Cultural relativism and historical particularism (every society has unique progression)
[Theorist] AR Radcliffe-Brown
1881 - 1955
Inspired by Emile Durkheim
Structural-functionalism (all the parts, or institutions, of a society filled a particular function)
Ultimate goal of Anthro is precision like natural sciences
Rejected psychological explanations
Regarded individual as social product
Ideas mostly abandoned
Criticism: Believed his models were more truthful than social reality
Students criticized Malinowski’s students for writing extensive field accounts without an explanation or model tying details together
[Variation] Bronislaw Malinowski
1884 - 1942
British anthropology, classical functionalist (assumed entire societies are perfectly integrated)
Argonauts of the Western Pacific, 1922
Participant observation (ethnographer should live with people studied, participate in everyday activities, and make systematic observations)
Lifelong interest in individual psychology
Criticism: Unfocused and theoretically weak
[Relations] Marcel Mauss, "The Gift"
Nephew of Durkheim
Reciprocity (the exchange of gifts and services, is the ‘glue’ that ties societies together in the absence of a centralised power)
Criticism: Largely seen as irrelevant by young anthropologists studying conflict rather than integration
[Theorist] Raymond Firth, "Elements of Social Organization"
Actual behaviour of societies is separated from idealized rules of behaviour within the particular society
Critical of S-F faith in ability of norms and structure to regulate human interaction
Social organisation(actual interaction) vs social structure (system of interrelated statuses. Abstract template)
Persons acted according to their own will and modify social structure
[Analyst] Claude Levi-Strauss (Alliance)
Founder of Structuralism
Influenced by Durkheim
How the human mind functions, cognitive structure
1962, "The Savage Mind"
[Theorist] Fredrick Barth, "Models of Social Organization"
1960s, “transactionalism” (Model of analysis putting acting individual as central. Does not assume social integration is necessary outcome of interaction.)
[Relations] Marshall Shalins, "Stone Age Economics"
Three types of reciprocity.
- 1. Balanced reciprocity: market trade, tit-for-tat
- 2. Generalized reciprocity: There is no acknowledged pricing mechanism and no explicit demands for returning gifts, but rules are known
- 3. Negative reciprocity: economic deception, where benefits are reaped without paying the cost.
[Theorist] Pierre Bourdieu, "Theory of Practice"
Distinguishes between opinion and doxa. Free choices are not illusory, but integrated factors restrict them.
Try to Remember
[Analyst] Henry Maine, "Primitive Society"
Status societies: each person has fixed relationships to others
Contract societies: Based on voluntary agreements
[Theorist] Herbert Spencer (Structure and Function)
Coined term “survival of the fittest”
Introduced “structure” and “function” as concepts
[Analyst] Ferdinand Tonnies
Local community vs anonymous large-scale society. Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft.
[Variation] Margaret Mead
1928 - 1930
1928, Coming of Age in Samoa
1930, Growing up in New Guinea
Socialisation of children to understand cultural “variations in personality”
[Variation] Ruth Benedict, "Patterns of Culture"
Cultures have “personality traits”
Like Radcliff-Brown, saw cultures as consistent and seamless, but explained with psychology
[Theorist] Anthony Giddens
Theory of Structuration, Holistic view.
Social life is more than random individual acts, but is not merely determined by social forces.
[Analyst] Karl Polanyi, "The Great Transformation"
Development of the modern state goes hand in hand with development of modern market economies
Societies could be economically integrated.
[Theorist] EE Evans-Pritchard
1951, confessed that structural-functionalism failed to produce a single general “social law” with precision as the natural sciences
1956, book on religion of Nuer (Sudanese cattle people). May have coloured native terms with own religion.
Studies of witchcraft in Central Africa made him understand Stalinism
Wanted social anthropology to become an interpretive science
[Analyst] Julian Steward, "Theory of Cultural Change"
Distinguished between “cultural core” (technology, ecological adaptation, and property relations), and “rest of culture”
Derives from Boas
[Theorist] Marvin Harris, "Rise of Anthropological Theory"
Cultural materialism. Social life is response to practical problems of existence.
[Variation] Clifford Geertz, "The Interpretation of Cultures"
Contrast to cultural materialism
Culture – “shared meanings expressed through public communication”
[Analyst] Marilyn Strathern, "After Nature"
The definition of "nature" and "man-made" may change
Probably Not That Important
[Theorist] EB Taylor, "Primitive Culture"
Culture = “complex whole which includes capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”
[Relations] Lewis Morgan
Established kinship as distinct domain
[Theorist] Edmund Leach
Societies are far from integrated equilibrium. Criticized definition of marriage in alliance.
[Theorist] Leslie White, "The Science of Culture"
The more energy a group or society exploited for its own ends, the higher it was placed on the evolutionary ladder.
[Analysts] Al Kroeber + Clyde Kluckhohn, "A Critical Review"
Those two guys who took the word "culture" way too seriously.
[Theorist] Gregory Bateson, "Steps to an Ecological Mind"