26 October 2014
Mills 169 (A26)
Available at http://anthro.rschram.org/1002/13.2
With help from Terry Woronov, Emma Young and the ANTH 1002 tutors.
Note: These lecture notes are from 2015, and will be revised for the 2016 class.
As Terry Woronov said in her 2013 review of this class, “Globalization does not wipe out difference–it produces new dynamics that sustain difference, and enables the ongoing reproduction of difference.”
Contemporary life is a lot like the snake and the mongoose: Fast friends, arch rivals! Available for streaming now!
Once upon a time there was a snake and a mongoose…
Many opposites - values, ideas, institutions - are not binary, either-or. They are contradictions and they exist in an ambiguous tension which is both a source of conflict but also creativity.
That is, contemporary life is defined by its contradictions. There are copresent forces in tension, leading to confict and also unexpected side-effects.
Categories are not dichotomous; Many opposites are actually co-present.
The first part of the class was devoted to the contradiction between gift and commodity.
Although Marx and Mauss did not directly address each other's ideas, they seem to have an affinity. This has been very important in the study of globalization. Anthropologists generally see globalization as an interaction between gift systems and capitalism.
What are some examples of each of these?
People tend to assume that family is distinct from other kinds of relationship, or that one is either being a relative or being an economic actor.
Families are sites of snakes and mongooses. They are both moral and economic.
In many societies, people are faced with alternative ways of being and ways of presenting oneself to others.
The concept of a culturally-constructed person is relevant to understanding the global economic order.
Alternate modernity is the thesis that the same kinds of social forces which have transformed European societies have an analogue outside of the West.
Max Weber says Protestant Christianity in Europe taught people to see themselves as individuals, and to distinguish material wealth from moral thinking.
Brenner says that expressions of Islamic modesty, especially the veil, allow women to define their identity in opposition to the village and its obligations. Being a visibly pious Muslim is a way of asserting autonomy from traditional codes.
Blain, Andrea. 2014. “'Snake and Mongoo$e' Races into Homes This Spring.” PR Newschannel. January 21. http://www.prnewschannel.com/2014/01/21/action-packed-film-snake-and-mongoose-races-into-homes-this-spring/.
Lacock, Hennie. 2013. Cobra and Mongoose. Caters New Agency. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2013-10/29/132841640_11n.jpg.
Pollock, Jackson. 1948. No. 5, 1948. Oil on canvas. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=No._5,_1948&oldid=631373543.