Eating Christmas in the Kalahari

Topics: Anthropology, Cultural anthropology, Sociology Pages: 3 (906 words) Published: December 11, 2005
The sources of cultural misunderstanding made by the anthropologists in the readings from Spradley and McCurdy are affected by many factors including naive realism, culture shock and fully understanding what is culturally and ethically appropriate. Naive realism is the belief that people see the world in the same way, and culture shock is a condition of confusion and feelings of loneliness and anxiety experienced by someone suddenly entering a new culture. "Eating Christmas in the Kalahari" by Richard Lee is a perfect example of naive realism. Lee thought that Christmas would be seen throughout the world in a similar manner. As Lee stated, individual who celebrate this holiday feel "Christmas is supposed to be the day of friendship and brotherly love"(Lee, Eating Christmas in the Kalahari pg 20). Therefore, Lee wanted to give a gift out of the spirit of Christmas. The !Kung feel individuals' should be humble about gift giving. If you are not modest, they will knock your ego down a few notches. Even though Lee's feelings were hurt in this situation, it only occurred because of the cultural misunderstanding between Lee and the !Kung. The meaning of giving for the !Kung is dramatically different, than Lee has ever experienced. The basis of the misunderstanding for Laura Bohannan in "Shakespeare in the Bush" is her own naive realism. Naive realism is the tendency to believe our culture mirrors a reality shared by everyone(Bohannan, Shakespeare in the Bush pg 23). The problem that occurs in this article is Bohannan attempts to retell the story of Hamlet. Bohannan encounters different interpretation by the Tiv elders, when it came to certain climatic events and particular motives by the characters in Hamlet. For example the one important event in the story for most individuals is the fact that Hamlet's father appears as a ghost and tells...
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