Let Me Lock up!

I always keep my dorm key on a purple carabineer.  When it’s not clipped to the waistband of my pants, it’s always kept on my backpack.  Coming to college was the first time I ever had to carry a key around.   I grew up in a small suburban, beach-town neighborhood.  This was the kind of neighborhood where every family had at least one dog, and after coming home from school, kids would play ball in the sleepy street waiting for their parents to come home from work.  Each yard was green, large, and filled with neatly kempt gardens.  This neighborhood was extremely low traffic so anyone who entered was either a resident, employed by the resident, or received a direct invitation.  As a kid I never needed to worry about carrying a house key because the doors of my house were rarely locked during the day.  My mother would only lock the doors at night, once everyone was inside.   According to Krystal D’Costa in her article, Is there more to Locking Up Than Personal Safety, she would argue that my mother ritualistic locking of the door every night was not only a physical act intended to insure safety, but it was also a symbolic representation of the need, and desire, for privacy.

In the article, D’Costa talks about how privacy is an “Institutionalized method of withdrawal.”  She details how unlocked doors are unlocked for everyone, and how an invasion of space can be representative of a violation of self. She brings up how lock doors are a guarantee of privacy, and that the allowance of privacy is representative of a social code.  A locked door establishes this level of distance, and physically puts up a barrier between yourself and the outside world.

The locked door is a signal of desired privacy, and because it is a method of withdrawal, sometimes that barrier is important. Now more than ever I understand the importance of privacy as a guarantee.  Living in on campus housing means you are always around your friends, and you can’t escape from both the social and academic sides of the institution.  Having the ability to withdraw from society for a while is an important coping mechanism used when there is overstimulation due to constant interaction.

While my mother only locked the door at night to protect everyone inside from a home invasion, I understand the importance of secure privacy, and need for withdrawal.  Due to the cramped living situations in cities and on college campuses, having the ability to lock your door is relieving not only because of the physical protection factor, but also because of psychological preservation.


A Literature of Practice

Anthropologists work in manny fields the article describes the practices that an anthropologist goes through. The multiple opportunities that anthropologists get are as follows writing for tourist places, working for the DoD, and others. The author personally works for the  Department of Defence and states that it is different to work for that organisation. This is because of the difficulty in time restrictions, receiving consent from subjects, and the review process for publication. He states this is why many go into writing about areas  of travel and leisure to educate people in what to expect in under-reported areas because it is simpler and has less constraints.

This article maintains a view point on what an anthropologist can do to inform the public on specific subjects. It is important to understand the ways of conducting fieldwork and what it contributes to. The author takes us through the difficulties of being an anthropologist from garnering grants to proceed with experiments or reports. Moreover the article states the process of gathering information and getting conclusions on what the military should or should not do. The article furthermore states the importance of having discussions toward what is done to anthropological research and its influences to multiple audiences.


Going to Pottery Barn

History repeats itself is a quote that is important to learn about. However in the past manny have pillaged, colonised, and messed up the world through various means. By understanding the violence that the past has been through hope for a better future arises. The article talks about the events in history from ISIS, Pakistan, Syria, Attila the Hun, and other important events. Using these examples and Pottery Barn’s slogan “If you break it you bought it” allows this generation to comprehend what their actions do. Thus the examples the writer uses convey the importance of striving for a better future. If everything in the world is destroyed then nothing will be left for the future.

Anthropologically this is important because it connects to the violence section of the course. Having a dog eat dog world, world peace will never exist. Moreover the article poses the question to who is at fault for world issues. People stigmatise the statement of I did not do it. However it is important to man up for ones mistakes to be able to know the truth, learn to reconcile, and lastly to forgive. Once this is learned it is possible to improve societies discriminations towards others and rebuild itself for a utopian future not the dystopian one we hare headed to experience.


Anthropology and Climate Change

The world is coming to an end climate change is taking over. However according to anthropological research done by Merrill Singer through the report of the August 13, 2014 issue of Arctic News says that “A catastrophe of unimaginable proportions is unfolding in the Arctic Ocean. Huge quantities of methane are erupting from the seafloor of the East Siberian Sea and entering the atmosphere over the Arctic Ocean”. Research done by scientists from Sweden, Russia and the U.S. This affects the world according to Merrill because the USA still thrives on the belief that Climate Change does not exist. In Texas many six grade textbooks were altered to state that climate change does exist but it is not caused by human behaviour. Thus avoiding the education that todays younger generation needs to improve the planets future. According to the article many scientists have proven that climate change is due to human behaviour however Republicans refuse to acknowledge this fact.

With the research done and everything stated hopefully the views of the people in power will change and educate minors in what is happening with out bias and using facts. Questioning science is a mundane thing however rejecting or refusing to believe the facts will affect the future and maintain the ignorance of society.


Anthropology, the environment and development

Today’s environment is constantly changing due to climate change and developing more buildings on local land.

From the anthropological perspective according to authors, Elizabeth Croll and David Parkin, who wrote Bush Base, Forest Farm: Culture, Environment, and Development, local people’s knowledge and use of the surrounding environment through language is broken by change of the cultural and physical environment. Therefore, the traditional skills of these people living locally and depending on the survival of the environment are practically gone. For example, for the native tribes living in the Amazon, they depend on the medicinal qualities of the plants to help heal any illnesses/diseases. So, if the Amazon trees are getting cut, then these plants are being destroyed, causing culture loss and diversity for the people living there. To prevent this, organizations are allowing local populations to fully share in the available power and be permitted uncontrolled access to their own natural resources while living within their own cultural and social contexts.

From an ecological standpoint, the authors believe in sustainable development for every country because it allows countries to grow and develop but at the same time remaining firmly attached to the ecological roots. Currently, developing countries are most at risk because they continue to over-exploit their soils, over-graze fragile grasslands, and cut dwindling forest stocks, causing depletion of the environment. Again, to prevent this, international, national, and local communities have been increasing recognized achievement of sustainable development to save the environment.

In conclusion, the environment is very important to who we are as human beings since it is a part of our national identity. Destroying it lets us also destroy the ecological perspectives and roots that we have gained from protecting it from harm. And for the people who depend on the environment for everyday usage need to thrive as well in order to preserve the culture they come from.

Reference: Croll, Elizabeth and David Parkin. Bush Base, Forest Farm: Culture, Environment, and Development. Reutledge, London; 1992.

Social Murder Through Anthropogenic Climate Change

As humans, we are very much aware of our contributions to the current climate change that is associated with images of polar bears struggling to survive on what’s left of the melting glaciers and satellite images of the depleting ozone layer. What we are not quite aware of is how our negative impact on the environment affects the health of the human population.

Anthropogenic climate change, which is simply another way of saying climate change caused by humans, has recently been categorized as a form of social murder. The degradation of health caused by climate change can be tolerated in some parts of the world more than others, creating a wedge between societies. Although highly developed countries such as the U.S. emit the highest levels of greenhouse gases, they feel the smallest impact because of the resources they can afford that allow them to adapt. Developing countries in places like Ethiopia and Cambodia do not have these resources, cannot adapt to climate change, and do have higher mortality rates because of this failure to adapt. But is it fair that they are the recipients of this pressure to adapt when they produce the least amounts of greenhouse gases?

People tend to react to a problem when it directly affects their own lives. They need to be further educated about how their actions impact the environment and the lives of others. Cultural and medical anthropologist, Merrill Singer, calls for “urgent consideration of ethnographically informed pathways to sustainability that counter the march towards environmentally triggered disease and social collapse.” Unfortunately, it will take until climate change starts to diminish the health of people in developed countries for there to be a real movement against the destructive actions in those places.

References: http://somatosphere.net/2014/09/climate-change-and-planetary-health.html

Nostalgic About Nostalgia: The Complex Results of Meaning-Making

Michael Harkin’s “California Dreamin’” article took me back to one of my Cultural Anthropology discussions about how environment/space has potential to influence culture through personal experiences.

In Harkin’s piece, he discusses how his most recent trip to Walt Disneyland, with his child, made him long for his own childhood as he became increasingly nostalgic over the course of his visit. Harkin describes his nostalgia through the lens of someone who grew up in Southern California and he suggests that the nostalgia he experienced while at Disneyland was the deliberate intentions of those who design Disneyland’s exhibits. Disneyland encouraged a specific type of nostalgia for Harkin; a type of nostalgia that is ideal to a person who experienced a midwestern, town that revolves around the typical “Main Street USA,” while showing heavy signs of late 1800 influence.

Harkin effectively describes the complexity of nostalgia by suggesting that, “nostalgia operates as a sort of prism, refracting all primary experience: thus, I could be nostalgic for my parents’ nostalgia for the Midwest in a seemingly simpler time, seen from the troubled 1960s.” Through this complexity, we can see how a place can influence ones experiences/feelings. In addition to this, we can even use a place to make conclusions about the long term cultural effects a location has on a group of people.

Anthropology can be used to better understand the designs of spaces and the specific visual/environmental tools used to induce certain emotions. We continue to see the heavy effects of environment on culture especially in an age where cultural diversity continues to decline. An example on the heavy influence environment has on culture can be seen in the film “Sun Come Up, where the viewer is exposed to the troubling effects of climate change on Carteret Islanders. In this film, we can see how the relocation of the Carteret leads to the eventual end of their culture because their culture is rooted in island life with no exposure to the market economy.

Referenced: < http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2014/04/24/california-dreamin/ >

Referenced: Film: Sun Come Up