SOC 201 Cultural Anthropology:
Capstone Research Paper
The capstone paper for this class is a bit different than for many other classes: no external research required. Everything necessary to properly complete the work is contained within class materials. The capstone examines anthropological terms and concepts within supplemental text, “City of Joy” by Dominique Lapierre. This text was assigned as an additional read throughout the semester.
The ultimate goal of the paper is for students to be able to identify anthropological ideas, concepts, terms, concerns, and/or theories presented throughout the semester and contained within the book.
Learning how to apply what you’re studying, in any class, is important. Without the application of knowledge: knowledge cannot become wisdom. Have you ever met an intelligent, book-smart, person who exhibits little to no common sense? I ask you to consider: what good is all the information and knowledge if ‘it’ cannot be utilized in a positive manner? Being able to recognize any issue is the first step towards understanding and finding solutions.
Know in advance: in general, the book is not going to identify or directly point out the concepts. It remains up to each student to understand and recognize anthropological concepts when exhibited in the reading. Are there instances of ethnocentrism, cultural or moral relativism, or variances in/on worldviews illustrated? What is the impact? Consider: what role does language, family, linage, tradition, culture, and/or globalization play within the section of the story? Do you, the student and reader, think the book is a kind of ethnography: completed and compiled by a participant/observation process? If not, what method was utilized? Is the book a work of fiction or are there valuable human lessons within the pages? How do you connect the contents of the book with anthropology?
All of the italicized terms in the paragraph are pertinent within the anthropological lexicon. Know, I do not expect students to seek out all these examples (although you may run across many) or answer every question I wrote. I simply used the materials to illustrate ideas for approaching the paper. I suggest as you’re reading to apply the anthropological vocabulary of words, terms, concepts, etc. you’re discovering to the content. How many examples can you find? What connections can you make between anthropological language and the text? What anthropological concerns are demonstrated in your section to analyze?
Rubric-100 points available
1-05 points: Student follows all directions.
1-05 points: No outside references. The student uses information from class materials.
1-10 points: Proper in-text citations and reference page completed.
1-10 points: Paper is properly edited: spelling, grammar, and pronouns. College level grammar expected.
1-30 points: A minimum of 6 different sections of the text, “City of Joy” examined.
1-40 points: Multiple anthropological connections used and identified. Incorporation of
definitions combined with proper use of terms and concepts.
See next page for an example of expectations.
Capstone example of connections using anthropological terms, concepts, and ideals.
Using the ideas discovered from the “Cultural anthropology” text, posted notes, videos, and discussion boards discover examples within the text “City of Joy”. Below is a basic example of expectations. I have underlined anthropological terms or concepts highlighted this semester to illustrate term use. Not every term needs defined, but I chose to define the ones having the most impact on the discourse. My definitions: power and stratification with explanations regarding slums and poverty.
I thought seeing the expectations would help explain the desired outcome.
Many illustrations of power exist within society. Anthropologically, power refers to “the ability of a group or an individual to impose their will upon others, to make another do things, even against their will or wishes”. (CA p. 171) In many societies: politics, power, and poverty go hand-in-hand. The events occurring within the first few pages of chapter 52: Dominique Lapierre’s book “The City of Joy”, is a perfect example of the definition of power.
Representatives from the municipality, in the name of progress (a proposed subway line), unexpectedly show up one morning to evict every person from their meager settlement. The settlement is nothing more than a few pieces of canvas and cardboard providing minimum shelter. (CJ p. 348) In other words, a slum. Slums exist in all regions of the world but most occur in urban cities. (CA p. 376) Migrants seeking refuge from rural poverty flock to cities in search of economic opportunities only to “find themselves condemned to a life of squalor in crowed shantytowns or slums”. (CA p. 376-377)
Stunned, the residents say little. In fact, the lack of reaction has less to do with anger but everything to do with a lack of options or resources. “This city has finally broken our capacity to react”. (CJ p.348) Without political support, a union, or even any structure of defense the residents have no recourse: there appear to be no alternatives left for the residents.
In reality, more than 1 million people currently reside in poverty-stricken slums. (CA p. 377). Social class, or in the case of India a strict caste system, continues to stratify individuals. This stratification system, where “individuals are ranked in a form of social strata (layers) do not share equally in the resources necessary to support income, status, or power”. Globally, stratification perpetuates impoverished conditions and in many regions, there appears no help in sight.
Let me know if you have any concerns or questions regarding the assignment.
We will also examine all assignments on the discussion board: so everyone can ask and learn from one another. Know: If a student has a question, most likely so does another. Asking questions helps everyone learn and discover!
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