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Anthropology Bitesize Notes

History Notes > The Anthropological Approach to History Notes

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Anthropology Bitesize Anthropological theories/techniques Constructed NarrativesBritons as Anglo-Saxon: proto-democratic, religiously independent from Rome, militarily superb, Victorian reverence of Alfred King Arthur (Geoffrey of Monmouth): see Edward I "arthurus revividus" and Henry VII as Welsh-British and James I/VI as Scots-British Charlemagne as just, Christian, European Empire, originator, Italy as Roman/Renaissance for tourism, excluding unification etc Cretan Rethemnos: Venetian 1210-1669> Ottoman 1669-1898 Noble families 'finding' heritage/genealogy to retain lordly status, children's legitimacy, e.g. Maori Chieftain's claiming descent from OT figures Dutch ex-colonists remembering Java fondly, Javanese smuggling food to Japanese prisoner camps, unlike Javanese memory of subjugation and abuse Crazy Horse/Sitting Bull used by American Indian Movement as figureheads of resistance and strength (but representative only of Lakota) Icelandic Sagas, peasant-family memory vs Harald of Norway, teaches morals Breton (300,000 speakers) promoted in Diwan seed schools Social memory through: omissions, oral and written history, sagas, architecture, school, museums, language, beliefs, media, family records. [Always shifting]
Importance: Creates community and allows group membership, Unification and nationhood, Justifies conditions (rulers, prejudices, customs), Creates cohesion in times of crisis, Promotes tourism, Supplies guide to morality Notable Scholars: Hobsbawm, Benedict Anderson (Imagined Communities-attributes 'community' myth to modern print culture) Functionalism (social actions and structures fulfil a society's needs) Witchcraft beliefs I) account for day-to-day misfortunes, removing need to question God's omni benevolence II) enforce moral standards and keep neighbourly goodwill III) removes old widows, burdens on society [Roper] IV) Confessions giving women a voice in society [psychological-Roper]
Carnival and charivari- I) expression of hostility II) letting off steam to avert more damaging social conflict Rituals create the illusion of the unchanging Counter example: Wurttemberg peasants customarily unforgiving, so Christian teachings cause strife and dysfunction Weaknesses: Are functions time static? How long a period can one function apply to?
Does breaking the function cause change? (Does breaking a function have a function?) Chaotic periods eventually establish a new order. Essentially, if functionalism is very longterm then it is circular and self-fulfilling.

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