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University Degree: Anthropology

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  1. Do anthropologists have the right to speak for their informants? Is this a form of exploitation? Discuss with reference to at least two ethnographic examples.

    Asad argues that not enough is made in anthropology of its colonial roots, a beginning that ultimately sustains a notion of cultural hierarchy even to this day. As Clifford adds in his work on 'Writing Culture', anthropology seems to have claimed a "monophonic authority" (Clifford 1986: 15) over its informants because of imperialist influence. Edward Said, in his seminal work 'Orientalism', calls for an analysis of authority (Said 1995), a call that is being heard in contemporary anthropology and which in this essay I hope to explore.

    • Word count: 2307
  2. The 'Culture and Civilization' tradition.

    With the industrialisation of Briton, came urbanisation, workers were now pushed closer together around factories and industrial areas. The management for these factories kept away from the working classes, which took away their influence over them. In the new districts, an independent culture flourished and eventually gave birth to new political and cultural ideas developed solely through this new under-culture. Most prominently there came the idea of Chartism. Through this threat to the ruling classes it became politically prudent to monitor and study popular culture. From this time a theorist of social order and social authority, called Mathew Arnold, emerged and set a precedent for looking at Popular Culture.

    • Word count: 1648
  3. Is Popular Culture an Influence on Violent Behaviour?

    Thus, the stimulus for this investigation was personal and lay in my yearning to discover whether the correlation between violence and popular culture really existed, and if it did, how strong and influential were its effects on individuals and society? The question I have posed is one of great contention and controversy, which has been debated by scholars and graduates for some time. Many commentators argue that popular culture and mass media are ways of brainwashing the 'masses' into the ways of a dominant social order.

    • Word count: 5947
  4. Can You Explain Why A Single Monarchy Was Established In Scotland In The Middle Ages?

    that led to the establishment of a single monarcy. Though it must be empasised that there are no simple answers, so by making this investigation as general as it is, certain contentious issues may be neglected, but the rewards are that more general trends can be recognised. There are undoubtedly things I have neglected due to personal error, but added to this there are things that can never be fully understood by historians of this period. The only hisorical certainty in this period and place, is that one cannot be certain.

    • Word count: 3069
  5. In what ways have Anthropologists shown that kinship is not about genetic relatedness?

    Take the case of ghost marriages. A marriage is sealed not through sexual activity but through the transfer of cattle as a bridal gift, making a man the legal father of the children the woman bears. If he should die before being able to have sex with her then his younger brother takes the role of genitor and has sexual relations with the dead brother's wife. Although he may be the offspring's genitor he is not their pater because the cattle gift was made in another man's name (Evans-Pritchard, 1951.

    • Word count: 2043
  6. What impact did the protestant reformation have on women?

    How then did the protestant position on women change? The reformation affected every part of society, so surely the female world too. Little is written of the woman's view in the sixteenth century, and commentators today tend to consider the issue with the recent feminist achievements in mind. Although the role of women did not change as dramatically as the role of the pope or saints, for example, it did affect the way women were viewed and the way women thought of themselves.

    • Word count: 2374
  7. Illustrate and explain the economic importance of 'marriage', with at least two examples from different parts of the world.

    Marriage is such a way of organizing society, although marriage cannot be defined universally. (Kinship, An Introduction to the basic concepts.) However in the great majority of societies it can be regarded as involving some cultural restriction on human sexual relations, restricting access for each individual to a limited number of other individuals. It is the exchange of women that draw groups together to form a society, as incest can be punished or badly frown upon in many communities. A marriage can be a recognized relationship between two individuals or an axis of an alliance between families.

    • Word count: 1581
  8. Sufism in Islam is a widespread popular form of mystic or esoteric Islam.

    The founder of this way was Abul-Qasim al-Junaid came to be known as "the Sheikh of the Way". The second way was the Bistami and was based on intoxication of the soul and the expression of that intoxication. Originally, in the 8th century A.D., the groups were loose and mobile but came to have foundations based around sites of retreat or rest-houses known as ribat. By the 11th century these ribat had become organized and companionship (suhba) rules emerged. As Turks gained dominance in the Arab world in the 11th century, they discouraged Sufism and regarded it with suspicion due to its appearance as a form of Shi'sm, to which they, as Sunnis, were obviously opposed.

    • Word count: 3482
  9. The relationship between the Western world and Africa.

    The culture and civilization described in the novel is most definitely one with many unique characteristics. It consists of functional systems used to deal with everything needed to sustain its population. It is indeed a society worth studying and preserving. The author uses the main character of the novel to explain this in further detail. Achebe introduces the protagonist early in the novel. Okonkwo is a man whose father was not well-respected in his community, and who was a great debtor. Okonkwo is ashamed of this, and in order to have achieved his status and respect in his village he proved his strength by wrestling a great fighter, and bringing honour to his people.

    • Word count: 1698
  10. Globalization and the homogenization of Canadian culture.

    This trend towards globalization is often attributed to the rise of huge, 'monopolistic' media outlets where a very small percentage of individuals and corporations dominate the majority of the world's media.5 As cultural and communications systems are becoming increasingly global and international, the preservation of national, local and distinct cultures is still important. In other words, scholars argue that globalization of media is just another word replacing 'cultural imperialism', or even, 'Americanization' and that as a result, the media will no longer remain agents of the public, but become representatives of a corporation.

    • Word count: 3787
  11. The 1960's was a period of great experimentation in popular music and youth culture. 'Discuss with a reference to least ONE rock band performer'.

    This mass conformity would later have a very important impact on the youth culture and music of the 60's. As the 50's tried to enforce its ideals upon its young ''to be part of a group.'' And that ''to stand out'' was bad; to be ''weird'' was not normal. These concepts focused on the children and socialising them in the ''right'' way through various organisations and activities. This attempt at forcing values ultimately produced a spoiled generation. It was labelled the ''corporate mind'' allowing the conformity to produce order. Money seemed plentiful there was no need for ''self-denial'', and materialism was a way of life.

    • Word count: 1702
  12. A brief look into the changes in China from the late Qing period to the rise of nationalistic China.

    From the ancient times to the present, Chinese have always called their country Zhong Guo or The Middle Kingdom. This reflected their thinking of China as the sole civilization unequaled by any other country in the world with China in the middle and everything else on the fringe of her border. Towards the nineteenth century, China regarded all the people that did not follow her culture as barbarians and they were treated with contempt. Before the emergence of the West as the world superpower, China had every right to regard herself as the celestial empire with the Son of Heaven as the ruler of mankind.

    • Word count: 2513
  13. "With specific reference to your fieldwork project, discuss the ways in which people express and negotiate aspects of cultural identity through music."

    Sangeeta Bhamra, the mother of Kuljit Bhamra, was an established singer in India. She expressed and maintained the religious aspect of her identity at the time by singing sacred music in the Sikh temple, such as 'Kirtan and 'shabads', which are known to be religious and devotional types of music in Sikhism. In other words, she negotiated and expressed the religious aspect of her identity by singing praises of God with the people who also shared the same identity as her.

    • Word count: 3264
  14. Music and the Media - Pop music and 'popular culture'

    However governments do intervene in various forms, offering subsidy, licensing arrangements and protecting national music etc through required various quota's etc. Seeing their notions as very much part of 'High Culture'. 'High Culture' is seen as intellectual and artistic arts produced and consumed for the middle and upper classes, this was due to political and economic inequalities, keeping it very much an elitist culture as it was not accessible by all groups. A view written about by Victorian Poet & Educator Matthew Arnold, who thought that 'Culture' was associated with the 'intellectual' side of civilisation, his famous quote being...

    • Word count: 2024
  15. Critically assess the claim that globalisation produces cultural homogeneity on a global scale. Do American/Western cultural forms destroy 'local' cultures? Is the mass media simply a conduit for western cultural products and meanings?

    and social relations (politics). In other words, culture is the sphere of reproduction not of goods but of life.' According to Albrow (1990, p9), globalisation refers to 'all those processes by which the peoples of the world are incorporated into a single world society, global society.' It is the interdependence and interconnectedness of global society whereby economics and politics increasingly transcend the territorial boundaries of the nation state. However, globalisation is not confined to economics, as Hartley points out, 'its cultural dimension includes global entertainment, fast food, fashion and culture.' (2002, p98) This cultural dimension of globalisation is enabled by the media, what could be said to be the primary facilitating agent for the dissemination of culture over the past hundred years.

    • Word count: 1542
  16. Assess the concept of 'thick description'.

    The definition can be explained using Ryle's example of a wink. A wink can be described as merely a twitch of the eye, this, Geertz would call a thin description. On the other hand, it could be described as a conspirational wink or a flirtatious gesture. This later description of the action does not simply observe and state the action, but takes into account other phenomena such as the different meanings different cultures may attribute to a gesture. This is what Geertz labled as a 'thick description'.

    • Word count: 1813
  17. American Exports:Pop Art and Democracy?

    Regarding the former aspect of Pop Art being a 'democratic art', it seems necessary to first single out the basic features that make art democratic and then to analyse the impact of a democratic character on art itself. Just as the political form of democracy is described by Heywood (2002) as 'government of, for and by the people' (p.76), one could describe the cultural dimension of democracy, as aspired by pop art, as 'art of, for and by the people'.

    • Word count: 3594
  18. Almond and Verba (1963) define three ideal types of political culture - parochial, subject and participant -

    I will give a brief explanation of them with the help of "The Civic Culture" by Almond and Verba. We can distinguish between these different political cultures by exploring certain characteristics of the individuals in different societies. In an extreme or pure parochial political culture, individuals have no real concept of their political system in general terms, its history, size, location, power, "constitutional" characteristics, and information like this. Individuals do not have very much knowledge of the structures and roles, various political elites, and the policy proposals that are involved in the upward flow of policy making. Individuals do not have knowledge on the downward flow of policy enforcement, the structures, individuals, and decisions involved in these processes.

    • Word count: 688
  19. 'Is Fashion clothing a form of social control?'

    As fashion changes, groups may wish to make a statement about their beliefs through their clothes, or lack thereof. Examples of such groups have in the past included those such as the 'punks' or the 'Goths'. 'These groups were concerned with an implicit politics of style, using fashion to quote, invert and distort dominant meanings' (Connor, 1997, p.214). This idea of signifiers and signifieds is the reason that fashion has the effect on society that it does. If people could not read into the intended meaning of the fashion statement portrayed by the carrier, fashion would not be the important issue that it is and would in fact become obsolete.

    • Word count: 1835
  20. Illustrate and explain the economic importance of 'marriage', with at least TWO examples from different parts of the world.

    In this essay, I will first introduce and discuss marriage and its economic importance (or otherwise) for the Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea. I will then compare and contrast this to the same aspects of marriage for the Nuer of Southern Sudan. Having done this, I will draw from different points of the essay to come to a conclusion on the topic. A very important part of the Trobrianders' lives is yams. They work very hard to grow and harvest them, and they represent not only food, but also a very valuable asset. It is important to look at yams as more than food, because as Annette Weiner states in The Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea,

    • Word count: 1781
  21. The future of American national identity.

    Similar to the Chinese, some of the first large waves of Mexican American immigration occurred during the time of political upheaval and military war in Mexico. In the early 1900's, Mexicans were "pushed from Mexico by... the horror of war" during the time of the of the 1910 Mexican Revolution (Takaki Different 315). Both groups tend to settle in a few, highly concentrated areas (Census). In fact, 45% of all Asian Americans live either in California or New York. Asian Americans dominate select cities in California such as Daly City (53.6% Asian), Fremont (39.8% Asian), and San Francisco (32.6% Asian)

    • Word count: 2910
  22. Oranges an autobiographical novel? No not at all and yes of course

    King Kok Cheung, in her essay on The Woman Warrior, stresses the need to `distinguish each fictive `I` from the writer.`6 This is a view that can also be found within Oranges itself: To create was a fundament....Once created, the creature is separate from the creator, and needed no seconding to fully exist.(p.45) Winterson is the creator and Jeanette her creature, existing independently from the author who gives her life. The writing of autobiographies in its conventional sense can be viewed as a passive exercise.

    • Word count: 3102
  23. How have females in urban youth subcultures been portrayed? How might this involvement be researched?

    Confining the definition of the subculture to that of a wholly male phenomenon resulted in a denial of the existence of female participation. Within examples where females have been active subcultural participants, their contribution to the group has been trivialised, the assumption being made that they are untypical and hence unworthy of study. [see for example; Cohen S. 1990; Hall S. & Jefferson T. [eds.] 1976; Willis P. 1977] It is from this point that an examination of the paucity of subcultural theory in dealing with young females, and the groups existing in the sphere of girl culture, will commence.

    • Word count: 2451
  24. "Sociolinguistics" - Language Loss - Language Revival.

    Chapter 3 of my term paper copes with language loss in general. Reasons why language loss occurs and its impact on a society are investigated. The very last section consists of several theoretical approaches how to revive or revitalize languages, as well as a very interesting report on Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the man who is considered to be the person initially responsible for the revival of the Hebrew language. Hebrew, the only extinct language which has ever been successfully revitalized. 2. General Questions 2.1 Ethnicity - Culture - Language This figure shows that these 3 terms: Ethnicity, culture and language are inseparably connected.

    • Word count: 3852
  25. Why are Raymond Williams' discussions around culture relevant to the area of media theory?

    Williams also developed a 'dual approach', which claims that culture is either anthropological or artistic. The anthropological approach stated that culture is located in specific places, and that culture is different in different places. An example of anthropological culture would be the things that we do in our spare time and the way that people speak will vary in different areas. To a certain extent, the things we do in our spare time are also affected by geography. For example in Cornwall many people spend spare time surfing, but it is not as easy to do this in London because the sea is some distance away.

    • Word count: 1655

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