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Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture.Feminist Archeology Essay

This refers to a feminist perspective used in interpreting the past societies. The main focus is on gender in relation to class, race or sexuality. This archeology was critiquing the very uncritical modern, western values applications that were being used to look at the area of archeology. Feminist anthropology has three waves with the first wave occurring between1850 and 1920, the second wave was between 1920 and 1980 and the third wave which still exists to now started in 1980’s.

The first wave

The main concern coming from the first wave was the need to ensure women voices are taken into account in area of Ethnography. They wanted any little information that women contributed to Ethnography to be included in all records of data that are available or have recognized men who participated in the same field. Margaret Conkey together with Janet Spector wrote a paper entitled ‘Archaeology and the study of Gender’ in 1992 which was critiquing the way the then archeologists were overlaying the modern Western Gender values and norms on past societies like on matters of division of labor based on Gender, of which all the contexts or artifacts only attributed to tasks done by men and all the characters related to the discipline were attributed to only masculine values. Women on the other hand were asked to take professions relating to laboratory studies rather than field work (Clea, 13).

Clifford believes that during the second wave, the female archeologists started focusing on academic sphere separating sex and gender notions, which had been used interchangeably during previous periods. Gender had been used to refer to the male and the female, their cultural construction and the relationship that existed between the two. Even though gender definitions vary from one culture to another, the feminist anthropologists were against the broad generalizations that were being done. The female archeologist in the second phase also rejected the concept of inherent dichotomies like whom between a man and a woman was to remain home or go to work. Research done during this second wave was developed in a materialistic perspective. Theories touching on social relations researched on women, production and reproduction factors associated with them. Many scholars that follow this Marxist theory focus on gender and how it relates to changes in production modes, power social relations and class (23).

According to Clea (12), the third wave that occurred in 1980’s expanded their focus beyond gender, to include archeology and physical anthropology. They focus on the difference existing between women rather than between the males and females. They focus on differences that come as a result of race, class, and even ethnicity. They also encouraged consideration in other categories like religion, age, status and occupation, what they mean and how they relate with each other, moving away from the male and female concept.

Power was a crucial factor during the third wave as it gave the females an opportunity to construct their identity, hence the need for a ‘fragmented theoretical approach’ that focuses on a particular fragmented subject.

The point’s female theories were reacting to.

According to Clea (41), first wave feminist anthropologists were reacting to the fact that discussion on women only focused on areas of marriage and family, with little regard on women issues and gender leading to a very deficient understanding on general human experience. The female archeologists also criticized the language that was being used in the discipline, especially the word ‘man’ which was in a way very ambiguous, because at one point it referred to all homo sapiens and sometimes it was referring to the male population in general.

According to Clifford (39), second wave feminists on the other hand were criticizing Durkheim’s notion which recognized having a static system, which can easily be broken down in inherent dichotomies. The female anthropologists argued that the social system is very dynamic as the social relations at the end of they come down on practice. Feminist Anthropologists who emerged during the post-structuralist time criticized cultural feminism theory which was opposed by Mary Daly together with Adrienne Rich. The theory believed in the existence of a male or female essence which validated traditional roles performed by the male or female folks. The theorists focused on women’s tenderness, sentimental and her subjectivity as her main self awareness. Those opposing the theory claimed that it ignored the oppressive nature of the traditional values on the women population.

Clea asserts that further criticisms were from the African-American archeologists together with other people from ethnics, who represented the minority population, who questioned the power of questions that were being asked by earlier feminist anthropologists. Audrey Lorde wrote to Mary Daly questioning her view that the oppression women faced were identical in women of all races. It views that the early female anthropologists like Zora Neale were excluded from matters Anthropology, not because she did not have a PHD but because of her race. The African-female anthropologists believe that black anthropologists continue to be ignored or marginalized despite their great contribution to archeology (23).

Globalization is a major force in redefining society today. Discuss the effects of migration on the nation-state. Also, what does it mean to be a trans-border citizen?

Joseph defines Globalization as set of processes that embodies transformation of social relations or transactions which have been expressed in transcontinental and interregional networks of activities power and interactions. It has been categorized in four kinds of changes with the first focusing on stretching of economic, social and political processes across regions, continents and frontiers. The second kind involves the intensification of interconnectedness and smooth flow of investment, trade, finances, culture and migration (2).

Nicole explains that while the third is linked to speeding of global processes and interaction procedures, as there is development of global transport systems and communication platforms which increases the rate at which people share ideas, capital, information and capital. The fourth focuses on the fast rate global interactions which show the effects of distant activities can have a great significance elsewhere and how specific local development in one country can affect global development. All these four kinds of globalization shows us that boundaries that exist between local issues and global matters have become increasingly fluid, hence it is widening, growing, intensifying and increasing the impact of global interconnectedness (21).

Effects of migrating on a nation-state

According to Joseph (28), migrating on a nation state reduces the sovereignty of a country due to the acceptance by the nation to use international law and abide by the human rights principle which legitimizes the international community to intervene if a country is not treating the immigrants well. In addition due to globalization effects, migration among nation states reduces a nation’s Autonomy by transnational corporation powers and supranational bodies which reduce a nation’s capacity to create and implement policies and decisions that are touching on economical, social and political issues.

Held &McGrew believe that a country’s authority on border control is undermined by migration due to burgeoning cross-border frequent flows of capital, ideas, migrants and commodities. If elected officials of different nations no longer have the power to make national decisions due to supranational level, democracy reduces a lot due to lack of popular representation. This migration also undermines the important link between states and their nations, due to diverse and huge mobile populations with affiliations in various states, reducing space for individual races. It will also see a decline in welfare state because of huge corporations and international markets having authority to restrict intervention by affected nations, as they demand deregulation and privatization (34).

Nicole believes that Western states have predominated; the global stage in organizing politics, identity, culture and economic development of many nations especially developing countries. Globalization has led to the proliferation of many transnational communities leading to increased mobility across borders of populations, as they increase the possibility of maintaining very close links between their homeland and co-ethnics happening elsewhere (18).

According to Held & McGrew, (12) trans-border citizens are also given the opportunity to erode border-control protocols as they decline the link existing between the citizen and his nation. In addition, they undermine the territorial sovereignty of a nation, as a result of creating cross-border links that are very durable, divided loyalties and many multiple identities.

Using Terry Eagleton’s book, Across the Pond, as a starting point, discuss the meaning and symbolic representation of individualism in American culture

During the past many Americans have found the British oddness very fascinating, but according to Terry Eagleton, the U.S citizens are the ones who are more strange and individualistic in nature. Through his journey in language, national character of the citizens and the country’s geography, Terry probes the depths of the United States culture with both an academic mind and humor. He answers questions expressed by his fellow compatriots like why the Americans wake up at dawn even during holidays and Sundays. Through this book, the writer Eagleton shows true admiration of the American individualism culture.

In the book Eagleton makes broad, debatable generalizations like ‘Americans find it hard to do things by halves’, ‘The British are no enthusiasts of extremes’, and ‘Americans tend to sling things together that Europeans would keep strictly apart’. Even though these observations do not apply to specific individuals, Terry generalizes them to describe how Americans operate, being given the Authority to do so because of poetry.

From the beginning of the book, he recognizes the fact that most Americans will not take his sentiments lightly because of their total devotion to personal rights and individualism. He however expresses his point on stereotypes and his sense of humor by making an observation that if truly the Americans hold on to their individuality concept, then they should take his observations as an irony about them.

While addressing the issue of obesity Terry (9),believes that is affecting over 60% populations of the Americans, he observes that many of them have no idea that the entire population does not have people like them, or they have not gotten the chance to observe that for they are too fat to fit in the aircraft. This only means that the American population are only concerned with what is happening to them and do not care about what other nations across the world are going through. As much as most of the observations are not insult the Americans, his chapter that focuses on differences between the English and Americans is full of mistakes that are very hilarious in the sense that anyone who has interacted with people from Britain will automatically realize.

According to Terry (21), emphasis on the American dream also brings about the individualism that the American citizens possess. He observes that, ‘Americans are great believers in the fraudulent doctrine that you can do anything you want if you try hard enough’. He however does not understand why this dream has not helped them to eradicate poverty, early teenage pregnancies, social exclusion and incarceration. By attacking the American dream, it is clear that he is of the idea we should not be so selfish to the point we cannot realize when it is time to give up and let go rather than making a fool out of ourselves.

The American’s political structure as explained by Eagleton shows how individualistic they are by nature. He refers to their politics as having only one party state that of democratic capitalist and republican capitalist, with the diversity of their opinions not even able to rival the varieties of candy bars. He explains that the Americans are capitalists and that is not going away any soon. Even though people view Obama as a capitalist, he believes that the love affair the Americans have with capitalism is not going anywhere. Generally countries that have a capitalism economy are individualistic as they put their concerns first before any other (Terry, 23).

Despite being humorous and ironically, the book has underlying meanings that if studied well can help in understanding the American culture. The change in leadership between the democratic and republicans and their style of leadership does not differ much as most of their policies are always focused on protecting their nation against any enemy that wants to kill the country’s sovereignty. From the book it is clear that the country does not care about the needs of other countries as long as their own interests are protected and safeguarded. This can be seen in the way they handle the Arab nations when it comes to fighting terrorism.

American government have in the recent past been accused of tapping phone conversations of big government officials in Britain, Germany, France and even the developing countries and the main reason for this is to safeguard their interests. The wiki leaks that occurred some years back are a true reflection of the lengths the country can go to protect their nation without caring about what will happen to other nations hence their individualism.

Eagleton has observed that the Americans may not take his writings in a good way and true to his words; many Americans have criticized his writings just because it did not favor them. If the writings supported them, then most probably they would have supported the writings. But as much as it’s touching on the nation’s pride, they definitely oppose it in strong measures.

The writer is however very individualistic in a way because he being an English man, only praises the British while criticizing the Americans. Having married an American, he should have at least said one positive thing about the Americans.

References

Terry Eagleton, “Across the Pond: An Englishman’s View of America”, London Press, London:

2013. Print.

Joseph, Stigltz, “Making Globalization Work”, Harvard University Press, New York: 2008.

Print.

Clea, Koff, “The bone woman”, London Press, London: 2004. Print.

Clifford, Geertz, “Interpretation of cultures” Harvard University Press, New York: 2008. Print.

Nicole, Johns, “Nation-states and migration effects”, Oxford University Press, New York: 2013.Print.

Held, Dannies. And McGrew, Andrew, “Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and

Culture”, Polity Press, Cambridge: 2000. Print.

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