Full version Eating Christmas In The Kalahari

Eating Christmas In The Kalahari

This print version free essay Eating Christmas In The Kalahari.

Category: Social Issues

Autor: reviewessays 11 February 2011

Words: 1066 | Pages: 5

The sources of cultural misunderstanding made by the anthropologists in the readings from Spradley and McCurdy are affected by many factors including naive realism, culture shock and fully understanding what is culturally and ethically appropriate. Naive realism is the belief that people see the world in the same way, and culture shock is a condition of confusion and feelings of loneliness and anxiety experienced by someone suddenly entering a new culture. “Eating Christmas in the Kalahari” by Richard Lee is a perfect example of naive realism. Lee thought that Christmas would be seen throughout the world in a similar manner. As Lee stated, individual who celebrate this holiday feel “Christmas is supposed to be the day of friendship and brotherly love”(Lee, Eating Christmas in the Kalahari pg 20). Therefore, Lee wanted to give a gift out of the spirit of Christmas. The !Kung feel individuals’ should be humble about gift giving. If you are not modest, they will knock your ego down a few notches. Even though Lee’s feelings were hurt in this situation, it only occurred because of the cultural misunderstanding between Lee and the !Kung. The meaning of giving for the !Kung is dramatically different, than Lee has ever experienced. The basis of the misunderstanding for Laura Bohannan in “Shakespeare in the Bush” is her own naive realism. Naive realism is the tendency to believe our culture mirrors a reality shared by everyone(Bohannan, Shakespeare in the Bush pg 23). The problem that occurs in this article is Bohannan attempts to retell the story of Hamlet. Bohannan encounters different interpretation by the Tiv elders, when it came to certain climatic events and particular motives by the characters in Hamlet. For example the one important event in the story for most individuals is the fact that Hamlet’s father appears as a ghost and tells Hamlet to avenge his death. The Tiv elders can’t understand the concept of a ghost. From the beginning of her story, the elders take it apart and view the story from their own cultural acceptances. Before long, Bohannan realized that depending on your cultural outlook everyone views their reality differently. Lessons from the field by George Gmelch, show examples of students having a slight touch of culture shock. Culture shock happens to many anthropologist and many students who study aboard (Cultural Anthropology pg34). By the time the students were introduced to their families, they were already judging the Barbadian culture by the standards of their own. The students were also trying to adjust to the darkness and all the critters they would hear at night. In Conformity and Conflict Matthews Hamabata learns “The Art of Gift Giving in Japan,” he is insulted by the grandness of Mrs. Itoos gift. Hamabata learned about the complex forms of gift giving in Japan. He didn’t realize this is the way Japanese people show gratitude.

“Cultural anthropologist conduct research by doing fieldwork and using its characteristic method called participant observation”(Cultural Anthropology pg48) Researchers trained in cultural anthropology use different methods when they study other cultures. Cultural anthropologists often live for months or years with the people they study. This is called fieldwork. The main method of anthropological research involves long-term, direct observation of and participation in the life of another culture. This practice is also known as participant observation and it gives anthropologists a chance to get an insider view of how and why other people do what they do.

Anthropologists then, write ethnographies which are first hand detailed description of a living culture. Often anthropologists will find individuals within the society who are willing to become informants. Even though informants can be very helpfully, they often hold bias views about their culture. Some anthropologist must learn new and sometimes unwritten languages and this may require extra training. An anthropologist’s class, race, gender, language, dress, religion, and age, all effect how he/she will be interpreted by the local people.(Cultural Anthropology pg31). Each step in anthropological research brings about dilemmas common to any human interaction, engagement versus detachment, subjectivity versus objectivity, particularization versus generalization, induction versus deduction(Fieldwork, Ethnography and Ethics in Anthropology). On many occasion’s, the anthropologist will leave their projects, with a new found respect and begin to question their own cultures.

For example Lila Abu Lughod, an anthropologist was accompanied by her father to Cairo for he knew and understood how a young unmarried woman would look within his culture. She would have been considered untrustworthy and living within a family where the males in her life have no concern for her well being. Sometimes as the researcher is familiarizing his/her self with the subjects, she may become acculturated and begin to see herself as a member of the group. In a few cases some anthropologists have not returned from their fieldwork and remained part of the society. For example, a Japanese American anthropologist Dorinne Kondo who studied in Japan was reluctant to leave. Konda learned to appreciate many of the Japanese ways and views and even learned a traditional ceremony. When it was time to leave, she continuously put it off, until Konda realized she was transforming into a different person and her research was now done. In the article “Lessons from the Fields” the students question their own culture views of materialism and found a new respect for education. In this case the students experienced reverse culture shock.