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Papers On Anthropology
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“Vogel’s Net” and “The Sacrificial Aesthetic”
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This is a 3 page paper. It is based on the arguments presented in 1996 by Alfred Gell in Vogel’s Net and those in Dawn Perlmutter’s 1999 work The Sacrificial Aesthetic: Blood rituals from art to murder. Three sources cited.
Filename: BWvogel.rtf

"Argonauts of the Western Pacific" and "The Nuer": A Discussion of the Two Classic Anthropological Texts by Malinowski and Evans-Pritchard
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A 5 page comparison of two classic anthropological accounts and the differences in their ethnographic styles. Outlines the contents of each account, detailing economics and non-utilitarian and ceremonial aspects of each group, and compares and contrasts the ethnographic methods used to record those accounts. Concludes that Malinowski's constant interruptions of his narration of Trobiand life to insert his ethnographic perspective illustrate the fact that narrative and ethnography are not necessarily incompatible. Malinowski in fact became a stylistic guide for subsequent anthropological works as a new-style ethnographic science. Suggests that Evans-Pritchard recorded his account in a manner which did not really differ substantially from Malinowski but in a manner which he saw no reason to justify, perhaps using Malinowski's earlier ventures into new-style ethnographic science as a guideline for his own. Bibliography lists 4 sources.
Filename: PPtrobia.wps

"Dancing Skeletons": A Review of the Book by Catherine Dettwyler
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A 5 page review of the ethnographic account of fieldwork in medical anthropology. Working among malnourished children in West Africa Dettwyler experienced both professional and personal insight. Although sometimes criticized for her subjective approach to her subject, in reality Dettwyler provides both a a touching human account and a valuable ethnography. Her approach to death as "the ultimate illness", however, is one which is unfortunate. This paper points out that death is in fact a natural component of life. To view death as an ultimate illness is to regard death, a phase which we must all pass through, as a personal and medical failure. No additional sources are listed.
Filename: PPskeltn.wps

"Mortality is Not Relative": James Rachels' Views on the Theory of Cultural Relativism
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A 7 page exploration of Rachels beliefs in regard to what determines certain cultural practices and whether or not there are inherent rights and wrongs in those practices. More specifically, Rachels explores the question of whether morality is a phenomena that varies according to culture, whether different cultures do in fact operate under different moral codes. Rachels points out that many cultures even diverge greatly from our Western precepts of right and wrong. He is particularly interested in the theory of cultural relativism, that theory that demands that we view behavior and situations in a world context rather than from the closely defined views of one culture. Rachels sees both positives and negatives in that theory, however. No additional sources are listed.
Filename: PPmoralR.rtf


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