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Unit 4- Social Organization and Rituals (Ch 23-24, 28-29)
Terms in this set (62)
Refers to the categories of people, people are organized based upon their power in their society, their wealth, and their job. Upper class and middle class status usually means you have more money while lower class means you have less or no money. Based on parents status, but you can improve your status if you better your job or income. Status' can also be based off name, such as "That's President Obama" or "Mary is a lawyer". These status names connect a certain level of wealth and power based off their name, indicate to others what you do, how much you make, and how much power you may have.
Rules for action associated with particular statuses, use them to interpret and generate social behavior. A college professor doesn't sit on top of his desk and lecture in blue jeans and a t-shirt. He usually wears nice clothes, uses the white board and PowerPoint to teach. The professor assumes his role as a professor by acting accordingly
The setting in which social interactions takes place, consists of a combination of times, places, objects, and events.
ex. someone carrying a TV in the afternoon would be seen as a normal social situation but someone carrying the same TV at four in the morning may be seen as mysterious because it is not normal to be doing that
Organized collections of individuals, some are formal such as a political party while others are less formal like a group of friends meeting for drinks. Inside a more formal group, tasks may be divided amongst members. Groups share a common culture that only they know, groups usually link one another like when two families come together after a marriage.
Individuals who people most often interact with, not considered groups, they are defined only in a relation to a particular individual.
ex. I have high school friends, cross country friends, class friends, etc. While they all know me, they don't often know each other.
Groups can be organized into social hierarchy; one spouse may dominate another, one sibling may dominate another, the boss's friend may be promoted earlier than you, becomes a noticeable trait when it effects a whole grouping or class of people (such as racial inequality, gender inequality, age inequality). Inequality towards a specific grouping of people effects how this group can achieve prestige often times they are limited in what jobs they can obtain and therefore they are often restricted with how much prestige they can gain
Characterized by the regular experienced unequal access to valued economic resources and prestige. Recognizes by 1. Class and 2. Caste
Restricts individuals access to valued resources and prestige within a partially flexible system. Individuals can move up (or down) if they gain or lose certain resources. People born into lower classes experience poverty because they have unequal access to resources. Upward mobility is possible in the class system but it is difficult
ex. Upper class has more money (therefore more prestige). You can move into the upper class by gaining more wealth and power in some form
If you are born into a certain caste, you stay in that caste for the rest of your life. It is a permanent membership and can never change, intercaste marriage is forbidden and is a feature of the South Asian culture.
In America, many argue that the difference in skin color plays a role in which caste you belong to. Even though our society is based on classes, which race you belong to never changes and that can have an effect on your ability to get a job
Lack formal social stratification, no category of people (age group or gender) has a more significant role or power over anyone else
Unequal access to prestige, can be seen in societies that have a chief or other persons of authority leading a group of people. People gain access to rank by birth but their positions give them no substantial economic advantages
ex. Horticulture societies
Organized around a formal ranking system seen in social stratification, Members are likely to form classes or castes, inequality effects both access to resources and prestige.
ex. Agrarian and industrial societies
What is meant by colonial feminism? Can you think of other examples that changes to local custom promoted by colonial administrations?
The fact that Western women view themselves as higher above non-Western women; that these women are charity cases and need to be saved, educated, and transformed into "civilized" women. They think of themselves as do good-ers but are ethnocentric in their views.
How did Laura Bush and other US officials use the lives of Afghan women to justify the invasion and bombing of Afghanistan?
The US military framed the war as bringing "justice" and "freedom" to women in the area. They feel that the burqa is a sign of oppression. The war justifies itself by being a war of liberation of Afghan women. Laura Bush constantly slipped between the war with the terrorists and the Taliban's involvement in the area; claimed that the fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of all women.
What is the American perception of the burqa and how does that differ from the way women who wear the garment perceive its meaning? How has the American perception of the burqa influences policy toward military intervention?
In Western culture, people view the burqa as a symbol of male exploitation and control of women, however many Afghan women view the burqa as a sign of modesty and the separation of private family lives from the public realm. The Western perspective of the burqa is ethnocentric. In terms of the military, they have taken it upon themselves to establish a moral crusade to free these women from their bondage. We often think that women were not forced to wear the burqa before the war started but some women chose to wear it out of choice. In order to get Americans to back the war effort, the military established this moral crusade
What meaning has the Taliban given the burqa and how is that related to the meaning given the garment by Americans?
It is a sign of religious piety, and was originally worn only by the Pashtun branch of the Muslim faith. Since the Taliban have taken over, they have forced its wearing on all Muslim women. The Taliban viewed the burqa as a sign of respect and modesty. Americans, seeing the Taliban as bad, thought this was oppressive and against what most women in the region want. Even though the country isn't under the control of the Taliban, any women continue to wear it which complicates the views that Americans have of the current situation in Afghanistan.
What do the concepts of ethnocentrism and cultural relativism mean?
Ethnocentrism- the view that your society or your culture is above others
Cultural relativism- principle that an individual human's beliefs and activities should be understood by others in terms of that individual's own culture (opposite of naïve realism). Everyone in the Middle East should know the "civilized" ways of the West
Can Americans find ways of helping Afghan women without "saving them"? What might these ways be?
Our mission should be to create a safe environment for these women to carry out their normal lives. To live in their own society where they feel safe and can practice their religious views however they please. We should not enforce our own views on them and we should not try to convert them to our version of a "civilized" woman.
Determined by heritage, but is a myth. Human beings are one species and we can reproduce with anyone across the globe. Our classifications for race include certain dimensions such as skin color and exclude others such as hair color and body size. All that exists is variability in what people look like and the arbitrary and culturally specific ways different societies classify that variability.
A cognate meaning "type" is a descriptive term that serves a kind of shorthand for a series of physical features. Brazil has many tipos because there is many variations in Brazilian society as to what people look like
Light skin color, eyes of any color, hair of any color except tight curly, nose that is not too broad, and lips that are thin
Brown or black hair that is wavy or curly but not tight curls, tan skin, nose that is broad, and thick lips
Same as morena but has tight curls and slightly darker hair and skin tones
Same as mulata but darker skin and hair, broad nose, and thick lips
Whiter than white, straight blond hair, green or blue eyes
Tight curly blond or red hair, light skin, blue or green eyes, broad nose, and thick lips (Not considered black or white)
Straight black hair, dark skin, brown eyes, narrow nose and thin lips (Not considered black or white)
What is Jeffrey Fish's main point about the way Americans define race?
Americans view only part of the variation as "racial", while other equal variations in individuals is not taken into account.
What is the difference between the way race is defined in the United States and in Brazil?
In the way we see someone, what changes is not how the person appears but how we classify them. Americans don't take into account many variations that make a grouping of people unique. Brazilians take into account many variations and therefore have a more specific system of classification. American concept of race does not correspond to the ways in which human physical appearance varies. Further, the American view of race is just one among many folk taxonomies, none of which correspond to the facts of human physical variation
List the characteristics of a tipo and how to translate a tipo into American racial categories
Tipos are based on a variety of characteristics. They take into account skin color, hair color, lip thickness, and nose broadness. This is hard for Americans to understand because we don't have that many classifications (we only classify by skin color).
What evidence challenges the view that races are biologically defined types? What evidence would have to exist to prove that the human species is genetically divided into races?
We would not be able to reproduce with each other because genetic drift would have changed our genes so they couldn't reproduce with each other. After humans left Africa and spread out, their different geographical areas would have isolated them from the rest of the world and changed their genes. The only thing that changed however was our adaptions to different environments, such as skin color. People in warmer climates developed darker skin as a protective means while colder climate humans developed lighter skin due to the cold and lack of sunlight. We remained the same species through and through however.
Why does Fish feel it is important to understand that race as Americans define it does not represent a biological reality?
Race is a social classification rather than a physical classification. Groups are sorted by a purely social role for statistical purposes
Cultural knowledge of the supernatural that people use to cope with the ultimate problems of human existence. Cultural institutions such as a certain religion provide individuals with a "reassurance" or understanding of these problems. Many people use religion as a means of coping with the vagaries of their existence
Emerge from universal features of human life, such as the meaning of life, death, evil, and transcendent values, People everywhere, no matter which culture you are from, wonder why they die, why they are alive and why evil strikes some individuals and not others.
Refers to a realm beyond the normal existence. Some cultures view this as a certain god-like being. Beliefs in gods, spirits, ghosts, and magical powers are often considered supernatural
Override differences (the values that individuals hold which may conflict with the views of others in the group) and unify the group, religion provides a set of values for which their followers obeyed by. These are common beliefs that unite the group and everyone in the religion should follow these rules and expectations. Values are stated in the Bible, Quran, Torah, etc.
Personified supernatural force
Resides in supernatural beings, in the deities, ghosts, ancestors, and other beings found in the divine world. They control the universe and individual religions believe in certain supernatural beings as ruling over them (Christians believe in one super god, Hindus see multiple gods, etc). Takes on a human form
Also called impersonal supernatural forces, represents a kind of free floating force lodged in many things and places. Associated with the term "luck" and works like an electrical current that can be introduced into things and discharged out of them. Things can be seen as becoming lucky and then becoming unlucky when something bad happens. Takes on an object form
Refers to the strategies people use to control supernatural power
Using magic to cause harm, magic that is used as a form of revenge. Sorcerers use magic such as mantras (ritual sayings) to cause harm to their victims
Closely related to sorcery, uses supernatural force to cause evil. Many people who possess witchcraft skills are envious individuals who acquire evil powers or are born with special skills that cause "evil"
Said to petition supernatural beings, most religions possess ways to influence supernatural power, of it a spirit is nearby, to communicate directly to them.
Gifts given to or in honor supernatural forces in order to right a wrong, call upon the forces of good, or wish for something good to happen.
Occurs when a supernatural being possesses and enters a human. They control a human's behavior and can talk directly through them, others can talk directly to the supernatural world
Usually requires material objects or animals to provide answers to human directed questions
Religious specialists who directly control supernatural forces. They may have personal relationships with spiritual beings or know powerful secret medicines and sayings.
Religious specialists who mediate between people and supernatural beings. They don't control divine power, instead they lead congregations in ceremonies and help others petition to gods.
Refers to a system of concepts and often unstated assumptions about life, uses both cosmology and mythology to interpret about the way things are and about how things came to be
The study of the origin and evolution of nature and the universe
Study of myths; how things came to be based on mythology
Usually related to rapid change that renders a traditional way of life ineffective, occur as a result of deprivation and stress. Religions were often created out of these "epiphany" like revitalizations, they suddenly had a clear understanding of the world and grew support by telling others about their experiences. Can also occur when one culture takes over another. The new culture that forms can often cause members to rebuild their culture along what they consider to be more satisfying lines when they are suddenly in a deprived state.
What aspects of her life make Sita a prime candidate for ghost possession in Indian society?
She is a new bride, lost a friend, younger siblings, and has suffered other loses in her life. She shows signs of depression which makes her spirit "vulnerable" to possession. She is scared to have sexual relations with her new husband at first and because her new family doesn't accept her, she goes into these fits in order to gain their support and reduce her anxiety.
What happens to the souls of dead people according to Hindu village belief? What accounts for the presence of ghosts?
Hindus believe that the soul goes through cycles of rebirths, following a person's death, it becomes a ghost and lingers for thirteen days in the village. They believe that souls travel the Land of the Dead, which is ruled by Yama. Here, Yama and his scribes review the soul's past actions before deciding on its future. Where a soul ends up depends on the souls karma, what good and evils they committed while they were alive. If they committed suicide, were murdered, died from torture, disease, or accident, then their soul will become a ghost and haunt the village and people they knew.
How did ghost possession help Sita adjust to her life as a married woman?
She went into the ghost possession fits as a way of expressing her distress and stress while adjusting to her new life. As a new bride who has suffered great tragedy (with losing friends and siblings), it was culturally acceptable and understandable for her to feel distressed. The way their culture expresses their distress is by having "ghost possessions". Even though they aren't actually real, her ghost possessions were a sign of resistance. She was going against her new family that didn't want her, this is a way of resisting authority. After she gave birth to her children and became most accustomed to her new family, her possessions stopped
A prescribed behavior in which there is no empirical connection between the means and the desired end. Rituals are not rational, Most rituals, especially in sport, are performed by individuals and not teams or groups. They grow out of good performances. Once something good happens, people will associate something they did before hand as the cause of the good outcome. They will continue to perform this ritual until something bad happens.
The opposite of a ritual, it is something you should avoid doing because it brings about bad luck. Breaking a taboo brings about bad luck and unwanted consequences. They grow out of exceptionally poor performances and players will do everything in their power to avoid doing that taboo again.
Charms or material objects believed to embody supernatural powers or aids to protect the owner. May be a new possession that a player likes or something that a player was wearing or found before they had a good performance. They can be coins, charms, crucifixes, or other lucky objects that a player associates with luck or good fortune.
A course of action that is regularly followed. Not following the routine can lead to anxiety during a sport. Bad luck can often be attributed to a lack of following a routine. Routines help to ensure confidence and "luck". They are comforting and bring order to the world of the individual who practices a certain routine.
What is magic and why do people practice it according to Gmelch?
Magic is strategies people use to control supernatural power. People practice it so they can "help" to decide an outcome of something. Baseball players use magic in order to control whether or not they will have a good game. People use magic to manage their anxieties generated by unpredictable events that challenge human control
What parts of baseball are most likely to lead to magical practice? Why?
Pitching and hitting because these are the things that account for playing time and amount of pay. Pitching is what determines the game and hitting helps to determine if your team can win or not; however, pitching is the player that is least able to control the outcome of his pitching efforts. They are so full of uncertainty that players do everything in their power to try to control their outcome.
What is meant by the terms taboo, ritual, and fetish?
Taboo- the opposite of a ritual, brings about bad luck and should be avoided
Ritual- attributed to good luck, practiced regularly if something good comes from it
Fetish- is a charm or object that is associated with bringing about good luck
Can you think of other areas of US life where magic is practices? Do the same theories account for both?
Running, I practice a routine before every meet. If something goes wrong I switch up my routine until I achieve luck once again. People also use magic in farming as well. They may plow their fields in a certain way and hope to the rain gods that good weather will come.
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