Read e-book online A Cognitive Theory of Cultural Meaning (Publications of the PDF

By Claudia Strauss

ISBN-10: 052159409X

ISBN-13: 9780521594097

ISBN-10: 052159541X

ISBN-13: 9780521595414

"Culture" and "meaning" are important to anthropology, yet anthropologists don't agree on what they're. Claudia Strauss and Naomi Quinn suggest a brand new thought of cultural which means, person who supplies precedence to the best way people's reports are internalized. Drawing on "connectionist" or "neural community" versions in addition to different mental theories, they argue that cultural meanings aren't fastened or constrained to static teams, yet neither are they always revised or contested. Their technique is illustrated through unique study on understandings of marriage and ideas of luck within the usa.

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Extra info for A Cognitive Theory of Cultural Meaning (Publications of the Society for Psychological Anthropology)

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17 Significantly, Ortner frames her 1990 paper in the terms provided in Geertz's early "Religion as a cultural system": The lines are being drawn in the debate over the role of culture in history. On one side there is a set of authors denying culture anything other than a minor representational role. For them, culture operates largely as a set of markers of social phenomena (particularly as markers of group identity) but rarely as models for social phenomena, shapers of the social and historical process.

As anthropologists have argued for most of the twentieth century, to a great extent identities are socially learned and cross-culturally variable yet are developed by building up psychological structures that give rise to powerful internal thoughts, feelings, and tendencies to act a certain way. For example, Foucaulfs discussion of the "inscription" of military, educational and other disciplines "on the bodies" of soldiers, school children, and others is entirely consistent with anthropologists* observations of learned, cross-culturally variable aspects of posture and movement and Bourdieu's (1977) and our discussion of the cognitive schemas produced by and producing such actions (see end of this chapter and the chapters to follow).

Something, dare we say, psychological. Pursuit of this line of thinking might have led Ortner to try to specify the dynamics behind the contradiction she identifies between hierarchy and equality. After all, we might reasonably expect a structural contradiction to translate into significant and sustained felt experience in order to have psychological consequences like the Sherpa preoccupation with sibling rivalry she describes. Suggestively, she comments in one place (1989:173) that, though inheritance is supposed to be equal, "in practice things do not always work out so evenly/* and goes on to describe how eldest sons are assured of respect and youngest sons of secure property, including the parental house, while middle sons* prospects for either status or property are not so secure.

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A Cognitive Theory of Cultural Meaning (Publications of the Society for Psychological Anthropology) by Claudia Strauss


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