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Culture and Personality
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Thursday, 28 August 2014, 02:13 (02:13 AM) CDT, day 240 of 2014
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W.H.R. Rivers

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"Everything is Relatives:
William Rivers"

Strangers Abroad Series

52 min., 1990, VC 1795

 

The book by Pat Barker, Regneration

 
Abstract Terms / Concepts Notes Maps
Cultures Sites Individuals References and Resources
 

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"William Rivers originally trained as a doctor. On a Cambridge University expedition to the Torres Straits north of Australia, his psychological tests on the islanders made him realize the unexpected importance of relatives in their society. His subsequent work as a pioneering psychologist in the First World War and his research into the workings of the nervous system bring something new to anthropology: a scientific approach. His field study with a hill tribe in southern India, the Todas, ultimately set the trend for anthropologists to go and visit the cultures in which they were interested, rather than staying at home theorizing." -- Strangers Abroad

"Without Rivers what came after 1922 would not have been possible" -- Sir Edmund Leach

Erica Schneider

W.H.R. Rivers, by Richard Slobodin.

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W.H.R. Rivers -- Wikipedia

Search for W.H.R. Rivers on JSTORE

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Terms / Concepts:

  • Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to the Torres Straits (map) -- see below

  • "The Geneological Method"

  • "informant" = "respondent"

  • moiety

    • describes the two groups by which all Toda clans (15) are divided

    • among the Todas (India) = Tharthar and Teivali

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  • "kin"
    • "blood relatives"

  • "affines"
    • "or 'inlaws', as we call them"
    • relatives by marriage

  • 1 furlong = 1/8 mile (201 meters)

  • exogamy / endogamy

    • village exogamy

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  • different color perception

  • "survivals"

  • "instinctive tendencies"

  • mechanisms of change

    • diffusion
    • invention
    • migration

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Notes:

  • Viewing Notes -- Catherine Timura

  • W. H. R. Rivers

    • examined the mental characteristics of the people of Torres Straits by examing their senses

      • starting with what he new best -- visual perception

      Muller-Lyer Illusion.  

       

      Muller-Lyer Illusion.
      “carpentered-world
      hypothesis”

      Müller-Lyer Illusions
      F.C. Müller-Lyer 1889
      Wikipedia

      • researched color perception

        • thought that differences in color perception ran in familes, and hence got into family research. . . .

    • Hypothesis: Differencs in color perception might run in families.

      • This led to "The Geneological Method."

    • was one of the first to emphasize fieldwork, and thought it was best to spend the most time possible with a group

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    • he wanted to make anthropology a science

      • it was said that he hoped his epitaph would read "He Made Anthropology a Science."

    • was one of the first anthropologists to study seriously the idea of morality

      • "there is no word for adultery in Toda"
        • and they did not consider it wrong

      • recognized that there were rules, however, though the rules were different

    • was one of the first scientists to recognize the problems with observer bias

    • introduced new psycho-analytic approaches to the treatment of shell-shocked sodiers of WWI
    • Rivers was most proud of The History of Melanesian Society, 2 Vols. (1914 Cambridge University Press; Reprinted, Humanities Press, 1968)
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  • Cf., gift giving -- "total Prestation"

  • Cf., George Foster

    • "Image of the Limited Good"

  • Cf., Louise and George Spindler

    • Spindler G. ­ 1955. Sociocultural and Psychological Processes in Menomini Acculturation. Berkeley: Univ. Calif. Press.
    • Spindler L. ­ 1962. Menomini Women and Culture Change: Memoir 91. Menasha, WI: Am. Anthropol. Assoc.


  • talking to plants

    • name plants
    • name animals


  • forced assimilation -- Somalians

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Cultures:

  • Torres Straits Islanders

  • Todas (India)

    • polyandry

      • the Toda practice "adelphic," or "fraternal," polyandry

        • husbands are brothers

      • the "bow and arrow ceremony"

        • pater (sociological father) vs. genitor (biological father)

        • Rivers thought it was a "survival" from the past


      • dairy shrines were run by dairymen who were also priests "dairymen priests"

        • Rivers recognized that these highly ritualized buffalo cults were also a religion
          • deity = Tarkesh

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    • cross-cousin marriage

    • infant marriage
      • 2 - 3 years of age

    • village exogamy

    • dairy shrines sacred
      • notions of "purity" dominate their lives

    • Rivers' work among the Toda never really involved a "total immersion" in their culture

      • Rivers, among the Todas, was an observer
      • he felt no need to participate
      • he was never far from "his own kind of people"

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Sites:

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Individuals:

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References and Resources:

Book by Richard Sliobodin, W.H.R. Rivers.

The poem on kinship in the video, said to be written by C. E. Fox, missionary and ethnographer friend of Rivers, appears on pp. 43-44 of the Sutton revised 1997 edition (Sutton Publishing, Ltd., Gloucestershire, England).

    Anthropological Thoughts

    The Doctor took his book in hand
    His pen was in his finger
    His foot was on a foreign strand --
    But there I need not linger.

    "Now how," said he, "if I may ask
    About your cousin's mother
    Would she attempt the simple task
    Of speaking of your brother?

    Ah yes, just so, ut if she were
    Your mother's uncle's sister
    How would your cousin's sister's aunt
    Address her when she kissed her?

    Yes that's a point I meant to add
    Your nephew's cousin's father
    If he an uncle's sister had
    (And neither of the two were mad)
    Would he respect her rather?

    But if your father's cousin's niece
    (His brother's cousin's mother)
    Were married to your father's son
    Would he be called your brother?

    Indeed, now this if it be so
    Is very interesting
    And really should not be I think
    The subject of your jesting.

    For if your father's mother's son
    Were nephew to your mother
    I really cannot understand
    Why she should call him "brother."

    Alas, Alas, for just before
    The doctor's mind could grip her
    A shout of laughter issued from
    The Cabin of the Skipper.

    (Haddon Envelope 12051)



  • Kinship and Social Organization: An Interactive Tutorial -- Brian Schwimmer

  • A Select Bibliography of Sources on Torres Strait -- Professor Clive Moore

  • THE TODAS -- W. H. R. RIVERS

Multiple Deployment, Duffy.

Multiple Deployments
Duffy 12/21/09
Duluth Budgeteer News (07 February 2010, p. 17)

~
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