Continental Ballroom 6, Ballroom LevelWEDNESDAY AFTERNOON, NOVEMBER 20
4:15 EUGENE N ANDERSON (UC-Riverside) How Cultures Get Moral
4:30 JOHN B. GATEWOOD (Lehigh U) Ignorance, Knowledge and Dummy Categories: Social and Cognitive Aspects of Expertise [Read paper]
4:45 DWIGHT W READ (UCLA) Cultural Phenomena as Seen Through the Lens of Kinship
5:00 ROY G D'ANDRADE (UC-San Diego) Externalization, Institutionalization and Internalization
5:15 DAVID B KRONENFELD (UC-Riverside) The Social Construction of Ethnicity: Intuition, Authenticity, Authenticators
5:30 MICHAEL D FISCHER (U Kent-Canterbury) Thinking with Others: "Modern" Traditions in Pakistan and the Cook Islands
6:15 JEFFREY C JOHNSON (East Carolina U), JAMES S BOSTER (UC-Irvine) and DAVID GRIFFITH (East Carolina U) Intracultural Variation and Network Position: The Place of Meat in Everyday Life
6:30 WILLIAM H MCKELLIN (U British Columbia) Making the Connections: Metaphorical and Analogical Processing in Managalase Political Allegories
6:45 HALVARD VIKE (Sisial Antropologisk Institut) Reification and Social Reality in Modern Governments
7:00 JAMES S BOSTER (UC-Irvine) and JEFFREY C JOHNSON (East Carolina U) The Social Distribution of Social Knowledge
7:15 BRIAN L HAZLEHURST (UC-San Diego) Dots, Sprinkles and Flecks: Sonar Talk and the Distributed Cognition Model of Mind
7:45 End of Session
Anthropologists have begun to use this perspective to reexamine both the nature and the function or usefulness of culture. We now know that culture is not a rigid set of rules or behavioral patterns, but is instead some sort of set of shared expectations and understandings concerning what goes with what, what leads to what, what occasions what, and so forth which we make use of in communicating with one another, in anticipating each other's actions and reactions, in manipulating, helping, cooperating with, and competing with one another, and so forth. This new view of culture leads us to consider the evolutionary payoff for creatures with such capabilities, and the ongoing usefulness or function of these capabilities. This functional approach to culture leads to biological questions concerning the particular nature of human sociability--the particular sense in which humans can be seen as social animals--and concerning the innate predilections and capabilities which enable such cultural flexibility and organization.
This joining of a Cognitive Sciences based concern with distributed
knowledge and computation to the old anthropological concern with
collective representations and emergent properties foregrounds, in
turn, the issue of the production of cultural and linguistic knowledge.
Culture is a complex that is constantly changing and evolving in
response to changes in the social and material environment. The various
systems, including language, that make up the complex are changed
collectively by users as they are used without benefit of a metalanguage
in which the changes can be coded or of a master designer who can
initiate, shape, and communicate them. At issue is not only the creation
of specific knowledge but the creation and gradual changing of the
linguistic and cultural systems (or 'codes') in which such knowledge
is held, organized, and expressed. This question of the structuring
and changing of these collectively held systems is important because--unlike
the case with computer languages or other codes that humans have self-consciously
created--there exists no metalanguage in (or by) which these systems
are defined, evaluated, and changed. Messages in the language are,
at the same time, messages about the language--and something about
the combination of the nature of the mental apparatus (and/or predispositions)
that we bring to their use and the conditions of our learning of them
separates out the two kinds of effects. Important biological issues
are posed by the evolution of the capacity to create and use such
collective and distributed systems of knowledge.
Nearly 40 years ago, at a symposium in the 56th Annual Meeting of the AAA entitled The Evolution of Man's Capacity for Culture, Spuhler listed 7 preconditions for culture: 1) accommodative vision, 2) bipedal locomotion, 3) manipulation, 4) carnivorous-omnivorous diet, 5) cortical control of sexual behavior, 6) vocal communication, and 7) expansion of the association areas in the cerebral cortex. Today's view of culture as a set of shared expectations about how to behave, rather than Tylor's catalog of "knowledge, belief, art ..." (= the things humans do), suggests a reconsideration--and revision--of Spuhler's preconditions.
Two areas of modern evolutionary research seem central to understanding the evolution of this capacity and will be explored in this paper. 1) According to the social intelligence model, human consciousness evolved to predict other's actions. Intelligence is thus intimately tied to social life. As a precursor to a system of shared expectations and knowledge, this evolutionary scenario has obvious relevance. 2) The evolution of human foraging also predisposed humans to a particular form of distributed cognition. Bipedalism and tool use were components of this system but the key factor was the shift to patchy, high-energy food items (not just "carnivory" but including high quality plant material such as seeds and nuts as well). Social foraging for such clumped valuable resources selected for information exchange among foragers leading to a particularly human form of sociality and culture.
Anthropologists have long concerned themselves with morals, ethics, or "values," but surprisingly little has come of this research. Leaving aside inadequacies of research methodology, there are two conceptual problems with much of the older literature: much of it either assumes that cultural values and moral rules are rigidly unchanging, or assumes that "society" selects morals that shore up the social order. Both propositions have been devastatingly critiqued in recent years, by appeal to the real-world prevalence of individual rational choice and by appeal to the notorious plurality of opinions about moral issues within even the smallest communities. Data from Hong Kong and from southeast Mexico are herein adduced to show that morals are socially negotiated, are under continuous negotiation, and appear to be stable insofar as the parameters of negotiation remain stable.
Compared to other species, human beings have large brains, enabling each of us to learn and retain a great deal of information during our life spans. Private neurological storage, however, has upper limits. Eventually, brain size limitations on cultural development were overcome by a group strategy built on the principle of reciprocal ignorance, i.e., a division of labor entailing non-redundant distribution of cultural knowledge among individuals. Maintenance of the group's social heritage ceased being a matter of replicating uniformity and rested instead on organizing diversity, superficially similar to the group life of the social insects.
Today, any given individual learns only a portion of his or her group's heritage, and for most domains, individuals range along a novice-to-expert gradient. Partial knowledge, along with the ability to access what others know, is sufficient for most purposes for most people.
This paper discusses the role of linguistic categories in bridging very asymmetric knowledge boundaries in frequently occurring social contexts. Particular attention is given to the kinds of knowledge (knowing of, knowing about, and knowing how) that distinguish Nacerima experts from novices in the domain of mixed alcoholic drinks.
Culture remains a concept whose phenomenal nature is unclearly specified. Hence there remains uncertainty regarding the nature and form that theories about culture should take. In Tylor's classic definition culture is ideational; Keesing ties culture to a learning process linked to external referents; Kroeber and Kluckhohn see culture as "behind" behavior and hence not directly observable, while White argues for the abstraction's structural/systemic nature. All of these scholars take as given the location of culture in the minds of individuals, yet none consider the implications imposed by this fact.
How can culture be individually situated and yet have the commonality of expression that transcends individual situation? What are the processes involved in transmission, expression and interpersonal communication that enable or produce change or variation and yet, simultaneously, maintain stability and common understanding? Kinship--as one of the few domains sufficiently well specified to permit detailed analysis ranging from the abstract to the concretely particularistic--offers a suitable culture form for exploring these issues. At one extreme kinship terminologies are constituted of abstract, conceptual structures that culturally specify the kinship universe. At the other extreme of on-going interpersonal relations, the meaning of kin terms as they are translated into practice undergo re-interpretation, challenge and redefinition in accordance with re-conceptualizations that are made about who are the constituents of kinship categories. Examples are drawn from re-conceptualizations currently taking place in the US regarding the nature of the family and the role of biological linkage in determining parenthood.
Most social scientists expect culture, society, and personality to refer to different things. But the world does not divide neatly into these three things. Many things are said to be both culture and personality, and many things are said to be both culture and society. Values are even said to be all three. This paper will reconsider this ancient issue. Basically, the idea is that there are three distinct processes which produce the stuff that we call culture, society, and personality.
According to this theory, culture is formed by the externalization of mind or psyche. This is done by having external symbols which signify various things, thus creating external physical forms which require common definitions for understanding.
Externalized meanings by themselves have little effect on behavior. However, some of these externalized meanings are institutionalized. "Institutionalization" refers to the process by which certain externalized meanings become incorporated into roles or other socially prescribed activities.
The fact that some idea, value, sentiment, or goal has been externalized and institutionalized does not mean that individuals really believe the idea, or hold the value, or feel the sentiment, or want the goal. "Internalization" refers to the process by which, through socialization, the individual comes to believe, or hold the value, or feel the sentiment, or want the goal.
Thus when a piece of psyche or mind has been externalized, institutionalized, and internalized, it is simultaneously part of culture, society, and personality.
Ethnic groups, as labeled segments of society, are at once part of language and parts of society. Ethnic labels are Saussurean signs; their signifieds represent the conceptual categories which are evoked by their use in the minds of members of the speech community of their users. Signs are Durkheimian "collective representations", properties of communities rather than individuals. Some particular community within the larger society may claim or be conceded a particularly authoritative role regarding definitions in some special area of concern or expertise. In the case of socially or politically problematic categories it is important to attend to the make-up of such authoritative communities and to the social processes by which they acquire their authority.
Ethnic terms are defined (and sometimes contested) by interested groups; such groups have some latitude in their definitions. But, language is a system whose parts constrain one another. The semantic relations of ethnic terms, the contexts in which they are normally used, and the purposes for which they are normally used all constrain the freedom of an authoritative group to define for the wider community the properties of ethnic categories. Using Sami, Blackfeet, and Jewish examples, I explore who gets to define ethnic labels, what happens when such definitions are contested, what social and political conditions enable authoritative groupings (relative to ethnic labels) to emerge, what conditions lead such authoritative groups and their definitions to be contested, and within what wider socio-political and semantic framework the contest is played out and judged.
The status of tradition has come under serious scrutiny over the past decade or so, especially in the South Pacific. This inquiry has focused on the disjuncture between continuity with past practice/thought with the contemporary 'invention' of the past and adaptation to the present. In both Pakistan and the Cook Islands people appear to have a concept of tradition consistent with each of these perspectives, though without the disjuncture: the past is honoured, but few wish to live there. Based on field research between 1982 and 1996, I examine how 'traditional' resources are invoked and amended by urban Panjabi in Lahore, rural Pathan and Kohistani in Kalam/Bhiu (Swat) and Maori in the Cook Islands.
My fundamental point is that traditions can serve as specifications for identifying, reasoning about and solving situational problems in a social context. I focus on how traditional resources act as a catalyst for contemporary social interaction, as a medium for this interaction and as an evaluation criteria for outcomes of situational interaction. Traditions are robust (eg traditional) precisely because they are flexible and partial and subject to structured (and not so structured) change, representing contemporary processes as well as historical precedence. Traditions also serve to specify patterns of distribution for social participation; they influence the role relations and flows of reasoning and information between participants within the local process.
Psychologists and anthropologists see romantic love in very different ways. Relying on survey data, psychologists tend to conceptualize love as unidimensional and as an attitudinal or feeling-state that shapes romantic experiences. Anthropologists have mostly relied on intensive and unstructured interviews to develop a description of romantic love as multidimensional and shaped by experience. Both anthropologists and psychologists have neglected the connection between romantic love and sexual behavior.
The objective of this study is to bridge this division between psychological and anthropological approaches to the study of love and to examine how different ideologies of romantic love impact on sexual behavior. This study describes different conceptual models of romantic love as they are organized around certain prototypical emotions and how these "motivated models" influence sexual behaviors. The distribution of emotional prototypical states associated with romantic love will be seen as "motivated" in the sense that they are related to each other and that, for example, individuals will attempt to change scenarios that trigger prototypical sad feelings to those scenarios associated with "happy" feelings. This study uses data from students at the University of New Hampshire to explore this connection.
The range of different cultural ideologies regarding romantic love is shared by the student population, but their application is contingent both on the degree to which these ideologies are internalized and on situational factors. Gender differences are seen in the degree of internalization and in situational linkages between conditions of sexual intimacy and behavioral expressions of romantic love.
Variation in cultural knowledge and understanding is linked to material conditions as well as social structure and organization. These linkages have important implications in that they tie cognition and its variation to aspects of culture at various levels (individual uniqueness vs. cultural sharing). Spheres of interaction that influence cognition are themselves linked more broadly to concepts of organization such as stratification and social class. This paper examines the relationship between intra- cultural variation and social network position through a study of the perception of meat in the everyday lives of the residents of a small Midwestern town. The study finds that intracultural variation is a function of one's position in the social network and that such variation is the result of the differences in the symbolic importance of food in the everyday lives of its' members.
Models of culture as distributed systems make it possible to represent the shifting relevance of different facets of cultural representations. The Managalase of Papua New Guinea use allegorical rhetoric to conduct political negotiations to shield negotiations from the pressures of public debate and confrontation. Speakers and members of their audiences employ and identify thematic and narrative patterns in the dialogic process of interpretation. These interchanges play upon the current context of social relations and the distribution of the knowledge of themes and previous interpretations among members of the community. This paper examines the distribution of information and the process of analogical reasoning in the public performances of political allegories.
Culture is "made up" of symbolic representations that objectify reality. Through language we transform our experience of this reality into more or less bounded "things" and relations between them. Through processes of attribution these categories are projected into "reality" and given status as characteristics of this reality--and sometimes a sign's abstract referent gets taken as substantial.
I examine such reifications in modern, reflexive settings where people constantly evaluate their own interpretations and where instrumentality is held in high regard. I examine how local politicians and bureaucrats in a Norwegian town try to solve problems by means of pragmatic understandings of how things work, for instance in municipal welfare. Politicians and bureaucrats alike, despite their self-reflexivity and pragmatism, firmly believe that successful solutions depend on "correct" interpretations--and thus are relatively ignorant of the way in which their own reifications ("service", "efficiency", "satisfied clients", etc.) shape the phenomena to which they refer.
We examine how "instrumental rationality" is constructed in complex organizations. Reifications transform symbolic representations and social conventions into technology because people start to believe in them and act accordingly. The verification of knowledge can be seen as resulting from the ability of such reifications to put self-fulfilling prophecies in motion and thus to construct the world to which they are supposed to refer. It may be noted here that the welfare problem solving is guided by a deep, and sometimes even aggressive, skepticism towards language and what is often spoken of as "merely words".
This paper explores the pattern of agreement among members of a social group on the social structure of the group and the social roles played by members of the group. The groups examined are over-wintering crews at Antarctica's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
The cognitive revolution of the 1950's spawned development of the Turing Machine model of Mind (TMM) entailing both the formalism and practice of casting human cognition in the image of a digital computer. With the TMM, the mechanism of knowing (processing over internal knowledge states) could be integrated with the content of what is known (the mental products of histories of social living). This integration promoted the division of labor among psychologists and anthropologists which persists in many modern studies of mind and culture. This paper presents an alternative model of mind -- the Distributed Cognition model of Mind (DCM) -- based upon a reconstruction of the natures of, and relationships between, culture and cognition. The DCM is founded upon the notions that (1) cognition is built out of interactions among structures, (2) these interactions (instances of processes which employ and create structures) are not limited to events internal to individuals, but distribute across diverse media, social space, and time, and (3) culture is itself such a process, generating many of the structures and processes constituting cognition and human intelligence. The model is supported by data collected during ethnographic fieldwork among fishermen of an island community off the west coast of Sweden. Data analysis demonstrates the negotiated, distributed, and experientially grounded nature of language employed to communicate about sonar images of herring which mediate fishermen's understandings and practice.