I have not forgotten!

Finals are over and for me classes are done and I can sit back and relax for almost a month. So let me see if I can remember where I’ve left off here……

Oh yes, art! So that means we move on to the Modern World system.

As colonization began, people throughout the world started to be influenced by European culture, economics and politics. The world economy today is considered a capitalist world economy. America, China, Japan are core countries which have the major influences over other countries. They are powerful and hardly need aid. {Although today I wonder about America} Mexico is an example of a semi periphery country. 3rd world country, the poorest of the poor with no sell-able products are periphery countries.

So how did we get where we are? During the 18th century, Western Europe underwent an industrial revolution. A guy named Karl Marx argued that stratification within society was based on the “haves” and the “have nots”. He believed the bourgeoisie were the factory owners, mine owners etc. Sort of like WalMart. The proletariat were the workers. He thought that the proletariat would overcome their own differences to form groups to protect their own interests. Again, like WalMart. The problem is that the have nots (proletariats) have yet to demand an equal distribution of wealth, however we could be close to seeing something like that soon.

Then there is this guy named Max Weber who argued that social stratification could be divided into three groups; economic status, political status and social status.He thought that nationalism was the big reason why the proletariat did not band together in multi-nation groups. Celebrities hardly are asked about things beyond what they are known for. You wouldn’t ask Tom Cruise for finance advice, you’d ask Bill Gates.

So, who was right?

Social stratification always leads to class systems, these can be open or closed systems, Caste systems (like those of India or S. Africa) are closed but Class systems like America’s are considered open. For  Americans it is easy to change class, however we don’t always choose which direction in the Class we go. Caste systems you cannot change which Caste you were born in no matter what you do.

And on that quite happy note, let’s talk a little about  Colonialism and Development!

After 1870 Europe began a search for markets in Asia and Africa.

Colonialism refers to the political, social, economic and cultural domination of a territory and its people by a foreign power for an extended period of time.

Imperialism refers to a policy of extending rule of a nation or empire over foreign countries. Imperialism is as old as the state. Colonialism began with the Age of Discovery and European founding of colonies.

There where two phases of British Colonialism:
First phase concentrated in New World, West Africa, and India, ended with the American Revolution.
Second phase Britian controlled India, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and large portions of East and South Africa.
British colonies were justified by the idea that Western Civilization needed to control and provide order for native peoples who were not capable of providing it for themselves. Overall driven by money and business interests and nothing more.

The British pushed people way to hard which of course led to the revolution. They believed they were making things “better” for the uncivilized people who were perfectly fine without them.

Prisons were starting to quickly fill up as the officials had to wait to get permission to execute a prisoner, it was cheaper to deport them to Australia

Australia was used as a prison, what is known as a penal colony and to be deported to Australia was the worst punishment as they prisoners were dropped off at the shore and told to survive if they could. After a time they started arresting women for small charges, sometimes even false charges to deport them to Australia.

One such woman, who at 26 was falsely arrested as a prostitute decided on her way with 80 other poor women souls that the only possible way they could survive was to band together. She became a madam of the 80 women and was quite successful. She started some of the first churches and married and lived until she was in her 80s. She apparently still has decedents living in Australia today.

The French Colonialism however was driven by politics, church and military. They too had two phases:
First phase: Canada, Louisiana Territory, the Caribbean and West Africa.
Second phase grew to include North Africa and Indochina.
Justification was to spread French culture, language and religion which to them was superior.

The French went to tribal leaders and said that they want to be in charge but the leader would remain the leader and that they (the French) would own the land. Things remained basically the same-the French didn’t push the people for change and when they came into contact with groups with no leaders they would appoint a leader. The French basically bribed the people.

This turned out to be a good thing for the French as there was an amazing amount of information sent back to France. Well documented in many thing and they lost no territories. Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory from the French which was their biggest “lost”.

French had two forms of rule
Direct rule:French imposed new governments on native populations; absolute control.
Indirect rule: French used local political structure and leaders as puppet governments.

Both colonial powers ended after WWII. Postcolonial studies refer to research about the interactions between European nations and the societies they colonized. The Postcolonial period is sometimes used to refer to second half of the 20th century (1950-2000).

Postcolonies are those areas that were historically colonies, can be classified in three ways:
Settler-dominated by European settlers, sparse natives (Australia is a prime example)
Nonsettler-dominated by natives, sparse Europeans (India is a prime example)
Mixed-both sizable populations (South Africa is a prime example)

Lots of interactions is not always good. America gave a lot of things back to the Natives but the fight in Australia (between the natives and government) lasted for so long that when the natives finally won, the land that was given back to the natives had been in families for generations and they suddenly found themselves homeless and “lost” with nothing that could be done about it. This as you can imagine created much hatred towards the government.

India was not a very popular colonial. More people from India picked up and moved to England where you can see a lot of Indian influence and you can see much English influence in India because of this.

There was much belief in the fact that native problems could be fixed locally. For example there is a high pollution rate around a city, the problem is not the city but the American factories that are built close by who are polluting the area. Like the one in Mexico that is for cell phone and computer recycling. Americans actually “recycle” a whole load of cellphones yearly but what can not be used for other parts are thrown in a landfill behind the factory which starts contaminating the land and water. It has become a problem, but it isn’t one that can be considered ‘local’.

When you change a system, like WalMart moving into a small town it creates a dramatic overnight change to that small town. Which is why many towns try to keep big box business like WalMart out of their towns (take for example the small town of Los Alamos, NM). Small businesses in the town close, taxes get raised to cover the costs of roads being used more and stop lights installed because of the heavy traffic to the town from miles around to shop at WalMart

Development like this started with the justification of the British and French with the economic development plans of industrialization, modernization, Westernization, individualism which are desirable advances that will bring long term benefits to natives. But the problems with those plans is that they have narrow focus, like the ‘problems’ of natives may actually be caused by world’s impact. System impacts which cause those tax increases, living expenses increase and the narrow focus of experts that don’t always have culturally minded schemes.

A great example is Brazil. There was a farming village that was quite self efficient but the Government came in and tried to introduce a a new “cash crop” promising the village that if they didn’t like it after five years they could go back to their old crops. They finally gave in and started planting sisal (like hemp) but they were not the only countries doing so and they did not make the profits they were looking for, but what the Government didn’t tell them was that once you plant sisal you can not plant anything else in that soil ever again. This development increased the dependence on the world economy, it ruined local subsistence economy that they had and seriously decreased the local health and income. In other words bad, bad, bad!

Not all things go badly. A major water project (in Africa I believe) was being discussed; drilling to bring water to other areas that needed water. Questions were wisely asked to the natives, the tribal leaders told them about places where readily available water. They mapped all the known locations that were easier for villagers to get to and saved a lot of money on the original project. The original idea was to map out the water ways and spend quite a hefty amount creating new wells in places where the villagers would have to travel far to get water.

What is the goal? Change is going to happen….postcolonies can’t go back. Several strategies that cultural anthropologists have suggested; Kottak (author) found that culturally compatible projects were two times as likely to succeed. But innovation strategies still have problems. There are overinnovations; development projects that require major change by target community. Not sensitive to the traditional culture. Then underdifferentiation; tendency to treat less-developed countries as all alike. Often assume nuclear family is basis of production and land ownership.

The best models are usually found in the target community (they have ideas-listen to them). Realistic development promotes change, not overinnovation, preseve local systems while making them work better.

There is just one more section after this one. Cultural Exchange and Survival. The term has already ended as I mentioned egos ago above.. Next term I do have Evolutionary Anthropology so I expect much Christian hatred. I wish people would wake up and realize that this is the way whatever God or Gods/Goddesses created us and the living thing around us. Change is going to happen, and we are expected to survive and the only way is to evolve. It’s science and science doesn’t lie. Get used to it.

Until next time patience is a virtue, unless you are reading ancient hieroglyphs while a horde of people who are being controlled by a mummy are trying to kill you.

(That is a proverbial phrase referring to one of the seven heavenly virtues typically said to date back to “Psychomachia,” an epic poem written in the fifth century by the way.)

Categories: Anthropology, Cultural | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “I have not forgotten!

  1. Hello,

    I agree with you completely about listening to the natives’ ideas. Policy-makers should work with the locals all the time because policies will only be successful when the culture and traditions are taken into consideration. Paul Farmer also said the same thing and the health policies he implemented (not sure if it’s Haiti or Africa) have worked because he consulted the locals.

    I would just like to comment about third world having no sell-able products. I think it’s rather more about the inequality in the exchange of money. I would take my country as an example. I am from the Philippines, and we are a third world country. Half of my country is being sold, literally. Gold, minerals, raw materials (that eventually return to us as expensive branded materials), and people. But the profits we have are low because we only gain little from what we sell to developed countries and pay a lot for what we buy from them. As the professors in the university where I graduated from, Philippines is export-oriented, import-dependent. Many of us grow rice (we are an agricultural country) but we sell them to other countries. What we eat is imported from other rice-growing countries. It doesn’t make sense, I know. But somewhere a long the line, a few Filipinos get profits at the expense of others.

    I also agree that globalization affects locals. The best example I could think of is the proliferation of McDonald’s around the world. With it comes the idea of “fast food” which is impersonal and all about speed. We have a thing here where we predict when a town will be turned into a city. Usually, when a fast food restaurant (usually Jollibee,a Filipino-owned fast food which also has branches in the US) is built in a town, it’s most probably going to be a city soon.

    Well anyway, enjoy your Evolutionary Anthropology class. One of the regrets I have is not being able to take that as an elective in the university. Though I do have a background on it from my Biological Anthropology class, but a more focused class about evolution would have been awesome. As one of my professors said, “You can’t be an anthropologist if you don’t believe in evolution”. Keep on writing insightful posts! 🙂


    • If I remember correctly America has a agreement with other countries on import and export matters. I regret to say I know very little about such things but I think there is something in that agreement that covers the monetary equalization part. But do not quote me on that!

      I think it’s funny how McDonald’s is everywhere and people of other countries automatically think all Americans love to eat there. I can’t stand it personally but it’s nice that McDonald’s does include the countries culture food items into their menu. Still not a fan of their food. Or what passes as food.

      LOL Yes, it would be different if an anthropologist didn’t believe in evolution, I think I’d like to see how that would work exactly. I am hoping to be able to do Forensic Anthropology as well soon.

      Thank you for following!


      • Probably the US has that with most countries. But we were once a US colony and many of the agreements then are still held until now. For example, we get American protection as long as we give them our raw materials for cheaper and then they can hand over to us all of their surplus.

        I’m not a very big fan of McDonald’s too (or McDo as we call it). And yes, McDo localizes its menu. Maybe it’s a form of glocalization. Most foreigners are surprised that chicken here comes with rice. And even though I don’t like it, I still get cravings for it if I’m not able to eat there for a while. Maybe it’s also part of conditioning. McDo here is connected with family team or time with friends. It hits home because we’re a communal country. So it has a lot of good memories for most of us — like being five and your mom taking you there after church then you go watch a movie.

        Oh by the way, I have a friend in Anthro who didn’t believe in Evolution because she was very Christian. After units of Physical Anthro, of course she finally understood the concept and accepted it, even until now. 🙂

        Good work on your blog! Yay for spreading anthro stuff on the web. 🙂


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