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Cultural Anthropology: Meet the scientists - Essay Example

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Cultural Anthropology: Meet the scientists Anthropologist 1: “Yshiro (Chamacoco) People of Paraguay” by Dr. Mario Blaser Dr. Mario Blaser is an Argentinian-Canadian anthropologist who has studied the indigenous people of Paraguay in an effort to understand what the world is like for them; he describes their “different knowledge practices” which can lead to “ontological conflicts” with other groups (Blaser 3)…
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Cultural Anthropology: Meet the scientists

Download file to see previous pages... Blaser sees a great contrast between these peoples and the increasingly globalized nature of other groups in Paraguay. Seeing the threat to their way of life that some modern practices represent has given Blaser a very strong commitment to the political question of how the indigenous tribes cope with encroaching modernity, and how they assure their own future in this fast changing modern world. This work is very important because it highlights the fact that Anthropology is not just about abstract ideas and interesting comparisons between different cultures. It shows that it is a field that involves living human beings who have aspirations and face threats, some of which are caused by the very scientific world view that underpins modern academic life. This work shows that academics have a conscience, and are not there to exploit the people who are the object of their study. They are there to learn from the local people, and also to contribute to the local people in a way that is sensitive to local needs and wishes. This work makes everyone reflect on what effects globalization is having on unique human cultures, and encourages scientists and politicians to be more aware of other perspectives and question their own beliefs, rather than regarding their own knowledge forms as absolute. Anthropologist 2: “Culture-Specific AIDS Education” by Dr. Peter Biella Dr. Peter Biella and his colleagues in the field of Visual Anthropology have been exploring the way that various media have been used in educational programs, mainly in Africa, in relation to HIV/AIDs awareness and prevention. The main question that the research examines is not so much what work is done in this field, since there is plenty of other research available on this aspect, but how the message is put across, and what methods of communications are most effective. The key research question is to find out “the requirements that must be met and problems that must be faced by HIV/AIDS educators regardless of cultural setting” (Biella et al. 13). A follow up question is how to design programs which cover these key and universal requirements, while at the same time being geared to the specific cultural contexts which change from place to place in the modern world. This research is very important because of the devastating effect of HIV/AIDS infection in the world and the need to ensure that the vast resources spent on this problem are deployed in the most effective way so that the maximum benefit can be gained. Anthropologists can help specialists in education to understand what works in particular contexts, and they can give their expertise on a huge variety of media, including the images used in films or brochures, the type of meetings or activities used to get the message across, and subtle messages that are conveyed by things like colour, language, symbolism, etc. which outsiders to each culture may not be aware of. This contribution ensures that wide range strategies are evaluated and selected according to the needs of the target audience, rather than according to the cultural assumptions and values that the designers and teachers hold. The better the match between media and audience expectations, the more effective the message will be. Anthropologist 3: “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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