The fundamental theoretical premises of British social anthropology and structural -functionalism are based upon Emile Durkheim's apothesis of social solidarity.The theories of structural-functionalism have everything in common with Durkheim's approach to socio-cultural phenomena via the conditions of social cohesiveness or social solidarity.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Friday, February 14, 2014
Ethnographers of the early 20th century tried to explain the social phenomena in terms of the societies studied.Publications arising out of these efforts came to be known as ethnographic monographs.As an early example of this approach H Junod's The Life of a South African Tribe published in 1912-13,Malinowski's Argonauts of the Western Pacific published in 1922 can be considered as the examples of the scientific study of a primitive society.This book analyses the kula system of exchange of gifts among the Trobrinaders.
Labels: Ethnographic Monographs
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Folklore is regarded as prehistory of a society.The folklore researches which were at the level of spordic collection of tribal songs and taken to be included in the monograph received a systematic treatment with Verrier Elwin to begin with under the influence of F Boas and E B Taylor.With the passage of time social elements hidden in folklore were unearthered by few anthropologists and also by several scholars of literature.Now days anthropologists are attempting to collect information on folksongs,balled,folk tales,folk belief,folk traditions,folk music and folk medicine,plays,proverbs etc under broad subject of folklore to explore folk culture of an area or region.
Sir James George Frazer wrote articles on totem and taboo for Encyclopedia Britannica which appeared in 1888.For him these articles were beginning of a systematic application to anthropology and study of backward race of men.Frazer gave his reason for concentrating on savagery than on civlilization :
Civilization is extremely complex,savagery is comparatively simple.Savagery is undoubtedly the source from which all civilization has been ultimately derived by a slow process of evolution.It seemed to me therefore that if we are to understand the complex product we must begin by studying the simple elements out of which it has been gradually compounded.In other words we must try to understand savagery before we can hopefully to comprehand civilisation.
In his article on totemism and taboo Frazer has given a general idea about social origins which became the guiding principle for much of his work. That from irrational beginning ,system of great adaptative value for society are evolved.In taboo Frazer remarks we shall scarcely err in believing that even in advanced society the moral sentiments in so far as they aer merely sentiments are not based on an induction from experience,desire much of their force from an original system of taboo.Thus on the taboo were grafted the golden fruits of law and morality.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Nadel developed the theory of social structure in his book entitled Theory of Social Structure in 1957.In his book Nadel pointed out that the concept of society may be viewed from two angles -action such as kinship and economics and groupings such as family,clans.He also says that there are some social and cultural facts which fall outside the social and cultural scheme.These refer to an action autonomous.
Nadel held view that the concept of social structure is still in a sense on trial.The variety of definitions lead us to fear that it is a concept the width of whose usages renders it analytically fruitless.There are two choices open to us.We may remove the concept of structure from the vocabulary of anthropology on account of its lack of precision or we can attempt to narrowly define it by giving a specific and limited connotation.
G P Murdock's book Social Structure written in 1949 was most explicit on the point of functionalism.In this book historical,functional ,psychological and statistical methods are brought together to form a harmonious synthesis of cross-cultural comparisons.When Murdock wrote his book on social structure he used data from some 250 different societies about which coded material was already available.
His approach may be illustrated by his analysis of incest taboos.Prohibitions of sexual intercourse within the nuclear family are universal but in every known societies these taboos are extended beyond father-daughter,mother -son and brother-sister relationship.These extentions are not same everywhere.Sometimes they include maternal cousins only or parental ones only.Murdock grasped the complexity of the problems and showed that it could not be explained by the anthropology alone.He credited Sigmund Freud with the explanation of the universality of incest taboos because he had shown that nuclear family was constituted in such a waythat it generated oedipus complex so that rather than having instinctive aversions a boy desired his mother sexually.Social training strongly repressed his desire which accounted for the emotional quality of the prohibition of incest and often very severe punishments for breaking the rules.
Murdock demonstrated the extension in the direction of maternal relatives is most common in matrilineal societies in the patrilineal directions in patrilineal societies and in both directions incase of double descent.These and many other findings of cross-cultural regularities are in turn functionally interrelated with other cultural rules such as exogamy,preferential marriage,family organisations and residence rules.
Murdock's book Social Structure although giving new dimensions to this subject is but is a publication emphaizing kinship.
Labels: George Peter Murdock
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In all the cultures and societies marriage is not entirely of free choice because the institution of marriage is socially derived and social...
Bride wealth is a form of marriage exchange involving giving cash or goods by the bridegroom's kin to the bride's kin to settle a m...
Anthropologist George Murdock (1945) distinguished between cultural universals and particulars. Cultural universals are those things tha...
Sororate and Levirate systems bear out of the marriage is an alliance between two groups than between individuals.These two systems help to ...
The Book 'Argonauts of the Western Pacific' is about one set of activities of the Trobriand Islanders which they call Kula.They and ...
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