W075
The fall of cultural man: some proposals for an anthropology less cultural and more natural

Convenors:
Alessandro Lutri (University of Catania)
Alberto Acerbi (Eindhoven University of Technology)
Stream:
Workshops
Location:
533
Start time:
27 August, 2008 at 9:00
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

The aim of the workshop is to re-considering the relationship between nature/culture, focusing the painstaking empirical investigations about the relationship between structural factors and social and cultural factors.

Long abstract:

From the epistemological point of view the anthropology has been always in balance between the aspiration to define itself as a scientific discipline -with a statute similar to natural sciences-, or as an individual understanding closer to humanistic knowledge. This condition in most cases brought anthropologists to underline the elements of discontinuity and division between what has been conceived as the specific domain of human kind -the culture-, and what has been conceived as the specific of other animal kinds -the nature. This tendency to underline the discontinuity between the human kind and the animal kind generated the culturalism that characterize most of the anthropological knowledge of XX century. This tendency generated in the common and scientific sense a dualistic vision of reality, considered as separated in two different entities, the culture and the nature. This ontological dualism reflects what is assumed to be an essential characteristic of human beings: the absence of any kind of constraints on their social and mental behaviours. The aim of the workshop is to stimulate a debate about some key concepts of social and cultural anthropology, like "natural", "innate", and "humanity", reflecting upon the difficulties of a discountinuist conception that to divide human beings, more than join them. The workshop would to re-considering the relationship between nature/culture, focusing the painstaking empirical investigations about the relationship between structural factors (neurophysiological, biochemical, biological, etc.) and social and cultural factors (cultural, social, political and ideological).