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Web version (no illustrations). Power, Religion, Art and Cultural Change. Lolita Nikolova Reference: Haviland et al. 2005. Individual. Social personality/ Social actor. Household. Leader/Head vs. member Famous vs. non-famous Talent vs. not develop specific talent. Work. Associations.

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Power, Religion, Art and Cultural Change


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    1. Web version (no illustrations) Power, Religion,Art and Cultural Change Lolita Nikolova Reference: Haviland et al. 2005

    2. Individual Social personality/ Social actor Household Leader/Head vs. member Famous vs. non-famous Talent vs. not develop specific talent Work Associations Political organizations Religious organizations Sport Art Science etc. Cultural and other kinds of clubs and organizations

    3. Religion • Organized belief in the supernatural. • Fulfill numerous social and psychological needs. • No known group of people anywhere on the face of the earth, at any time over the past 100,000 years, have been without religion.

    4. Supernatural Beings • Major deities (gods and goddesses) • Ancestral spirits • Other sorts of spirit beings

    5. Animism • A belief in spirit beings, other than ancestors, who are believed to animate all of nature. • These spirit beings are closer to humans than gods and goddesses and are concerned with human activities. • Animism is typical of peoples who see themselves as a part of nature rather than superior to it.

    6. How A Belief in Supernatural Beings Is Perpetuated • Through what are interpreted as manifestations of power. • Supernatural beings possess attributes familiar to people. • Myths serve to rationalize religious beliefs and practices.

    7. Shamans • Skilled at contacting and manipulating supernatural beings and powers through altered states of consciousness. • Provides a focal point of attention for society and can help maintain social control. • Benefits for the shaman are prestige, wealth, and an outlet for artistic self-expression.

    8. Rites of Passage Arnold Van Gennep rites of passage into the following: • Rites of separation • Rites of transition • Rites of incorporation

    9. Rites of Intensification • Rituals to mark occasions of crisis in the life of the group. • Functions: • Unite people. • Allay fear of the crisis. • Prompt collective action.

    10. Functions of Witchcraft • Effective way for people to explain away personal misfortune without having to shoulder any of the blame themselves. • Provides an outlet for feelings of hostility and frustration without disturbing the norms of the larger group.

    11. Functions of Religion • Sanctions a wide range of conduct by providing notions of right and wrong. • Sets standards for acceptable behavior and helps perpetuate an existing social order. • Lifts burden of decision making from individuals and places responsibility with god. • Plays a role in maintaining social solidarity.

    12. What Is Art? • The creative use of the human imagination to interpret, express, and enjoy life. • From the uniquely human ability to use symbols to give shape and significance to the physical world for more than just a utilitarian purpose.

    13. Verbal Arts • Oral traditions denote a culture’s unwritten stories, beliefs, and customs. • Include narrative, drama, poetry, incantations, proverbs, riddles, and word games.

    14. 3 Categories of Narratives • Myths - sacred narratives that explain how the world came to be as it is. • Legends - stories told as if true that recount the exploits of heroes. • Tales are fictional, secular, and nonhistorical narratives that instruct as they entertain.

    15. Music • Study of music in specific cultural settings has developed into the specialized field of ethnomusicology. • Almost everywhere human music is perceived in terms of a scale. • Traditional European music is measured into recurrent patterns of two, three, and four beats.

    16. Social Functions of Music • Express a group’s concerns. • Serves as a powerful way for a social or ethnic group to assert a distinctive identity. • It may be used to advance political, economic, and social agendas.

    17. Pictorial Art Three ways to approach the study of art: • Aesthetic approach focuses on how things are depicted. • Narrative approach focuses on what things are depicted. • Interpretive approach can reveal the meaning of another people’s art.

    18. Causes of Cultural Change • Accidents, including the unexpected outcome of existing events. • People’s deliberate attempt to solve some perceived problem. • Change may be forced upon one group in the course of especially intense contact between two societies.

    19. Mechanisms of Cultural Change • Innovation • Diffusion • Cultural loss • Acculturation

    20. Innovation • The ultimate source of change: some new practice, tool, or principle. • Other individuals adopt the innovation, and it becomes socially shared. • Primary innovations are chance discoveries of new principles. • Secondary innovations are improvements made by applying known principles.

    21. Acceptance of Innovation • Depends partly on its perceived superiority to the method or object it replaces. • Also connected with the prestige of the innovator and recipient groups.

    22. Are Human Practices Always Adaptive? • In the U.S. it is not adaptive to deplete groundwater in regions of fast-growing populations.

    23. Conditions for Rebellion and Revolution • Loss of prestige of established authority. • Threat to recent economic improvement. • Indecisiveness of government.

    24. Conditions for Rebellion and Revolution • Loss of support of the intellectual class. • A leader or group of leaders with enough charisma or popular appeal to mobilize the population against the establishment.

    25. Applied Anthropology • Arose as anthropologists sought to provide colonial administrators with more understanding of native cultures. • Later, anthropologists tried to help indigenous people cope with outside threats to their interests.

    26. Process of Modernization 4 Subprocesses • Technological development • Agricultural development • Industrialization • Urbanization

    27. Anthropologists Contribution to the Study of the Future of Humanity • Anthropologists see things in context. • They have a long-term historical perspective and recognize culture bound biases. • Anthropologists are concerned with the tendency to treat traditional societies as obsolete when they appear to stand in the way of “development.”

    28. Multiculturalism • An policy of mutual respect and tolerance for cultural differences. • Ethnic tension, common in pluralistic societies, sometimes turns violent, leading to formal separation. • To manage cultural diversity within such societies, some countries have adopted multiculturalism as an official public policy.

    29. Global Corporations • Their power and wealth, often exceeding that of national governments, has increased dramatically through media expansion. • Megacorporations have enormous influence on the ideas and behavior of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. • States and corporations compete for scarce natural resources, cheap labor, new commercial markets, and ever-larger profits in a political arena that spans the entire globe.

    30. Structural power • The global forces that direct economic and political institutions and shape public ideas and values. • Hard power is backed up by economic and military force. • Soft power is ideological persuasion. • The world’s largest corporations are almost all based in a small group of wealthy states, which dominate international trade and finance organizations.

    31. Globalization and Corporations • Globalization provides megaprofits for large corporations but wreaks havoc in traditional cultures. • Globalization is marketed as positive for everyone, but the poor are becoming poorer and the rich richer. • Globalization engenders worldwide resistance against superpower domination. • For this reason, the emerging world system is unstable, vulnerable, and unpredictable.

    32. Results of Globalization • Worldwide and growing structural violence-physical and/or psychological harm: • Repression • cultural and environmental destruction • Poverty • hunger and obesity • illness, and premature death • Caused by exploitative and unjust social, political, and economical systems.

    33. A Sustainable Future • Dramatic changes in cultural values and motivations, as well as in social institutions and the types of technologies we employ, are required if humans are going to realize a sustainable future. • Shortsighted emphasis on consumerism and individual self-interest needs to be abandoned in favor of a more balanced social and environmental ethic.

    34. Pollution and Over Population • A direct threat to humanity. • Western societies have protected their environment only when a crisis warranted. • Many of the world’s developing countries have policies for population growth that conflict with other policies. • Even with replacement reproduction, the population would continue to grow for 50 years.

    35. Questions • What is religion? • What are religion’s identifying features? • What functions does religion serve? • What is art? • Why do anthropologists study art? • What are the functions of the arts? • Why do cultures change? • How do cultures change? • What is modernization?

    36. Questions • What can anthropologists tell us of the future? • What are today’s cultural trends? • What problems must be solved for humans to have a viable future?