Thursday, July 2, 2009

Underpants Gnome and Anthropology

Phase 1: Go to field (and collect underpants)
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Become an Anthropologist!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Important National News

Thank goodness!

And Happy Canada Day!


Social stratification: MySpace or Facebook?
Of course, Japan uses neither. They got mixi. Which people use their cellphones to access, most of the time.

On a side note, I really agreed with this:
Even as I'm diving into this data, I find myself struggling to get my words around these issues because it is patently clear that Americans - self included - do not have a language for talking about issues of race and class and stratification. Academically, we primarily rely on British language but this doesn't work so well in the States.
Because (for different reasons) it can be hard to apply this language onto Canada or Japan also. I'm thinking that what she is saying is that a word like "class" has much different meaning in some societies and others. In the UK, and talking with other people there, it seems like rigid class dividers are much more clearly enunciated. Like they are clearly formed, with strong lines, and people know in which category they fit. This does not really reflect my experience in Canada or Japan, nor the US (I think maybe the US a bit more than Canada and Japan though). Hence in Japan there is an ideology of everyone is middle-class, which is then balanced(?) in sociological literature by (usually) just demographic-type statistics (on white-collar/blue-collar, urban/rural, big company/small company, etc.). So the problem with the language is that you either have an idea that everyone is the same--ie middle class society--or you try to force complex social stratification into clearly categorized systems of hierarchy (the "British language"). Like there may be differences in income and other "class factors" in the same way in Canada, but subjectively I don't think its seen the same way---as in both a plumber and a doctor will tell you they are "middle class" (or be unable to answer such a weird question). From what I understand (since this is a bit foreign to me) in many societies this is not so, and the meaning of class is that people such as plumbers are working class and know it, and so on (rather than just being assigned that way by social scientists in analysis). Further, like this article talks about in the US, and Canada as well, this is also inseperable from ethnicity/race/(multi)culture.