love and marriage

Though love and marriage are two completely different definitions in anthropology, in most countries, people choose to get married because the couple loves each other rather than any other reason. However, in India and other countries on the world, the love marriage is forbidden and arranged marriage is the common form. Parents usually think their children lack of experience and are not able to figure out who is the right one to spend the rest of life with. Even in love-marriage societies, parents may sometimes concerns their children’s choice of spouse, therefore, it is quite understandable since the parents love their kids. But in India, marriage is not only about individuals, but also is related to political and human rights revolutions.

In recent decades, youth has begun fighting for the freedom of love-marriage. But “Love politics generate conflict over gender and intergenerational relations, between tradition and modernity.” Parents and their kids have different opinions and the thoughts represent the characteristics of the society they are living in and old school will always doubt new generation. In addition, since there is religious conflict in India, religion plays an important role in love-marriage. Some argues that love jihad helps to intensify a public construction of new forms of Muslim terrorism.

But why conflict happens in some circumstances is probably because people can not obtain human rights they need in a peaceful way so in order to guarantee the rights they are caring about, they have to fight with the power who prohibits them doing so. In a word, “love has become both a symbolic and real source of contestation.”

All should be aware of that the society is changing so the best way to solve the problem is negotiation and cooperation instead of fighting, especially in the unstable nation such as India. Development will be a long process.

To find out what is really going on

“There is much more going on in China than just economic development.” As a developing country with largest population and rapid economic development, China has drawn attention from the rest of the world, especially the western developed countries. Economic development, reckless corruption, brutal political oppression, and widely pursuits of individualism and materialism have been addressed in many subjects, from political science to sociology. The researches help others know what is really going on in new China. In addition, from an anthropological perspective, the research of new China in chasing fortune, faith and truth also have significant meanings. Anthropology is the combination of cultural, historical, and individual research, and is related to everything in life. In the book “Age of Ambition”, the author Evan Osnos spent a lot of time living in Beijing with local people and travelling throughout the country. To see the reality of a particular society and analyze why that appears, the fieldwork is necessary. To interact with people helps the author build a deeper and further insight of present-day China and compare it with US where the author lives to see whether there are similarities and differences.

Osonos also mentions some very colorful portraits and figures such as Ai Weiwei and Han Han. They are both well-known artists with lots of controversy. They represent two different generations of China, having different characteristics. They “elaborate on the different cultural and political perceptions of what it means to be a dissident or an activist in the West and in China. ” Individual is not only about personal images, but also reflects the period when they are living. Individual is part of the world and can influence the society.

After Nepal Earthquake

Earthquake in Nepal, which happened several days ago, has great impacts on not only local people but also the whole world. Because of the earthquake, almost everything has been destroyed. “Gone are homes. Gone are temples. Gone are entire villages.” For people in Nepal, homes and villages are shelters where they live, and the damage of the buildings make people homeless. Most of places and people that are severely hit are the poorest. Loss of home must make people desperate. It will take incredibly long to reconstruct in Nepal, so the situations will remain hard for a quite long time in the future. In addition, these places are very important to people outside, especially the anthropology students. Nepal is the country, rich of history, culture, and religion and the buildings and villages are full of historical context and cultural meanings. The cultural heritage might not be modified and cannot be seen any more after the earthquake. It is really a pity for the whole society.

Media plays a crucial role connecting Nepal and the rest of the world after the earthquake happened. Through the media, the Nepal people can get the information of their family and friends on time and the other people are able to know what is going on in Nepal, what kinds of aid people in Nepal need. Media has given people a chance to share the emotions, no matter the pain or the happiness, together. I still remember the catastrophic earthquake happened in Wenchuan, Sichuan province China, in 2008. I lived thousands miles away from the center of earthquake, however I got to know the severe hit in Wenchuan through newspapers, TV, and Internet. The scenes of devastation made me heartbroken and I felt like I could exactly understand how helpless people, who are effected by the earthquake, were. I think this is what we call empathy. Though physically in distance, both the experiences and the emotions are shared.

Magic of language

New York City is the home to around 800 languages. As Mark Turin writes, “The number 7 line, which leads from Flushing in Queens to Times Square in the heart of Manhattan takes you on a journey which would thrill the heart of a linguistic anthropologist. Each stop along the line takes you into a different linguistic universe – Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Bengali, Gujarati, Nepali.”I had similar experience on the line 7, even though I did not know the name of station, I could easily tell where I was by listening to the language people were suing to chat. As Chinese, I felt isolated when people surrounding me chatting with Spanish, but as long as reaching Flushing, when seeing the signs written both in Chinese and English, more Asian appearance, and hearing Chinese, I felt like back home. Language is an important part of identity and the place where one’s native language is spoken makes people feel “belonging”. And that’s why people speaking same language become friends more easily since they believe that they must share something in common.

Futherm0re, language is about history, culture, and tradition. As English has become major language in the world, more and more people are using it to communicate and many languages are in danger. Turin draws an example of Yiddish in his blog. Yiddish was threatened in the city since the Jewish community moved out to the suburb. However, with the help of technology, Yiddish resource becomes available online and there are a lot of kids raised in Yiddish nowadays. I do think it necessary for people to maintain their native language except for learning major languages such as English and Spanish. Language can be defined as the heritage, recording a nation how developed from the very start. Different languages help people identify themselves and make the world divisive.


“Belonging” cannot be same as “Being local”

When people meet for the first time, “Where are you from?” is a common question to ask. “Ni shi bendi ren ma? Xinjiang ren?” Sophia Slavich asked her taxi driver. After confirming that he is indeed a local bendi ren, born in Urumuqi and grew up there, the driver tangents into a back-story of his Huber province ancestry. The driver emphasizes that he is Han people, rather than Uyghurs or Kazakhs, because the relationship between Xinjiang ren and Han people is tense. There were violent outbursts between these two ethnic groups and the Xinjiang ren, as the minority, is reckoned as the one who causes the violence. The emphasis of “being local” instead of “belonging” indicates that though one was born in a particular region and has been used to the local life style, he will not admit the cultural value is his heritage and he shares no common characteristics with others as well.

In my point of view, the tension between Xinjiang ren and Han people has existed for quite a long while. First of all, the significantly different appearance make both Xinjiang ren and Han people feel confused whether they are same or not. It is quite understandable that people get close to others with same appearance more easily. But people with different appearance don not mean they are enemies. In the meanwhile, historical colonization confuse Xinjiang ren as well, since they used to belong to other nations for several times before finally going back to China in Qing Dynasty.

To diminish negative connotations needs efforts from both sides. The notion of “belong” should be accepted by both Xinjiang ren and Han people. Belonging is an personal and social identification, that you are who you are born to be.


Misunderstanding of gender gaps in some developing nations

We always think that compared to western countries, developing nations have much more equality in many areas including birth, education and work. In the Global Gender Gap Report 2014, Yemen, where conducted research in 1978, is ranked 142, at the bottom of the list, just below Pakistan. However, writes ” I have never heard of any gang rape in Yemen, although in India this remains a pressing social problem.” In this perspective, women in Yemen feel more secure even that women in US do. No incidents of rape imply that women in Yemen do not feel that threatened at a subsistence level.  Varisco also mentions that in terms of employment, “the situation is as bad for men as it is for women”. Since it is difficult for both men and women to get jobs, it is the slow economics development that influences the women’s employment rate in Yemen, instead of the gender equality. What if we are studying gender gaps, we should compare the differences between men and women can under same conditions, rather than compare the differences of women from different countries. The misunderstanding of the ranking standards may result in lower ranks for the counties like Yemen.

In the meanwhile, I have also noticed another interesting  phenomenon. As Varisco writes,”though the statistical level of education is not an effective deterrence for rapist”, however, the literacy rate in Yemen differs a lot between men and women: male adult is 81.18 in 2010 while women is 46.79. Thus, although there might be an overstatement of gender gaps in Yemen, a lot of efforts still need to be made for women to gain equal rights.