View Full Version : Cultural Anthropology

07 Apr 10, 13:20
<span style="color:#FF0000">Off topic post moved here from General Buddhist Discussions - "Is it important to have a teacher?"</span>

from post #30

Off topic, sorry Dazz
I think l would like to study cultural anthropology,where's a good start point?
Answer quickly before the head mistress deletes me.

07 Apr 10, 15:53
from post #1

Beginning from a place of utter ignorance, the wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_anthropology) on the subject is going to provide you a nice bit of mental scaffolding to hang the information on. It also links to a number of related works on the subject, which does two things: it allows you to see some of the big names in the field, and it gives you a huge list of keywords to use with a Google search.

Beyond that, university is a great option; if you aren't interested in getting a degree you can usually save a ton of money if you attend a class as a non-matriculated student. Otherwise, just find a local university, get hold of a cultural anthropology course syllabus, and just pick up the reading list on your own. You might even be able to start a good conversation with some of the faculty during their office hours.

07 Apr 10, 20:05
Hello Frank dear,

The idea about studing cultural anthropology makes me feel realy happy. Also the ideas about a first aporach given by Sobeh are absolutly suitable and wise.

I just will give you why I became into the Cultural Anthropology field and what has gave to my understanding of people and life.

I studied Veterinary Medecine and Zootechnics that in Mexico, both fields are given as a whole. This profession has a lot to do with food suplies and I got engaged in what is called Rural Sociology when I was a student at the University.

There, I started to work with indigenous communities and the way they understand reality and nature. That was very illuminating for me because I undestand that I knew nothing about anything and I started to learn about them. So it happend that I discoverd a beautifull aproach to understand people and their culture. I did not knew was working as a cultural anthropologyst.

I felt so happy doing this that I ended my Veterinary degree soon so to advocate myself throughly in the understanding diferent cultures. Doing this I felt the need of a serious understanding about this issue so I did a degree in Human Ecology wich its scope is beyond Cultural Anthropology.

Human Ecology tries to understand and to demostrate that an specific geographycal setting with its ecosistems sets specific conditions for the development and evolution of culture. Is a very dynamic aporach that has a lot to do with the theoretical ideas of Levi Strauss, Malinovsky and Franz Boas who set the ground for a kind of aporach known as Cultural Relativism wich explains, without the scientific arrogance, a specific cultural setting by itself giving to it, its own value as an expresion of a particular reality aside of giving broad, unique and totalitarian cultural "values" avoiding the tendency to compare and evaluate them.

For Human Ecology aproach and to work in the field we have to understand that a culture evolves as evolves nature. We can not set solid statementes and values. We can only observe and whitness the processs. For that we have to live a long period of aculturation in a community in order to understand it and to understand what makes it to evolve. Yo have to drop out you own assumptions and judgements and avoid any temptation to do hypothetical statementes. This approach is wonderfully worked out by Robert Chambers in his "Challenging the Professions" and other great books of him.

With this aproach you can find also some aproaches by Sussan Sontag, Silvia Junko Yanagisako, NapoleĆ³n Wolansky, Michael Cernea and others who were theoretical sholars with wich ideas I worked during a long time in Mayan communities.

Now I am working in the field of Transformational Adult Education, a wonderfull aproach given by Jack Mezirow and Paulo Fraire with their Transformational Learning Theory.

As you can see I am far from an orthodox aproach to cultural anthropology and I have embraced with the "outlaws" in this field of knowledge.

Culture is very dynamic, it is not a solid entity subject to any solid statement of it. Is the result of how humans interact with their environment and how they express this understanding, and in this process there are no "wrongs" or "rights".

Hope this short testimony can give you some insight about the vastness of Cultural Anthropology.


07 Apr 10, 22:40
Hooray for an actual faculty-type chatting it up with us! http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/heart.gif

08 Apr 10, 02:42
Hi Kaarine,

Its been awhile since the university so I don't remember all the names but I enjoyed your post. The bottom line for me is to live in the community and become part of the dynamics.

Not important just wanted to give you a complament.http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/flower.gif


08 Apr 10, 21:52
to live in the community and become part of the dynamics.

Hi Gail dear,

Any comment you give will be wellcomed my dear Gail... http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/hands.gif

Yes, to adapt to the dynamics of any community is a very wise attitude aside form the importance that this has for working as a cultural anthropologist.

Thanks for commenting http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/images/smilies/grin.gif