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Evaluate the criticism that traditional anthropology fixed cultures into particular places and times.
The first 200 words of this essay...
SPS 255 Ethnography, Culture and Movement
Evaluate the criticism that traditional anthropology fixed cultures into particular places and times
There is a general consensus among contemporary anthropologists that the language and concepts used in traditional anthropology conveyed the idea of cultures being fixed in particular places and times. This has come to be regarded as a flaw as it has been recognised in today's changing, globalising world that people, and therefore their cultures, are not fixed.
Whilst people have always moved it is only now, with the theoretical shift and changing subject matter of anthropology, that this movement has become more visible within the discipline. The 'place-focused' concept of culture is a consequence of nationalist thinking in the western world. Such thinking was based on the romanticised idea of a nation as a "culture shared by people living in a well-defined area" (Hastrup and Olwig 1997:4.) Anthropology also used to be considered the study of the 'exotic.' However in today's heterogeneous society with travel and encounters with the 'exotic' being everyday experiences anthropologists have begun to question these ideas and the fixing of cultures they brought about.
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