Soccer for the Urarina

In the article, State of play: The political ontology of sport in Amazonian Peru, Harry Walker discusses the importance of sport among Urarina people and how it is central to the moral and political order. The Urarina play soccer daily as it is a regular part of life in which children, teenagers, and adults all come together. Although soccer is played mostly for having fun, it has a deeper cultural meaning to this community, as it is one of their main ways of unification and rules. Walker states that playing soccer “is one of the first things they learn” which shows that the sport is essential to a child’s development and they acquire learned traits through it. The child watches others thus learning to behave like them and also learning from interacting with others. This sport brings together the Urarina, which is important because it shows that soccer itself is used to unify a group of people.

Soccer is directly linked to identity in Peru. It is something that many in Peru such as the Urarina take great pride in and have integrated to be a part of who they are. The Urarina people see soccer as a universal sport that has set rules and ideals, which they apply to their community. These people have taken a sport and given it cultural meaning as it is perceived and interpreted differently in many other cultures. Soccer for the Urarina starts teaching children as soon as they can begin to play and is rooted in their culture.

Freedom to Love

In the article, The Freedom to Love, A.R. Vasavi discusses the meaning of love in the context of marriage. Love and marriage are treated in different ways cross-culturally. Vasavi focuses on India where there is a shift from the traditional practice of arranged marriages to Indians having the ability to choose someone on their own. Vasavi makes it clear that there is no right or wrong way to decide marriage and that it is a process. In the United States, it would be unheard of for people not to have the freedom to choose who they want to marry. Americans believe that people must spend time in a relationship before making the decision to spend the rest of their life with that person. Indians have had arranged marriages in the past because they believe that parents are more apt to make the decision and that the children are too young and naive to be able to choose who they want to marry.

Vasavi uses the term Hindutva which is the movement to bring back traditional practices. Many Indian parents are angered by the recent push for their children to have the freedom to find someone for their self and are accustomed to their cultural views which include arranged marriages. When Indians choose to marry those from a different religion or ethnicity to them, there is backlash sometimes from their family and from organizations such as India People’s Party. These organizations seek to restore tradition because it is what they believe is right. Vasavi ends the article by stating that there is much inequality in India stemming from this conflict of arranged marriages.

Time for Climate Change

In the article, Plastic Thoughts on Disasters, Karen Holmberg discusses the reality of people’s choices and their effects on our climate. The climate challenge clearly has limitations. Although there is increasingly effort in the right direction, there is much damage already been done with more occurring daily. The People’s Climate March occurred in New York with somewhere between 310,000 and 400,000 people participating which shows the importance of the event. It is incredible to see the amount of people that came together trying to make a difference in the world. An interesting point made in the article is that the people were asked to form six groups that were as follows; “frontline, generational, environmental, protest, science, and miscellaneous.” The event was about fighting for better ways to improve our climate and prevent disastrous effects but people were put into categories for seemingly no reason.

Holmberg uses the eruption of Krakatau to highlight his position. She showed how the march had similarities to the event of Krakatau. A volcano erupted in Krakatau revealing the mass of convenience/comfort items left behind. A major climate problem is that “local practices of comfort reveal themselves as global problems.” People everywhere use unnecessary items and dispose of them improperly which is what has led us to where we are. She makes the point of how plastic was left at the march as well as found at the eruption site. It is going to be a long battle to start improving our actions knowing that it is impossible to reverse the damage already done. Holmberg ends with an important idea that in the future, climate related disaster will affect living bodies instead of just dead ones in the past. This is a truly scary concept because as seen in the Krakatau eruption, what we waste and dispose of has created massive climate problems and is continuing to do so. If people do not truly start changing major practices individually and on a global-scale, our plight will only get worse.

Anthropology Opens Doors

Anthropology opens up doors to a multitude of opportunities. Teaching others about anthropology and how to use it can make a huge difference in many lives. In the article “We Can’t Be What We Can’t See,” Myeashea Alexandar discusses how she tries to not only do anthropological research but educate others on how they can use anthropology. Alexandar specifically focuses on a school in New York City that is not doing very well with students who don’t have access to the best education and struggle in their lives outside of school. By teaching these children from a young age about anthropology, it allows them to have a positive outlook on option for them later in life. Specifically for the children in this school, they will most likely have more of a drive when they are older to help those in their current situation. Anthropology deals with much research and fieldwork but with the information taken from this can be applied and used to make changes.

Anthropology can take on many different roles. Everyone who uses anthropology does so in different ways; there are various approaches. The perspective of a person coming form an inner-city public school will contrast with someone who has come from the same private school they went to their whole life. The title of the article reflects exactly what is being said throughout and that is that children and people in general will not be able to use anthropology if they have never been educated or had experience with it. By teaching children at a young age about the possibilities of anthropology, it opens their options from a young age and allows them to use it throughout their lives.

Gender vs. Sex

There is an ongoing debate on the use of the word gender versus sex. There are many conflicting opinions but currently, it is not correct to use one over the other. In the future, there will be more debate on the use of these words. Elizabeth Challinor challenges the practice of using gender when she believes sex should be used. Challinor brings in her perspective from living in Portugal contrasting with the United States, which is important because there are clear cultural differences. “Sex refers to the biological body” while gender in turn deals with cultural views assigned. It is easy to see how it can be difficult to use the “appropriate” word in varying situations.

This article highlights the ongoing issue of stereotypes particularly in the United States. Calling someone female or male comes with the expectations and values that culture has formed and assigned to them. When a baby is born in the US, parents will buy their children “male” colors such as blue or green for their room and clothing and the same applies for females. A change in the past that addresses this debate are gender-neutral or unisex bathrooms. In colleges such as Wheaton, they are commonplace but there is still much disagreement on whether to install them in more places. If we are working towards equality, there should be no problem. Our cultural ideals and habits are the reason why many are hesitant. Chanillor discusses equity, “addressing difference to achieve equality,” which is what should be done; we can not reach the main goal of equality between men and women without noticing mistakes and making an effort to change them.

Psychiatric Decisions

In the article, “Ambivalence Toward Constraint: The Disposition of Front-Line Clinicians”, Paul Brodwin discusses the conflict between providers of psychiatry and how they must make difficult decisions. Dealing with mental illness can be especially challenging due to the fact that there is not one correct solution. Young residents struggle with doing what they think is best for their patients while knowing that their choices will affect their lives profoundly. Brodwin outlines the issue many residents face of making choices based on their patient’s personality or on their mental illness, which can blur together very easily. When working with a patient, the person in charge of their treatment must leave all personal feelings aside in order to make the most objective decisions. The question that has been unanswered for years is what is the level of psychiatric power over patients and when does it become not okay? Another major issue at hand is the use of restraint and isolation. In the US, we have decided that locking a person in a small room and restraining them can have beneficial effects but there is still a question on the effects is has a person who is already in a bad mental state.

In a sociology course I took, I read of an experiment where people with no mental problems were admitted to psychiatric hospitals to test if the staff would realize they did not truly need help. In the Rosenhan experiment, twelve people were admitted and only one patient was discovered to be completely fine. This study correlates with the article I read because the experiment proves that working in psychiatry is extremely difficult as it takes a lot of training and quick judgment to try to make the best decisions in a given situation. People in this field try to make the best and most ethical decisions but there has been much controversy on the way psychiatric hospitals are run in the United States.