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Anthropology and political and power - Essay Example

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Customer Inserts His/her Name Customer Inserts Customer Inserts Grade Course Writer Inserts Date Here (Day, Month, Year) Anthropology and Political Power Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has its roots in the natural sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences…
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Anthropology and political and power
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Download file to see previous pages Anthropology's basic concerns are "What defines Homo sapiens?", "Who are the ancestors of modern Homo sapiens?", "What are humans' physical traits?", "How do humans behave?", "Why are there variations and differences among different groups of humans?", "How has the evolutionary past of Homo sapiens influenced its social organization and culture?" so it is the study of how humans live and interact. The anthropologist Eric Wolf once described anthropology as "the most scientific of the humanities, and the most humanistic of the sciences." Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running a government. It also refers to behavior within civil governments. However, politics have been observed in other group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions. It consists of "social relations involving authority or power” and refers to the regulation of public affairs within a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy. Anthropology and politics have a direct link between them. POWER IS IMMANENT in human affairs; by definition, human beings are political animals. Power in this sense cannot be reduced to a single social or political instance by either external or internal criteria. Whether or not the social grouping under scrutiny is collectively aggregated by conditions of gender, age, kinship, class, or hierarchy, power is present. In the most basic sense, power is what the political scientist Harold Lasswell defined as political: who gets what and how. Or, as the anthropologist Edmund Leach provocatively noted, all social and cultural change is a quest for power. Power is not a domain but one of the essential forms and conditions of human relations. Three phases may be recognized in anthropology’s relationship with politics. In the first formative era (1879–1939) anthropologists studied politics almost incidentally to their other interests, and we can speak only of ‘the anthropology of politics’. In the second phase (1940–66) political anthropology developed a body of systematically-structured knowledge and a self-conscious discourse. The third phase began in the mid-1960s when all such disciplinary specialization came under severe challenge. As new paradigms challenged the earlier dominating, coercive systems of knowledge, political anthropology was first de-centered and then deconstructed. The political turn taken by geography, social history, and literary criticism and, above all, feminism has revitalized anthropology’s concern with power and powerlessness. FEW subjects arouse more passion and debate among Muslims today than the encounter between Islam and modern thought. The subject is of course vast and embraces fields ranging from politics to sacred art, subjects whose debate often causes volcanic eruptions of emotions and passions which hardly lead to an objective scrutiny of causes and a clear vision of the problems involved. Nor is this debate which consumes so much of the energies of Muslims and students of Islam helped by the lack of clear definition of the terms of the debate and an insight into the actual forces involved. The whole discussion is also paralyzed by a psychological sense of inferiority and a sense of enfeeblement before the modern world which prevents most modernized Muslims from making a critical appraisal of the situation and of stating the truth irrespective of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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