Top 239 Quotes & Sayings by Famous Anthropologists

Explore popular quotes by famous anthropologists.
If everyone lives roughly the same lies about the same thing, there is no one to call them liars. They jointly establish their own sanity and themselves normal.
Agency has become a catch word. In a way, this intoxication with β€˜agency’ is the product of liberal individualism. The ability of individuals to fashion themselves, to change their live, is given ideological priority over the relation within which they themselves are actually formed, situated, and sustained.
In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions: 'When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?'
The ultimate expression of generosity is not in giving of what you have, but in giving of who you are. β€” Β© Johnnetta B. Cole
The ultimate expression of generosity is not in giving of what you have, but in giving of who you are.
School is indeed a training for later life not because it teaches the 3 Rs (more or less), but because it instills the essential cultural nightmare fear of failure, envy of success, and absurdity.
The final goal ... is to grasp the native's point of view, his relation to life, to realise his vision of his world.
People don't show up here (at the courtroom) because they believe evolution is bad science. They show up because they believe that if they accept evolution, then they are abandoning their religious beliefs. They see it as an either/or proposition: Either evolution happened, or God loves you.
The key strengths of civilizations are also their central weaknesses. You can see that from the fact that the golden ages of civilizations are very often right before the collapse. The Renaissance in Italy was very much like the Classic Maya. The apogee was the collapse. The Golden Age of Greece was the same thing. We see this pattern repeated continuously, and it is one that should make us nervous. I just heard Bill Gates say that we are living in the greatest time in history. Now you can understand why Bill Gates would think that, but even if he is right, that is an ominous thing to say.
All entertainment is education in some way, many times more effective than schools because of the appeal to the emotions rather than to the intellect.
We can reproduce within our own minds the way that the world is put together for other people. This is the extraordinary privilege and adventure of anthropology.
Men gossip for just as long and about the same subjects as women, but tend to talk more about themselves.
We feed upon each other's mouths and minds like ants with social stomachs.
In anthropology, which historically exists to 'give voice' to others, there is no greater taboo than self-revelation. The impetus of our discipline, with its roots in Western fantasies about barbaric others, has been to focus primarily on 'cultural' rather than 'individual' realities. The irony is that anthropology has always been rooted in an 'I' - understood as having a complex psychology and history - observing a 'we' that, until recently, was viewed as plural, ahistorical, and nonindividuated.
We all owe life a death, an inevitable death which we can meet. But the unnecessary death that wastes life denies all consolation.
There is a solitude, or perhaps a solemnity, in the few hours that precede the dawn of day which is unlike that of any others in the twenty-four, and which I cannot explain or account for. Thoughts come to me at this time that I never have at any other.
Ultimately, of what possible social significance is it if a person likes to masturbate over a shoe? It may even be non-consensual, but since we do not ask permission of our shoes to wear them, it hardly seems necessary to obtain dispensation to come on them.
If you address yourself to an audience, you accept at the outset the basic premises that unite the audience. You put on the audience, repeating cliches familiar to it. But artists don't address themselves to audiences; they create audiences. The artist talks to himself out loud. If what he has to say is significant, others hear & are affected.
History is principally the inaccurate narration of events which ought not to have happened. β€” Β© Earnest Hooton
History is principally the inaccurate narration of events which ought not to have happened.
Every human is like all other humans, some other humans, and no other human.
It is the retention by twentieth-century, Atom-Age men of the Neolithic point of view that says: You stay in your village and I will stay in mine. If your sheep eat our grass we will kill you, or we may kill you anyhow to get all the grass for our own sheep. Anyone who tries to make us change our ways is a witch and we will kill him. Keep out of our village.
The self is made, not given
It’s really important to understand that God is not an impersonal force. Even though He is invisible, God is personal and He has all the characteristics of a person. He knows, he hears, he feels and he speaks.
The last thing a fish would ever notice would be water.
I want to set the example my mother set for me: a strong female role model who faces challenges takes risks and conquers fears. I want my children to know that as women they can do whatever they dream as long as they believe in themselves. More than anything it is my responsibility to instill in my daughters the knowledge that they can have a family and everything else too.
Only when we have enough mental stress to force us to see our own bankruptcy of power, do we trust in God, and only when we trust in God can we make a contribution which will not collapse.
A society's apprehensiveness about divorce is an expression of its fear of change and of its resulting desire that personality remain unvarying.
The sexually insatiable woman is to be found primarily, if not exclusively, in the ideology of feminism, the hopes of boys, and the fears of men.
It is apparent that only a certain kind of person will want to make ethnographic films, It will, above all, be those who sense the profound affinity that exists between the film medium and a desire to understand people.
The knowable world is incomplete if seen from any one point of view, incoherent if seen from all points of view at once, and empty if seen from nowhere in particular.
The technology is the independent variable, the social system the dependent variable. Social, systems are therefore determined by systems of technology; as the latter change, so do the former.
Shamanism is not a religion. It’s a method. And when this method is practiced with humility, reverence and self-discipline, the shaman’s path can become a way of life.
The major force in world history is sheer dumbness.
You can't really discover the most interesting conflicts and problems in a subject until you've tried to write about them. At that point, one discovers discontinuities in the data, perhaps, or in one's own thinking; then the act of writing forces you to work harder to resolve these contradictions.
You're 40 and he's 22. Do you have to marry him? Couldn't you just adopt him?
To explain too much is to steal a person's opportunity to learn, and stealing is against the Law.
The Restless Anthropologist is a rich, powerful, and compulsively readable collection of essays by anthropologists who look back at the multiple relationships between their serial fieldwork experiences and their lives. Illustrating the dense interweaving of the personal and the professional that is the hallmark of anthropology as a vocation, these essays are at once affectively deep reflections, and clear-eyed assessments, of lives often lived 'between here and there.' Alma Gottlieb's idea to stimulate these articles and bring together this collection was inspired.
Nature is seen by humans through a screen of beliefs, knowledge, and purposes, and it is in terms of their images of nature, rather than of the actual structure of nature, that they act. Yet, it is upon nature itself that they do act, and it is nature itself that acts upon them, nurturing or destroying them.
Since biological change occurs slowly and cultural changes occur in every generation, it is futile to try to explain the fleeting phenomena of culture by a racial constant. We can often explain them-in terms of contact with other peoples, of individual genius, of geography-but not by racial differences.
Can the level of wealth enjoyed by members of capitalist culture (remembering that it is 25 times greater, on average, than that enjoyed by citizens of two centures ago) be attained by all but a very few? And if it can be attained, what is the cost for everything else that we must sacrifice?
Man is a multi-sensorial being. Occasionally he verbalizes … and we must seriously examine the implications of the fact that man does not communicate by word alone. β€” Β© Ray Birdwhistell
Man is a multi-sensorial being. Occasionally he verbalizes … and we must seriously examine the implications of the fact that man does not communicate by word alone.
It is said that the history of peoples who have a history is the history of class struggle. It might be said with at least as much truthfulness, that the history of peoples without history is a history of their struggle against the state.
Viewed systematically, religion can be differentiated from other culturally constituted institutions by virtue only of its reference to superhuman beings.
Islam united all heresies persecuted in Byzantine Empire and synthesised them well into a conseffion that later became a symbol of Arab self-affirmation.
The notion of representing a sound by a graphic symbol is itself so stupefying a leap of the imagination that what is remarkable is not so much that it happened relatively late in human history, but that it happened at all.
I personally cannot discern a shred of evidence for β€˜[intelligent] design.’ If 97% of all creatures have gone extinct, some plan isn't working very well!
Anyone can produce a new fact; the thing is to produce a new idea.
What our species needs, above all else, is a generally accepted ethical system that is compatible with the scientific knowledge we now possess.
If (early humans) weren't using and refining language I would like to know what they were doing with their autocatalytically increasing brains.
We live in a cultural milieu ... The idea that culture is our ecological niche is still applicable. The impact and force of natural selection on the human physique are conditioned by the dimensions of culture.
A competitive culture endures by tearing people down.
The world's most 'primitive' people have few possessions, but they are not poor. Poverty is not a certain small amount of goods, nor is it just a relation between means and ends; above all it is a relation between people. Poverty is a social status. As such it is the invention of civilization. It has grown with civilization, at once as an invidious distinction between classes and more importantly as a tributary relation.
Many native cultures believe that the heart is the bridge between Father Sky and Mother Earth. For these traditions, the 'four-chambered heart,' the source for sustaining emotional and spiritual health, is described as being full, open, clear, and strong. These traditions feel that it is important to check the condition of the four-chambered heart daily, asking: 'Am I full-hearted, open-hearted, clear-hearted, and strong-hearted?'
...many of the officials, courtiers, and priests, representing the upper class of Egyptian society but not the royalty, looked strikingly like modern Europeans, especially long-headed ones
The Genealogical Science is a wonderful account of how old-fashioned race science has come to be re-defined by resort to the most recent developments in genetics. But this book is not simply another story of the ideological uses to which science may be put. Nadia Abu El-Haj has provided the reader with a very detailed analysis of the historical entanglement between science and politics. Her study should be required reading for anyone interested in the sociology of science-and also for those dealing with Middle Eastern nationalisms. This is a work of outstanding value for scholarship.
We have garlic days, and onion days. You know what they're cooking. β€” Β© Leslie White
We have garlic days, and onion days. You know what they're cooking.
The visionary is the one who brings his or her voice into the world and who refuses to edit, rehearse, perform, or hide. It is the visionary who knows that the power of creativity is aligned with authenticity.
War is a sociological safety valve that cleverly diverts popular hatred for the ruling classes into a happy occasion to mutilate or kill foreign enemies.
Man cannot endure his own littleness unless he can translate it into meaningfulness on the largest possible level.
In the field one has to face a chaos of facts, some of which are so small that they seem insignificant; others loom so large that they are hard to encompass with one synthetic glance. But in this crude form they are not scientific facts at all; they are absolutely elusive, and can be fixed only by interpretation, by seeing them sub specie aeternitatis, by grasping what is essential in them and fixing this. Only laws and generalizations are scientific facts, and field work consists only and exclusively in the interpretation of the chaotic social reality, in subordinating it to general rules.
For no sooner had I begun to read this great work [Frasier, The Golden Bough ], than I became immersed in it and enslaved by it. I realized then that anthropology, as presented by Sir James Frazer, is a great science, worthy of as much devotion as any of her elder and more exact sister studies, and I became bound to the service of Frazerian anthropology.
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