Volume of 1 page (275 words)
Assignment type : Coursework
History and Philosophy of Anthropological Theory, autumn semester 2017
Writing Assignment II
Answer one of the following questions. A well-written answer is characterized by an independent critical discussion and includes appropriate references to the course readings. You should, in other words, show that you have read and understood, as well as have the ability to analyze, the course literature. Your answer should be 2.500-3.500 words. Please include word count and a reference list.
A. Interrelated concepts
Throughout the history of anthropology a few conceptual pairs, with two opposing yet interrelated concepts, have played crucial roles. These conceptual pairs include culture-society, structure-actor, synchronic-diachronic. Choose one conceptual pair (one of those mentioned above or any other that you find influential and/or interesting) and describe how the dynamic interplay between the two concepts in the pair has affected the developments within anthropological theory. Try to outline how the concepts are related to each other, as well as perhaps to other important concepts, what role they have played in different “schools”, in different anthropological perspectives, and for different anthropologists, etc.
B. Temporal perspectives
Anthropologists have worked out different ways of theorizing time. These can be ways of conceptualizing how different societies or groups of people think about time. Other ways can deal with the basic temporality of anthropological analysis, such as the distinction between “synchronic” and “diachronic” perspectives (to which Barnard (2000) also adds “interactive” perspectives, having both synchronic and diachronic aspects). Outline the different temporal perspectives of different traditions, “schools”, and/or anthropologists, as well as how these perspectives are related to each other. You should also discuss different arguments that have been posed for and against the different perspectives.
C. National traditions
Anthropology is often seen as having developed in different ways within different national traditions. Describe how the internal dynamics, as well as relations to the other traditions or other outside influences, have affected one or several of these national traditions. You may, for instance, focus one of the national tradition, its basic ideas, and how it developed over time, and how it influenced or was influenced by other traditions or “schools”. Or you may focus on how the different national traditions were developed in a dynamic relationship with each other. Etc. Your text should also include a critical discussion of the very idea of national traditions within anthropology.
D. The societal context
Like any other discipline anthropology has been developed in relation to wider societal contexts, which may both have influenced and/or been influenced by the discipline. Anthropology is, for example, sometimes described as the child of colonialism. Feminists have criticized the “male bias” in anthropology. Etc. Yet anthropology has also, occasionally, had repercussions in society at large. Describe how anthropology has affected, as well as been affected by, wider societal contexts. You should include a discussion about how different “schools” in anthropology, as well as different anthropologists, have reflected on these issues (for example which arguments that have been posed for and against the possibilities of scientific rigour given the potential influences of the societal context on the discipline, etc.).
E. Your own question
Construct and answer your own question in relation to the course
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