Anthropology: What is Naturalization?

Topics: Anthropology, Race and Ethnicity, Sociology Pages: 3 (725 words) Published: October 28, 2012
ANTH 1002: Introducing Anthropology
Week 11 Lecture Plan
1.  What is naturalisation?
·        Social stratification or inequality is invariably maintained by a process which anthropologists (and others) term naturalisation.  By naturalisation we mean that hierarchy comes to be seen as ‘natural’ and therefore as being beyond question. ·        In other words, naturalisation results in inequality being seen as emanating from something outside society or social/political processes.  Naturalisation leads the members of a society to accept the stratification/inequalities found there, and even to feel that those inequalities reflect the way things ought to be.  Consequently, some people have argued that naturalisation serves to justify inequality and so to maintain it. ·        Different cultures naturalise hierarchy in different ways, according to their own sets of beliefs and understandings. In Gerai, hierarchy is naturalised in terms of the concept of predestination: some households are said to have more wealth and status than others because it is predestined to be so. In Western societies hierarchy is commonly naturalised in terms of biology or genetics: people are said to be more successful than others because of certain biological/genetic attributes which they are seen to possess. ‘Intelligence’ is perhaps the most important of these; others include ‘drive’, ‘ambition’ and ‘perseverance’. ·        The concept  of race has been important in naturalising hierarchy in some societies. 2.  What is race?

·        When Australians and other Westerners speak of people as being from different races, we generally mean that they have different capabilities – especially intellectual and moral capabilities – and that these different capabilities emanate from biological differences between them. In this model skin colour, but also physiognomy and the size and shape of the body, are seen as especially important markers of racial...
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