Essay 1 – Reviewing Key Anthropological Approaches
Section 1 – Inequality
Inequality and social stratification are the central themes of Module 7. The most crucial point in this module is that social position is a critical part of society, and societies produce different social classes grounded on this position. The classes created have additional access to power, prestige, and resources. The social classes are dropped on numerous factors, such as wealth, occupation, education, and race (Cultural anthropology; new introduction). In the United States, inequality is apparent in numerous aspects, including healthcare. Access to healthcare is uneven across different social classes, and this difference can lead to poorer health issues for lower-class individuals. As a result, the United States ranks low compared to other advanced countries regarding healthcare issues.
One particular experience of glaring inequality is related to education. I attended a public academy with inadequate resources, and scholars had to buy their handbooks and textbooks, while scholars from wealthy families attended private institutions with sufficient reading materials. This difference made me feel resentful and frustrated because I felt like I was at a disadvantage. In addressing this form of inequality, one approach could be to increase backing for public, academic institutions, provide adequate textbooks, and give full scholarships to learners who come from lower-income families.
Section 2 – Language and Culture
Module 8 focuses on the relationship between language and culture. In my own life, language and culture are intertwined. For instance, the language I use when communicating with my family members differs from the language I use when communicating with my associates. At home, I speak in my native language, and the discussion revolves around family, food, and artistic traditions. At work, I talk in English, and the debate revolves around work-related issues, and the tone of the discussion is more formal. Eventually, when I’m with my musketeers, the language I use is casual and relaxed, and the discussion tone varies, depending on the environment. These different types of language use suggest artistic variability in our lives. Various cultural and social contexts need different types of language use, and the language we use reflects the morals, values, and beliefs of the society in which we live.
Section 3- Symbols, Ritual, and Religion
Ritual is an emblematic exertion that is constituted by repeated actions, and it plays an integral part in constructing, conveying, and querying meaning. Anthropology of religion has shown me that religion isn’t just a set of beliefs but a system of importance and power that shapes the worldview of individuals and groups (Crapo, Anthropology of religion). A ritual that I’ve shared is a traditional marriage form. The ceremony is usually characterized by numerous symbols that convey meaning, similar to the rings, the marriage dress, and the flowers. The marriage ritual expressed power relations by pointing out the need for having a bride, groom, and their families. The ritual also said social cohesion by bringing together two families and their friends to celebrate the couple’s union.
Essay 2- Cuba, Anthropology, and Studying Culture
Section A-First- Person Journal Entry
It has been six months since my cousin left for Miami, and many things have changed so much in Havana. The government has allowed private businesses to operate, and the megacity is full of foreigners. I work at a motel whereby the primary source of our income is the tourists. But life is still strenuous; the cost of living and salaries haven’t increased. The government still controls numerous aspects of our lives, and corruption is rampant. My friend was arrested for protesting against the government, and I’m hysterical to speak out. Despite these challenges, I’m hopeful for the future. The changes in the megacity have brought new openings, and people are more open-minded.
Section B- Anthropological Analysis
As an anthropology cultural and social context, the use of the Spanish language, for instance, may suggest a cultural affinity to Spanish- speaking countries or an adherence to the Spanish colonizer heritage in the region. The use of the English language may imply a globalized mindset or an affinity to American culture.
Analyzing the Journal Entry
As an anthropologist, I would approach the journal entry regarding three crucial generalities power, identity, and globalization. The starting point is to examine power relations in the journal entry/ letter, particularly concerning the government and its programs. Roland’s book highlights how the Cuban government uses its power to control its citizens and the impact this has on their daily lives. I would look for signs of this in the journal entry, similar to mentions of government restrictions or limitations on individual freedoms. Secondly, I would examine the theme of identity in the journal entry. Roland’s book emphasizes Cuban identity’s complex and contested nature, particularly concerning ethnicity and race. I look for suggestions for this in the journal entry, similar to references to skin color, language use, or any cultural practices. Eventually, I would examine the impact of globalization on the journal entry. Roland’s book argues that Cuba is witnessing significant changes as a result of increased globalization and tourism, which are bringing new cultural and social influences and, at the same time, promoting the economic growth of the country ((Life and Debt, film) (Module 4-Introduction to Globalization lecture). Again, I look for suggestions in the journal entry as references to foreign tourists, global brands, or new technologies.
Applying Broad Course Concepts to the Journal Entry
Drawing on broad course generalities, I apply the following concepts to the journal entry: power relations, cultural hybrid, and the impact of neoliberal globalization. First, the concept of cultural integration can help explain how the author of the journal entry navigates multiple artistic influences and individualities. Roland’s book highlights how Cuban culture is a mongrel of African, Spanish, and indigenous influences. The journal entry may reflect this mongrel’s references to different artistic practices and languages.
Secondly, the conception of power relations can help explain how the author of the journal entry navigates power relations in their daily life. Roland’s book emphasizes how the Cuban government controls its citizens and the impact this has on their lives. The journal entry may reflect this power dynamic in its references to government programs or limitations on individual freedoms. Eventually, the conception of the impact of neoliberal globalization can help explain how the author of the journal entry navigates the forces of globalization (.(Life and Debt, film), (Module 4-Introduction to Globalization lecture) Roland’s book argues that Cuba is witnessing significant changes due to increased globalization and tourism. The journal entry may reflect these changes in its references to foreign tourists, global brands, or new technologies.
Reflection on the Anthropological Perspective
As someone interested in the anthropological perspective, I find it fascinating how various cultural concepts and practices shape people’s perceptions. The journal entry provides a rich data source that can be anatomized using anthropological generalities and tools, pressing the complex ways culture, power, and globalization intersect in contemporary Cuba. As an anthropologist, it’s important to acknowledge the diversity and complexity of human experiences and to seek to understand and appreciate the distinctive cultural practices and beliefs of different communities and societies.
Crapo, Richley H. Anthropology of religion. McGraw-Hill, 2002.
Keesing, F. M. (1965). Cultural anthropology. Mittal Publications.
Kaifa Roland’s Cuban Color in Tourism and La Lucha
Shriar, A. J. (2005). Life and debt.