The four fields…plus.
Tag Archives: cultural anthropology
Propiopasta and Culture
I’d much rather maintain a collectivist, communitarian perspective; but, when it comes to defining culture – and, don’t worry, we’ll get to pasta soon enough – I’ve always liked how Ward Goodenough distinguished between private culture and culture in general, Cf. Cooperation in Change (1963:260). In Culture, Language, and Society (1971:31, 1981:98), Goodenough subsequently coined the term propriospect to shed additional light on this important distinction in perspective. Let’s look at culture in general first and then propriospect (Goodenough 1981:98) … and then PASTA:
Culture consists of
standards for deciding what is,
standards for deciding what can be,
standards for deciding how one feels about it,
standards for deciding what to do about it, and
standards for deciding how to go about doing it.
Propriospect [An individual’s private, subjective view of the world and of its contents – his or her “personal outlook.” Note: Goodenough considered using the Greek derivative, idiorama, but ultimately went with the Latinate, propriospect. See? We’re closing in on pasta!]
Included in a person’s propriospect and indeed, dominating its content are the various standards for perceiving, evaluating, believing, and doing that he attributes to other persons as a result of his experience of their actions and admonitions.
Simply put, propriospect is to culture as ideolect is to language.
I think it’s very helpful to look at culture(s) from both of these COGNITIVELY-ORIENTED perspectives simultaneously and in all cases. Otherwise, we might easily get carried away by overlooking Goodenough’s distinction and embracing only one perspective to the detriment of the other. For example, in pasta making…
Practical Hermeneutics, Living Context, and the Deep End
I’m still thinking about Between, mirrors, and inter-independent subjectivity in relation to interpreting and understanding texts of all sorts, tangible and intangible. Weren’t you just asking about that? We so underestimate sense making and, consequently, settle for less and less. I’m thinking political discourse, marketing, educational psychology, etc.. We’re told we’ll go off the deep end if we unglue ourselves from the loyalty wall and approach sense making eclectically, pragmatically, and collaboratively. Soon each of us will be hopping around and around in a private, one-legged sack race, taking personal responsibility for one one-hundredth of his or her cognitive capital and sacrificing the rest to what, an antiquated but persistent hermeneutical habit?
But wait! “Cada uno es hijo de sus obras.” Aha! Cervantes had Sancho Panza himself say this in Part I, Chapter 47 of Don Quijote de la Mancha. Who better than Sancho to balance things off, turn things up-side-down and inside-out? Roughly translated, We are the children of our works. Oh, the offsprings? Never mind.
Just Another Night … Take My Wife-Please
Why didn’t I think of this in the first place?
(Here’s what I mean by “the first place.” I did this same drawing in another post entitled Stand-Up Anthropology with a different twist and corresponding word bubble roughly related to the old comedic phrase, take my wife. As I was doing that post, it occurred to me that it might be even more anthropologically relevant and perhaps funnier, per se, for a female comedian to utter that old line in a regular comedy-club setting.)
$20.00 says there’s a cultural alternative to “Take my wife – please.”
What would Henny Youngman say?