Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Culture and Motive - An ethnography by Fredrik Barth

In 1960s under the influence of functionalism,the focus in studies of anthropology was solely on the abstraction 'society',  the individual actor had disappeared from the view.This view was criticized by many anthropologists and argued that social outcomes were obviously the result of individual choices.So the objective of actor centered approaches was to understand the social situations that individuals confronted in everyday life and how they chose to invest their limited resources of time,energy,wealth and influence.


The case in point was explained by the ethnographic account by Fredrik Barth a British trained Norwegian anthropologist who studied the Swat valley in Eastern Afghanistan in 1959.Petty Lords or Khan were constantly at war and the nominal king of Swat could not control them.There were noble lineages and clans but they fought among themselves  as vigorously as with outsiders.Barth explains how the game of being a Khan was played.Each had personal followers who spent much of their time in his men's houses.He protected them from other khans who were liable to harass unprotected farmers by theft or abuse of their women.On the other hand the Khan had to exploit his own followers by taking a large part of their crops in order to have resources to run elaborate feasts and to impress other khans.Consequently a delicate balance had to be maintained between attracting and driving away followers.Another resource that a khan had at his disposal was a reputation for violence which gained both allies and followers.But the reputation had to be maintained  and neighboring khans were always probing his defenses by making casual insults to his followers.If he was seen to back down he soon lost ground .But if he got involved in an all-out feud he might be so badly mauled as to be powerless against the next rival. Every follower was actually carefully calculating  his own profits and losses and switching allegiances accordingly.

Peter Metcalf in ' Anthropology the Basics' 

No comments:

Labels

Aboriginal (1) Acheulian tool (1) Age-Groups (1) Alliance (1) Animatism (1) anthropology (1) Anthropology of Art (1) Ashrama system (1) Associations (1) Attributes of Culture (1) autochthony (1) avoidance (1) Basics (1) bio ethics (1) biological adaptation (1) Birsa Movement (1) Bongaism (1) branches of anthropology (1) Bride Wealth (1) Cargo Cults (1) Castes among Muslims (1) Catholics (1) civilization (1) Clifford Geertz (2) Cognitive Anthropology (1) Compadrazgo (1) Cope's law (1) Cross Cousin (1) cultural anthrology (1) Cultural Borrowings (1) cultural citizenship (1) Cultural Ecology (1) Cultural imperialism (1) Cultural Materialism (1) cultural rights (1) culture (2) Culture and Motive (1) Darwinism (1) Demographic Transition (1) Derek Freeman (1) descent (2) Deviance (1) Diffusionism (1) DNA (1) DNA Technology (1) dollo's law (1) Dormitories (1) Dowry (1) Durkheim (1) Early Human Ancestors (1) Eco System Concept (1) Ecological Anthropology (1) Edward Sapir (1) emic/etic (1) Endogamy (1) Environment (1) Eskimo System of Kinship (1) Ethnicity (1) Ethnocentric (1) ethnoecology (1) Ethnographic Monographs (1) ethnography (1) Evans Pritchard (2) Evolutionism (1) Exogamy (1) Extended family (1) family (2) Female Genital Mutilation (1) Feminism (1) field studies (1) fieldwork (1) Flake Culture (1) folklore (1) fossil (1) Functional Theories on Primitive Religion (1) Gause's law (1) gender bias (1) Gender expectations (1) Generalized Exchange (1) Genetic Adaptation (1) Genetic Change (1) Genetic Screening (1) Genetics (1) Genetics and its Relevance to Physical Anthropology (1) George Peter Murdock (1) Hardy-Weinberg Law of Equilibrium (1) Hawaiian System of Kinship (1) Hominids (1) Homo Erectus (1) Homo Habilis (1) Homo Hierarchies (1) honor killing (1) Human Evolution (1) human rights (1) Incest prohibition (1) Independent Invention (1) indian anthropology (1) Indigenous People (1) Indus Valley Civilization (1) Intellectual Property Rights (1) Iroquois System of Kinship (1) J.C Frazer (1) jajmani system (1) Jean Baudrillard (1) Jean Dreze (1) Joint Family (1) Joking Relationship (1) Julian Steward (1) kin (1) Kin Behaviour (1) kindred (1) law (1) Leslie White (1) Levirate (1) Lucy Mair (1) magic science (1) Mandelbaum (1) Marcel Mauss (1) Marett (1) Margaret Mead (1) Marxism and Anthropology (1) Mendelian Principle (1) Michel Foucault (1) Microliths (1) Middle Palaeolithic Culture (1) Migration and tribal communities (1) modernization (1) multiculturalism (1) Mysore (1) myth (1) Nadel (1) Neanderthal Man (1) Non Unilineal or Cognatic Systems (1) Notes and Queries (1) Nuclear Family (1) Nuer (1) Organic evolution (2) origin of state (1) origins (1) Oscar Lewis (1) Paleo River (1) Parallel Cousin (1) Participatory Rapid Assessment (1) Patterns of Culture (1) Pedigree Analysis (1) Polyandry (1) Polygyny (1) Population Genetics (1) Pre-history (1) PreHarrapan settlements (1) primitive (1) profane (1) Proto- history (1) Purushartha (1) Race (2) racism (1) Radcliffe-Brown (1) Recombinant DNA Technology (1) Reflexivity (1) Reinventing Anthropology (1) Religion (2) Religion and science (1) religious beliefs (1) research (1) Restricted Exchange (1) Rhina (1) rig vedic society (1) Robert Redfield (1) Rules of Residence (1) Ruth Benedict (3) sacred (1) Sacred Complex (1) Sacrifice (1) San hunter-gatherers (1) sanction (1) Scheduled Areas (1) scope of anthropology (1) Secret Societies (1) sex-gender (1) Sir James George Frazer (1) Social Institutions (1) Social Network (1) Social-Psychological Perspectives (1) society (1) sorcery (1) Sororate (1) state (1) Status (1) Status of women in tribal society (1) Stebbins (1) stone age communities (1) stone tools (1) Style of Life (1) symbolic culture (1) Symbolism (1) Syncretism (1) Synthetic Perspectives (1) Taboo (1) Teknonymy (1) terraces (1) Textual Approach and Contextual Approach (1) The Golden Bough (1) Thomas Malthus (1) tobacco (1) Totem (1) Trade and Barter (1) Tradition (1) Transactionalism (1) Tribal Religion (1) Tribal Sub plan (1) tribe (1) Upper Palaeolithic (1) Upper Palaeolithic Period (1) urban revolution (1) Urbanization (1) witchcraft (1) world's population 2012 (1)

Popular Posts

Blog Archive

Subscribe Now: bloglines

Subscribe in Bloglines

Flipkart.com