Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Question of Universals?

Psychic Unity – love this question. Shore makes it easy to see how/why cultural variability and human psychic unity were divided in anthropology. However, is Shore basically saying that humankind is psychologically “universal” with culture as the diversifier? He states this finally in chapter 13 but I couldn’t tell if I was reading in my personal schema or taking in objectively his ideas. Does everyone believe this?......and if we do, does that mean there other universals – linguist have argued for language universals for years or is this just a part of psychic unity?…hmmm, I like this idea. ….anyone have thoughts on this?

pg. 58 “The role of narrative meaning construction becomes especially clear following anomalous or otherwise disturbing events.” – was anyone else reading this and thinking about the hurricanes and 9/11? This whole section on models was fascinating and overwhelming at the same times. Who knew we could label all these things MODELS (that’s one power-packed word, I tell you)!

I’d really like to know Shore’s view on how baseball fits into Japanese and other cultures. If it’s sooo tied to that which is American, why has it become so popular around the world? This makes me go back to the whole psychic unity idea…the ritual that is the game becomes fitted into other cultures. They play the Japanese national anthem at the beginning of the games instead of American…..and they eat “obento” (lunch box with rice, meat, veggies) instead of hotdogs. Time and space, however, are very different constructs in Japanese culture. The aspects of individualism, although certainly exists below the level of the collective, doesn’t seem to fit.

1 Comments:

Blogger jmj said...

Alison: Two things. 1) I'm reading Kenneth Burke for another class, and he argues that there is a baseline for understaning literature from any time period--despite differences in cultural knowledge--because all people are similar at the level of their physical makeup (all people have bodies, etc.). This argument seems to me to be very close to the theory of psychic unity that Shore gives.

2) I thought Shore's point about narrative was interesting as well. After 9/11, the people on the news all tended to respond to the event in the same way, and that response was picked up by everyone (I'm thinking of people's tendency to say the event was unreal and like a movie).

6:11 PM  

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