Traditional & Rational: 25 Concepts in Anthropology
I'm Nick Herriman, author of Entangled State, www.yale.edu/seas/EntangledState.htm. In the "25 Concepts in Anthropology" series, I present what I think are the 25 most important concepts in socio-cultural anthropology. Each concept provides a unique insight into what it is to be human. This episode concerns the concepts of "traditional" and "rational". Important concepts include: 1. Traditional Action (action determined by longstanding habits, i.e. the way our parents and their parents did it)--e.g. eating food at table, building a mosque from memory, butchering a chicken for a ritual. 2. Affectual / Emotional Action (action determined by strong feelings)--e.g. I kill a chicken because I am angry with it. 3. Wertrational Action (action with scientific means to achieve intrinsic values)--e.g. making a cake with $8 worth of ingredients, rather than buying it for $5. 4. Zweckrational Action (action with scientific means & scientific goals)--e.g. buying a cake for $5 rather than making it; killing chickens using statistics etc.; Rationalization; disenchantment; iron cage; modernity; base, structure, superstructure. Relevant reading includes: Aron, Raymond. 1967 Main Currents in Sociological Thought 2. Harmondsworth: Penguin. See pp. 186-187. Geertz, Clifford. 1973 "Internal Conversion" in Contemporary Bali. In The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays by Clifford Geertz. C. Geertz, ed. Pp. 170-89. London: Hutchinson. Hefner, Robert. 1987 The Political Economy of Islamic Conversion in Modern East Java. In Islam and the Political Economy of Meaning: Comparative Studies in Muslim Discourse. W.R. Roff, ed. London: Croon Helm. Weber, Max. 1991 The Social Psychology of the World Religions. In From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills, eds. Great Britain: Routledge.
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