Merryl Wyn-Davis

Introducing Anthropology

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Today, anthropology is defined as the systematic study of the Other, while all other social sciences are in some sense the study of the Self.
Татьяна Макогонhas quoted2 years ago
Archaeology and anthropology share a common interest in seeking to explain the origins of culture and society, and the development of civilization.
Татьяна Макогонhas quoted2 years ago
Modern anthropology begins in contention with the concept of race. It denounces the racism in its intellectual origins and discounts the overwhelming mass of racist writing that informed these origins
Татьяна Макогонhas quoted2 years ago
Diffusion is the transmission of things from one culture, people or place to another. The essence of diffusion is contact and interaction. It is a very old idea. The biblical framework of explanation, developed vigorously in the 16th and 17th centuries, is diffusionist
Татьяна Макогонhas quoted2 years ago
Anthropology did not create colonialism, but its origins are certainly an epiphenomenon of colonialism.
Татьяна Макогонhas quoted2 years ago
Adams also identifies “minor trends” – not lesser but derivatives and applications of the major trends.
Rationalism: the belief in an ordered universe governed by laws that conform with and are comprehensible by human reason.
Positivism: broadly a label for Empiricism, a methodology comprising observation plus induction or deduction.
Marxism or dialectical materialism: a self-proclaiming ideology and “sect”, clearly part of progressivism. Marx and Engels based their thinking on the work of American anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan (1818–81), best known for his study of Iroquois Indians.
Utilitarianism and socialism: uniquely British schools of radicalism and approach to social reform less interested in the past and more focused on the future.
Structuralism: the belief in a structured universe or inherent and coherent structuring in nature’s order that is not imposed by the observer; the structures are therefore universal. It is a derivative of natural law.
Nationalism: the predominant Western ideology of the last three centuries works to shape national traditions of anthropology and other social sciences.
Татьяна Макогонhas quoted2 years ago
THESE MAJOR TRENDS EXPLAIN WHERE ANTHROPOLOGY CAME FROM AND WHAT IT’S ABOUT …
Progressivism: the identification of human cultural history with progress on an upward escalator from “nasty and brutish” to the modern West that is always on top whenever you pick up the story.
Primitivism: the reverse idea, including nostalgia for primitive simplicity and the idea of degeneration, humankind marching downhill from the beginning, though some are saved by civilization.
Natural law: not recurrent behaviour but codes, behavioural prescriptions and restrictions common to all peoples and part of nature’s (i.e., biological in origin) or God’s (i.e., moral and cultural in origin) plan.
German idealism: based on the dualistic separation of mind (the substance of history) and matter (the substance of nature).
“Indianology”: both popular ideology about American Indians – especially of the Noble Savage variety – and a major field of study centring on the otherness of the Other.
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