Apa itu mezrag-holder?

Apa itu mezrag-holder?


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Saya menemukan kata ini dalam salah satu bacaan antropologi saya. Berikut kutipannya.

Para perampok itu berasal dari suku yang belum tunduk pada otoritas Prancis dan secara terbuka memberontak melawannya, dan dia menginginkan otorisasi untuk pergi bersamanya. mezragpemegangnya, syekh suku Marmusha, untuk mengumpulkan ganti rugi yang, menurut aturan tradisional, telah datang kepadanya.


Ini telah dijawab dengan komentar di English.SE:

mezrag tampaknya merupakan kebiasaan barter/perdagangan primitif, jadi syekh suku ini secara efektif adalah seseorang yang bertindak dalam peran "seremonial" untuk memastikan aturan dipatuhi. Broker yang jujur, menurut saya. Atau mungkin dia hanya orang yang menjaga semua loot/danegeld yang telah dikumpulkan oleh hero kita. - FumbleFingers


Arsip Tag: Etnografi

Pulang dari berburu di negara Suami kita, kerja lapangan (2008)

Ada saat-saat tertentu selama kerja lapangan yang oleh para antropolog disebut sebagai ‘momen Geertzian’ atau kadang-kadang ‘momen sabung ayam Geertzian’. Ini adalah saat-saat penting ketika sesuatu dalam watak dan hubungan sosial seseorang berubah secara dramatis. Seringkali ini adalah momen kehilangan diri sendiri dan berperilaku dengan cara yang tidak diharapkan atau tidak dapat diantisipasi, dan baru setelah itu Anda berhenti sejenak dan merenungkan bahwa Anda menyadari apa yang baru saja terjadi. Pada momen refleksi itulah etnografer menyadari bahwa mereka telah mencapai titik puncak enkulturasi. Titik kritis ini, pada gilirannya, mengubah cara etnografer dipersepsikan dan diperlakukan. Anda menjadi bukan orang luar dan mulai dianggap dan diperlakukan lebih seperti ‘salah satu dari kita.’ Dalam pengertian ini, ada unsur keintiman dan kepercayaan yang terlibat dan saya menduga ini karena apa yang disebut ‘Geertzian momen' sering dipicu oleh beberapa stresor dan respons etnografer sering membuat mereka rentan atau terpapar dalam beberapa cara.

Untuk memberi Anda gambaran tentang Geertz’s sekarang klasik ‘moment’, berikut adalah kutipan dari ‘Deep Play: Catatan tentang Sabung Ayam Bali‘. Dimulai dengan Geertz dan istrinya menemani keluarga besar mereka ke sabung ayam di Bali. Sabung ayam adalah ilegal di Bali, polisi melakukan penggerebekan, dan dimulailah . . .

‘Pada prinsip antropologi yang mapan, Ketika di Roma, saya dan istri saya memutuskan, hanya sedikit lebih cepat daripada orang lain, bahwa hal yang harus dilakukan juga dijalankan. Kami berlari menyusuri jalan desa utama, ke utara, jauh dari tempat kami tinggal, karena kami berada di sisi ring itu. Sekitar setengah jalan, buronan lain tiba-tiba merunduk ke dalam kompleks—miliknya sendiri, ternyata—dan kami, tidak melihat apa pun di depan kami selain sawah, tanah terbuka, dan gunung berapi yang sangat tinggi, mengikutinya. Saat kami bertiga jatuh ke halaman, istrinya, yang tampaknya pernah mengalami hal semacam ini sebelumnya, menyiapkan meja, taplak meja, tiga kursi, dan tiga cangkir teh, dan kami semua, tanpa komunikasi yang jelas. apa pun, duduk, mulai menyesap teh, dan berusaha menenangkan diri. . . .

Keesokan paginya desa itu adalah dunia yang sama sekali berbeda bagi kami. Bukan saja kami tidak lagi tidak terlihat, kami tiba-tiba menjadi pusat semua perhatian, objek curahan kehangatan, minat, dan, terutama, hiburan. Semua orang di desa tahu kami telah melarikan diri seperti orang lain. Mereka bertanya kepada kami tentang hal itu lagi dan lagi (saya pasti telah menceritakan kisah itu, detail kecil demi detail kecil, lima puluh kali pada akhir hari), dengan lembut, penuh kasih sayang, tetapi dengan terus-menerus menggoda kami: “Mengapa Anda tidak berdiri di sana dan beri tahu polisi siapa Anda?” “Mengapa Anda tidak mengatakan bahwa Anda hanya menonton dan tidak bertaruh?” “Apakah Anda benar-benar takut dengan senjata kecil itu?” Seperti biasa, berpikiran kinestetik dan, bahkan ketika melarikan diri untuk hidup mereka (atau, seperti yang terjadi delapan tahun kemudian, menyerahkan mereka), orang-orang yang paling tenang di dunia, mereka dengan gembira meniru, juga berulang-ulang, gaya berlari kita yang tanpa henti dan apa yang mereka klaim adalah ekspresi wajah kami yang panik.

Tetapi di atas semua itu, semua orang sangat senang dan bahkan lebih terkejut bahwa kami tidak hanya “mengeluarkan surat-surat kami” (mereka juga tahu tentang itu) dan menegaskan status Pengunjung Terhormat kami, tetapi malah menunjukkan solidaritas kami dengan apa yang sekarang menjadi milik kami. warga sekolah. (Apa yang sebenarnya kami tunjukkan adalah kepengecutan kami, tetapi ada persekutuan di dalamnya juga.) Bahkan pendeta Brahmana, tipe tua, kuburan, setengah jalan ke Surga yang karena hubungannya dengan dunia bawah tidak akan pernah terlibat, bahkan dari jauh, dalam sabung ayam, dan sulit untuk didekati bahkan oleh orang Bali lainnya, kami dipanggil ke halamannya untuk bertanya kepada kami tentang apa yang telah terjadi, tertawa bahagia melihat keanehan itu semua.’

Bagikan ini:


Kutipan catatan: Arundhati Roy (pada tulisan)

‘Penulis membayangkan bahwa mereka mengambil cerita dari dunia. Saya mulai percaya bahwa kesombongan membuat mereka berpikir begitu. Bahwa sebenarnya sebaliknya. Cerita memusnahkan penulis dari dunia. Cerita mengungkapkan diri kepada kita. Narasi publik, narasi pribadi 'mereka menjajah kita. Mereka menugaskan kami. Mereka bersikeras untuk diberitahu. Fiksi dan non-fiksi hanyalah teknik bercerita yang berbeda. Untuk alasan yang saya tidak sepenuhnya mengerti, fiksi menari keluar dari saya. Non-fiksi direnggut oleh dunia yang sakit dan hancur yang saya bangun setiap pagi.’

Teks lengkapnya dapat ditemukan di sini.

Kebetulan, Arundhati Roy juga (seperti yang saya pelajari baru-baru ini) seorang etnografer yang sangat mengesankan. Gambar utama diambil saat dia sedang melakukan penelitian untuk apa yang menjadi buku terbarunya, ‘Walking with The Comrades.’ Anda dapat membaca kutipan dari buku ini di sini atau sebagai alternatif mendengarkan Arundhati membaca kutipan sendiri – yang sangat saya rekomendasikan – ditampilkan sebagai podcast (#11), di sini.

Bagikan ini:


Apa itu mezrag-holder? - Sejarah

Michael Agar(Saya telah mengunggah dua nama file"Agar Culture&apos dan "Agar Culture Blends" jika Anda memiliki pertanyaan tentang konsep ini) memperkenalkan kepada kami konsep titik kaya (kejutan berpola dan interaksi tak terduga yang mengarah pada insiden perbedaan lintas budaya). Sejauh ini di semester ini, kita telah membaca sejumlah artikel yang menyajikan contoh rich point dan implikasi kesalahpahaman tentang rich point terhadap komunikasi interpersonal. Menggunakan salah satu artikel yang telah kita baca selama semester ini alamatnya sebagai berikut: ( Saya telah mengunggah tiga tetapi tidak menyertakan lalat bernama "Agar" dan Anda dapat memilih salah satu)

Bagaimana contoh yang Anda pilih merupakan titik yang kaya, seperti yang didefinisikan dan diuraikan oleh Michael Agar?

Apa yang dipertaruhkan bagi peserta yang terlibat dalam rich point ini? Apa yang dipertaruhkan bagi individu/komunitas dalam contoh Anda? Dalam jawaban Anda atas pertanyaan ini, harap sampaikan semua komponen pemahaman kami tentang konsep bisnis sosial – penciptaan dan pemeliharaan identitas/identitas, hierarki nilai yang ditantang atau diperkuat, dan struktur kekuasaan, baik pribadi atau institusional, yang dipertahankan atau dilawan?

() Saya ,–h:: v&aposc.l fr re ( t 2:: . l q -r:-

Dalam bukunya, Filsafat dalam Kunci Baru, Susanne Langer menyatakan bahwa ide-ide tertentu meledak. atas lanskap intelektual dengan kekuatan yang luar biasa. Mereka menyelesaikan begitu banyak masalah mendasar sekaligus sehingga mereka tampaknya juga berjanji bahwa mereka akan menyelesaikan semua masalah mendasar, mengklarifikasi semua masalah yang tidak jelas. Semua orang menangkapnya sebagai wijen terbuka dari beberapa ilmu positif baru, titik pusat konseptual di mana sistem analisis yang komprehensif dapat dibangun. Mode tiba-tiba dari ide yang agung, mengesampingkan hampir semua hal lain untuk sementara waktu, adalah karena, katanya, "kenyataan bahwa semua pikiran yang sensitif dan aktif langsung beralih untuk mengeksploitasinya. Kami mencobanya dalam setiap hubungan, untuk setiap tujuan, bereksperimen dengan kemungkinan arti sempitnya, dengan generalisasi dan turunannya."

Namun, setelah kita terbiasa dengan ide baru, setelah itu menjadi bagian dari stok umum konsep teoretis kita, harapan kita adalah

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tasi dibawa lebih seimbang dengan penggunaan yang sebenarnya, dan popularitas yang berlebihan berakhir. Beberapa orang fanatik bertahan dalam pandangan kunci-ke-alam semesta yang lama, tetapi para pemikir yang kurang bersemangat setelah beberapa saat menetap pada masalah-masalah yang benar-benar dihasilkan oleh gagasan itu. Mereka mencoba untuk menerapkannya dan memperluasnya di mana itu berlaku dan di mana ia mampu diperpanjang dan mereka berhenti di mana itu tidak berlaku, atau tidak dapat diperpanjang. Itu menjadi, jika itu, sebenarnya, ide mani di tempat pertama, bagian permanen dan abadi dari gudang senjata intelektual kita. Tapi itu tidak lagi memiliki cakupan yang megah dan menjanjikan, keserbagunaan tak terbatas dari aplikasi nyata, seperti dulu. Hukum kedua termodinamika, atau prinsip seleksi alam, atau gagasan motivasi bawah sadar, atau organisasi alat-alat produksi tidak menjelaskan segalanya, bahkan tidak semua manusia, tetapi masih menjelaskan sesuatu dan perhatian kita beralih ke mengisolasi apa itu sesuatu, untuk melepaskan diri kita dari banyak ilmu semu yang, pada tahap pertama kepopulerannya, juga telah memunculkannya.

Apakah ini, pada kenyataannya, cara semua konsep ilmiah penting berkembang, saya tidak tahu. Tetapi tentu saja pola ini sesuai dengan konsep budaya, di mana seluruh disiplin antropologi muncul, dan yang dominasi disiplin itu semakin menjadi perhatian untuk membatasi, menspesifikasikan, memfokuskan, dan menampung. Untuk pemotongan konsep budaya ini ke ukuran, oleh karena itu sebenarnya memastikan kepentingannya yang berkelanjutan daripada merusaknya, bahwa esai di bawah ini semuanya, dalam beberapa cara dan dari beberapa arah mereka, didedikasikan. Mereka semua berargumentasi, kadang-kadang secara eksplisit, lebih sering hanya melalui analisis khusus yang mereka kembangkan, untuk konsep budaya yang sempit, terspesialisasi, dan, jadi saya bayangkan, secara teoritis lebih kuat untuk menggantikan EB Tylor&aposs yang terkenal "keseluruhan paling kompleks" yang, kekuatan aslinya tidak disangkal, bagi saya tampaknya telah mencapai titik di mana ia mengaburkan lebih banyak daripada yang diungkapkannya.

Kekacauan konseptual di mana teori pot-au-feu jenis Tylorean tentang budaya dapat memimpin, terbukti dalam apa yang masih merupakan salah satu pengantar umum yang lebih baik untuk antropologi, Clyde Kluckhohn&aposs Mirror for Man. Dalam sekitar dua puluh tujuh halaman bab tentang konsep tersebut, Kluckhohn berhasil mendefinisikan budaya pada gilirannya sebagai: (1) "cara hidup total suatu masyarakat" (2) "warisan sosial yang diperoleh individu dari kelompoknya" (3) "a cara pemikiran, perasaan, dan keyakinan" (4) "abstraksi dari perilaku" (5) sebuah teori dari pihak antropolog tentang cara sekelompok orang dalam kenyataannya berperilaku (6) sebuah "penyimpanan-

Deskripsi Tebal: Menuju Teori Interpretasi Budaya 5

rumah kumpulan pembelajaran" (7) "a seperangkat orientasi standar untuk masalah yang berulang" (8) "perilaku yang dipelajari" (9) mekanisme untuk regulasi normatif perilaku (10) "a kumpulan teknik untuk menyesuaikan diri baik dengan lingkungan eksternal maupun. orang lain" (11) &apos.&aposa mengendapkan sejarah" dan berbalik, mungkin dengan putus asa, menjadi perumpamaan, sebagai peta, sebagai saringan, dan sebagai matriks. Dalam menghadapi difusi teoretis semacam ini, bahkan konsep budaya yang agak terbatas dan tidak sepenuhnya standar, yang setidaknya secara internal koheren dan, yang lebih penting, yang memiliki argumen yang dapat dibuat adalah (sebagai, untuk bersikap adil, Kluckhohn sendiri sangat menyadari) peningkatan. Eklektisme merugikan diri sendiri bukan karena hanya ada satu arah yang berguna untuk bergerak, tetapi karena ada begitu banyak: harus memilih.

Konsep budaya yang saya dukung, dan kegunaannya yang coba ditunjukkan oleh esai-esai di bawah ini, pada dasarnya adalah konsep semiotik. Percaya, dengan ,, . Max Weber, pria itu adalah binatang yang digantung di_webs qfsignifi

dia · hJmselJ memiliki sp1.m, saya menganggap budaya sebagai jaring-jaring itu, dan analisisnya menjadi nofan eksperimen. Ini adalah penjelasan yang saya cari, menafsirkan ekspresi sosial di permukaannya yang penuh teka-teki. Tetapi pernyataan ini, sebuah doktrin dalam sebuah klausa, menuntut penjelasan tersendiri.

Operasionalisme sebagai dogma metodologis tidak pernah masuk akal sejauh menyangkut ilmu-ilmu sosial, dan kecuali untuk beberapa sudut yang agak tersapu dengan baik - behaviorisme Skinnerian, pengujian kecerdasan, dan sebagainya - sebagian besar sudah mati sekarang. Tapi itu, untuk semua itu, poin penting untuk dibuat, yang, bagaimanapun kita mungkin merasa tentang mencoba mendefinisikan karisma atau keterasingan dalam hal operasi, mempertahankan kekuatan tertentu: jika Anda ingin memahami apa itu sains, Anda pertama-tama harus melihat bukan pada teori atau temuannya, dan tentu saja bukan pada apa yang dikatakan para pembelanya tentang hal itu, Anda harus melihat apa yang dilakukan oleh para praktisinya dq.

Dalam antropologi, atau juga antropologi sosial, yang dilakukan para praktisi adalah etnografi. Dan dalam memahami apa itu etnografi, atau lebih tepatnya apa itu etnografi, sebuah permulaan dapat dibuat untuk-

6 INTERPRETASI BUDAYA

memahami apa analisis antropologis sebagai bentuk pengetahuan. Ini, harus segera dikatakan, bukan soal metode. Dari satu sudut pandang, bahwa dari buku teks, melakukan etnografi adalah membangun hubungan, memilih informan, menyalin teks, mengambil silsilah, memetakan bidang, membuat buku harian, dan sebagainya. Tetapi bukan hal-hal ini, teknik dan prosedur yang diterima, yang menentukan perusahaan. Apa yang mendefinisikannya adalah jenis upaya intelektualnya: usaha yang rumit, meminjam gagasan dari Gilbert Ryle, "deskripsi tebal".

Diskusi Ryle tentang "thick description" muncul dalam dua esai terbarunya (sekarang dicetak ulang dalam jilid kedua Collected Papers-nya) yang ditujukan untuk pertanyaan umum tentang apa, seperti yang dia katakan, "Le Penseur" sedang lakukan: "Thinking and Reflecting" dan "the Thinking Pikiran." Pertimbangkan, katanya, dua anak laki-laki dengan cepat mengernyitkan kelopak mata kanan mereka. Di satu, ini adalah kedutan yang tidak disengaja di yang lain, sinyal konspirasi untuk seorang teman. Kedua gerakan itu, sebagai gerakan, identik dari sebuah kamera, "fenomenalistik" dari pengamatan mereka saja, orang tidak bisa membedakan mana yang kedutan dan mana yang mengedipkan mata, atau memang keduanya atau salah satunya adalah kedutan atau kedipan. Namun perbedaan, betapapun tidak dapat difoto, antara kedutan dan kedipan mata sangat besar karena siapa pun yang tidak cukup beruntung telah mengetahui yang pertama untuk yang kedua. Winker berkomunikasi, dan memang berkomunikasi dengan cara yang cukup tepat dan khusus: (I) dengan sengaja, (2) kepada seseorang secara khusus, (3) untuk menyampaikan pesan tertentu, (4) menurut kode yang ditetapkan secara sosial, dan ( 5) tanpa sepengetahuan seluruh perusahaan. Seperti yang ditunjukkan Ryle, si pengedip tidak melakukan dua hal, mengernyitkan kelopak matanya dan mengedipkan mata, sedangkan si pengedip hanya melakukan satu hal, mengernyitkan kelopak matanya. Mengontraksikan kelopak mata Anda dengan sengaja ketika ada kode publik di mana hal itu dianggap sebagai sinyal konspirasi yang mengedipkan mata. Hanya itu yang ada di sana: setitik perilaku, setitik budaya, dan- voila!-sebuah isyarat.

Namun, itu baru permulaan. Misalkan, lanjutnya, ada anak laki-laki ketiga, yang, "untuk memberikan hiburan jahat kepada kroni-kroninya," memparodikan anak laki-laki pertama" mengedipkan mata, sebagai amatir, kikuk, jelas, dan sebagainya. Dia, tentu saja, melakukan ini dengan cara yang sama seperti anak kedua mengedipkan mata dan yang pertama berkedut: dengan mengernyitkan kelopak mata kanannya. Hanya .anak ini tidak mengedipkan mata atau berkedut, dia memparodikan orang lain, saat dia mengambilnya, menggelikan, mencoba mengedipkan mata. Di sini juga, ada kode yang sudah mapan secara sosial (dia akan "mengedipkan mata" dengan susah payah, jelas sekali, mungkin menambahkan seringai—kepalsuan badut yang biasa) dan begitu juga sebuah pesan. Baru sekarang

Deskripsi Tebal: Menuju Teoii Budaya Interpretatif 7

bukan konspirasi tapi ejekan yang mengudara. Jika yang lain mengira dia benar-benar mengedipkan mata, seluruh proyeknya akan gagal total, meskipun dengan hasil yang agak berbeda, seolah-olah mereka mengira dia berkedut. Seseorang dapat melangkah lebih jauh: tidak yakin dengan kemampuan menirunya, calon satiris dapat berlatih di rumah di depan cermin, dalam hal ini dia tidak berkedut, mengedipkan mata, atau memparodikan, tetapi berlatih meskipun begitu jauh[ seperti kamera, a behavioris radikal, atau orang yang percaya pada kalimat protokol akan mencatat bahwa dia dengan cepat mengontrak kelopak mata kanannya seperti yang lainnya. Kompleksitas mungkin, jika tidak praktis tanpa akhir, setidaknya secara logis. Winker asli mungkin, misalnya, sebenarnya telah mengedipkan mata palsu, katakanlah, untuk menyesatkan orang luar agar membayangkan ada konspirasi yang sedang terjadi padahal sebenarnya tidak, dalam hal ini deskripsi kami tentang apa yang parodi parodi dan pelatihnya. berlatih tentu saja bergeser sesuai. Tapi intinya adalah bahwa antara apa yang disebut Ryle sebagai "deskripsi tipis" dari apa yang dilakukan oleh rehearser (parodis, winker, twitcher … ) ("mengerutkan kelopak mata kanannya dengan cepat") dan "deskripsi tebal" dari apa yang dia lakukan ("berlatih olok-olok seorang teman yang berpura-pura mengedipkan mata untuk menipu orang yang tidak bersalah agar berpikir bahwa konspirasi sedang berlangsung") terletak objek etnografi: hierarki bertingkat dari struktur bermakna yang di dalamnya berkedut, mengedipkan mata, mengedipkan mata palsu, parodi, latihan parodi diproduksi, dirasakan, dan ditafsirkan, dan tanpanya mereka tidak akan (bahkan kedutan bentuk-nol, yang, sebagai kategori budaya, adalah bukan kedipan seperti kedipan bukan kedutan) sebenarnya ada, tidak peduli apa yang dilakukan atau dilakukan orang. tidak melakukannya dengan kelopak matanya.

Seperti banyak cerita kecil yang ingin dibuat oleh para filsuf Oxford untuk diri mereka sendiri, semua kedipan, kedipan palsu, kedipan olok-olok, kedipan palsu, kedipan olok-olok, kedipan palsu, mungkin tampak sedikit artifisial. Dalam cara menambahkan catatan yang lebih empiris, izinkan saya memberikan, dengan sengaja tidak didahului oleh komentar penjelasan sebelumnya, kutipan yang tidak biasa dari jurnal lapangan saya sendiri untuk menunjukkan bahwa, betapapun seimbangnya untuk tujuan didaktik, contoh Ryle&aposs menyajikan gambar terlalu tepat dari jenis tumpukan struktur inferensi dan implikasi yang melaluinya seorang etnografer terus mencoba untuk memilih jalannya:

Orang Prancis [kata informan] baru saja tiba. Mereka mendirikan sekitar dua puluh benteng kecil di antara sini, kota, dan daerah Marmusha di tengah pegunungan, menempatkannya di tanjung sehingga mereka bisa menjelajahi pedesaan. Tapi untuk semua ini mereka tidak bisa menjamin keamanan, terutama di malam hari, jadi meskipun mezrag, sistem pakta perdagangan, yang seharusnya secara hukum dihapuskan, ternyata tetap seperti sebelumnya.

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Suatu malam, ketika Cohen (yang fasih berbahasa Berber), berada di atas sana, di Marmusha, dua orang Yahudi lain yang menjadi pedagang suku tetangga datang untuk membeli beberapa barang darinya. Beberapa Berber, dari suku tetangga lainnya, mencoba masuk ke tempat Cohen, tetapi dia menembakkan senapannya ke udara. (Secara tradisional, orang-orang Yahudi tidak diperbolehkan membawa senjata tetapi pada periode ini keadaan menjadi sangat tidak menentu sehingga banyak yang melakukannya.) Hal ini menarik perhatian Prancis dan para perampok melarikan diri.

Namun, malam berikutnya, mereka kembali, salah satu dari mereka menyamar sebagai wanita yang mengetuk pintu dengan semacam cerita. Cohen curiga dan tidak mau "membiarkan" "dia" masuk, tetapi orang Yahudi lainnya berkata, "oh, tidak apa-apa, itu "hanya seorang wanita." Jadi mereka membuka pintu dan semuanya mengalir masuk. Mereka membunuh dua orang Yahudi yang berkunjung. , tapi Cohen berhasil membarikade dirinya di kamar sebelah. Dia mendengar para perampok berencana untuk membakarnya hidup-hidup di toko setelah mereka memindahkan barang-barangnya, jadi dia membuka pintu dan, membaringkannya dengan liar dengan tongkat, berhasil melarikan diri melalui jendela.

Dia pergi ke benteng, kemudian, untuk membalut luka-lukanya, dan mengadu kepada komandan setempat, salah satu Kapten Ourhari, mengatakan bahwa dia ingin 'empat atau lima kali nilai barang dagangan yang dicuri darinya. Para perampok itu berasal dari suku yang belum tunduk pada otoritas Prancis dan secara terbuka memberontak melawannya, dan dia menginginkan otorisasi untuk pergi dengan pemegang mezragnya, syekh suku Marmusha, untuk mengumpulkan ganti rugi yang, di bawah aturan tradisional, dia telah datang kepadanya. Kapten Dumari tidak dapat memberikan izin secara resmi kepadanya untuk melakukan ini, karena larangan Perancis dari hubungan mezrag, tetapi dia memberinya otorisasi lisan, dengan mengatakan. "Jika kamu terbunuh, itu&itu masalahmu."

Jadi syekh, orang Yahudi, dan sekelompok kecil Marmushan bersenjata pergi sepuluh atau lima belas kilometer ke daerah pemberontak, di mana tentu saja tidak ada orang Prancis, dan, menyelinap, menangkap gembala suku pencuri dan mencuri ternaknya. Suku lain segera datang dengan menunggang kuda mengejar mereka, bersenjatakan senapan dan siap menyerang. Tetapi ketika mereka melihat siapa "pencuri domba" itu, mereka berpikir lebih baik dan berkata, "Baiklah, kita&apos akan bicara." Mereka tidak dapat&menyangkal apa yang telah terjadi-bahwa beberapa orang mereka telah merampok Cohen dan membunuh dua pengunjung-dan mereka" bersiap untuk memulai perseteruan serius dengan

armusha akan terjadi perkelahian dengan pihak penyerang. Jadi kedua kelompok itu berbicara, dan berbicara, dan berbicara, di sana, di tengah-tengah ribuan domba, dan akhirnya memutuskan untuk ganti rugi lima ratus domba. Dua kelompok Berber bersenjata kemudian berbaris di atas kuda mereka di ujung yang berlawanan dari dataran, dengan domba digiring di antara mereka, dan Cohen, dengan gaun hitamnya, topi kotak obat, dan sandal yang mengepak, keluar sendirian di antara domba-domba, memilih, satu per satu dan dengan kecepatannya sendiri, yang terbaik untuk pembayarannya.

Jadi Cohen mengambil dombanya dan mengantar mereka kembali ke Marmusha. Orang Prancis, di benteng mereka, mendengar mereka datang dari kejauhan ("Ba, ba, ba" kata Cohen, dengan gembira, mengingat gambar itu) dan berkata, "Apa itu?" Dan Cohen berkata, "Itu adalah &aposarku." French tidak bisa&apost percaya dia benar-benar

Deskripsi Tebal: Menuju Teori Interpretasi Budaya 9

melakukan apa yang dia katakan telah dia lakukan, dan menuduhnya sebagai mata-mata untuk pemberontak Berber, memenjarakannya, dan mengambil domba-dombanya. Di kota, keluarganya, yang sudah lama tidak mendengar kabar darinya, mengira dia sudah mati. Tetapi setelah beberapa saat Prancis membebaskannya dan dia kembali ke rumah, tetapi tanpa dombanya. Dia kemudian pergi ke Kolonel di kota, orang Prancis yang bertanggung jawab atas seluruh wilayah, untuk mengeluh. Tapi Kolonel berkata, "Saya bisa" melakukan apa saja tentang masalah ini. Itu bukan masalah saya."

Dikutip mentah, sebuah catatan dalam botol bagian ini .menyampaikan, seperti yang disajikan serupa yang akan dilakukan, pengertian yang adil tentang berapa banyak yang masuk ke deskripsi etnografi bahkan dari jenis yang paling mendasar - betapa luar biasanya "tebal" itu. Dalam tulisan-tulisan antropologis yang sudah jadi, termasuk yang dikumpulkan di sini, fakta ini—bahwa apa yang kita sebut data kita sebenarnya adalah konstruksi kita sendiri atas orang lain&merupakan konstruksi tentang apa yang mereka dan rekan senegaranya lakukan—dikaburkan karena sebagian besar dari apa yang kita perlukan untuk memahami bagian tertentu. peristiwa, ritual, adat, ide, atau apapun yang disindir sebagai informasi latar sebelum benda itu sendiri diperiksa secara langsung. (Bahkan untuk mengungkapkan bahwa drama kecil ini terjadi di dataran tinggi Maroko tengah pada tahun 1912-dan diceritakan di sana pada tahun 1968-adalah untuk menentukan banyak pemahaman kita tentangnya.) Tidak ada yang salah dengan ini, dan itu dalam hal apapun tak terelakkan. Tetapi hal itu mengarah pada pandangan penelitian antropologis sebagai lebih dari suatu observasional dan lebih sedikit aktivitas interpretatif daripada yang sebenarnya. Tepat di dasar faktual, batu keras, sejauh ada, dari keseluruhan perusahaan, kami sudah menjelaskan: dan lebih buruk lagi, menjelaskan penjelasan. Mengedipkan mata

n mengedipkan mata demi mengedipkan mata. –Analisis, kemudian, memilah struktur penandaan-apa yang disebut Ryle sebagai kode yang mapan, ekspresi yang agak menyesatkan, karena itu membuat perusahaan terdengar terlalu mirip dengan juru tulis sandi ketika jauh lebih mirip dengan kritik sastra -dan menentukan dasar sosial dan impor mereka. Di sini, dalam teks kami, penyortiran semacam itu akan dimulai dengan membedakan tiga kerangka bahan interpretasi yang berbeda dalam situasi, Yahudi, Berber, dan Prancis, dan kemudian akan berlanjut untuk menunjukkan bagaimana (dan mengapa) pada waktu itu, di tempat itu, , kehadiran mereka menghasilkan situasi di mana kesalahpahaman sistematis mengurangi bentuk tradisional menjadi lelucon sosial. Apa yang membuat Cohen tersandung, dan bersamanya seluruh, pola kuno hubungan sosial dan ekonomi di mana dia berfungsi, adalah kebingungan bahasa.

Saya akan kembali ke pepatah yang terlalu padat ini nanti, juga untuk . .detail teks itu sendiri. Inti nya

atau sekarang hanya etnografi itu

10 INTERPRETASI BUDAYA

adalah deskripsi tebal. Apa yang sebenarnya dihadapi oleh etnografer - kecuali ketika (seperti, tentu saja, dia harus melakukannya) dia mengejar rutinitas pengumpulan data yang lebih otomatis - adalah keragaman struktur konseptual yang kompleks, banyak di antaranya ditumpangkan pada atau diikat menjadi satu sama lain, yang sekaligus aneh, tidak teratur, dan tidak eksplisit, dan yang entah bagaimana harus ia ciptakan terlebih dahulu untuk dipahami dan kemudian diterjemahkan. Dan ini benar pada tingkat aktivitasnya yang paling membumi, kerja lapangan hutan: mewawancarai informan, mengamati ritual, mencari istilah kerabat, menelusuri garis properti, mendata rumah tangga. . . menulis jurnalnya. Melakukan etnografi adalah seperti mencoba membaca (dalam arti "mengkonstruksi pembacaan&apos) suatu manuskrip-asing, pudar, penuh elips, inkoherensi, perbaikan yang mencurigakan, dan komentar yang tendensius, tetapi ditulis bukan dalam grafik bunyi yang konvensional tetapi dalam tempo yang sementara. contoh perilaku berbentuk

Budaya, dokumen tindakan ini, dengan demikian bersifat publik, seperti kedipan mata yang diolok-olok atau serangan domba tiruan. Meskipun ideasional, itu tidak ada di kepala seseorang meskipun tidak fisik, itu bukan entitas gaib. Perdebatan yang tak berkesudahan, karena tak berkesudahan, dalam antropologi mengenai apakah budaya itu "subjektif" atau "objektif", bersama-sama dengan saling bertukar penghinaan intelektual ("idealis!" -"materialis!" "mentalis!" -"behav- iorist!" "impresionis!" - "positivis!") yang menyertainya, sepenuhnya salah paham. Begitu perilaku manusia dilihat sebagai (sebagian besar waktu ada kedutan sejati) tindakan simbolis yang, seperti fonasi dalam ucapan, pigmen dalam lukisan, garis dalam tulisan, atau sonansi dalam musik, menandakan pertanyaan apakah budaya adalah perilaku berpola atau kerangka berpikir, atau bahkan keduanya entah bagaimana bercampur menjadi satu, kehilangan akal. Hal yang perlu ditanyakan tentang kedipan mata atau serangan domba tiruan bukanlah status ontologis mereka. Ini sama dengan batu di satu sisi dan mimpi di sisi lain—mereka adalah benda-benda dari dunia ini. Hal yang perlu ditanyakan adalah apa impor mereka: apa itu, ejekan atau tantangan, ironi atau kemarahan, keangkuhan atau kebanggaan, yang, dalam kemunculannya dan melalui agensi mereka, dikatakan.

Ini mungkin tampak seperti kebenaran yang jelas, tetapi ada beberapa cara

Deskripsi Tebal: Menuju Teori Interpretasi Budaya 11

untuk mengaburkannya. Salah satunya adalah membayangkan bahwa budaya adalah realitas "super-organik" mandiri dengan kekuatan dan tujuan sendiri yaitu, untuk mewujudkannya. Lain adalah untuk mengklaim bahwa itu terdiri dari pola kasar dari peristiwa perilaku yang kita amati sebenarnya terjadi di beberapa komunitas yang dapat diidentifikasi atau lainnya yaitu, untuk menguranginya. Tetapi meskipun kedua kebingungan ini masih ada, dan tidak diragukan lagi akan selalu bersama kita, sumber utama kekacauan teoretis dalam antropologi kontemporer adalah pandangan yang berkembang sebagai reaksi terhadap mereka dan saat ini sangat luas dipegang, yaitu, mengutip Ward Goodenough. , mungkin pendukung utamanya, "budaya [terletak J di pikiran dan hati manusia."

Secara beragam disebut etnosains, analisis komponen, atau antropologi kognitif (suatu keragu-raguan terminologi yang mencerminkan ketidakpastian yang lebih dalam), aliran pemikiran ini berpendapat bahwa budaya terdiri dari struktur psikologis yang dengannya individu atau kelompok individu membimbing mereka. perilaku. "Suatu masyarakat&budaya aposs", untuk mengutip lagi, kali ini dalam sebuah bagian yang telah menjadi lokus klasik dari seluruh gerakan, "terdiri dari apa pun yang harus diketahui atau diyakini seseorang agar dapat beroperasi dengan cara yang dapat diterima oleh anggotanya." Dari sini pandangan tentang budaya apa yang mengikuti pandangan, sama-sama yakin, tentang apa yang menggambarkannya-penulisan aturan sistematis, algoritma etnografi, yang, jika diikuti, akan memungkinkan untuk beroperasi, untuk lulus (penampilan fisik samping) untuk penduduk asli. Sedemikian rupa, subjektivisme ekstrim menikah dengan formalisme ekstrim, dengan hasil yang diharapkan: ledakan perdebatan mengenai apakah analisis tertentu (yang datang dalam bentuk taksonomi, paradigma, tabel, pohon, dan kecerdikan lainnya ) mencerminkan apa yang "benar-benar" dipikirkan oleh penduduk asli atau hanya simulasi cerdas, yang secara logis setara tetapi secara substantif berbeda, dari apa yang mereka pikirkan.

Karena, pada pandangan pertama, pendekatan ini mungkin terlihat cukup dekat dengan yang sedang dikembangkan di sini untuk disalahartikan, adalah berguna untuk menjelaskan secara eksplisit apa yang memisahkan mereka. Jika, meninggalkan kedipan mata dan domba di belakang untuk saat ini, kita mengambil, katakanlah, kuartet Beethoven sebagai, memang agak istimewa tetapi, untuk tujuan ini, ilustrasi yang bagus, sampel budaya, saya pikir tidak ada yang akan mengidentifikasinya. dengan skornya, dengan keterampilan dan pengetahuan yang dibutuhkan untuk memainkannya, dengan pemahaman yang dimiliki oleh pemain atau auditornya, atau, untuk menjaga, sementara, dari reduksionis dan reifier, dengan kinerja tertentu atau dengan beberapa entitas misterius yang melampaui keberadaan material. Kata "tidak ada" mungkin terlalu kuat di sini, karena selalu ada yang tidak bisa diperbaiki. Tetapi kuartet Beethoven adalah struktur nada yang dikembangkan secara temporal, urutan model yang koheren

12 INTERPRETASI BUDAYA

sound-in .a word, music-and not anybody&aposs knowledge of or belief about anything, including how to play it, is a proposition to which most people are, upon reflection, likely to assent.

To play the violin it is necessary to possess certain habits, skills, knowledge, and talents, to be in the mood to play, and (as the old joke goes) to have a violi.n. But violin playing is neither the habits. skills, knowledge, and so on, nor the mood, nor (the notion believers in "ma- terial culture" apparently embrace) the violin. To make a trade pact in Morocco, you have to do certain things in certain ways (among others, cut, while chanting Quranic Arabic, the throat of a lamb before the as- sembled, undeformed, adult male members of your tribe) and to be pos- sessed of certain psychological characteristics (among others, a desire for distant things). But a trade pact is neither the throat cutting nor the desire, though it is real enough, as seven kinsmen of our Marmusha sheikh discovered when, on an earlier occasion, they were executed by him following the theft of one mangy, essentially valueless sheepskin from Cohen.

Culture is public because meaning is. You can&apost wink (or burlesque one) without knowing what counts as winking or how, physically, to contract your eyelids, and you can&apost conduct a sheep raid (or mimic one) without knowing what it is to steal a sheep and how practically to go about it. But to draw from such truths the conclusion that knowing how to wink is winking and knowing how to steal a sheep is sheep raid- ing is to betray as deep a confusion as, taking thin descriptions for thick, to identify winking with eyelid contractions or sheep raiding with chasing woolly animals out of pastures. The cognitivist fallacy-that culture consists (to quote another spokesman for the movement, Stephen Tyler) of "mental phenomena which can [he means "should"! be ana- lyzed by formal methods similar to those of mathematics and logic" -is as destructive of an effective use of the concept as are the behaviorist and idealist fallacies to which it is a misdrawn correction. Perhaps, as its errors are more sophisticated and its distortions subtler, it is even more so.

The generalized attack on privacy theories of meaning is, since early Husserl and late Wittgenstein, so much a part of modern thought that it need not be developed once more here. What is necessary is to see to it that the news of it reaches anthropology and in particular that it is made clear that to say that culture: consists .of

9Jl[al!y e_sJablished struc: tures of meaning in terms-oTiich people do such things as signal con-

Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture 13

spiracies and join them or perceive insults and answer them, is no more to say that it is a psychological phenomenon, a characteristic of some- one&aposs mind, personality, cognitive structure, or whatever, than to say that Tantrism, genetics, the progressive form of the verb, the classifica- tion of wines, the Common Law, or the notion of "a conditional curse" (as Westermarck defined the concept of &aposar in terms of which Cohen pressed his claim to damages) is. What, in a place like Morocco, most prevents those of us who grew up winking other winks or attending other sheep from grasping what people are up to is oot ignorance as to how cognition works (though, especially as, one assumes, it works the same among them as it does among us, it would greatly help to have less of that too) as a lack of familiarity with the imaginative universe within which their acts are signs. As Wittgenstein has been invoked, he may as well be quoted:

We . . . say of some people that they are transparent to us. It is, however, important as regards this observation that one human being can be a com- plete enigma to another. We learn this when we come into a strange country with entirely strange traditions and, what is more, even given a mastery of the country&aposs language. We do not understand the peqple. (And not because of not knowing what they are saying to themselves.) We cannot find our feet with them.

Finding our feet, an unnerving business which never more than distantly succeeds, is what ethnographic research consists of as a personal experi- ence trying to formulate the basis on which one imagines, always ex- cessively, one has found them is what anthropological writing consists of as a scientific endeavor. We are not, or at least I am not, seeking ei- ther to become natives (a compromised word in any case) or to mimic them. Only romantics or spies would seem to find point in that. We are seeking, in the widened sense of the term in which it encompasses very much more than talk, to converse with them, a matter a great deal more difficult, and not only with strangers, than is commonly recognized. "If speaking for someone else seems to be a mysterious process," Stanley Cavell has remarked, "that may be because speaking to someone does not seem mysterious enough."

THE INTERPRETATION OF CULTURES

Looked at in this way, the aim of anthropology is the enlargement of the universe of human discourse. That is not, of course, its only aim- instruction, amusement, practical counsel, moral advance, and the dis- covery of natural order in human behavior are others nor is anthropol- ogy the only discipline which pursues it. But it is an aim to which a semiotic concept of ,culture is peculiarly well adapted. As interworked systems of construable signs (what, ignoring provincial usages, I would call symbols), culture is not a power, something to which social events, behaviors, institutions, or processes can be causally attributed it is a context, something within which they can be intelligibly-that is, …

Introductory note from the Editors

Communication is inseparable from culture. As Michael Agar shows, even the grammar of a

language makes no sense without culture. Agar experienced this firsthand when he tried to greet

someone in Austrian German: should he use an informal or formal second-person pronoun?

Have you faced a similar challenge when learning a foreign language? If choosing the proper

pronoun requires cultural knowledge, what do you need to know in order to negotiate more

complex social behaviors? For instance, how do you figure out who is expected to pay for drinks

on a date? What happened to Agar when he faced this conundrum (not in Austria, but at the

University of Maryland)? How did cultural norms and expectations, gender relations, status

hierarchies, and perhaps even regional differences come into play?

A few years ago I was talking to a Black colleague at the University of Maryland, a

faculty member from another department. I was trying to jump-start a program, but

to do so I had to tangle with the university bureaucracy and universities are just as bad

as governments and corporations. I complained because the various offices that were

supposed to help start programs actually made it more difficult to do so.

My colleague looked at me, shook his head, and started talking: "The system is not

your friend." He talked some more, with the "not your friend" chant repeated every so

often. The irony is that his life was the mythic American success story. He&aposd worked his

way up from poverty to a Ph.D., but, as far as he was concerned, he&aposd done it in spite of

the walls American institutions had built rather than with their help.

From Michael Agar, Language Shock, 13-30. © 1994 by Michael H. Agar. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins

A C11lt11ral Approach to Interpersonal Comnrnnication: Essential Reading

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§2. The objectivity of social meaning

The interpretation of shared understandings is an attempt to ground morality, at least partly, on external observable data. This approach is deemed to conform to the modern epistemology. Modernity has imposed two major requirements on knowledge: one is externality, the other is objectivity. Shared understandings are external data. But could social meanings, the products of the interpretation of shared understandings, be objective? Meaning, albeit social, implies the active involvement of subject or subjects in its processes of creation. If human subjects are actively involved in the creation of meaning, isn’t it subjective? How can meaning be objective? For example, believers of a certain religion make a table, and consecrate it as an altar. They inject “holiness” to the altar as its social meaning. Holiness, to them, means that the altar is separated exclusively for offering sacrifice to their god, and everyone must respect it as if it were god himself. To some non-believers, a table is a table. Nothing has changed by performing some ritual, calling it an altar, and prostrating before it. How can the holiness of an altar be objective knowledge? Not only the positivists but also quite a few scientists would reject this social meaning as objective knowledge. Walzer, however, endeavours to defend that social meaning is indeed objective.

A. Simple objectivity

At the beginning of an article titled Objectivity and Social Meaning, Walzer lays out three views of knowledge, or three kinds of epistemologies, which I reformulate as follows: 83 Objectivity, pp. 165-166.

1. The cognition of an object is wholly or largely determined by the object.
2. The cognition of an object is jointly determined by the object and the subject’s structure of cognition (e.g. faculties of perception and mind).
3.The cognition of an object is jointly determined by the object, the subject’s structure of cognition, and the subject’s conceptual schemes, which are formulated not by the subject alone, but by a set of subjects.

The first kind of epistemology became prominent since the sixteenth century. We can find its rise in the works of Galileo and its enthronement in Newton. Originally, it is a revolution against the traditional knowledge of nature. In the nineteenth century, people attempted to apply it to all kinds of knowledge, and positivism emerged as its most extreme form. It follows from this epistemology that a knowledge of an object is said to be objective if it is a knowledge of the object alone without any input from the subject. An objective knowledge of an object should remain the same no matter who observes it, when it is observed, and where it is observed. The object imposes itself on the subject, who receives passively and indiscriminately all the data imprinting upon him. A table is a table, and it is the same for anyone anywhere. This has been, perhaps, the most popular view of objectivity until now.

Some philosophers have long rejected the empiricist epistemology for various reasons. The ground of their objections is that the human subject is an active agent, and his faculties of perception are actively involved in the processes of cognition. How can the subject become irrelevant? One simple analogy is that a light beam cast on a white paper is white, and on a red paper red. Obviously, the nature of a receptor affects the resultant signal received. Philosophers like to give more radical proofs. For instance, Kant, in his Critique on Pure Reason, argues that the categories of the understanding, which are essential to the perception of all physical objects, exist a priori in the mind. Time and space do not exist in an object instead they are forms innate to the structure of the mind. When the data of an object go through the mind, it will arrange them in relation to the forms. And the final signal will then become comprehensible. Now, if the faculties of the subject have helped in the perception of an object, can we still speak of objectivity? The fact that the mind takes part in the determination of the final phenomenon poses no serious threat to objectivity. We may simply assume that every mind has the same faculties, just as every human body possesses the same organs. Of course, there will be exceptions, but they are rare, and we can handle them as abnormal cases. Objectivity then can be defined as the understanding of a normal subject, where normal means the widely shared faculties of perception and cognition. If most people perceive that the colour of a particular table is red, their report is objective. When a person reports that the colour of that same table is green, this is subjective. That person is abnormal: he may have colour-blindness or some other problems. Objectivity, in this sense, refers to the majority opinion.

This second view of objectivity seems to be a moderate proposal, but recent discoveries in cognitive science have led to its rejection. Researches show us that human subject does not come to the object with his faculties alone but also with interests and ideas. Perception is actually a process of interpretation. What the subject sees, recognizes, and understands is predetermined by his cognitive concerns and conceptual schemes. The enquiring subject will not attend all the data emanating from the object but only those that interest him. He then perceives and organizes those data according to his structure of cognition and conceptual schemes, of which the former is his innate structure and the latter the result of the processes of socialization. Thus it would be more correct to say that the subject imposes himself on the object rather than the object imposes itself on the subject. Instead of objectively observing the world, we actually shape the world into our own image.

The idea that human interests play an important role in the acquisition of knowledge is not new. It only comes to the fore recently. We can find its precursor in Durkheim’s critique of Kant. Kant attributes the categories of the understanding to the innate structure of the mind. Durkheim queries whether this is a competent explanation: if we attribute something which we don’t understand to the inherent structure, this amounts to saying that we don’t understand. Worse still, this pretension will prevent further effort of enquiry. Durkheim challenges Kant by pointing out that the categories of the understanding are, in fact, the result of long processes of socialization. Durkheim’s argument is supported by a lot of evidence. We can hardly deny it. On the other hand, Kant’s proposal is a kind of a priori synthetic knowledge which cannot be verified empirically. One solution is to accept both claims and to render them into a consistent statement as formula (3). However, we still have a problem with the conceptual schemes. If our perception is pre-determined by our conceptual schemes and there are different types of conceptual schemes, can we still speak of objectivity?

One response is to give up the idea of objectivity. The modern technological world demonstrates that it is human creativity that shapes the world rather than vice versa. Whether knowledge is objective becomes irrelevant. The most important thing is that it has to be efficacious. Another response clings to objectivity of either (1) or (2). In effect, both epistemology (1) and (2) refer to the object as the ultimate determinant of objectivity. There is no significant difference between them. This understanding is possible because its adherents are ignorant of their cognitive processes. Durkheim is one obvious example. His methodology opens the way to the option of conceptual schemes. Nonetheless, he is unaware of it, and sticks to the so-called scientific objectivity. We can attribute this fault to the trend of his time. Science has been a magic word in the modern world. Even now, almost all disciplines of knowledge have to prove their worthiness by claiming the use of a certain kind of scientific methodology. But a true scientific methodology requires us to denounce the kind of populist primitive scientific objectivity. A “false conscience” on the part of scientists has prevented them from developing an objectivity in consonant with the third epistemology.

There is another reason, suggested by Walzer, to explain the existing confusion between scientific methodology and its naïve objectivity. This simple objectivity seems to be valid because there exist some apparently “simple objects-in-the-world,” such as stone, tree, and table. They are defined as things, “which we accommodate and shape directly, without any necessary reference to their sociological significance.” 84 Objectivity, P. 166, n. 1. A stone is a stone for everyone everywhere, and a tree is a tree. Presumably, we can make a stone to whatever thing we like without conceivable objection. But is it also true for a tree? Is there any object-in-the-world that is void of social meaning? Walzer doubts it, but assumes that there are.

Ruth Putnam rejects Walzer’s dichotomy between simple-objects-in-the-world and objects-that-carry-social-meaning. She says, “We recognize trees as trees—we have the concept of ‘tree’—because they are important to us, important as resources and, sometimes, as obstacles. Trees answer many of our needs, including the needs which we meet by making tables. We make and recognize tables because we need objects with flat surfaces to put things on, to work on, to consecrate as altars. Finally, trees, tables, and altars entail moral legislation: trees are to be protected from various kinds of blight, tables are not to be chopped up for firewood, altars are not to be used as desks, etc.” 85 R. A. Putnam, Michael Walzer. Objectivity and Social Meaning, in M. Nussbaum & A. Sen (eds.), The Quality of Life, Oxford, 1993, 178-184, p. 179. If I have understood her correctly, Putnam seems to say that there are, in fact, no simple objects-in-the-world but only objects-with-social-meaning. This is exactly what Walzer tries to say. The problem of objectivity is now transformed to the question: if there are no simple objects-in-the-world, how can simple objectivity appear to be valid?

The answer hinges on the fact that a simple social object carries rudimentary social meaning and has few social restrictions on how to use it. A teacher points to a table, and tells the children that it is a table. He will expect them to remember the name and nothing more. If someone points to a flat plank supporting by four legs, and says, “That’s not a table,” this will probably lead us to talk about “mistake” rather than “disagreement.” The perception of simple social objects seldom provokes dissent or heated debate. Elaborate social objects, however, give rise to intricate stories. An altar, let alone the body of Christ, will lead to disagreement. Suppose a religious leader declares that a certain table is an altar, and calls everybody to burn sacrifice on that altar. This will certainly initiate a chain of quarrels. The complexities caused by objects with elaborate social meanings make it more urgent and necessary to search for an objectivity that can be applied to objects with social meaning.

B. Complex objectivity

To redefine objectivity, Walzer takes up the strategy of first returning to the most intuitive and general idea of objectivity, and in a second move, of clarifying this concept in various complicated situations. Despite admitting the use of sophisticated models and highly speculative schemes, scientists still hold on to the claim that their perception is objective. In their defence, they emphasize that they are sensitive to the resistance of the object to arbitrary conceptual and purposive impositions. In other words, scientists are using models to understand the object, but they cannot use whatever models they like. They must use a model that could best account for all the known properties of the object. The central idea of scientific objectivity, Walzer proposes, is that “scientific concepts must accommodate the object.” And “objectivity,” he continues, “hangs (somehow) on the accommodation of the object by a knowing, inquiring subject. The knowing subject shapes the object, but he cannot shape it however he likes he cannot just decide that a table, say, has circular or a square shape without reference to the table.” After defining the general idea of objectivity, Walzer proceeds to define social meaning as follows: 86 Objectivity, P. 166. Italics added.

Social meanings are constructions of objects by sets of subjects, and once such constructions are, so to speak, in place, the understanding of the object has been and will continue to be determined by the subjects. New sets of subjects learn the construction and then respect or revise it with only a minimal accommodation of the object.

The definition of social meaning is plain it does not require further explanation. The main idea is that social meanings are human constructions of objects with a minimal accommodation of the objects. The words “minimal accommodation” seem to be the crux of the idea. Apa artinya? I will first demonstrate the complexities of social meanings with a case, and then go on to sort out the meanings of objectivity in different circumstances.

Consider again the example of a table given by Walzer. A flat plank with four wooden legs can be constructed as a table. We can continue to impose meanings on this table. We can say that it is a writing desk, a workbench, a butcher’s block, or an altar. But can it be an intercontinental ballistic missile? No, because it cannot be constructed to function like a missile as we know it. The construction of a table into an intercontinental ballistic missile is invalid or subjective because it does not accommodate the object. How about an altar? Nowadays many people do not recognize holiness. Suppose a religious community uses an alter to offer sacrifice to god. The believers think that the alter is the holiest thing in the world. Suddenly, a member of the community questions the existence of god. He thinks, “The alter is nothing but a wooden table.” Who’s opinion is objective? The majority or the dissenter? Here, two social meanings are involved: alter and table. They are both social constructions of the community, and they both accommodate the physical table. Even outsiders can understand that that “table” is a holy alter of the community. What principle can we apply to judge and to settle this quarrel? Put it more generally, we can perceive the dispute as arising from two groups who have different conceptual schemes. Kelompok A and group B give different reports on the same object because they adopt different perspectives. A’s report and B’s report are both objective in relation to their conceptual schemes. An outside observer can verify this fact. But who is right? Is there any objective right or wrong? How can the idea of objectivity be applied?

Simple objectivity assumes that the understanding of an object is solely determined by the object itself. The test of objectivity is relatively simple: it rests on the judgement of the subject. If, however, we take conceptual schemes into consideration, objectivity becomes more complicated. In Walzer’s discussion, we can discern two components, namely the judgement of the subject and the social meaning itself. Walzer himself does not make such distinctions. But in order to clarify the issue, I take the liberty to separate the two components and to elaborate on them so as to make the argument more complete. Complex objectivity concerns an objective judgement on an objectively right social meaning. Since judgement and social meaning are two separable elements, I will treat them separately, starting with judgement first.

1. The objectivity of judgement

Walzer has discussed various issues connected with the objectivity of judgement. They can be categorized into two principles: objectivity is (1) a true report on social meaning, and (2) the adoption of an empirical standpoint. I will explicate them systematically below.

1. Objectivity is a true report on social meaning.

The wording of the first principle is taken directly from Walzer. 87 Objectivity, P. 172. Its meaning is straightforward and uncontroversial. A report of an object is said to be objective if it is a true report on the social meaning of the object. Consider our example of the altar again. Orang A reports a flat plank with supports (P) as an altar, and person B reports it to be a table. Which report is objective? A’s or B’s? They are both objective reports based on different social meanings of P, since an outside observer HAI can verify that both A’s and B’s reports are true reports on the social meanings of P. Jika B denies the objectivity of the alter, he is subjective. His objective report should be a report of the disagreement: “You regard this object as an alter, but I think it is a table.” Jika B wants to convince A that his construction is wrong, B should not argue for the objectivity of the construction of the table-that-is-an-alter, but for the validity or meaningfulness of the construction, that is, the reason why god does not exist.

The acknowledgement of the objectivity of the altar is not neutral. It entails certain constraints or obligations. Sejak A accepts the social meaning of altar, he is bound by the idea of holiness, and he has to uphold the holiness of the altar. For the non-believer HAI, he is bound by some notion of decent respect for the opinions of mankind, but not by the idea of holiness. The positions of A dan HAI are clear-cut. There will be no serious argument except for those who want to impose their way of life on everybody unconditionally. (We will discuss them in the second principle.) B’s position is more ambivalent. He belongs to the same community as A, but he does not believe in the holiness of the altar. As a non-believer like HAI, B is not bound by the idea of holiness save by some notion of decent respect for the opinions of his fellows. And as a member of the community, unlike HAI, he is obliged to follow the majority rule. 88 Cf. Objectivity, P. 170. A respect for fellows’ opinions is relatively easy to fulfil. It does not require B to attend the ritual and to offer sacrifice on the altar. Perhaps, it is enough for B to understand the meaning of an altar and to refrain from doing anything which will be regarded as an insult to the altar. The majority rule is something different it carries with it the full force of prevailing social meaning. If the social meaning of an altar is accepted by most of the members of that community, dissenter B is under the majority rule. He has to observe the minimal obligation of the meaning of the altar entailed regardless of his belief or disbelief. Otherwise, he will receive social sanctions for not revering the holiness of the altar. Nevertheless, it does not imply that public vote is a criterion to determine the objectivity or the accuracy of social meaning. The majority rule does not govern social meaning. It controls only social behaviour.

Objectivity as a true report on social meaning pivots on what a true report is. Apparently, Walzer assumes that there exists a true report on a social meaning. But strictly speaking, every report on social meaning is an interpretation since there is no pre-defined social meaning from which a true report can be written. Every report involves various degree of interpretation. Could we judge an interpretation as objective or subjective? Or, should we grade the objectivity of an interpretation? This, if not impossible, will be a difficult and controversial task. Walzer is also aware of the problem of interpretation on objectivity. He does not speak about the objectivity of an interpretation. “Interpretations,” he says, “are (except at the margins) only more or less persuasive and illuminating.” 89 Objectivity, P. 172. If a report is an interpretation and interpretation is more or less persuasive and illuminating, there will be practically no objectivity. Objectivity becomes an ideal too high to achieve.

The above conclusion is based on a strict understanding of the nature of social meaning. Yet, a looser understanding is possible. In our daily life, there are many social meanings which are unanimous and stable. We pass them on from generation to generation in oral or written forms through education. It makes sense to speak about a true report of this kind of social meanings. Examples of this category are abundant. Simple constructions such as stone, tree, table, desk, are some of them. More complicate constructions also exist, for example, table-that-is-an-altar, careers-open-to-talents, and sovereignty-that-belongs-to-the-people. For such social meanings, it is possible to make judgement as objectively right or objectively wrong. A report of a table as a desk, as well as a report of it as an altar, is objectively right. And the racial construction of Negroes-are-slaves, which clearly distorts the Western social meaning of human being, is objectively wrong.

There are at least three cases in the writings of Walzer that utilize a high degree of interpretation which can be described as “persuasive and illuminating.” The first relates to the kind of social meanings that are ambiguous. For instance, medicine. In practice, health care is partly private and partly public in the United States. It is unclear whether it should be treated as a commodity to be distributed by the market or it should be nationalized and distributed equally to all citizens in need. Walzer argues for the latter, and he admits that his argument is an interpretation. Second, Walzer states that social criticism involves a higher level of interpretation. 90 Objectivity, P. 172. The two most common tactics of criticism are either extending the boundary of a privileged group to include those who are excluded, or exploiting the conflicting claims of two social meanings. We can argue, if human rights can be applied to white males, why can they not be applicable to white females, or Africans, or Asians? Or, if human being has the right to move freely, why does the United States confine that right only to their own citizens and the nationals of some affluent countries. Walzer regards these types of arguments as interpretations. Finally, a systematic conceptualization of justice is one of the most sophisticated interpretations. It involves the clarification of social meanings, the consistent application of ethical principles, and the balance of conflicting claims. The three skills in themselves are difficult to master. A social theory has to apply them not to a single issue but to the society as a whole. It is difficult to tell the complexity involved in social interpretation.

2. Objectivity requires the subject to adopt an empirical standpoint.

In the argument for the first kind of objectivity, Walzer presupposes that there are dissenters as well as outsiders in a world of social meanings. It implies that people can opt for different sets of social meanings, different conceptual schemes, and different world views. Because of this complexity, objectivity requires the inquiring subject to adopt an empirical approach to social meaning. He must know that there exist different societies, of which some of them are pluralistic, that is, they have different religious or cultural communities within themselves. Thus, social meaning always takes pronouns: it is our social meaning, your social meaning, or their social meaning. From this empirical standpoint, we can draw at least two implications in relation to objectivity.

First, we cannot assume that our social meaning is universal. Or conversely, we should assume that there exist equally valid social meanings other than our own. This assumption builds on the knowledge that there are social worlds different from ours, and opinions different from our group’s within our pluralistic society. A person who denies, or is ignorant or not sufficiently conscious of these facts will inevitably become a subjective thinker. He will assume that other people see things as he does, and he will apply his own social meaning universally. For him, an altar is holy, and people will acknowledge this when they see the altar. If they don’t know that the table is in fact an altar, they can always be taught to do so.

Second, social meanings which are constructed as universal claims are not valid for people who do not believe in them. This makes for a difficult position for religious fundamentalists, and for those scientists or philosophers who insist on knowing what things really are. Believers of a religion may claim that their god is the only true god. They know it as absolute truth because they have revelation from god. We may imagine a more extreme case in which a fanatic religious leader receives a vision of the end of the world. He orders his followers to set out to convert the world, and to kill anyone who stubbornly refuses to accept salvation. Our God or sword! The secular version of this kind of universal claims can also be found in scientific or philosophical theories. Their claims, of course, are not based on revelation but on some universal rationalities. Perhaps, they are more appealing due to their sophistication in reasoning, or to their efficacy. Nevertheless, scientific and philosophical theories, as well as religious doctrines, are human creations. 91 Cf. Objectivity, pp. 165-167. As human constructions, they are not valid for those who do not believe in them. If a believer, a scientist, or a philosopher imposes his universal claim ignoring the objection of other people, he is absolutely subjective.

An empirical standpoint, however, does not a priori exclude the existence of universal principles. Walzer himself declares: “It is not my claim that the whole of morality is objectively relative….” 92 Objectivity, P. 170. What he suggests is that we have to approach universality empirically, and see which values or principles are indeed universally present. It is always possible for local constructions of a certain object to coincide. He writes: 93 Objectivity, P. 170.

… we might plausibly ask whether there are cases where construction is jointly determined by its objects and its human agents in such a way that the same normative entailments appear again and again, in all or almost all human societies. The same behaviour would be wrongful for the same reasons in all human societies morality would lose its particularist character without ceasing to be relative to social construction.

According to Walzer, universal principles do exist in reality. Dalam perang, he says that the right to life and the right to liberty are universal. He argues that aggression, and the killing of unarmed innocent men or women are always and everywhere wrong. Another example is food. The primary meaning of food is the sustenance of life. Walzer thinks that the construction of things-that-are-food-for-the-hungry is respected everywhere, and that hoarding food in time of famine is universally wrong. 94 Cf. Objectivity, pp. 170-171. We can check these things empirically without reverting to a priori assumption or rationality.

2. The objectivity of social construction

Concerning the objectivity of social meaning itself, Walzer focuses on the elaboration of the idea that human construction must have a minimal accommodation of the object. In using the term “minimal accommodation,” I think Walzer intends to make room for a maximal human creativity, and at the same time, to maintain a minimal standard of objectivity. Dalam Objectivity and Social Meaning, Walzer touches upon another dimension of social meaning which is not fully discussed in the paper. Putnam points it out that besides social meaning, there is another category found in Walzer’s writing, namely the conceptual scheme. 95 R. A. Putnam, Michael Walzer, P. 178. She argues that the only concept of objectivity needed is the objectivity of conceptual scheme. I personally disagree with her for the reason that conceptual scheme and social meaning, though related, belong to different categories. Conceptual scheme is not one kind of social meaning. Perhaps, it is best to be regarded as the collection of social meanings seen as a whole, or the totality of social meanings, or the network of social meanings. Since it is one of the essential aspects related to our investigation of the objectivity of social meaning, I am obliged to make a distinction, which Walzer himself has not clearly made, between the objectivity of conceptual scheme and that of social meaning. In this way, I might have said more than what Walzer has said.

The objectivity of social meaning depends on its capacity to accommodate the object. Walzer distinguishes two types of objects: one with free-will, the other without. Let us start with the simpler case: object without free-will. Obviously, objects, except those abstract ideas such as good or god, have certain physical properties which will limit the construction of the human subject. The social meaning of an object is said to be objective if it does not contradict the physical property of the object. If the subject imposes a meaning exceeding the physical limit of the object, this construction is subjective. For example, a flat plank with four wooden legs can be regarded as a dining table, a desk, a workbench, a butcher’s block, or an altar, but not an intercontinental ballistic missile. If a person thinks that the plank is a latest model of a missile, we may praise his imaginative power, but his idea is entirely subjective even ridiculous. Even if he produces a lot of arguments and convinces many people, a critic can point out that the plank cannot fly, and thus, is not a missile. As long as the majority cannot make the plank fly, their opinion is still subjective. Majority can make a meaning social, but they cannot make the social meaning objective.

When we turn to the objects with free-will, the issue becomes more complicated. Kant’s categorical imperative forbids us to treat a rational being merely as means. It says that we should always treat him at the same time as an end in himself. A human person is an end in himself, but sometimes he is willing to offer himself as an instrument of service to other people. Thus Walzer argues that we have to consider human being as both an object of construction, and an agent that can resist any construction. 96 Cf. Objectivity, pp. 172-176. A construction of a person will cease to be effective if the person objects to that construction. Consider those societies where women are transferred from household to household through marriage. A woman is regarded as an object of exchange. As long as the woman-who-is-an-object-of-exchange confirms her object status, we cannot say that this social meaning is wrong. The racial construction of the black people as tradable-slaves is, however, not merely subjective but objectively wrong because it is both against the Western shared understanding of human being and the will of the blacks. If a dominant group imposes a meaning on another group against its will, this act is tyrannical and immoral, and the meaning is not social but subjective. Or if a ruling class upholds, by repression, a social meaning that a certain group rejects, its act is also tyrannical and immoral, and the social meaning can no longer be treated as valid. Whenever dispute about social meaning occurs, a just society should provide a proper channel to resolve the conflict.

As an example to illustrate the idea of accommodation, Walzer writes: 97 Objectivity, P. 166.

Similarly, someone self-confidently applying a conceptual scheme that divided the world into friends, enemies, reading matter, and edible plants would get the table wrong (objectively wrong), or he would miss the table entirely, and deny its reality, and that would be a merely idiosyncratic (subjective) denial.

In the passage just cited, Walzer is contemplating the consequence of using a simplistic conceptual scheme to look at a table. A person with the conceptual scheme which divides the world into friends, enemies, reading matter, and edible plants would probably regard the table as a non-edible plant, or miss the table entirely. This is a reasonable projection. But is there any problem? Walzer assumes that anybody with some common sense would agree with him that something goes wrong. Apa sebenarnya masalahnya? Walzer says that that person’s judgement is either objectively wrong or idiosyncratic (subjective). His fault is caused by the fact that his conceptual scheme is inadequate to accommodate the world. Walzer’s argument is certainly correct if that conceptual scheme is invented by the person himself. I, however, want to explore the case that the conceptual scheme is not his own invention, but in fact belongs to his society. Of course, there is no such simplistic conceptual scheme in the world. What we have are a multitude of conceptual schemes and a multitude of categories of social meaning. Could we compare them? What criteria should we use? There are the conceptual scheme that regards every living thing in the world as holy and the conceptual scheme that considers everything as purely matter. The former has the idea of holiness, and the latter none. Could we say that the former conceptual scheme is better than the latter, at least in this respect, or that the latter is deficient?

In order to answer these questions, let us now return to Walzer’s argument with my assumption that the conceptual scheme actually belongs to that person’s society. When a normal member n of that society saw a flat plank with supports P, he would either treat it as a non-edible plant, or miss it entirely. n’s report of P in the former case would be a non-edible plant. In the latter case, if n is pressed to look at P, n would either report it as a non-edible plant, or as something-that-needs-not-be-attended-to, assuming he or they could invent that category. By using the first principle of the objectivity of judgement, both reports are objective because they are true reports on social meanings. The second principle—thou shalt not be ignorant of other peoples living on the same planet—pushes him to know social meanings other than his own. Though table-that-is-a-flat-plank-with-supports is not their construction, he should recognize it as other people’s construction. An objective report should be: P is something-that-needs-not-be-attended-to for us but a table for them. If he did not have the knowledge of a table, he is said to be subjective because of his ignorance.

So far we are discussing only the issue of the objectivity of judgement. Can we say something about the conceptual scheme? Can we say that the above-mentioned conceptual scheme is objectively wrong? I think we can. Following the definition of social meaning (that is, social meaning must accommodate the object), we may infer that a conceptual scheme or a network of social meanings must accommodate the world. Now, the world has many conceptual schemes and social meanings. The conceptual scheme of friends, enemies, reading matter, and edible plants does not accommodate other conceptual schemes, and thus its members could not grasp that P is a table for somebody else. The flaw of this conceptual scheme is that it does not facilitate its members to make objective judgement. Saya menyarankan bahwa skema konseptual objektif minimal di dunia modern harus memiliki (setidaknya) kategori kosong yang disediakan untuk skema konseptual lainnya. Mengingat bahwa skema konseptual dari n memang mengandung kategori kosong ini, ketika dia melihat P untuk pertama kalinya dan memperhatikan bahwa P memiliki desain tertentu, dia akan melaporkan itu P adalah semacam konstruksi sosial dari beberapa masyarakat yang tidak dia ketahui. Dan itu adalah laporan yang objektif juga.

Adapun perbandingan antara dua skema konseptual, Walzer memiliki reservasi untuk melakukan itu. Untuk beberapa skema konseptual sederhana, seperti yang disebutkan di atas, yang tidak memiliki arti penting seperti cinta dan keadilan, kami siap untuk mengatakan bahwa mereka cacat. Tapi mereka jarang. Pada kenyataannya, kami memiliki beberapa skema konseptual yang kompleks yang sulit untuk dibandingkan.


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Komentar:

  1. Whittaker

    Saya pikir Anda tidak benar. Saya yakin. Tulis di PM, nanti kita bahas.

  2. Renton

    Saya ikut. BEGERI. Kami dapat berkomunikasi dengan tema ini.

  3. Keshicage

    dan sesuatu yang analog adalah?

  4. Tur

    Sangat disayangkan bahwa saya tidak dapat berbicara sekarang - saya sangat sibuk. Saya akan kembali - saya pasti akan mengungkapkan pendapat saya tentang masalah ini.



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