Posted by: | January 18, 2009 | Comments Off on Keesing

I had a little technical difficulty with posting the first week’s responses so I had to break the two articles up this week. In response to the Keesing article, I agree with the theme of his argument that “culture” is very complex and cannot be conceptualized as anthropologists have for years as a widespread reified entity. Culture is abstract not concrete. It is more than just art, music, language, and food. I do agree with the idea of Culture having a history likened to a coral reef, the core is constantly morphing in small almost invisible ways but it is in continuous change and all those subtle changes work to shape the true identity of that culture.

I liked the section of the article (Pg. 7) that discussed how outsiders who are trying to study a culture are often viewed as villains because they try and understand customs and traditions that are not inherent to them, often misrepresenting the people they study. I often watch documentaries on certain cultures and feel like I have no idea what it would be like to be a part of that culture. In turn, it makes it hard for me to truly understand what that culture is really all about.
Keesing concludes his article by saying that he is not arguing for a “concept of culture that takes paintings to be more cultural than cookbooks or umbrellas…” (Keesing, Pg. 11) and goes on to state that “…what anthropologists and other social theorists need is a concept of the cultural that adequately characterizes both complex modern ways of life and those of small-scale communities, past, and present” (Keesing, Pg. 11). Keesing feels that the reification of culture causes problems because the whole is not the sum of its part with regards to cultural studies. We must look further into roots of the entire society to truly understand what that culture is all about.


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