D.
Stairs, D. Design Issues 13 3 , Teal, L. Whiteley, N. Design For Society. London: Reaktion Books. Householders should be understood also as designers. They are using material culture as a means of ordering a multitude of relationships to all the people they know and to all the multiple aspects of themselves that jostle for a place in these spaces we call home; these are peoples living spaces in every sense of the word LIVING.
Designing Ourselves ntroduction Mary, who lives next door to you, is a museum curator and designer, specializing in interior decoration; indeed, you could say she is something of an artist. OK, perhaps her name is not Mary. Actually, I have no idea what the name of your next-door neighbor is. Whoever you are, and whatever the name of your next-door neighbor, I am going to persuade you that that person is actually a museum curator, an artist, and perhaps even a designer.
For me to be able to make that claim, it would have to follow that everyone who has a place to live in can be described in those terms. For this purpose, all the examples used in this paper come from a publication called The Comfort of Things Miller The book is a description of the material culture of thirty households mostly from a single street and its side streets in South London. The thirty were selected from the one hundred that took part in this anthropological study. There was no particular reason to pick this street other than convenience of transport for the two researchers who undertook this research, myself and a PhD student, Fiona Parrott.
Other than that, we knew nothing about the place. Our research also suggested that predetermined parameters of identity may not be the most salient generalizations. For example, although there were thirteen gay individuals represented, we found nothing in common between them relevant to our study. In addition, this paper cites examples from an initial pilot study of twenty friends and colleagues also based in London. I will divide this paper into two halves. Householders as museum curators What does it mean to suggest that we are all museum curators?
Well, to curate is to feel responsible for, and look after, the objects in your possession. To be a museum curator suggests that at least some of these objects will be chosen for public display, and these will illustrate some theme. Mostly, they are historical evidence for past events, but they may also be evidence for taste, or the work of an artist or some such. Now, it is very rare indeed that we could enter into the front room of our next-door neighbor and not expect to be confronted with some sort of public display chosen from the possessions of that household.
Many of these are likely to be clues as to the past history of that household, some possession the household may have had for a very long time, perhaps some more recent. Indeed, collections may form part of the display. As well as history, this display may demonstrate their aesthetic sensibilities and may include the work of artists, or at least copies of such works.
At some level, the sense that individuals have selected from their possessions which objects to display, and given thought to how they will be organized and presented, makes it reasonable to see a normal householder as at least analogous to a museum curator. In the second section of the chapter, I will deal with the organization of the display that runs parallel with design and interior decoration. One of the reasons an object may be selected for display is that it has become inalienable Weiner , something that perhaps once was a mere commodity that could have been owned by anyone.
But over time, possession itself has turned it into something that has deep resonance for that family, not just a display item, but perhaps even a potential heirloom. At this point, it is inalienable in the sense that no one would sell such a thing; its monetary value is just not the point. Objects may also be inalienable because they have come to stand for Nigeria or Argentina or some other place one has come from. Inalienability tends to pass within family or occasionally across deep relations.
A man may want his wife to wear something he inherited from his grandmother. The characters never discover the secret of Rosebud, which is eventually revealed to us to have been the name of the snowboard that Kane used as a child.
Sex, Scams, and Street Life : The Sociology of New York City's Times Square
In the case of Kane, we see his ability to garner unprecedented wealth and luxury based on his media empire. Dominic is no Citizen Kane. He is even talking about taking some sort of midlife break from work to be spent trekking around the world as a kind of late gap year. It was made by a Belgian pottery workshop in a style typical of contemporary folk arts and crafts, that is, slightly more upmarket than mass-produced souvenirs.
While as much abstract as realist in style, it is clearly an owl with those large eyes and what would-be characteristic ears — except that one of them has been broken at some stage. It is not a particularly visible owl. Dominic himself has really very few possessions, given his age and income, and in any case does not see himself as staying long enough to want to make major changes.
Only then can one see the room as his room. It is simply that everything else he possesses has, in his own mind, an aura of transience, leaving only this one single object to stand for the connected thread that is his being. It is also the only object that, in his mind, is destined to remain with him, accompanying him into the future.
I hope he never loses this owl, because I fear a time will come when, just as for Citizen Kane and Rosebud, there will be only one relationship that has remained faithful to Dominic and that stands as the material presence of the man. One of the poignant moments of Citizen Kane is when we see Rosebud. Archaeologists are much beholden to the ancient custom of burial goods, where certain prized possessions were placed with the dead. Sometimes, I wish this custom could be continued. Not for an afterlife but because the idea might be a comfort to him. Dominic starts from a condition of poverty, a house with only an outside lavatory and no electricity.
Historically, many such families would send their children out to exploit economic niches as they emerged, with opportunities for employment. In his case, he found work with the seasonal tourist industry, which provided labor in catering and other such activities for the summer months. For Dominic, to work at the English seaside was a natural extension of the more traditional work on the Belgian coastline, and it established him with skills in the catering industry.
Eventually, this led to the establishment of his wine bar near Richmond, which has sustained him for more than a decade now. For many years, then, Dominic had moved about as employment possibilities opened up and, in particular, had traveled frequently between England and Belgium.
This created an expectation of continual mobility in which possessions were largely a burden. The few things he kept from his life at home were subject to attrition and, in consequence, this single possession, the owl, established its position as the sole representative of his life in Belgium from quite early on. Dominic is unusual in this emphasis upon a single object as all which remains. For most people, it is more a case of objects that speak to different times of their lives.
Such was the case with Dora. We carried out an inventory of all the objects found in her living room. There is one photo of her as a little girl, living a life made hard from birth when her father was gassed in the trenches in World War One, and another photo of her as a Girl Guide. From the second marriage, which took her to Portugal and Spain, she has a table, a carpet, and an ornament from Portugal.
She displays a photo of herself with her husband at a dinner party, another of one of his ancestors, and a decorated box from his family. Following his death, she left most of their lavish belongings to his family, returning to England to unpack some of those things she had saved on her own account. Of these she treasured the stylish cutlery, egg cups, and silver cups from a high class London shop. There is a picture from when she looked really good in the s, a photo of a close friend, a letter from Mrs.
Thatcher, and a picture from a holiday in France. Clearly, the more relationships one has lived through, the more any one relationship has to be pruned back to one or two totalizing mementoes in the performance of economy. Sometimes, the relationship is not to a single object but to a collection.
She is lyrical in her praise for both the toys and the place.
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They are mass-produced to an exceptionally high standard. Firstly, it turns out that Marina, repudiates her parents by becoming a tomboy and then training in engineering. She feels she was neglected, given over like the other kids to their African nannies, but carefully trained to make sure they only ever said lavatory, never toilet.
But there is more. These were precisely Happy Meals where her children learned to care, systematically collect, develop imagination, and create perfect moments of family life. She is delighted that her children are regaling us with detailed stories evoked by these toys while we are sitting having tea. To keep up the analogy with a museum curator, I have focused on objects that might be on display and that relate to the past.
But actually, the core objects may be ones that are of particular importance today, not just the things that a person curates but that which helps them become a curator, organizing their relation to their past and their present. But to understand the intensity of this relationship to his laptop, we need to read the anthropologist Fred Myers Because, Myers notes, for many Aboriginal groups there is a tradition of avoiding the physical possessions of the deceased. But he took from her a mission to locate and preserve the history of his family, including those members once taken away from their parents.
As he sees it, too much Aboriginal history is viewed as lying in police records; he wants a proper archive that he will deposit in an Australian State archive. Malcolm has an antipathy to things. He has given most of his inherited or childhood objects away. In his devotion to immateriality, he prefers anything digital. He is getting into digital photographs; he downloads music and immediately throws out the covers. Very unusual in this street study, he even gives away his books after he has read them. One could relate this to his mobility, one could relate it to his interest in the potential of new technologies, one could relate it to.
There is more. His father sold antiques, but the result was that as soon as he started becoming attached to things in his childhood, they would be sold — another possible source of his detachment from things. He constantly updates and sorts his emails, which becomes the updating of his social relationships. In going through them, he recalls all those friends he owes emails to. One could try and stretch the Aboriginal inheritance and consider the laptop as a kind of digital dream world that connects current relationships with those of the dead; a place he comes in and out of, as more real than merely real life.
He retains this intense concern with lineage, devoting much of his time to creating order out of kinship history. He seems obsessed that if he were to die that thanks to constantly sorting his emails he would leave a legacy that was archived and up to date, so no one would have to do the work he did recovering and ordering his ancestral lives. His father, mother, and his work come together as possible explanations. It is an aesthetic, a material cosmology. Householders as designers and interior decorators Treating householders as though they were museum curators helps us understand how they relate to particular objects and why they may choose to display them.
But the other analogy I want to stress is the idea of householders as designers, especially in this case interior decorators, since they may care just as much about the aesthetics and the order of their display as for the content. Home interiors come in a vast array of guises.
In some cases, the emphasis is on the order of design, and no objects are allowed to intrude upon the aesthetic. Here, the designer aspect has won out against the curator. In other cases, it is obvious that the person has scattered around the room things that are souvenirs or gifts or memories. Mostly, however, people try and combine both of these relationships to objects. The house whose doctrine is that objects must express dynamism rather than denote museums. So, on the wall are not pictures, as in other houses, but clothes hung as decorations, which can be changed over time.
Thirty pairs of jeans are carefully ordered according the precise degree of wash, fade, and distressing. A similarly overt cosmology is evident when one walks into a Feng Shui house. It speaks to a life that insists no sentiment or other interest can disrupt the tyranny of calm order.
Gifts from relatives — indeed, all gifts — are carefully stowed away in unseen cupboards or given away. Here, light, the sound of fountains, rock and wood, are all where they should be, consistency resolving contradiction. More often though, people compromise such aesthetic principles. So, when they move house she takes certain things but keeps them today not in the house but in her garden shed.
The shed is both near enough and far enough to exemplify the place in her life she wants her parents to inhabit. This matters because the most consistent relationship she has cultivated in her life is to the house itself. Even her husband at their divorce knew he could not ask for things from this, their once shared, house. The house is full of her emotional repertoire.
It has places to cry in, to have great sex in. She can look at a wall of tickets to rock gigs she has been to. If Dora as a curator has objects that mark each stage in her life, the same principle can be applied to the spatial design of the interior. One Irish couple, who have retired from a life of owning pubs, recognize that the photographs and images on display are so numerous that they joke there is no need to paint since you cannot see the color of the walls behind.
On careful inspection, it emerges that the relationships are grouped around themes.
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One cluster relates to their lives as publicans. There is another area that is effectively a Catholic shrine of. But as well as kin, there is also a small area that preserves mementoes to deceased customers, some of whom, one comes to realize, ended their lives with no one else to remember them but the landlords of their favorite pub. Sports, weddings, Irish Republican heroes, childhood, and holidays all constitute additional genres of relationships that jostle for room within an economy constituted essentially by the size of space available for explicit memorialization.
Quite often, we have to understand this interior decoration not just as a passive representation of a life but an active process by which people manage their current relationships. She also manages to exploit the multitude of ways in which these can be displayed. Humor and banter can be extended through a playful technique of alternating order and disorder. So a serious-looking, quite glamorous image, professionally framed, is disturbed, say, by a newspaper clipping or some related old, frayed sepia print stuck into the frame and disrupting its posture of philosophical solitude: the serious square, with the jaunty intruder stuck in at an angle.
There are clipboards, sequences of images, postcards, things torn from magazines; some images are half-hidden behind others, some are hidden completely. There are photos over photos over photos. No one would suggest that this was the result of order or strategy. Yet this, too, is a kind of order, a refusal to allow anything to be privileged and protected from the vagaries of the future.
In most other living rooms, inertia itself commands increasing power. A thing and its place matter merely by virtue of the time it has remained in that place. It gains the deepened authenticity of time, respected merely for its own laziness. There is nothing gained here by mere inertia. Equally resisted is the tyranny of conventional aesthetics.
There is no place for color, shape, or texture to claim an abstract regard for itself, as though it could transcend its true service to humanity. In this room, humanity and materialism are found to be one and the same: an unlimited respect for the capacity of people expressed through things. Marjorie also understands that what matters is the presence of the person, not their. Nor is any particular genre especially worthy.
All that matters is that feelings are respected and placed here, in some form or other, with feeling. This is a living living room, an animated scrapbook of juxtaposed relationships. In this display, no one can be embarrassed by what they are, have been, or can be turned into by others. That little penis on the then three-year-old looks like it could still pee out of its photo to the consternation of the now six-foot lanky lad, who is there to be teased.
Much of this is personal, but there is one value expressed throughout that is not spoken about and yet is instantly evident. Marjorie and all her family proudly claim their long roots in the South London working class through their accents, their choice of dialect, and this constant defrocking of the pretensions of those who would seek to place themselves on a higher plane. But these are likely to be present in the spirit of those magazine pictures of celebrities caught at their least prepossessing appearance rather than crafted glamour. This is the point of designing ourselves.
I started by claiming that I knew that your neighbor Mary was a museum curator and interior designer. References Bourdieu, P. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Bourdieu, P. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Miller, D. The Comfort of Things. Cambridge: Polity. Myers, F. Pintupi Country, Pintupi Self. Washington: Smithsonian Institute Press. Rose, N. Inventing Ourselves. Weiner, A. Inalienable Possessions. Berkeley: University of California Press. In the ongoing stream of mutuality between person and object, the objects forge the body and vice versa.
Tools of many sorts and very broadly defined, extend human physicality and mentality into the world. Objects are a kind of prosthesis of our own minds. If they write about mass-produced goods at all, sociologists tend to treat them as distractions from other putatively more worthwhile aspects of existence. We inherit as a Freud-Marx blend, a vision of consumer goods as fetish. Stuff provides noxious evidence of corrupted sensibilities, hegemonic oppression, or false needs.
Thorsten Veblen, foreshadowing the French social theorist Pierre Bourdieu , warned of conspicuous consumption and the role of elites in using the. Although the Left critique pervades most, anti-goods ideology takes many forms and emerges from all sorts of premises, including, for example, 18th century British worries that importing French products would spread degrading sensualities into the English population Lubbock Bittner , there was fear of the machine — especially the computer — taking over.
The object itself goes missing. Even in the work of the most astute of our observers of mundane existence, Erving Goffman, artifacts are primarily incidentals in the scene. But what kind of coat? What kind of chair? At the same time that this negativity comes down on goods, a second theme ironically runs almost opposite. For those who worry about social inequality and this overlaps with scholars who decry the goods , the problem is not that there is so much stuff at all, but that some people have too little of it.
Reformers do not just want to provide basic nutrition, clothing, and a roof over the heads of the masses; they want them to have more of what others have — home appliances, more commodious living spaces, and late-model cars. To imply that the poor of rich countries should make do without such amenities, positional goods though they may be, would surely be noxiously elitist as well as plain mean.
Earlier in the history of the sociological discipline, at least in the US, goods did factor in. As part of his larger effort documenting inequality, F. There were also extensive discussions, in other classics, of the importance adolescents give to having au courant clothing Lynd and Lynd and discussions of the automobile and radio as introducing changes in lifestyle differences among social classes and age groups.
Yet, the goods are still of primary use as class indicator rather than, with minor exception, embedded in concrete practices of life. There are no studies of how people. Otherwise, artifacts primarily arise as props in the course of describing something not material. In dealing with, respecting, being stopped by, creating, judging, buying, discussing, envisioning, altering, placing, and disposing of goods, people are simultaneously manipulating and deploying the make-up of their own lives see also Csikszentmihalyi and Rochberg-Halton Latour and probably Gell, who died midcourse in his work argues for symmetry of methodological approach between humans and objects.
This means you can pick up the trail of sociality by focusing on the goods as much as the reverse. The goal becomes to follow up the material-social nexus as it unfolds historically and as people experience it as ongoing process. In the remainder of this essay, I try to show how objects help in sociological projects that, although not explicitly objects-centered, use them in productive ways.
I want to display their utility across the sociological spectrum. I include some of my own work. Taking up objects one way or the other, I aim to demonstrate through commonplace conceptual and methodological problems, ways that sociology and objects can work together. What to do about the body? A striking display of mutuality, albeit less genetically ambitious, comes from the case of the chair Cranz ; see also Rudofsky Chairs historically. As the chair became ubiquitous, human musculature adapted with the result that people then came to need it. For peoples who specialize in chair sitting not Japanese, for example , it fosters the idea that those who crouch, eat on rugs, or squat when they defecate must indeed be primitive.
These expenditures extend beyond the practical, erasing any clear boundary between decoration and appliance. Wearing clothes at all in some locales and almost all places at some time Manhattan in summer, for example cannot be understood in terms of utility. But nudity in general as well as nudity precisely exactly what to expose and how display cultural belonging and subcultural distinction. In investigating prevalence of US AIDS infections, Philippe Bourgois and his colleague Daniel Ciccarone focus on the interaction of heroin type and the mechanics of the syringe used to inject it Ciccarone and Bourgois For this reason, users rinse their syringe frequently to keep it from clogging, so much so that Bourgois was worried that he might be infected by the splash from the users nearby.
But all the rinsing happens to have the positive consequence of removing blood traces from prior injections and injectors , an act that decreases the risk of AIDS. This contributes to lower rates of AIDS infection among users of this type of heroin compared to the main alternative, which is powder form. Bourgois and Ciccarone needed to explain geographic variation in AIDS infection among drug users and noticed a correlation between US region and type of heroin used. Through close attention to the syringe in action something that could be done by the ethnographer Bourgois , the researchers were able to explain an outcome that might have otherwise remained elusive.
The focus on an appliance in situ, along with an ecological correlation, contributes to a causal explanation. One of the pleasures and satisfactions of everyday life is meeting up with an affordance — experiencing. Such understandings also, of course, work the other way around: Knowing the cultural features of affordance make the designer more likely to come up with a viable artifact. What about beauty? People have an aesthetic dimension, operative — some say — in all they do, including the way they invent new technologies, political systems, and economic structures Smith He learned they have lots of landscape paintings, family photos, and religious artifacts — with systematic differences across social class.
They give off aesthetic impressions and persist because their evocations are inspiring, pleasant, or provide intrigue that draws people toward them. This is an intrinsic part of how any practical device works; its appearance, shape, and textures invite action toward it and in a particular way. If the toaster were frightening, it would not be practical.
Hence, form and function, beauty and practicality are not opposed to one another but can only work when in synch. It is a scholarly discipline that aims to describe in the broadest possible sense what it means to be human. Anthropologists are interested in comparison. To make substantial and accurate comparisons between cultures, a generalization of humans requires evidence from the wide range of human societies. Anthropologists are in direct contact with the sources of their data, thus field work is a crucial component.
The field of Anthropology, although fairly new as an academic field, has been used for centuries. Anthropologists are convinced that explanations of human actions will be superficial unless they acknowledge that human lives are always entangled in complex patterns of work and family, power and meanin. Anthropology is holistic  , comparative, field-based, and evolutionary. These regions of Anthropology shape one another and become integrated over time. Historically it was seen as "the study of others," meaning foreign cultures, but using the term "others" imposed false thoughts of "civilized versus savagery.
Now, anthropologists strive to uncover the mysteries of these foreign cultures and eliminate the prejudice that it first created. In anthropology holism tries to integrate all that is known about human beings and their activities. From a holistic perspective, attempts to divide reality into mind and matter isolate and pin down certain aspects of a process that, by very nature, resists isolation and dissection. Holism holds great appeal for those who seek a theory of human nature that is rich enough to do justice to its complex subject matter.
An easier understanding of holism is to say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The holistic approach is a perspective that assumes interrelationships among parts of a subject including both biological and cultural aspects. This approach is used to study the thoughts, behaviors, emotional, and spiritual changes we experience as humans. Anthropologists have the opportunity to use this approach to study the way humans are interested in engaging and developing as a whole person.
Page text. Culture is the patterns of learned and shared behavior and beliefs of a particular social, ethnic, or age group. It can also be described as the complex whole of collective human beliefs with a structured stage of civilization that can be specific to a nation or time period. Humans, in turn, use culture to adapt and transform the world they live in. This idea of Culture can be seen in the way that we describe the Ashanti, an African tribe located in central Ghana. The Ashanti live with their families as you might assume but the meaning of how and why they live with whom is an important aspect of Ashanti culture.
The Ashanti live in an extended family.
The family lives in various homes or huts that are set up around a courtyard. The head of the household is usually the oldest brother that lives there. He is chosen by the elders. He is called either Father or Housefather and everyone in the household obeys him. The anthropological study of culture can be organized along two persistent and basic themes: Diversity and Change. An individual's upbringing and environment or culture is what makes them diverse from other cultures.
It is the differences between all cultures and sub-cultures of the world's regions. People's need to adapt and transform to physical, biological and cultural forces to survive represents the second theme, Change. Culture generally changes for one of two reasons: selective transmission or to meet changing needs. This means that when a village or culture is met with new challenges, for example, a loss of a food source, they must change the way they live.
And an anthropologist would look at that and study their ways to learn from them. Related cultural beliefs and practices show up repeatedly in different areas of social life. However, the drawback of this is it assumes first that culture is a static thing that it can be preserved, unchanged by the changing people and times it runs into.
It also assumes that the people accept at face value and do not wish to change their patterns or ways of life. This relates to the "Culture" vs. Appreciation and defense of Culture do not imply blind tolerance to all aspects of all cultures. How you express culture as a family through traditions, roles, beliefs, and other areas, is what describes this aspect of culture. Familial culture is passed down from generation to generation, it is both shared and learned.
As a family grows, new generations are introduced to the traditional family practices. Familial culture is learned by means of enculturation which is the process by which a person learns the requirements of the culture that he or she is surrounded by. With enculturation, an individual will also learn behaviors that are appropriate or necessary in their given culture. The influences of enculturation from the family will then direct and shape the individual. The present Royal family of Great Britain is a good example of family tradition, as each male member of the royal family has served in the armed forces.
A micro or subculture is also not limited to how small it can be, it could be defined similarly to a clique. An example of this could be Mexican-Americans within the U. They share the same language, but they may have their own traditions that differentiate them for the whole. An example of a micro-culture would be the Japanese hip hop genba club site that is becoming more and more popular throughout Japanese cities. The physical appearance of rappers may be the same to those in the States, however, the content of the music differs along with the preservation of Japanese traditions.
Cultural universals which has been mentioned by anthropologists like George Murdock, Claude Levi-Strauss, Donald Brown and others are common elements that exist in every human culture yet varies from different ethnic groups. This includes attributes such as values and modes of behavior. Examples of elements that may be considered cultural universals are gender roles, the incest taboo, religious and healing ritual, mythology, marriage, language, art, dance, music, cooking, games, jokes, sports, birth, and death because they involve some sort of ritual ceremonies accompanying them, etc.
They are mainly known as "empty universals" since just mentioning their existence in a culture doesn't make them any more special or unique. The existence of these universals has been said to date to the Upper Paleolithic with the first evidence of behavioral modernity. An etic view is a judgment or perspective about a culture, gained based on an analysis from an outsider's customs and culture. Etic view minimizes the acceptance between two parties. Therefore, the importance of having an anthropological knowledge is greatly beneficial.
There are so many situations where a person can have or get an etic view on. For example, if an American anthropologist went to Africa to study a nomadic tribe, their resulting case study would be from an etic standpoint if they did not integrate themselves into the culture they were observing. Some fields of anthropology may take this approach to avoid altering the culture that they are studying by direct interaction.
The etic perspective is data gathering by outsiders that yield questions posed by outsiders. One problem that anthropologists may run in to is that people tend to act differently when they are being observed. It is especially hard for an outsider to gain access to certain private rituals, which may be important for understanding a culture.
Etic ethnographic works often use exotic language when describing the "other". An emic view of culture is ultimately a perspective focus on the intrinsic cultural distinctions that are meaningful to the members of a given society. While this perspective stems from the concept of immersion in a specific culture; the emic participant is not always a member of that culture or society. Studies done from an emic perspective often include more detailed and culturally rich information than studies done from an etic point of view. Because the observer places themselves within the culture of intended study, they are able to go further in-depth on the details of practices and beliefs of a society that may otherwise have been ignored.
However, the emic perspective has its downfalls. Studies done from an emic perspective can create bias on the part of the participant, especially if said individual is a member of the culture they are studying, thereby failing to keep in mind how their practices are perceived by others and possibly causing valuable information to be left out.
The emic perspective serves the purpose of providing descriptive in-depth reports about how insiders of a culture understand their rituals, beliefs, and traditions. Enculturation is a process by which we obtain and transmit culture. This process is experienced universally among humans. It describes how each individual is affected by prohibited behaviors and beliefs, which are 'proscribed' rather than encouraged behaviors and beliefs, which are 'prescribed'. Enculturation results in the interpretation of these ideals established by our culture and the establishment of our own individual behaviors and beliefs.
In general, enculturation is a refereed journal devoted to contemporary theories of rhetoric, writing, and culture, and invites submissions on rhetoric, composition, media, technology, and education. Cultural Transmission is the passing of new knowledge and traditions of culture from one generation to the next, as well as cross-culturally. Cultural Transmission happens every day, all the time, without any concept of when or where.
Everything people do and say provides cultural transmission in all aspects of life. In everyday life, the most common way cultural norms are transmitted is within each individuals' home life. With every family, there are traditions that are kept alive. The way each family acts and communicates with others and an overall view of life are passed down.
Parents teach their kids every day how to behave and act by their actions alone. Outside of the family, culture can be transmitted at various social institutions. Places of worship, schools, even shopping centers are places where enculturation happens amongst a population. Social institutions are a framework of social relationships that link an individual to the society, through participation. The forms of these social relationships can vary greatly across political, economic, religious, and familial platforms.
Cross culturally, these relationships require understanding of the norms, values, and traditions that make them functional. Cultural transmission takes place within these relationships throughout an individual's lifetime. Examples of these relationships range from marriage to participating in church. The complexities that govern this relationship are unique and highly culturally bound. Often external factors such as economics and health issues come into play. Studies were done in rural Malawi that discuss these issues further: .
A symbol is an object, word, or action that stands for something else, depending on the culture. Everything one does throughout their life is based and organized through cultural symbolism, which is when something represents abstract ideas or concepts. Symbols can represent a group or organization that one is affiliated with and mean different things to different people, which is why it is impossible to hypothesize how a specific culture will symbolize something.
Some symbols are gained from experience, while others are gained from culture. One of the most common cultural symbols is language. For example, the letters of an alphabet symbolize the sounds of a specific spoken language. Hawaiian culture presents a good example of symbols in culture through the performance of a Lua which is a symbol of their land and heritage through song and dance .
Symbols can have good or bad meanings depending on how others interpret them. For example, the Swastika shown on the German Flag back in World War 2 means good fortune in some religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism and often used on designs, but after World War 2 the meaning of the Swastika shifted to a negative side among Americans. Street gangs have used colors and gang signs to show their affiliation to a gang. Symbols are also extremely common and important in religion.
Churches, mosques and temples are places where people gather to practice a shared belief or faith and establish relationships based on this commonality, but many of these individuals will spend most of their time at school, work or other places where they are not amongst people with the same belief so they often wear a symbol of their religion to express belief. For example, a cross is usually associated with Christianity as churches often have them on their buildings to identify it as a setting of Christian worship.
Some Christians wear the cross in the form of jewelry and in some cases in the form of a body tattoo. Other religions make use of symbols as well such as the Star of David in Judaism. Language is the most used form of symbolism. There are 6, known living languages. Such diversity in languages is caused by isolation. Most languages have a different "symbol" for each letter, word, or phrase. The use of symbols is adaptive , which means that humans can learn to associate new symbols to a concept or new concepts with a symbol.
An example may be drawn from two populations who speak different languages that come into contact with one another and need to communicate. They form a language that has a large degree of flexibility in using either language's symbols in this case patterns of sound or a hybrid set of symbols to communicate messages back and forth. This contact language, or pidgin gradually gives way to a creole with a more formal set of symbols words , grammatical rules for their organization, and its own native speakers who transmit the language from generation to generation. It is important for anthropologists to consider their own cultural background when looking at symbolism in a different culture.
This is because many symbols, though similar in appearance, can mean drastically different things. These symbols can best be understood or interpreted through the eyes of the culture that they pertain to, otherwise they may lose their unique significance. This symbol is almost identical to the Nazi Swastika, and therefore brings a negative response from many Americans.
Although the Native American symbol has nothing to do with Nazi or Germanic symbolism, this design is rarely used on blankets today because of misinterpretation of the symbol. Ethnocentrism is the term anthropologists use to describe the opinion that one's own way of life is natural or correct. Some will simply call it cultural ignorance.
Those who have not experienced other cultures in depth can be said to be ethnocentric if they feel that their lives are the most natural way of living. Some cultures may be similar or overlap in ideas or concepts. However, some people are in a sense, shocked to experience differences with individuals culturally different than themselves. In extreme cases, a group of individuals may see another culture's way of life and consider it wrong, because of this, the group may try to convert the other group to their own ways of living.
Fearful war and genocide could be the devastating result if a group is unwilling to change their ways of living. Ethnocentrism is seen in parts of Asia , where they use chopsticks with every meal. These people may find it unnecessary to find that people in other societies, such as the American society, eat using forks, spoons, knives, etc. Since these countries use chopsticks to eat every meal, they find it foolish for other cultures to not use utensils similar to chopsticks; however, they do accept the fact that they use different utensils for eating.
This example is not something extreme that could lead to genocide or war, but it is a large enough gap between these cultures for people to see their way of eating as the natural or best way to typically eat their food. Another example of ethnocentrism is colonialism. Colonialism can be defined as cultural domination with enforced social change. Colonialism refers to the social system in which the political conquests by one society of another leads to "cultural domination with enforced social change".
A good example to look at when examining colonialism is the British overtake of India. The British had little understanding of the culture in India which created a lot of problems an unrest during their rule. Ethnocentrism may not, in some circumstances, be avoidable. We often have instinctual reactions toward another person or culture's practices or beliefs. But these reactions do not have to result in horrible events such as genocide or war. In order to avoid conflict over culture practices and beliefs, we must all try to be more culturally relative. Ethnocentrism is one solution to the tension between one cultural self and another cultural self.
Affect on Anthropology: In many instances Anthropologist have allowed ethnocentrism to determine research and influence analyses. For example Ajami is a language created centuries ago by Islamic teachers and used throughout Sub Saharan Africa that combines Arabic script and another language such as Swahili, Wolof, Hausa or Berber. Many African historical documents are in Ajami. However, there are some historians and anthropologist who have refused to acknowledge African history due to ethnocentric views and do not value the information those historical documents may reveal.
This is just one of the many examples where personal views have interfered with the understanding of other cultures and societies. The Cross-Cultural Relationship is the idea that people from different cultures can have relationships that acknowledge, respect and begin to understand each others' diverse lives. People with different backgrounds can help each other see possibilities that they never thought were there because of limitations, or cultural proscriptions, posed by their own traditions. Traditional practices in certain cultures can restrict opportunity because they are "wrong" according to one specific culture.
Becoming aware of these new possibilities will ultimately change the people that are exposed to the new ideas. This cross-cultural relationship provides hope that new opportunities will be discovered, but at the same time it is threatening. The threat is that once the relationship occurs, one can no longer claim that any single culture is the absolute truth. Cultural relativism is the ability to understand a culture on its own terms and not to make judgments using the standards of one's own culture.
The goal of this is promote understanding of cultural practices that are not typically part of one's own culture. Using the perspective of cultural relativism leads to the view that no one culture is superior than another culture when compared to systems of morality, law, politics, etc. This is also based on the idea that there is no absolute standard of good or evil; therefore, every decision and judgment of what is right and wrong is individually decided in each society.
The concept of cultural relativism also means that any opinion on ethics is subject to the perspective of each person within their particular culture. Overall, there is no right or wrong ethical system. In a holistic understanding of the term cultural relativism, it tries to counter ethnocentrism by promoting the understanding of cultural practices that are unfamiliar to other cultures such as eating insects, genocides or genital cutting. Absolute cultural relativism is displayed in many cultures, especially Africa, that practice female genital cutting.
By allowing this procedure to happen, females are considered women and then are able to be married. FGC is practiced mainly because of culture, religion and tradition. Outside cultures such as the United States look down upon FGC as inhumane, but are unable to stop this practice from happening because it is protected by its culture. Cultural relativism can also be seen with the Chinese culture and their process of feet binding. Foot binding was to stop the growth of the foot and make them smaller. The process often began between four and seven years old.
A ten foot bandage would be wrapped around the foot forcing the toes to go under the foot. It caused the big toe to be closer to the heel causing the foot to bow. Because men only wanted women with small feet, even after this practice was banned in , women still continued to do it. To Western cultures the idea of feet binding might seem like torture, but for the Chinese culture it is symbol of beauty that has been ingrained in the culture for hundreds of years. The idea of beauty differs from culture to culture.
The Qualitative Method is an anthropological research method designed to map out detailed descriptions of social activities within a culture. The observation s may include social norms, activities, religious rituals, cultural ideology and etc. The reasons behind the observation can vary depending on the intention of the anthropologist.
Anthropologists might also apply the qualitative method to create improvements in a social environment. This can take a variety of forms; such as fighting poverty, improving medical care, building new estates and so on. Curious anthropologists often take advantage of the qualitative method. While some might actually use the method to resolve social issues, others might use to learn more about a certain society or group. If someone wanted to learn more about a culture, he or she can observe the lifestyle and find out the opinions of the people to retrieve more information.
The word Ethnography comes from these two Greek words:"Ethnos," meaning people and "Graphein," meaning writing. Ethnography is often referred to as "culture writing," and is a type of documentation often employed by Anthropologists in their field work. This genre of writing uses detailed first-hand written descriptions of a culture based on the researcher's immersion in the field. Ethnographies often reflect the anthropological desire for holism , the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts.
In the case of ethnography, holism refers to the fact that a culture can be best understood through the understanding of as many aspects of the cultural context as possible. Cultural anthropologists who write ethnographies are called ethnographers and they often use a research method known as participant-observation. Participant Observation is a technique of field research used in anthropology by which an anthropologist studies the life of a group by sharing and participating in its activities.
Ethnographic information can take many different forms. Articles, journals, recordings, statistical data, and documentaries are just a few of the many forms that ethnographic information can be conveyed. A very common form is a book written by the person participating in the research or observation.
A great example of a book would be "Waiting For An Ordinary Day" by Farnaz Fassihi because as a journalist traveling to Iraq during the Iraq war, she participates in Iraqi daily life and documents her description of it. Although Fassihi may not consider herself an anthropologist, because of her methods and style of writing, her book Waiting for an Ordinary Day is ethnographic. Eventually, she turns all of her journalistic notes into a book which describes certain events that help her define the Iraqi culture.
She uses the participant-observation method and also uses the concept of holism to explain the whole of Iraqi culture, rather than just small aspects of it. Anthropologists, scientists, philosophers, historians and most social scientists have been reexamining assumptions about what science is and how it works.
They have challenged the traditional distinction between hard sciences such as physics, chemistry, and biology and soft sciences psychology, sociology, and anthropology. They think they have more in common than previously believed. Anthropologists aid in the effort to study and reconsider what science is all about through gathering information about diverse cultural views on the process of explanation gained during participant-observation-based fieldwork.
Ethnology is the comparative study of two or more cultures and often compares and contrasts various cultures. It utilizes the data taken from ethnographic research and applies it to a single, cross-cultural topic. The Ethnology approach can be used to identify and attempt to explain cross-cultural variation in elements such as marriage, religion, subsistence practices, political organization, and parenting.
Anthropologists who focus on one culture are often called ethnographers while those who focus on several cultures are often called ethnologists. The concept of race was produced long ago by the process of racialization in order to separate humans from different areas on the globe to justify enslaving and belittling certain groups. Since its creation, there has been a slow but steady attempt to deconstruct it. Of course, there have been many speed bumps along the way. Deconstructing the social concept of race has been a major interest of Cultural Anthropology at least since Franz Boas's work on race and immigration in the early 's.
The concept of race is important in many different areas of the discipline including cross-cultural studies, the way we look at ourselves vs. Race is not biological but it's supposed to be a way to classify biological differences by grouping people according to different characteristics that they have. There is no biological part of race, it is strictly a concept created by humans to try to better understand differences between other people. The history of the relationship between anthropology and the concept of race is long and interesting see Race in Science web resources for more information.
Race has often been used in societies as a factor of ascribed status, the status given at birth and assigned rather than earned. In many cases it has affected individual's access to wealth, power and certain resources in their society as the concept has generated issues such as discrimination, prejudice and unearned privilege.
Technology is an important aspect of Cultural Anthropology. Anthropologists have studied the examples of material life established in different human civilizations. Some examples of these universal differences are in the shelter, attire, tools and methods for acquiring food and producing material goods. Some anthropologists focus their main concern on studying technology in diverse societies or the progression of technology.
Individuals concerned with material life also illustrate the primary environment for which technologies have been revolutionized. In Anthropology, technology is often studied in relationship to the natural environment that it was developed in. Some anthropologists analyze the ways in which technologies and settings shape each other, and others analyze the way non-Western civilizations have reacted in regards to political and economic strife of colonialism and capitalist industrialized technology. With globalization, all people increasingly consume material goods and technologies manufactured beyond their own culture.
Anthropologists have proven that non-Western inhabitants do not mindlessly imitate Western customs for the use of technology; instead they utilize Western technologies in creative ways, which are often unforeseen and can be adaptive or maladaptive. A cargo cult could be considered an example of the creative use of new technology. Technology in todays culture, has tons of effect on our daily and social lives. It affects us in a way that the methods that were used to interact with one another are not seen as frequent as they used to be before. It has become less physical than it was before where nowadays it can all be done online via multimedia and other methods of technology.
Constant communication through use of technology is changing the way people think of themselves and how they communicate. They can get attention, always be heard, and never have to be alone. With technology evolving day after day, we do not know what is to come in the future from flying cars to robots, all we know is that our future will never be the same. A PBS documentary. McGraw Hill Company, chap 10 pp.
New York, N. Herodotus could be considered one of the earliest anthropologists in Western tradition, and his work can be regarded as some of the earliest anthropological studies. In his nine scrolls known as The Histories, written in the later period of his life BCE , Herodotus describes the conflict between the Greeks and the Persians, but he often digresses from his topic to describe what he had learned through interviews of the Scythians, who lived near the Black Sea.
He learned about and recounted information on how the Scythians lived, and he also learned about nomads who lived further north than the Scythians. Even though the information he recounts was translated many times before transcribed, artifacts similar to the ones he describes have been found in modern excavations in Russia and Kazakhstan. Modern cultural anthropology has its origins in, and developed in reaction to, 19th-century "ethnology", the comparative study of cultures; it presents analytical generalizations about human culture.
Scholars like E. Tylor and J. Frazer in England worked mostly with materials collected by others — usually missionaries, traders, explorers, or colonial officials — this earned them their current sobriquet of "arm-chair anthropologists". Ethnologists had a special interest in why people living in different parts of the world often had similar beliefs and practices.
In addressing this question, ethnologists in the 19th century divided into two schools of thought. Some, like Grafton Elliot Smith , argued that different groups must somehow have learned from one another, however indirectly; in other words, they argued that cultural traits spread from one place to another, or "diffused". This way of thinking could be better understood in the context of the school playground; everyone wants to be like the "cool" kid-they see what he has and they want it. This idea can be expanded to an entire culture, people see another group of people doing something better than them, and so they learn the new, more effective way of living.
Other ethnologists argued that different groups had the capability of inventing similar beliefs and practices independently. Some of those who advocated "independent invention", like Morgan , additionally supposed that similarities meant that different groups had passed through the same stages of cultural evolution. Morgan, in particular, acknowledged that certain forms of society and culture could not possibly have arisen before others.
For example, industrial farming could have been invented before simple farming, and metallurgy could have developed without previous non-smelting processes involving metals such as simple ground collection or mining. Morgan, like other 19th century social evolutionists, believed there was a more or less orderly progression from the primitive to the civilized. After witnessing such a broad development of human society, we now have the knowledge that cultures change at different rates due to environmental causes, economic resources and educational development.
Some 20th-century ethnologists, like Julian Steward , have instead argued that such similarities reflected similar adaptations to similar environments. By the midth century, the number of examples of people skipping stages, such as going from hunter-gatherers to post-industrial service occupations in one generation, were so numerous that 19th-century evolutionism was effectively disproved.
In the 20th century, most cultural and social anthropologists turned to the crafting of ethnographies. An ethnography is a case study of a culture made by a researcher immersing themself in said culture.phon-er.com/js/hollywood/iphone-app-whats-the-word.php
Cultural Anthropology/Print version - Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Typically, the anthropologist actually lives among another society for a considerable period of time, simultaneously participating in and observing the social and cultural life of the group. This way of studying a culture is a much more unbiased view of the culture, as opposed to the previous method of armchair anthropologists throughout history, these scholars are there interacting with the people.
As a way of learning about a culture, these ethnographies are a great resource. However, any number of other ethnographic techniques have resulted in ethnographic writing or details being preserved, as cultural anthropologists also curate materials, spend long hours in libraries, churches and schools poring over records, investigate graveyards, and decipher ancient scripts. Assistant Professor Giovanni Rossi recently received the award for the best dissertation in the field of Conversation Analysis period from the International Society for Conversation Analysis l inked here.
ICAS is a global network of institutions and scholars from across the social sciences and the humanities in 60 countries, with the primary mission of advancing the study of Asia. For the full piece, click here. To learn more about the opportunity, click here. Click here for more information. Professor Aliza Luft published a blog post for Mobilizing Ideas on the topic of threat and mobilization. For the full text, click here. Click here to read the piece. She will serve a three-year term, beginning August Graduate student Wisam Alshaibi was recently mentioned in an Intercept.
Graduate student Wisam Alshaibi was quoted in a recent piece in the online magazine quillette. Kevan Harris has published a brief using his Iran social survey data. The book was also review by John Waterbury, the doyen of political scientists who work on the Middle East. Each section of the biannual Handbook draws from over books and between 30 and 40 articles to produce an annotated bibliography of the best 50 recently published articles and books in the field.
Graduate student Emily Yen was quoted in a recent Los Angeles Times story on proposed changes to taxation affecting higher education. Assistant Professor Kevan Harris was quoted in a recent article regarding Iranian politics. The committee seeks to improve the statistical methods and information on which public policy decisions are based. The committee works to foster better measurement and understanding of a wide range of issues including the economy, public health, immigration, the environment, and crime.
A special congratulations to Laura Savage- our 4th year undergraduate student- who took home a Spring Sing award for her second consecutive year — this time as part of the trio HELEN. Last year Laura won the grand prize as a soloist! Professor Rogers Brubaker 's op-ed piece on a controversial journal article about transracialism was published today in the New York Times.