• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Cognitive Anthropology and Structuralism

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Cognitive Anthropology and Structuralism Jonathan Quaade Developed in the 20th century, cognitive anthropology is a concept concerned with what people from different groups know and how that implicit knowledges changes the way people relate to the world around them. The concept can include subcategories called ethnoscience and symbolic anthropology. A french anthropologist also dealt with cognitive process, he established a theory that there are unobservable social structure that generate social phenomena. He named the concept structuralism. As the name suggest, cognitive anthropology has a strong emphasis on human cognition; however, the concept hasn't been universally agreed upon or conventionalized. An anthropologist and structural linguist, Edward Sapir, stated that "cultural behaviour is symbolic behavior shared by culture bearers, and cultures are abstractions of ideas and behavior patterns" with different meanings for each individual. He meant that anthropologist should describe the observable patterns of the society, and from the information gathered, she/he should derive meaning from the people studied, rather than use his own categories to create meaning of his/her data. ...read more.

Middle

Several other scholars such as Karl Marx, believed universal structure were a production of necessities fundamental to life and these sought universal structures of human nature from different standpoints. Claude Levi-Strauss, a french structuralist, searched for deep, unapparent innate structures psychologically and biologically universal to all people even though they all vary from culture to culture. These structures are hidden infrastructures that subtly show in humans surface (observable) behaviour. Deep structures were difficult to uncover, but apparent behaviour. although conditioned to culture, are easily observable. To find deep structures within societies, you have to discover the rules of behavioral change and put that set into another set of a different society. Levi-Strauss analyzed forms of social activity as if they were languages, drawing his methodological model from structural linguistics, concluding that underlying languages and relations were structures of the people unconsciousness. He meant underneath the things that people are unaware of, such as language and social relations, lie the social structures of that society. ...read more.

Conclusion

Like basic biological inheritance of Homo Sapiens, there is also a mental inheritance, Levi-Strauss argued that all cultures are therefore molded by their social and physical environment. His work on structures of elementary kinship, was the basis on women in marriage and subsequently created a whole new look at marriage. He proposed that elementary kinship systems are first of all means to regulating the exchange of women and creating alliances between groups. In conclusion, cognitive anthropology seeks to explain the patterns of shared knowledge, cultural innovations and transmissions over time, using methods and theories of cognitive sciences. And also examining the ways that people of different cultures classify or categorize items of their everyday world. Using a similar concept for hypothesis, Levi-Strauss developed his own theory. He said that structuralism is the mental structures that underlie all the actions of human behaviour, e.g just like we are unaware of grammar while we speak, we are also unaware of the workings in social structure in our daily lives, which means there is a cognitive or mental meaning behind every act even if we are unaware of it. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Anthropology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Anthropology essays

  1. My Own Culture - growing up in Malay culture.

    After that, in my wedding, it's proper begins with the 'akad nikah' (marriage contract) ceremony on Friday, after Friday Prayer. After that, the 'akad nikah' was held at mosque, it continue with 'majlis membatal air sembahyang'. This is essentially a symbol that he now can touch the bride being her

  2. While each Greek meal is fresh and inviting, it is also a trip back ...

    Easter in Hawai'i is very much "Americanized" with your standard Easter buffets and egg hunts. However, in keeping with our culture, our buffets are not only laden with typical buffet fare, you can also find a heavy presence of fish as we are lucky to be surrounded by water and

  1. Both Adam Smith and Jean-Jacque Rousseau desire to understand the correlation between human nature, ...

    exchange all that surplus part of the produce of his own labor...encourages every man to apply himself to a particular occupation, and to cultivate and to bring to perfection whatever talent...he may possess (Smith, 16).

  2. Apply Functionalism and Structuralism to the Trobriander Islanders Economy

    In his research, Malinowski strongly argue against an evolutionist theory of "survivals," which said that there were certain parts of society that are still in existence, but have lost their original function in society. Tylor, the evolutionist, used the example of dream charms in British society.

  1. For my research I interviewed a person from Costa Rica. I found that Costa ...

    Alongside with meeting Alejandros and learning about his culture I have also interviewed someone who belongs to my cultural group, my grandmother. She currently lives in India with some of my other relatives. Her family also has not migrated to the United States yet.

  2. Pramoedya Ananta Toers 1981 "This Earth of Mankind" regards the unjust colonial rule of ...

    He introduces a way in which one should transform their ill-fated life of promiscuity with dignity with Nyai?s growth. Toer emphasizes his criticism of the Native?s accustomed tolerance to gain appraisal from the Dutch. He believes that passive submission is destructive to one?s nation, and it ought not be a way towards progression and true freedom.

  1. How do Biblical teachings affect Christians behavior and attitudes?

    ?And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.? (Mark 10:11-12 KJV) As seen in Figure 2, it can be concluded that Roman Catholics has a stricter policy regarding divorce.

  2. Indian Society Essays - Corruption, Linguistic Rights and a review of "The Palace of ...

    I?ll tell you, Mrs. X??.? And so on. It?s quite funny. I mean does she have a case of serial amnesia that she needs must remind herself of a name every 20 seconds. I don?t know. But her conversation, though highly irritating does provide a sense of ridicule at one of the usual boring gatherings.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work