Assignment One In the book Anthropology as Cultural Critique by George E. Marcus and MichaelM. Fischer, we are introduced to several theorists who focus in classicanthropology, modern anthropology and contemporary anthropology. For classicanthropology we have three theorists by name of Edward Sapir, Marcel Mauss, andClifford Geertz.
Edward Sapir develops a hypothesis called the Whorfhypotheses. This hypothesis helps structure that language influences the modesof thought and behavior characteristic of culture that is used within thelanguage that is spoken. The next classic anthropology theorists are MarcelMauss. Mauss purpose was focused on three main points these three points are togive to receive and to repay. He stated that gifts help create relationshipsnot only between individuals but between groups that form total prestations. CliffordGeertz is the third theorist focused on interpreting symbols that are importantto people and their lives. He also stated that anthropologist need to analyzeand describe cultures and their symbols to make a difference.
Another importantfactor through his work is that he believes religions are related to events ofindividuals and groups with the support of his functionalist theories. He alsowrote a famous essay called the “religion as cultural system”. All three ofthese theorist is classified as classic anthropologist because they havefocuses on the study a variation of culture among human beings. The following categoryis modern anthropology. Modern anthropology has many important anthropologistswho have supported a lot of modern work.
Three of these anthropologist ortheorists is Franz Boas, Claude Levi Strauss, and Bronislaw Malinowski. FranzBoas is known for being the founder of American anthropology. His focus was onthe accurate records of the scientific method.
Cultural relativism is anotherimportant factor for his work because it explains how cultures should be seenand judged by their own values. Another is ethnology and how he studies theorigin and the similarities and differences between races and cultures.Following this theorist is Claude Levi Strauss, his theory was based on thebinary opposites and how they are the central climax of a narrative structure.Some of these binary opposites are for example, good vs evil, black vs white,man vs women and so forth. The last theorist for modern anthropology isBrownislow Malinowski.
Malinowski importance to anthropology is that he developeda law by the name as Crime and the Savage Society. He also contributed with Franz Boas and the guidelinesof cultural relativism in anthropology. He also developed a theory using socialevolutionism and through the functionalist theory arguing that the word savageswere as rational as the Europeans. He was known to be the founder offunctionalism. These important theorists are classified as modernanthropologist because they studied and contributed to focusing the studies on socialsciences and have analyzed rationally from philosophical theories applyingdiscipline and understanding the evolution. Now looking at contemporaryanthropology we know that James Frazer, Victor tuner, Paul Rainbow and Anthony Giddens are all importtheorists for this time.
James Frazer focuses on the theories of evolution inreligion. His theory was called the Magic theory which consists of threephases. The first is magic the second is religion and the third is science. Magicwas said to control the world and the religion helped nature cooperate andscience will help understand any rational questions.
Victor turner is aninfluential anthropologist who theorized on symbols ritually and the symbolsthrough a process of social and personal transformation. Paul Rainbow wrote abook called “marking time,” here he explains the two senses of contemporary onebeing that contemporary exist with something else and the second being temporaland historical reasons and figures of moving through the past and moving to thefuture. As for Anthony Giddens his theory is on the creation and thereproduction of social systems focusing on the structure and agency. All this theoristfocus on how culture is the major division of social and cultural anthropology.BibliographyOrtner,Sherry B. Anthropology and Social Theory: Culture, Power, and the ActingSubject. Duke University Press,2006.Marcus,George E.
, and Michael M. J. Fischer.
Anthropology as Cultural Critique: an Experimental Moment in the HumanSciences. The University of Chicago Press, 2004.”FranzBoas.” Department of Anthropology, anthropology.