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IGNOU BANC 108 Solved Assignment 2022-23
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Important Note – IGNOU BANC 108 Solved Assignment 2022-2023 Download Free You may be aware that you need to submit your assignments before you can appear for the Term End Exams. Please remember to keep a copy of your completed assignment, just in case the one you submitted is lost in transit.
Submission Date :
- 31st March 2033 (if enrolled in the July 2033 Session)
- 30th Sept, 2033 (if enrolled in the January 2033 session).
There are three Sections in the Assignment. Answer all the questions in all the three sections.
Answer any two of the following questions in about 500 words each. Each question carries 20 marks in Assignment one.
Answer the following questions in the about 250 words. Each question carries 10 marks in Assignment three.
Answer any two of the following questions in about 500 words each. 20×2
a. Describe the elements that leads to diffusion. Discuss the three schools of diffusionism highlighting their history and drawbacks.
Many of you would be aware of what happens when a drop of ink is placed on the surface of water in a cup or when a tea bag is immersed in a cup of water. We notice that as the drop of ink or tea bag comes in contact with water in the cup, colour spread from a region of its high concentration to the region of low concentration (i.e., from the drop of ink/tea bag towards the margins of the cup filled with water). Just as colour in our example, objects and ideas belonging to one culture spread over to other cultures. In our day-to-day lives we use objects that belong to people living far away from us. In fact, we tend to adopt and use a few of them so routinely that we tend to forget that they have come from elsewhere. You could think of noodles (which originally belongs to China but prepared in different ways and consumed in different parts of India). Two other examples of interest and relevance are: paper (first invented in China from where it spread to the West via the silk route and to other parts of the world); and fax machine (first developed in Germany and now used worldwide). The transmission of objects, customs, beliefs, ideas, and values from one culture to another or more cultures is referred to as diffusion.
ESSENTIAL FEATURES OF DIFFUSION
According to Linton (1936), diffusion takes place through three processes: a.) presentation of new cultural elements or traits; b.) acceptance of these cultural traits by society; and c.) integration of accepted cultural traits into the accepting culture. The following are important features of diffusion.
i) Diffusion of any cultural trait depends upon contact between the populations. The likelihood of diffusion between populations in close physical proximity of each other is greater than that between populations located far away from each other.
ii) The traits spread irregularly and at different speeds from their centres of origin. The nature and extent of diffusion of a cultural trait depends on the ease with which it can be transferred. Ease of transfer depends on the level of complexity and the ease with which it can be comprehended. Compare two cultural traits: an alphabet and a complex theory. You will agree that the alphabet will diffuse faster than a complex theory, because the former is easier to communicate and understand than the latter.
iii) The acceptance of a cultural trait by the receiving group depends on its utility for and compatibility with traits of the culture in which it is getting diffused. Those cultural traits that are of no use or are in conflict with the beliefs and values prevalent in the receiving culture are likely to be rejected.
iv) Changes or innovations in a cultural trait that has undergone diffusion lags behind the original cultural trait. Consider the example of plough that developed in region A and has reached regions B, C and D through the process of diffusion. Now, people in region A improve certain features of the plough. The new features will not spread as fast as the original version of the plough did. The advanced plough will take a long time to reach and replace the older one at all the places.
v) Diffusion of single cultural trait does take place, however, those cultural traits that are functionally related get diffused together. Diffusions of tea, for example, gets linked with various methods of brewing it. Surely, in the course of diffusion, new methods of brewing tea developed in places of its spread and these got diffused too.
vi) Extent of distribution of a cultural trait is not deterministic of its age. It is not correct to assume that a trait which is more widely distributed is older in its origin, that the one which is scarcely distributed because certain traits or set of traits tend to get diffused faster than other. This is determined by the nature of trait.
SCHOOLS OF DIFFUSIONISM
The fundamental premise of diffusion is often contrasted with that of the evolutionary theory. While the evolutionary theory assumes that human beings are creative and that innovations will be developed independently in different societies (which is why all societies are expected to develop innovations characterising the evolutionary stage they are in), diffusion assumes that human beings are, largely, conservative and uninventive and they tend to borrow cultural traits that have originated at one or more but specific places(s). Diffusionism challenged the basic proposition that all societies pass through the same stages of evolution. Instead, diffusionists argued that there is/are distinct centre(s). It is from this/these centre(s) of culture(s) that cultural traits spread to different regions through the process of diffusion. While agreeing on the basic postulate of spread of cultural traits from specific center(s), diffusionists differed on other counts. The following are three prominent schools of diffusionists.
British School of Diffusion
The founder of the British School of diffusion was Graffon Elliot Smith. Both Smith and his disciple William James Perry insisted that cultures originated in Egypt. They argued that it was from Egypt that cultures spread to different parts of the world. You might want to know why Smith identified Egypt as the centre of all cultures. Smith was a well-known anatomist and surgeon who went to Egypt to study the anatomy of mummies. He was so impressed with the Egyptians’ procedure of mummification, their pyramids and large monuments of stone that he postulated (i) the stone monuments in Egypt were the forerunners of megalithic structures much like the Stonehenge in England; and (ii) Egypt was the only place on earth where ancient culture originated and spread to other parts of the world.
German-Austrian School of Diffusion
The German-Austrian School of diffusion was founded by Fredrick Ratzel. Some of the other proponents were Leo Frobenius, Fritz Graebner and Father Withelm Schmidt. German-Austrian diffusionists differed from British diffusionists chiefly on following counts: unlike the latter, they maintained that (i) there were not one but many centers of culture; (ii) culture complexes diffused in totality rather than in bits-and-pieces as through singular traits. Interestingly, they assumed that similarity between cultures was due to contact between them some time in history. Even cultures situated far apart from each other were assumed to have come in contact sometime if similarity existed between them. Thus, similarity between cultures was accounted for by diffusion. They identified two kinds of similarities. The first was based on functional reasons for example sharpness of spears. Now, spears would have sharp points everywhere because if it were not so, they would be useless. The other kinds of similarity were based on historical contact, for example presence of matrilineal descent in two cultures. Ratzel proposed ‘criterion of form’ which could be stated as: ‘similarity between two culture elements which do not automatically arise out of the nature, material, or purpose of the traits or objects should be interpreted as resulting from diffusion, regardless of the distance which separates the two instances’ (Harris 1968:384). In fact, Ratzel examined similarities in bow-shaft, mechanism of fastening of bow strings, material they are made from and the way on which features are attached to the arrows in Africa and in Australia. He maintained that since these features had nothing to do with how the bow and arrow would function, it was safe to conclude that the similarities were due to historical contact leading to diffusion between Africa and Australia. In other words, he explained that the similarity is not due to functional reasons (i.e., not because the design was the one that was best suited for hunting). Rather, the similarity was due to (i) historical connection between them; and (ii) similarity in psychological makeup of people in the two regions. Ratzel’s ‘criterion of form’ was called ‘criterion of quality’ by Schmidt.
IGNOU BANC 108 Solved Assignment 2022-23
b. Discuss new ethnography and contemporary changes.
NEW VERSUS OLD ETHNOGRAPHY
Moving on from the brief introduction, let us now try to compare the differences between Old (i.e., traditional) and New Ethnography.
1) Old ethnography was written from the viewpoint of the so called ‘western gaze’ towards the little known, simple societies located in far-off places. Quite often these were part of the colonies or belonged to territories colonised by Europeans.Today researchers also undertake ethnography in their own social environment, although there is greater trend of still studying those located elsewhere.
2) Positivism was the basis of old ethnography, i.e., scientific knowledge based on empirical data which was taken to be the only way to the ‘truth’. New ethnography is post-positivist with the understanding that there are multiple truths, multiple voices, multiple perspectives in the study of a people and all of these needs to be taken into consideration.
3) In traditional ethnography, data was collected from informants living in the far-flung field areas. This data was then scientifically analysed and presented in the form of a text. Today, the researcher is also the informant – since he/ she plays an ‘active role’ in the narration of the ethnography.
4) Old ethnography was mostly text-based – with data from field areas presented in prose form with first-person quotations (of the informant) interspersed within the text, though infrequently. New ethnography takes multiple forms – as dialogues, poems, songs, narratives etc., and is in some cases collaborative in nature.
TYPES OF NEW ETHNOGRAPHY
The word ‘reflexive’ comes from the Latin reflexus, meaning ‘bent back’, which in turn comes from reflectere– ‘to reflect’. Reflexivity, thus, is the process of reflection, which takes itself as the object; in the most basic sense, it refers to reflecting on oneself as the object of provocative, unrelenting thought and contemplation (Nazaruk 2011: 73). This process has given a focus on the ethnographer’s proverbial self: self-examination, self-strategies, self-discovery, self-intuition, self-critique, self-determination, and selfhood (ibid.p.74). Reflexivity in anthropology is an outcome of three critical episodes that took place. First, the acknowledgement that the discipline of anthropology was European-centric (or having the western gaze) in its approaches and researches; and hence unwittingly it was involved in extending issues of inequality as a result of European colonization. This approach was critically assessed by authors such as Dell Hymesand Talal Asad. Second, the emergence of the feminist movement had a strong impact on anthropology, which was accused of being androcentric so far. The feminist intervention led to an emphasis on positionality – a reflexivity that is enacted through the explicit acknowledgment and theoreticisation of the “situatedness and partiality of all claims to knowledge” (Marcus 1998: 198). Third, the 1967 publication of Malinowski’s field diaries (A Diary in the Strict Sense of the Term) revealed the subjectivity in Malinowski’s fieldwork even though he had covered it up in his monograph. He was now known to curse his subjects (the Trobriand people) in his diary, but he edified their human condition in his ethnographic monograph (Nazaruk 2011).
The word auto in autoethnography refers to the ‘self’ (auto); therefore, in autoethnography it refers to the turning of the ethnographic gaze inward on the self (auto), while maintaining the outward gaze of ethnography looking at the larger context wherein self-experiences occur (Denzin 1997: 227). The term ‘autoethnography’ was first coined by Raymond Firth in his seminar on structuralism in 1966 (Hayano 1979). In his lecture, Firth made a reference to Jomo Kenyatta’s study of his native Kikuyu people. He narrated how when Kenyatta first presented his field material in Malinowski’s seminar, he touched off a heated shouting match with another Kikuyu speaker a white African, L. S. B. Leakey. Their argument raised the question of judging the validity of anthropological data by assessing the characteristics, interests, and origin of the person who did the fieldwork.
Have you ever played a team sport? When we look at the game of cricket or football, we can understand the importance of all the players involved. Each player has a role to play – in the former, the captain has to guide, the fielder’s field, the batsman bats, the bowler bowls, the wicket keeper attempts to keep the wicket etc. When a team wins, even though one or two players might have been outstanding; it is taken as a team effort. If the whole team plays together according to a plan, then the team wins. This is how team ethnography also works! Ethnography is usually thought to be a solitary work, but much fieldwork and eventual ethnography is team oriented. Ken Erickson and Donald Stull say: “Teams are made up of players, and players have roles to play and jobs to do. Roles must be defined, and players must accept and carry them out, no less in the field than on the field” (1998: 61). Team ethnography works in two ways – (a) a number of researchers work on a project – each of whom have a defined role to play, and (b) collaborative research in which the researched (i.e., subjects/ informants) are co-researchers or copartners or research participants in the conduct and writing of an ethnography
Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. 10×2
a. Write a note on cultural ecology and Julian Steward’s contribution.
b. Discuss Malinowski’s and his contribution to functionalism.
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IGNOU BANC 108 Solved Assignment 2022-23
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Answer any two of the following questions in about 150 words each. 5×2
b. Symbolic approach
c. The Manchester School
d. Feminist approach in anthropology
e. Ruth Fulton Benedict
Answer the following questions in the about 250 words 10×3=30
a. Explain what is a theory? Examine the need for a theory in an ethnographic study.
b. Prepare a synopsis on the study of religious aspects in a society. Write a note on
which theory you would apply to study the topic with relevant justifications.
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IGNOU BANC 108 Solved Assignment 2022-23
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