(see also) traveled
3 days up the Orinoco River in Venezuela. The Yanomamo live on the border with
Brazil. He arrives at 2 p.m. Hot, humid, face and hands swollen from insect
bites. His heart pounds, he exits the boat, pushes his way through underbrush
"I looked up and gasped
when I saw a dozen burly, naked, sweaty, hideous men staring at us down the
shafts of their drawn arrows! Immense wads of green tobacco were stuck between
their lower teeth and lips making them look even more hideous, and strands of
dark green slime dripped or hung from their nostrils--strands so long that they
clung to their (chests) or drizzled down their chins."
"My next discovery was
that there were a dozen or so vicious, underfed dogs snapping at my legs, circling
me as if I were their next meal. I just stood there holding my notebook, helpless
and pathetic. Then the stench of the decaying vegetation and filth hit me and
I almost got sick. I was horrified. What kind of welcome was this for the person
who had come to live with you and learn your way of life, to be friends with you?"
(Chagnon: Yanomamo, 1968: p. 5)
We know the world through a
shared understanding of what is real and "natural," this socially constructed
reality is a taken-for-granted reality. When we are confronted with a radically
different reality, it can be a shocking experience. Sociologists use the term:
to refer to the way socially constructed reality can impact our
mental and physical states.
of learned, socially transmitted behavior. All the "products" of a SOCIETY:
A large number of people who live in the same territory, subject to a common political
structure and participate in a common culture. Society/SOCIAL STRUCTURE
is the interaction; Culture is the product of the interaction, both material and
non-material (meanings, beliefs, values, ideas, norms, etc).
Human Construction--thousands of years in the making: Biology (brains, hands,
vocal), and Universal: practices at general
level--language, food, housing, sport, families, etc. VS. variation at the
specific level. Insults in
Again, challenges and different interpetations to these specific ideas, yet:
Navajo-no active verbs as such--they tend to indicate action. So, it's not as much acting in the world, as it is participating in actions taking place.
of time and space categories, i.e. past present and future tenses at least as we distinguish them: Manifest--everything
that is or has been accessible to the physical senses, and Manifesting--everything
that is not physically accessible to the senses. They blend time and space.
us to make certain interpretations of reality. We learn the world, as pre-given,
natural, as we acquire language. Language gives us the categories and concepts
through which we derive significance.
Language and LEARNING: The words
we learn to characterize different groups shape our understanding of the various
individuals who make up the group. Certain words tend to produce "homogenized"
images that deny the individual reality of group members. Words orient us to
certain characteristics and images, and inhibit us from "seeing" others.