Week 5 - Final Paper The study of human culture provides us with a look into other cultures from an up-close and dis±nct perspec±ve to understand their culture from their point of view. It is challenging to take an objec±ve look at another culture without being somewhat biased. This being the case, we must use a di²erent method, as anthropologists who conduct their research by understanding there are two methods for evalua±ng a culture, which is emic or e±c perspec±ves. An emic perspec±ve is an insider views; observing the culture from within the culture itself. An e±c perspec±ve is an outsider’s view of a culture, evalua±ng the culture through the eyes of someone who is not part of the culture. Therefore, I will use the e±c perspec±ve, for the dura±on of this paper, to examine an aspect of my own culture. I will also examine an aspect of another culture from an emic, insider perspec±ve, to understand the behaviors and explain the cultural systems. I will clearly examine the African American race and its cultural prac±ces and behaviors, in contrast with the na±ve Nacirema’s cultures. I will show that, even though they are distant in rela±onship and ±me, they have some closely related comparisons. People would normally think that there is no way that the two should have anything in common. Yet, I will show that though they are extremely di²erent cultures, there are combina±ons of similar behaviors found in them both. I will use the methodological tool of cultural rela±vism to understand the Nacirema culture and their customs, rela±ve to African American culture, including customs that I may not par±cularly agree with or like (Crapo, 2013). From an e±c point of view, as an outsider looking in, at the African-American culture, in comparison to the Nacirema culture discussed in Miner’s ar±cle, I see many similari±es. One would think that there is no way that the two should have anything in common. Yet, it’s amazing how all of the logically possible combina±ons of behavior have been found somewhere in the world (Miner, 1956). Though African-American’s have no real rela±onship connec±on to the Nacirema’s, there are some aspects that are closely related in culture. I will use the ar±cle to describe aspects of my own African-
RITES OF PASSAGE2Death: Rites of Passage in American and Japanese Culture.“Ethnocentrism stands in fundamental conflict with the goals of anthropology: the recognition of the common humanity of all human beings and the understanding of the causes of cultural differences” (Crapo, 2013, Sec 1.4). One cause of ethnocentrism is that it easy for members of one culture to misjudge another culture based on an etic analysis of that culture. An etic analysis is the observation and information gathered from an outside perspective. An etic description of a culture is often described by an outside member of that culture based on the values and ideas of the observer’s culture. This kind of description often sounds unfamiliar to theculture in which it was meant to describe. However, using cultural relativism helps us to look at different cultures from an emic, or insider’s point of view, which allows us to better understand that culture. According to Crapo, Arnold Van Gennep was an Anthropologist that observed that all cultures have ritual ceremonies that represent the transition into the different stages of life of its members. These events are known as rites of passages. Rites of passages are important to the stages it represents and can also be used to show the values and religious beliefs of the members that participate in them, and the culture in which they are a part of. (Crapo, 2014). Within this paper I will give an etic description of rites of passage, surrounding old age and death from my own American culture. By doing so I will show one how easy it is to misunderstand the purpose of a cultures customs. I will also give an emic description of Japanese rites of passage, also surrounding old age and death. As a result one will have a better understanding of the value of cultural relativism.