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Global Challenges, Local Responses, and the Role of Anthropology


Chapter 27 Global Challenges, Local Responses, and the Role of Anthropology Chapter Preview What Can Anthropologists Tell Us of the Future? What Are the Cultural ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Global Challenges, Local Responses, and the Role of Anthropology

Chapter 27
  • Global Challenges, Local Responses, and the Role
    of Anthropology

Chapter Preview
  • What Can Anthropologists Tell Us of the Future?
  • What Are the Cultural Trends in Our Globalizing
  • What Problems Must Be Solved for Humans to Have a
    Viable Future?

Cultural Future of Humanity
  • Anthropologists unlike futurist projections try
    to view things in context, further than 50 years
    from the present.
  • They have a long-term historical perspective and
    recognize culture bound biases.
  • Anthropologists are concerned with the tendency
    to treat traditional societies as obsolete when
    they appear to stand in the way of development.

Global Culture
  • Since the 1950s it has been a belief that
    eventually the world will become one large
    homogeneous culture.
  • Evident through such things as fast food chains
    and soda companies like Pepsi and Coca Cola.
  • Meaning that if a North American were to travel
    abroad, no matter the destination, they would see
    a similar culture to their own in North America.
  • Do you think this could be possible?

World Migrations
  • Migration continues to have a significant effect
    on world social geography, contributing to
    culture change, to the diffusion of ideas and
    innovations, and to the complex mixture of
    cultures in the world today.
  • Internal migration occurs within the boundaries
    of a country.
  • External migration is movement from one country
    or region to another.

World Migrations
  • Prior to the mid-20th century, three types of
    external migration were most important
  • Voluntary- in search of better opportunities
  • Forced- people who have been driven from their
    homelands by war, environmental disasters, or
    transported as slaves
  • Imposed- not entirely forced but made advisable
    by the circumstances.

Global Culture, Good?
  • In theory it might sound like a world with more
    peace and less misunderstandings of differing
  • The reality is that it is unlikely that cultures
    will change into one similar culture especially
    if they are being forced to quickly do so by
    outside powerful nations.
  • What is created are poorer peasant communities
    who are in the crosshairs of westernization and
    their indigenous life ways.
  • Since they failed to change quick enough for the
    western corporate powerhouses.

Ethnic Resurgence
  • The presence of westernization is glaringly
    obvious worldwide with the diffusion of western
    food, clothes, music, etc.
  • This does not mean it is accepted. There is an
    increase of ethnic pressure against
  • Resistance against globalization is becoming much
    more frequent.

Cultural Pluralism Multiculturalism
  • So what is the future?
  • Chances are it includes a world with
    multiculturalism- a public policy of mutual
    respect and tolerance for cultural differences.
  • Ethnic tension, common in pluralistic societies,
    sometimes turns violent, leading to formal
  • To manage cultural diversity within such
    societies, some countries have adopted
    multiculturalism as an official public policy.

Transnational Cultural Flows in a Global
  • Anthropologist Arjun Appadurai marks out five
    global spaces or dimensions in which
    transnational cultural flows occur, identifying
    them as scapes (meaning something crafted,
    configured, or transformed by humans)
  • Ethnoscapes the fluid and shifting landscape of
  • Technoscapes the global configuration of
    technologies moving at high speeds across
    previously restrictive borders.

  • Financescapes the global crossroads of currency
    speculation and financial transfers.
  • Mediascapes the distribution of electronic media
    capabilities to produce and spread information,
    plus the large complex repertoire of narratives
    and visual images generated by these media.
  • Ideoscapes ideologies produced by the state and
    alternative ideologies developed by non-state and
    counter-hegemonic forces, around which societies
    organize their political cultures and collective
    cultural identities.

Structural Power
  • Structural power is the power that organizes and
    orchestrates the systemic interaction within and
    among societies.
  • Often directing economic and political forces on
    the one hand and ideological forces that shape
    public ideas, values, and beliefs on the other.

Structural Power
  • Two major interacting forces of structural power
  • Hard power is the type of power that is backed up
    by economic and military force.
  • Soft power is the type of power that is co-optive
    where ones ideas are pressed onto others through
    attraction and persuasion to change ones ideas,
    beliefs, or values.

Economic Hard Power
  • Large corporations which are usually a cluster of
    several smaller corporations held together by
    common interest, money, and strategy are
    controlled by one group in one country.
  • Their power and wealth, often exceeding that of
    national governments, has increased dramatically
    through media expansion.

Economic Hard Power
  • Mega corporations have enormous influence on the
    ideas and behavior of hundreds of millions of
    people worldwide.
  • States and corporations compete for scarce
    natural resources, cheap labor, new commercial
    markets, and ever-larger profits in a political
    arena that spans the entire globe.

Structural Violence
  • Structural violence is physical and/or
    psychological harm (including repression,
    environmental destruction, poverty, hunger,
    illness, and premature death) caused by
    impersonal, exploitative, and unjust social,
    political, and economic systems.
  • Current structures are poised to offer wealth,
    power, and comfort for a lucky few and poverty,
    suffering, and death for the majority.

  • In 1750, 1 billion people lived on earth.
  • By 1950, nearly 2.5 billion.
  • Between 1950 and 2000 the world population soared
    above 6 billion.
  • Today, India and China have more than 1 billion
    inhabitants each.
  • Population projections suggest that global
    population will peak around 2050 at about 9.37
    billion people.

  • Replacement reproduction, the point at which
    birthrates and death rates are in equilibrium
    people producing only enough offspring to replace
    themselves when they die.
  • Even with the replacement reproduction the
    population will continue to grow for 50 years or

  • Western societies have protected their
    environment only when a crisis warranted.
  • Many of the worlds developing countries have
    policies for population growth that conflict with
    other policies.
  • A direct threat to humanity.

Hunger and Obesity
  • Currently over a quarter of the worlds countries
    do not produce enough food to feed their
    populations and cannot afford to import what is
  • Most of these countries are in Saharan Africa.
  • What is ironic is that while millions of people
    go without food daily, millions of people eat too
    much food daily.
  • Obesity is not solely related to overeating, it
    is also related to the high sugar and fat content
    found in food.

Global Pollution
  • Air and water pollution appear to be the direct
    result of the human hand. The largest negative
    side effect of agribusiness is environmental
  • Pollutants cause the development of acid
    precipitation, which damages soil, vegetation,
    and wildlife.
  • Most atmospheric scientists believe that the
    greenhouse effect is being enhanced by increased
    carbon dioxide, methane, and other gases produced
    by industrial and agricultural activities.

The Culture of Discontent
  • As previously mentioned the worlds poorest
    countries have been told that they can and should
    enjoy a standard of living comparable to that of
    the rich countries.
  • The resources necessary to maintain such a
    luxurious standard of living are limited. Non
    renewable resources would quickly disappear at
    such a high rate of consumption.
  • This growing gap between expectations and
    realizations has led to the creation of a culture
    of discontent.

The Culture of Discontent
  • The culture of discontent is not limited to poor
    and overpopulated countries.
  • It can be found among the most wealthy and
    enduring nations.
  • Where the people are spending money to obtain
    material riches which often lead to more