Anthropological theory : an introductory history

by (5th ed.)
ISBN-10 0078034884 ISBN-13 9780078034886
722 Flashcards en notities
5 Studenten

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Samenvatting - Anthropological theory : an introductory history

  • 1 Evolutionism

  • What is evolutionism?

    Darwinism (the development by natural selection) was a very powerful idea. (Actually the now rejected idea of Lamarckian biological evolution –animals change their behavior during their lifetime and pass on these acquired new traits to a new generation- is a more useful methaphor of societal evolution). Herbert Spencer Formulated the idea of survival of the fittest, the metaphor of society as an organism, and the notion evolutionism as a progress  from simple to compex organisations.

     

  • critique on evolutionism
    the ethnocentrism, 
     strong focus on change (neglecting the way societies achieved a degree of stability), 
     the way each known society was forced to fit into prefabricated evolution schemes (in other words, evolutionists of operated from a weak empirical basis). 
     the way constitutive elements of a society (kinship, economy, politics, religion) were 
    studied in isolation from each other (e.g. kinship systems were compared between 
    different societies, but kinship was not studied together with the political, economic, 
    and ecological factors within one particular society) 
  • What did Morgan and Tylor and other anthropological evolutionists thought?

    Lewis Henry Morgan, Edward Burnett Tylor and other anthropological evolutionist thought of change as a process of societies going from one stage of development to the next. 

  • theoretical approaches as critique for evolutionists
    historical particularism, diffusionism, and 
    functionalism
  • What do societies go to according evolutionism?

    Societeies go to a number of successive stages. It is a process of unilinear (based on the general idea that all societies evolved through the same stages and  were progressing towards civilization and it was rooted in the comparative method) change.

    o   Morgan: Savagery à barbarism à civilization

    o   Tylor: animism à polytheism à monotheism 

  • Change is seen as...... in evolutionism?

    Progress

  • What was the highest state in evolutionism?

    • The highest stage, invariably, was Victorian England or nineteenth-century USA.
    • This approach was therefore clearly ethnocentric.
  • What were strong points with evolutionism?

    A strong point was to integrate all societies into one whole. Another strong point was that despite the differences in development of various societies, all humans belonged to one species and were essentially the same. Precisely because of the difference between cultures and the unilineal development path, all human societies had to have an equal amount of human skills (intelligence etc). 

  • 1.1 Additional theory

  • synchronical paradigm
    a synchronic analysis is one that views a phenomena only at a given time
    - historical particularism, relativism
    - functionalism and structural-functionalism,
    - structuralism, cognitive and interpretative approaches
  • diachronical
    regards a phenomenon in terms of developments through time
    - Evolutionism
    - Diffusionism
    - Marxism
  • interactive
    integration of various phenomena and arenas of society
    - social and political anthropology
    - transactionalism, psychological approaches
    - gender, postmodernism
  • characteristics of a paradigm
    o a name
    o some core theoretical ideas
    o usually a particular world view (e.g. the fundamental equality of all human
    populations, or the universal march towards progress)
    o a leading figure, or leading figures that are generally associated with that
    paradigm (e.g. Claude Lévi-Strauss ‘belongs’ to structuralism)
    o a clique of supporters of this paradigm (who often refer to each others’ work and are sometimes called a mutual admiration society)
    o a number of seminal texts that have helped to shape or formulate the core
    theoretical ideas and that have formed a source of inspiration for
    anthropologists working according to that paradigm
    o usually a common enemy in the form of an older paradigm that is rejected or declared obsolete and imperfect by the new paradigm
    Note that some paradigms were self-declared by their own leaders, while other paradigms were only been recognized and named by others after they started to exist.
  • what is a paradigm?
    When a certain theory has a relatively broad applicability and many followers, it is useful to speak of a theoretical school of thought or a theoretical paradigm
  • definition of a paradigm by kuhn
    Paradigms are ‘universally recognized scientific achievements that for a time provide model problems and solutions to a community of practitioners’ (Thomas Kuhn)
  • characteristics of a good paradigm
    • Accurate and precise statements
    • Internally consistent
    • Large span
    • Simple, bringing order in the chaos
    • Fruitful, stimulating new ideas
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