Thanks again for your comment! Sometimes the term is used in very broad, unclear ways and that only confuses the issues. But at least Tylenol is pretty cheap…. People are complex.
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Experience is individual. Maybe, maybe not. Thanks for the comment. On this note, I am concerned with the history of visual representations of race, within anthropology. Does anyone have an idea of I can find useful information on this matter? Let me confess at the start, I have not read the Mullings article. When I searched for it on line, I found it behind a pay wall and only scanned the abstract.
I am, thus, responding to what Ryan has written.
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I offer two propositions for further discussion. I can imagine nothing more pointless when it comes to addressing the injustices of racial inequality.
What will it add, for instance, to the work of mathematical modelers who have demonstrated that small differences in homophily, the birds of a feather flock together phenomenon, produce radically segregated residential patterns in cities? What will it add to the work of historians who have closely studied the impact of reconstruction and reactions to it in hardening racial attitudes in the South? Additionally, we are better suited to asking what does it really mean to be human, in relation to the full range of humanity, and not just in relation to a few societies in either space or time.
We often do not assume the same normative categories as, say, political scientists, and thus can ask different questions—if we want to and think doing so is actually important. But how does this framework help explain a how people interpret race particularly those who reject the framework you mention above and b how people practice racism in their daily lives. If the framework can not answer those questions, then just the existence of this framework is not enough to help people who reject that framework realize that the practice of racism is wrong.
Of course Boasian anthropology and cultural relativism provided an important intellectual component to the framework that supports the Civil Rights movement. I do not believe that economics is interested in uncovering such contradictions. From the little I know, it seems that history, sociology and political science although the last two make me wonder at times certainly have that ability to answer those questions, and you seem to have some good suggestions along those lines, so please do share. I submit that you have both replied in the usual anthropological manner, making plausible sounding but unsubstantiated claims.
My central question is what do we contribute that goes beyond what those in other disciplines are already doing? Not just the mathematicians but also the other social scientists and humanists who have long been engaged in discussing race and racism. Do we tell better stories? Produce more sophisticated analysis?
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Display a better grasp of historical materials? We offer a lot of wishful thinking. Could we have some post-Boasian evidence, please. Politically speaking, it is a once useful phrase that is now exceedingly tired. Attempting to use it to claim a position of particular authority is weak on both counts. John We are definitely talking past each other. Your question is what can anthropology contribute to the study of race, beyond the Boasian arguments discussed above.
But with regard to how anthropology can contribute to a discussion about racism, particularly racism in the U.
My suggestion was based on the importance of pointing out contradictions within flawed arguments which anthropologists are quite good at, better than most disciplines. The point about homophily is definitely worth thinking about. We should note, however, that the model builders in question are both aware of this sort of question and deliberately putting it aside. The mathematics of the model require only that their be some criterion in terms of which members of two populations distinguish themselves.
The content of the criterion is mathematically irrelevant. The models work equally well if the populations are labeled black and white, lions and lambs, or green chili peppers and red chili peppers.
The relevance of the model to empirical reality depends entirely on the results of applying the model to a body of data. The predicted patterns of residential segregation are clearly visible on the ground. What is striking about these models is the demonstration of how little prejudice is required to produce segregation.
Do the models answer every question? No,nor course not. But, reverting to my larger point, model builders are building those more sophisticated models. Fresh thinking is emerging and being applied in innovative ways.
In contrast, anthropological theorizing shows little, if any, advance since the early 20th century. You are right. We are speaking past each other.
Personally, I have nothing against Marx or Marxian political economy. A perspective from which we are constantly aware that human social arrangements are shot full of contradictions and begin by examining material conditions that embody or affect those contradictions is one I find congenial.
As an isolated but still emotionally connected member of the Manchester School lineage whose ancestors include Max Gluckman and Victor Turner, what else could I be? But a paper I was reading yesterday put it very nicely. The classic theories Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Simmel are powerful metaphors for framing research projects. They are not theories in either a scientific covering law or historical who-shot-John sense. This is an area in which I have not kept up and I would be happy to learn more.
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John, Feel free to call me Eddie no one actually calls me Edwin…not sure where you got Eric? But there are a few good sources already written. This book is a great read, very direct in its approach and is able to uncover the complex ways a great number of ethnic groups many who are subsumed into a shared official political identity perceive their own ethnicity and the ethnicity of others who live in Southern Sichuan Province. And while the book is definitely not apolitical, its primary framework is not necessarily based in political economy, it is much more nuanced than that.
John: a quick question for now: Why are you holding the study of racism and racism by anthropologists to a different standard than you are holding other forms of social differentiation and structural inequality? Moreover, the categories the mathematicians use for their models do in fact matter, even if any two categories can produce some kind of social differentiation. It is not very anthropological to say all categories are the same after all.
Categories have particular histories and social meanings and get deployed in some contexts and not others. It is just a very puzzling reductionism to me.
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But then again perhaps this is the point. You ask, Why are you holding the study of racism and racism by anthropologists to a different standard than you are holding other forms of social differentiation and structural inequality? When it comes to the study of racism, I apply the same standards to anthropology that I apply to any other body of scholarly work. From that perspective, I see little substantive contribution from anthropologists since Boas and his students.
When it comes to racism itself, I am not surprised that it persists as much as it does.
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