advocacy, criticism concepts of society

Nils Zurawski (zurawsk@UNI-MUENSTER.DE)
Sat, 27 May 1995 18:23:42 +0100


I followed the postings on these subjcts with lots of interest, but due to
a lot of work (e.g. my newborn son) I wasn't able to answer right away.

when I read the first threads it immediately connected the issues discussed
here to a class I am participating in at the department of sociology in
collaboration with the institute of ethnology about differnt concepts of

The last few weeks we discussed a paper by one of the teaches (ethnologist)
Jos Platenkamp from Leiden, Netherland. he wrote about the paradigma shift
in dutch Anthropology from the mid 18th hundred until the second world war.

The paper dealt with the concepts and viewpoints that dutch anthropologists
had and how and why they changed.
It deal with their conceptions of "primitive" (whatever you ant to call
it9 societies, esspecially in the East and West Indies.
His agument in the papaer was, that their view on them gave and still gives
a good view on the dutch society at a certain time.

When I read the threads about you was and is destroying nature to a greater
extent ar if at all - "Natives" against the "western civilization" I
thought that I saw something familiar in the argumats brought forward.

In seeing the "natives" as romantic as some arguments proposed - being one
with nature, being natures keeper and watcher - it might be because we are
much more critically concerning environmetal issues then we were several
years ago.
The argument gives way to the thought, "if we keep them like they are, if
we only show that they are that way than we might save us. It is a putting
responsiboilities somewhere else

The counter argument of course hold against and tells us that we are not
actually that bad, they had been as destructive as we are now. So what,
keep on doing it??

Our view on others tells a lot about ourselves, esspecially when we are
anthropologists, working on/about/with these "other" people.

Being an sociologist in the first place I found the discussion extremely
interesting because it gave a look on ourselves and we see societies in
general and our own in particuliar.

Comments, flames, criticism, encouragement welcome.


Nils zurawsj4ki