Studies on anthropology have been on the peripheries of social science in a couple of decades. Given the complexity of human existence and behavior, anthropologists are taking into researches to establish certain patterns and their origins, cultural and multi-cultural transformations, the onset and impact of globalization among other facets that drive human existence. While focusing on empirical research. Anthropologists such as Jason De Leon has conjured the historical nature of immigration and relating the recounted events with the nature of the society today. Having read the story, there are general similarities that can be drawn when comparing with theoretical and methodological explanations of what shapes anthropology (De León, Jason, 2015). The ethnographic works are fundamentally central in analyzing changes, impacts and the trends that have led to the current situation not only in the U.S. but in other countries as well. The context of the story shows compelling links in the common concepts of anthropology in modern society.
The work of Jason De Leon named The Land of Open Graves narrates the tragic stories of immigrants that explores alternative perspectives of the human nature. In his work, Jason tells the story in three distinct parts that show sequential actions taken by the U.S. government to brutally eliminate immigration. In the first part, the author narrates prevention through deterrence where human and non-human actors are deployed to brutally end lives by slaying innocent immigrants. The death tunnels and the unbearable desert conditions are the human actors while the sexual harassment and robbery perpetrated by human portray the roles of human actors. In the second part, which is the dangerous ground, the deliberate effort by the U.S. government draws the attention of governance in existence.
Thirdly, the neuroviolence ruling society is depicted in the last chapters of the book. This combination of concepts has a close attachment to the anthropology thoughts under development. In this particular story, anthropologist Jason De León analyzes the various facets of the United States’ contemporary migration regulations together with Mexico. This author prudently utilizes an all-rounded anthropological’ approach joining forensic concepts semantics, ethnography, and historical relationships to explain the events of this horrific immigration period. In doing as such, the human outcomes of the constrained immigration are evidently reflective of certain traits in the modern state of America. In evaluating how this fits into the modern understanding of anthropology, the concept like the rise of materialism in the developed countries, the U.S. being the mother of them all.
A ritual that I recently celebrated with family was that of thanksgiving in November last year. This was one of the most joyous celebrations that we had all through the year as it brought together other family members that we rarely get to meet. During this Thanksgiving Day, all our close relatives had a dinner together to celebrate and give thanks for many blessings that we enjoyed. The striking aspects of this ritual were the traditional dishes, the commemoration of our relatives who had passed on and thanking God for the fullness of time. The Thanksgiving ritual is deeply rooted in America and as it is, it has evolved over time, just like the human race. This ritual is wholesome as it touches on materialistic aspects, relationships and social-cultural implications. This would be very appealing and provocative in Lewis Henry’s theory of cultural evolution as analyzed.
In Lewis Morgan’s point of view, culture on its own has evolved. How people interact and what is shared among people has deviated from the common perspective of culture. Relating it to the Thanksgiving ritual, this anthropologist would pry to find out if the ritual has gained more meaning as compared to back in the day. To add value to his theory positing that technology has driven cultural evolution, a first-hand research would benefit him greatly. In retrospect, the sentimental aspect of agricultural produce and what traditional foods meant would have made greater sense if he referenced such a ritual. However, as time elapses, Lewis could probably develop a substantive argument based on his proposition that human social life has changed and that cultural aspects remain intact. This is evident from the Thanksgiving ritual and could be a good point of reference for the theory (Fortes and Meyer, 2013).
The reading that struck me most was that of Codifications of Reality, Lineal and Non-lineal. Learning this concept was mind-boggling especially because of the very unusual nature of the cultural group that offered an extreme illustration of diversity in the human race. The primary precepts of this concept are simple yet complex to interrelate. The reality, lineal and non-lineal codifications of life. First, there is realist in ethnography that cannot be evaded. According to Lee, reality ought to be viewed differently because this is the actual sense of it in the world. However, the normal humans have taken reality and assumed it to be linear. The comparison between how Trobriander perceive life and behave can make one question what reality means. Reality for Trobrianders varies in all senses and thus their codification for this is totally non-liner.
Explaining lineal and non-lineal situations of life, anthropologists tend to reveal a biased approach by human behavior. The cited examples make a great deal of sense. Human beings, except the Trobrianders, are naturally inclined to arrange things sequentially, chronologically and possibly in order of sizes. This happens unconsciously yet no clear origin can be traced for this kind of action. Wherever it started, the lineal string has been passed down genealogies. In this cloud, there occurs the bias in human though every other person on earth has to think, act and behave just like those before them. This strikes the lineal life in their reality. Amazingly, the Trobrianders, against all odds have a peculiar way of doing things. Their love life is convoluted, their eating habits, very rare and unusual among other things. The question that remained relevant in this understanding is whether there is reality, then why humans should be inclined to lineal reality.
In the light of the milestones made in dissecting anthropology theories, human existence is found to evolve from time to time. Cultural functions have greatly deviated in meaning and purpose largely due to globalization, cultural shifts, and human freedoms among other things. The reality of life as can be concluded from Lee’s perspective happens to lie in one’s own mental perspective about life. There shouldn’t be generalizations, no assumptions and no clear-cut of how one behaves. The lineal imagination of life is strongly disapproved because of the varied realization of reality to different people. This stretch of diversity digs even deeper into core concepts of anthropology in the modern day.
De León, Jason. The land of open graves: Living and dying on the migrant trail. Vol. 36. Univ of California Press, 2015.
Fortes, Meyer. Kinship and the Social Order.: The Legacy of Lewis Henry Morgan. Routledge, 2013.