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Boas 610 - Essay Example

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Harris Kamran Anthropology Discussion Paper 16 October 2011 Mini Essay Questions Part II: Q6: Boas maintains that it is imperative to study anthropology in terms of historical connections and the historical development of the current forms of culture and civilization…
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Boas 610
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Download file to see previous pages It is not only important, but at times, it is necessary as well, since the proof and evidence at hand is not sufficient enough to draw appropriate conclusions (Boas 610); at such times, it becomes a necessity to make use of the historical or the present forms of the culture in order to solve the puzzle (Boas 610). When dealing with the historical aspect of anthropology, there is often a tussle between the social and economical factors that have helped shape the historical and the present conditions and cultural practices (Boas 611). Sociologists tend to make the field of sociology as the central theme of anthropological discussions (Boas 611), claiming that the human mind and its interactions with its surroundings, as discussed in sociology, is the key component of cultural evolution (Boas 611). Whereas this might be true, it is not the sole player in the game (Boas 611). Sociological factors shape the long term designs of culture (Boas 611); indeed, some cultural practices which form the core of the society take a long time to change, if at all, and it is only the radical changes that can truly be identified (Boas 610), with the more subtle and gradual changes often hard to recognize or overlooked (Boas 610). Sociology alone can not account for the short term and immediate social decisions which shape the day to day cultural activities of the populace (Boas 611). Such decisions are often strongly dictated by the economic conditions of the place (Boas 611). Economists, likewise, tend to emphasize completely on the economic factors that govern the evolution of a society, neglecting or undermining the psychological and social bearings of the process (Boas 611). Economy is helpful only for studying the short term effects, as pointed out previously; it can not explain the general decisions of the masses which span entire societies and centuries, with such decisions often being static or very slowly changing (Boas 610). This is because economic conditions are dynamic, and do not remain the same over extended periods of time (Boas 611). Therefore, they can only account for periodic changes. Long term practices like religion, art, and language are beyond the parameters of economics to define (Boas 611). Therefore, it follows that sociology and economics are mutually dependent to mold the society and are equally responsible for the growth of the culture the people who practice it (Boas 611). Part I: Q1: Although Frank Boas is not a theorist, he is considered to be am important figure in anthropological thought and study. This is because of his important contributions in the anthropological study of the relation of the individual with the society (Boas 610), and the effects and reactions of individual to the practices of the society and the established culture (Boas 610). In turn, according to Boas, this reaction has some effect on the culture and how it develops and changes (Boas 610). The importance of Boas’ work can only be fully appreciated if the importance of the topics that he has worked on is recognized. The relation of the society and the individual and their mutual cause and effect (Boas 610) cycle is often overlooked, for the favor of the population mass as a whole (Boas 611). Whereas Boas does admit that the overall functioning of the society is not effected to an appreciable degree by the psychology of an individual (Boas 610), and that society is home to many varied human minds (Boas ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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