May 7, 2018
Do people need to deviate from society’s norms to create their identity
In the contemporary Pacific, the work of an anthropologist deals with the “cultural revival” politics. Modern primitives include piercing of ear, nose, upper and lower parts of body. However, other latest primitives are tattooing, to wear jellwery in various parts of body, decorative scarification and rituals. According to Vale, people do it as a sign of “individuality”. There is a difference between “modern primitives” and “invented traditions”. People who are engaged in body modification look intriguing rather attractive. Indeed, analysis of modern primitives on the basis of Western understanding in terms of cosmogonic mythology and classical theory of economic (Sahlins 1996).
Moreover, these practices are common in many countries including Western, Africa and other sides of Pacific areas with stretched earlobes and spreading the different ethnicities awareness. Some people consider these primitives as rituals and some people consider it as bad. Conversely Wade said, law and morality are conflated by Americans. Obviously breaking the law is bad and it is immoral and illegal act. It is not easy to change any law because it seems like something immoral is changing towards morality. In some countries use of Marijuana is prohibited but in some countries it is legal in “coffee shops”. There is difference between practical and moral implementation, at the time of practicality we change law so easily by ourselves. Some people take it as a policy of Government, some don’t even bother it and some people strictly follow laws, it’s all about cognition and mind perception.
Durkheim believes that not a single society can live without deviant behavior as it contributes to the social order; therefore every society draws a line between what behavior is acceptable and what is not. In other words, it is crucial to illustrate how a society defines a deviant behavior, because this produces norms in the society. While it is very easy to think either we fall one side of the line or other. A deep analysis at rituals and desire to become deviant reveals that in some point of time, people will go through the deviant side of line. But sometimes people try hard to deviate or create separate identity of them from the society and in this effort they conflate between crime and deviant. Crime is usually a behavior associated with breaking formal and written laws of any society, but the deviant is a broader term, it is associated with any behavior that breaks norms in the society. All crime can be considered as deviant, but all deviant cannot be considered as criminal acts.
Overall this essay attempts to put particular facts into general way. U.S culture has some primitives adopted from past and some have been constructed by modern society. There are different questions come in mind that what is the link between this ‘tattoo and its ‘sign’. Is it any kind of quest or to cut your body with razor or any other machine is some kind of socialization? According to Rosenblatt, modern primitives describe the historical conditions and culture which shows the experience of life in capitalistic society and just like an attempt to bring change (290). After analyzing the concept of traditions construction and “cultural movements” in the history of historical colonial context. Maori culture in New Zealand the misinterpretation of Maori practices and old traditions by anthropologist of Europe (Hanson 73). Hanson shows the instability of cultural inventions and opens for state of contesting (898). It is true that modern primitives have some ground related to past and existing connections.
However, ethnographically there is need to understand how body piercing or modification comes under ‘modern primitives’. These activities are actually meaningless. People who do it consider it as a ‘self’ identification. Some people consider it as a provoking threat for society but the question is how? A Book of Genesis ; Enlightenment theory describes the ‘social contract’ about some concepts of society. These are the myths actually created by people of different societies. Primitives have strong impact on the minds of Western people. Clifford argues that primitives construction which is actually our reflection, it insulates us from cultural differences and real challenges (213). According to Stocking, people with tattoos, piercing, and other body modifications, explores romantic identification as compared to others “consider modern primitives as social criticism” (31). Primitives are considered as your mindset about any society. It is human nature that we adopt different primitives when we encounter with other society (Kuper 240). Rubin gives us useful information about tattoos that have gone through in last 20 years (243).
One of my goals about this essay is to explore the complexity about modern primitives and its link with social contacts, traditions and culture. People use tattoos and body transformation to give knowledge, and society rituals. They want to represent themselves different and as a self-identity related to any tribe sometimes. There are many authors represented their idea about modern primitives and its link with traditional customs. Moreover, law in terms of morality and practicality is also discussed. Lawful or Unlawful both options are available in every society, now it depends on the people how to follow its country law in positive direction.
Geertz, Clifford. Works and lives: The anthropologist as author. Stanford University Press, 1988.
Hanson, Allan. “The making of the Maori: Culture invention and its logic.” American Anthropologist 91.4 (1989): 890-902.
Kuper, Adam. “Introduction.” Conceptualizing society. Routledge, 2002. 11-24.
Kuper, Adam. Culture: The anthropologists’ account. Harvard University Press, 2009.
Rosenblatt, Daniel. “The antisocial skin: Structure, resistance, and” modern primitive” adornment in the United States.” Cultural anthropology 12.3 (1997): 287-334.
Sahlins, Marshall, et al. “The sadness of sweetness: The native anthropology of Western cosmology and comments and reply.” Current Anthropology 37.3 (1996): 395-428.
Stocking, George W. Race, culture, and evolution: Essays in the history of anthropology. University of Chicago Press, 1968.