For example it was assumed in societies where life is hard that romantic love has less chance to blossom, because higher economic standards and more leisure time create more opportunity for dalliance. That also contributed to the belief that romance was for the ruling class, not the peasants. But, said Dr.
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Jankowiak, "There is romantic love in cultures around the world. Jankowiak, with Dr. Edward Fischer, an anthropologist at Tulane University, published in Ethnology the first cross-cultural study, systematically comparing romantic love in many cultures. In the survey of ethnographies from cultures, they found what they considered clear evidence that romantic love was known in of them -- 89 percent.
And in the other 19 cultures, Dr. Jankowiak said, the absence of conclusive evidence seemed due more to anthropologists' oversight than to a lack of romance. What's the Evidence? The survey demanded a careful reading of the records, since anthropologists often paid no systematic attention to whether the people they studied had romantic involvements, or failed to distinguish between lust and love. Some of the evidence came from tales about lovers, or folklore that offered love potions or other advice on making someone fall in love.
Another source was accounts by informants to anthropologists. For example, Nisa, a Kung woman among the Bushmen of the Kalahari, made a clear distinction between the affection she felt for her husband, and that she felt for her lovers, which was "passionate and exciting," though fleeting. Of these extramarital affairs, she said: "When two people come together their hearts are on fire and their passion is very great. After a while, the fire cools and that's how it stays. Much of the evidence for romantic love came from cautionary tales.
Similar in its description of romantic love to the European tale of Tristan and Isolde, it recounts how a young man falls in love with a woman who has been committed by her family to marry someone else, but who returns his love. The couple elope, but end in desperate straits and finally return home, in disgrace. A Question of Chemistry. Indeed, from the Kama Sutra to the poems of Sappho, tales of romance are found in ancient literatures throughout the world, though largely ignored by anthropologists and Western social historians.
This is one clue that romance is a universal human trait, Dr. That led to a major change in reproductive strategy -- infatuation and attachment, the ingredients of romantic love. Fisher added, "With the evolution of pair bonding came body chemistry that initiates and sustains bonding.
Still, given cultures may channel romantic feelings in different ways. Romantic love, Dr. Jankowiak said, may be muted or repressed by cultural mores such as marriages arranged by families while the betrothed are still children. Jankowiak said. Three's the Charm. In an editorial note to the cross-cultural survey of romantic love, Dr. Plotnicav wrote that, in retrospect, it was an oversight to ignore the topic in his own field work.
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The traditional pattern of marriage among the people Dr. Plotnicav studied was for a man to ask his relatives to find him a wife. But, if they could afford the expense, men there could have more than one wife -- allowing romance to enter the picture. While finding that romantic love appears to be a human universal, Dr.
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Jankowiak allows that it is still an alien idea in many cultures that such infatuation has anything to do with the choice of a spouse. One tribe in the mountains of Iran ridicules people who marry for love.
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Of course, even in arranged marriages, partners may grow to feel romantic love for each other. For example, among villagers in the Kangra valley of northern India, "people's romantic longings and yearnings ideally would become focused on the person they're matched with by their families," said Dr. Kirin Narayan, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin. But that has begun to change, Dr. Narayan is finding, under the influence of popular songs and movies.
The same trend toward love matches, rather than arranged marriages, is being noted by anthropologists in many other cultures.
Newly edited and revised since its original publication, Anthropology of an American Girl is an extraordinary piece of writing, original in its vision and thrilling in its execution. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Anthropology of an American Girl , please sign up. See 1 question about Anthropology of an American Girl…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jun 11, Mary rated it it was ok Shelves: time-suck , contemporary-literature.
I'm glad that's over. Anthropology of an American Girl is Often boring. Peppered with unrealistic and unlikeable people, as well as people one would have liked to get to know better if our narrator, the passive and weak Eveline, could have stopped obssessing about herself for more than 30 seconds.
Disappointingly cliched. And, occassionally, rather beautiful. But I won't read it again and there are very, very few people I would recommend it to without a twi Whew!
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But I won't read it again and there are very, very few people I would recommend it to without a twinge of guilt. I skimmed pages at a time and even skipped some sections the recounting of Eveline's various dreamssoooo tedious. The problem is, all sorts of things happen , but Eveline remains exactly the same. Her usual reaction to any stress seems to be either unemotionally fainting or lapsing into a coma. That may have worked for 18th century heroines but it fails utterly in this account of the life of a 20th century American girl.
This book is really just a trite, thinly-plotted romance novel masquerading as a Work of Great Literature. I sound like I hated itI didn't. As I've previously stated, there were moments of true brilliance and incredible beauty, but they were hidden amongst the pages and pages of angst-ridden, long-winded melodrama.
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