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Overview Of The Anthropology And Its Theories

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There are many ideals held when it comes to the topic of perception on the evolution of cultures and peoples. An exceptional method of furthering one’s understanding of the subject at hand is to compare and contrast with open-mindedness, with other distinct methods of theories and ideas.

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Barth was a man who had an impact in the aspect of ethnic boundaries; he was one of the first whom in a sort of way followed an unorthodox path from the broader ideologies and methods that were already instilled in the community of anthropologists. He believed that most, if not all anthropologists, were extremely too focused on cultural material; in other words he believed that the idea that those cultural things being the core of what defines peoplehood as erroneous and a factor that was superficial. He stated that the core of what truly gave definition to peoplehood were the ethnic boundaries. In simplistic terms, people of a group not only uphold their values and ideals when confronted with others outside their group but have to constantly uphold them for acceptance. This has helped anthropologists and others to have a more in depth understanding. In a way it’s a sort of communication, a language per say where actions speak more than words; there are moral and codes that are held by each group and as they interact with others they work with each other in a method that is beneficial to both as long as they have an understanding with the values that they share in similarity.

Of course there are also limitations when it comes to the fine lines that they will not cross; this brings about an understanding of unique identity while still sharing cultures. Frank was well known for his work on dependency and exploitation; he focused on the impact of colonialism up to the present day. He used the word metropolis to the rich powers of colonialism, while the word satellite was used for the poor former colonies. He focused on how there was a system of great dependency from the rulers of colonialism in an evil way. They not only wanted the people of the colonies to work for them but they also took away in methods of self-dependence from them; sort of a super monopoly. The worst part is that at the end of it the people were left with almost nothing and no skills of self-dependence. The poor get poorer and the rich get richer, he believed that societies that were fully self-reliant were colonized and through structured systematic agendas were turned into satellites, simply for power and profit. This has helped anthropologist have a revision in their views on the relationship between a metropolis and a satellite and the inverse relationship between development and underdevelopment with the passage of time in an inverse perspective; too bad it was mostly rejected. An example is with the Native Americans and the indoctrination of westernization; schooling was enforced to children and their culture was strictly stripped away while being taught colonial ideals, religion was enforced and medical help along with state help was only offered if they submitted to the system and became part of their Christian community.

Scott had a deep impact on legibility and resistance, in other words he focused on the understanding of the people. He focused on the amount of power that governing states had and how much the state demanded of the people in all aspects of their daily livelihood. Regulations that were implemented to have social reforms done reshaped peoplehood and their culture. For example, in the 1960s and 1970s Malaysia had many plantations that were set up and the workers had very similar jobs, had the same wages, resided in the private company’s housing, and used their wages to purchase goods for survival at the stores owned by the company. Everything was regulated and dictated by the company and they made almost all of the revenue, while the workers barely survived. It’s not always such a case of abusive total power, but most of the time it has been due to human nature.

Legibility is an aspect in anthropology that ties in to all of the other factors more than any other in my opinion due to the given fact that anthropology is about understanding peoplehood and that starts by identifying them.

01 April 2020

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