Category Archives: Quotes to ponder

Quotes to Ponder; Ponderous Quotes

“In attempting to grasp the cultural force of rage and other powerful emotional states, both formal ritual and the informal practices of everyday life provide crucial insight.  Thus, cultural descriptions should seek out force as well as thickness, and they should extend from well defined rituals to myriad less circumscribed practices.”

Who said this?



quotes to ponder; ponderous quotes?

“operators in the social process, things that, when put together in certain arrangements in certain contexts, produce essentially social transformations.”

Who wrote this?

more importantly, for this subject, What would you be able to interpret from the quote?


1. If you have 7. something billion people on the rock called Earth, are there going to be 7 billion different interpretations of culture?

2.Mary Douglas, Victor Turner, and Clifford Geertz all have different interpretations on symbolism from each other. Would other anthropologists have different interpretation on symbolism and each other’s work? Why?

3. Give an example of a symbolic interpretation that differs between your own personal view and how others will perceive it. Explain why.

Example: You see a cop rolling in a your neighborhood. Some people may see it as a problem because they are afraid to get in trouble and others may feel safe when the police are present.

Quotes to Ponder

An animal organism is an agglomeration of cells and interstitial fluids arranged in relation to one another not as an aggregate but as an integrated living whole. The system of relations by which these units ate related is the organic structure. As the terms are here used the organism is not itself the structure; it is a collection of unites (cells or molecules) arranged in a structure, i.e., in a set of relations; the organism has a structure. The structure is thus to be defined as a set of relations between entities. Over a period its constituent cells do not remain the same. But the structural arrangement of the constituent units does remain similar.

Who said this?

How can you apply the relevance of this author’s theoretical approach to a contemporary issue or problem?

Make Sense of this Quote

Individual vs Group

The challenge of the individual vs the group has been a perpetual consideration of humans for a long time.  In medieval times, the debate appeared as “Free Will vs God”.  After Freud’s influence, the focus shifted to the “Ego vs the Superego” or the “Individual vs. the Group”.  In sociology, the debate appears in the form of “Agency vs Structure”.

Our discussion should revolve around the following:
Q: What is more important, the individual or the group?
Q: Should one just focus on one of the two?
Q: Can one do effective anthropology be balancing the two?

TASK: Read the following quotes and reread our readings for this week with these questions in mind. Then respond to these issues.

What is Culture?

Culture may be defined as the totality of the mental and physical reactions and activities that characterize the behavior of individuals composing a social group collectively and individually in relations to their natural environment, to other groups, to members of the group itself and of each individual to himself. It also includes the products of these activities and their role in the life of the groups. The mere enumerations of these various aspects of life, however, does not constitute culture. It is more, for its elements are not independent, they have a structure (Franz BoasThe mind of primitive man 1911:149)

What’s an Individual?

We do not discuss the anatomical, physiological, and mental characteristics of man considered as an individual; but we are interested in the diversity of these traits in groups of men found in different geographical areas and in different social classes. – Franz Boas from a 1907 essay entitled, “Anthropology”.

What is the Superorganic?

The reason why mental heredity has nothing to do with civilization, is that civilization is not mental action but a body or stream of products of mental exercise. Mental activity, as biologists have dealt with it, being organic, any demonstration concerning it consequently proves nothing whatever as to social events. Mentality relates to the individual. The social or cultural, on the other hand, is in its very essence non-individual. Civilization, as such, begins only where the individual ends; and whoever does not in some measure perceive this fact, though as a brute and rootless one, can find no meaning in civilization, and history for him must be only a wearying jumble, or an opportunity for the exercise of art. [FROM: THE SUPERORGANIC By A. L. KROEBER page 93, Vol. 19 April-June, 1917 No. 2]

Make Sense of this Quote

Make Sense of this Quote 
FROM P. 310 of Suicide:
First, it implies that collective tendencies and thoughts are of a 
different nature from individual tendencies and thoughts, that the 
former have characteristics which the latter lack (Tïow can this be, it 
is objected, since there are only individuals in society? But, reasoning 
thus, we should have to say that there is nothing more in animate 
nature than inorganic matter, since the cell is made exclusively of 
inanimate atorns^Ç'o be sure, it is likewise true that society has no 
other active forces than individuals; but individuals by combining 
form a psychical existence of a new species, which consequently has 
its own manner of thinking and feeling). Of course the elementary 
qualities of which the social fact consists are present in germ in indi- 
vidual minds. But the social fact emerges from them only when they 
have been transformed by association since it is only then that it ap- 
pears. Association itself is also an active factor productive of special 
effects. In itself it is therefore something new. When the conscious- 
ness of individuals, instead of remaining isolated, becomes grouped 
and combined, something in the world has been altered.

Who said it?

What's it mean?