Introduction to Visions of Culture
“In each article we encounter a scholar, limited and enabled by the state of anthropological knowledge in her or his time who is attempting to understand cultural differences” (Moore: vii).
Last class: Edward Tylor and his contribution to anthropology
Definition of culture and its properties
Rejection of biological racism
Unilineal evolution of humanity
Culture and its properties.
Concept of cultural survivals (as proofs of historical evolution).
Would you agree with this view that religion is a survival in our society?
Based on the film Cannibal Tours, which of these three Tylor’s contributions have had the most lasting effect on popular explanations of cultural diversity?
Do you think racism is such survival from the past?
The idea of social/cultural evolution from more “primitive” stages of development to more advanced. Today
Lewis Henry Morgan
Cultural anthropology: methods of studying culture
Chapter 3 in Moore
Ancient Society (1877)
Chapter 2 in Moore
Problems with the unilineal evolutionism “Repeatedly, we encounter an anthropologist engaged in a debate with other anthropologists…” (Moore, Introduction).
The genealogical method.
Social anthropology: a method to study social organization organization.
Introduction to his work and a film Strangers Abroad: Everything is
Emile Durkheim and structural functionalism
Chapters 4 – 12
It is said that he hoped his epitaph would read "He Made Anthropology a Science"
Lewis Henry Morgan (1818 – 1881)
Overlap with Tylor
Dismissed bio racism.
“The history of the human race is one in source one in experience source, experience, and one in progress” (Morgan).
The unity of origin of mankind =
A study of particular cultures (e.g., the Iroquois, ancient Romans) is not about the study of different cultures but of representatives of specific stages of cultural evolution.
Societies are representatives of the history of human progress.
Dismissed theological views:
Argued against a theory of “human human degradation” (decline from Eden or past Golden Age).
Developed an evolutionary typology of human culture and society Morgan’s evolutionary typology
CIVILIZATION: phonetic alphabet, writing
Upper: smelting or iron ore, iron tools
Middle: Domestication of animals and plants; irrigation; adobe brick and stone
Lower: invention of pottery
Upper: invention of bow and arrow
Middle: fishing, knowledge of use of fire
Lower: origins of human race
Lewis Henry Morgan
ETHNICAL PERIODS (Ancient Society, 1877)
Evolutionary typology – a series of stages through which all societies had passed or would pass on their way to “civilization”
“Each of these periods has a distinct culture and exhibits a mode of life more or less special and peculiar to itself”
(Morgan in Moore 21).
Th passing th i through each of th h h f these periods – l di t i d leading to formation of more complex forms of social and political organization as well as technological means – explains cultural diversity. Critique of evolutional anthropologists’ work
Failure to establish a sound methodology
( p g
Arm-chair research (except Morgan who studied among the Seneca Nation, the
But he analysed the data he collected within a single evolutionary framework.
Major critique came from Franz Boas
Franz Boas (1858-1942)