Online Journal of Anthropology

volume 7, number 1, 2011


I re tragici di Israele – La narrazione delle origini della monarchia in Israele come problema storico

Nell’analisi dei documenti antichi la Storia delle religioni ha scelto sovente di di leggere questi documenti come testimonianze di realtà storiche religiose di epoche anteriori a quella dei documenti stessi. Alla base di una simile scelta c’era l’implicita convinzione che la religione fosse un prodotto culturale statico, dotata di un naturale conservatorismo, per cui il complesso dell’universo religioso di una certa epoca tendeva, così si riteneva, a prolungarsi nelle epoche posteriori con mutamenti minimi. In questo modo un documento di una certa epoca che si riferiva ad un’epoca anteriore era facilmente interpretato come una valida testimonianza su quest’epoca anteriore.

[Read the article in PDF format (285 Kb)]


Micro-Etnografia notturna – Riflessioni di un antropologo in discoteca

Non sono un frequentatore abituale di discoteche o di clubs, come si preferisce chiamarle oggi. Questi appunti sono l’esito di osservazioni che hanno avuto luogo in alcune discoteche romane molto frequentate e da me precedentemente sconosciute, nell’arco temporale di alcuni fine-settimana di primavera. Essi pongono, credo, problemi metodologici di “scala” e di rappresentatività del documento etnografico che pure saranno affrontati brevemente nel testo, per la scrittura del quale ho scelto un taglio stilistico molto descrittivo, non informale ma nemmeno saggistico.

[Read the article in PDF format (150 Kb)]

Royal Anthropological Institute or Royal Academy?
Post-Modern Anthropology as Contemporary Art


It has been widely argued that postmodern and cultural relativism are replacement religions in Romantic, neo-tribal tradition (e.g. Scruton 2000, Kuznar 1997) This article attempts to better understand the nature of postmodern anthropology by looking at it through the prism of Art. Following Scruton (2000), it argues that, since the Enlightenment, Art has performed a similar function to Christianity in many people’s lives and is accordingly a form of replacement religion. The article demonstrates that while modern forms of anthropology might be deemed ‘religious,’ the cultural relativist anthropology of Margaret Mead appears to be art whereas this is less clear with postmodern anthropology. The article argues that the boundaries between postmodern (or ‘contemporary’) anthropology and visual ‘Contemporary Art’ are essentially weak and that postmodern anthropology is usefully understood as exemplifying contemporary art. Accordingly, it has no place in scholarly discourse. It is a replacement religion by virtue of its artistic nature.

[Read the article in PDF format (329 Kb)]

“One Culture – Many Perspectives” – Understanding Cultural Diversity Through Rural Livelhioods. A Reflection from the Rural Craft Communities in Kandy, Sri Lanka

There is no universally accepted definition for the concept of culture. Culture should be understood as a specific and unique phenomenon that affirms community’s identity and diversity. Judging one culture by the values of another, over-simplifies the distinctiveness and the wealth of a particular culture. Recognising, understanding and respecting dynamics of cultural norms, and defending and expanding cultural freedom are crucial in assuring secure and sustainable well-being of any community. This paper investigates different perspectives of culture by referring to everyday livelihood activities of rural communities that engage in traditional craft industries in the Kandyan region, Sri Lanka. In a livelihood perspective, culture is defined as a structure, function, product and identity, through its influence on everyday lives of people, and accordingly people’s engagement with and uses of culture. Culture is multifaceted and extremely diverse entity that varies from place to place and person to person. The strengths of cultural diversity should be respected and accepted by mainstream society, if any initiative is to be truly about satisfying human desires.

[Read the article in PDF format (468 Kb)]

Does Indigenous Knowledge have anything to deal with Sustainable Development?

In this paper, the author investigates that whether indigenous knowledge has anything to do with sustainable development. First of all this has been targeted to work out that how could knowledge be treated as a integral part of culture that has very broadly a material and a non-material part. This has been tried to see that what happens to knowledge of a folk life when culture develops in civilization. Next step is to see how knowledge of the local/folk/indigenous communities of human society systematically work and construct Traditional Knowledge System (TKS). Traditional knowledge is very much functional and still it is heavily value-loaded and dependent on non-adaptive socio-cultural features. Traditional knowledge traits are not always open but sometimes very much hidden in type- so these have to decode from cultural symbols exclusively in the religious laboratory of survival. In a global context this has been tried to understand the necessity of Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS) constructed by summation of TKS worldwide scattered. The aim is to gain Global Public Services from IKS to meet the negative impacts of Globalization especially falling on nature. This looks like a passive support towards Globalization with virtue of Indigenous Rights for the Indigenous Peoples (not to be much discussed here). However, failure of unidirectional development in Global Market Economy has been tried to be mitigated by IKS that has nothing to deal with romanticism but sustainability even at an extra-scientific humanitarian ground. Out of so many services by IKS so to attain a sustainable development; biodiversity management at a community-specific level within a particular ecosystem is exclusive and probably the timeliest approach.

[Read the article in PDF format (269 Kb)]

The Rebellion in Heaven – The beginning

From Middle Age onwards, the philosophers and theologians devoted notable endeavors to explain the evilness in the Hebrew-tradition. Whether one figure out God is an entity characterized by love, compression and omnipresence, it remains to be seen why he creates exactly his most staunch enemy, or why one of his loved and wisest angels converts in a corrupted being decisively launched to tempt the humanity. Grammatically speaking, there is no status in the language for the death of a son (a person who loss its father is orphan, the wife, widow but what about the son?. This reveals of course, the taboo that represents the nominal state of a person one looses its off-spring. The founding myth of Lucifer exhibits two contrasting beliefs: For one hand, the interconnection between the humans and betrayal are symbolized under the figure of pride and arrogance marked the end of Lucifer at defying the god-will. But for the other hand, it demonstrates the strong attachment of a father by his son. The Seraphim Lucifer seems to be in fact the negation of death of children, a belief en-rooted in the idiosyncrasy of late-capitalism.

[Read the article in PDF format (561 Kb)]

Appraisal of risk factors for diabetes mellitus type 2 in central Indian population: a case control study

Background: Diabetes mellitus is characterized by high levels of blood glucose, late onset of disease and associated with serious complications. Genetic and environmental risk factors are known to exist and the importance of elucidating these risk factors in different populations will be of importance in view of the ultimate goal of personalized medicine. The objective was to assess the impact of risk factors such as Body Mass Index (BMI), Waist Circumference (WC), and Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR) on diabetic and control subjects using statistical tools in a specific geographical category of Indian population.
Methods: 92 diabetic patients and 123 controls living in urban areas of Nagpur city, Maharashtra, India, were selected for a case control study. BMI, WC, WHR, fasting glucose, blood pressure (systolic and diastolic) and skinfold thickness at four points were assessed. For logical interpretation, the data have been subjected to statistical analysis such as risk ratio, odds ratio and chi square. Multivariate regression analysis was carried out to adjust for age and sex.
Results: The plasma glucose, HDL cholesterol and Waist to hip ratio are significant in between control and diabetes subjects even after adjusting to age and sex.
Conclusion: Comparison of diabetic and control showed that the central obesity (WHR) and HDL were most important risk factors for type 2 diabetes in the studied population.

[Read the article in PDF format (373 Kb)]

Natural Selection Intensity in Settibalija,
A Mendelian Human Population from South India


The selection intensity indices were computed based on the demographic information pertaining to fertility and mortality among Settibalija, an endogamous Mendelian population of Andhra Pradesh, South India. The total fertility and mortality indices are slightly lower than other Andhra populations studied earlier. In the present caste population, the selection is manifested primarily through differential fertility rather than mortality, which is a not deviation from general trend. The results are discussed in the light of earlier studies on some caste and tribal populations inhabiting Andhra Pradesh, South India.

[Read the article in PDF format (267 Kb)]

Obesity, Diabetes and the Thrifty Gene – The Case of the Pima

What is diabetes? Diabetes is a disease. According to WHO: “Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.” The CDC’s National Diabetes Fact Sheet (2007) defines diabetes in this way: “Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. Diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature death, but people with diabetes can take steps to control the disease and lower the risk of complications.”

[Read the article in PDF format (3079 Kb)]

Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms of PARKIN Gene
in Ten Indian Populations


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder after Alzheimer’s disease. Due to the complex etiology of PD, there is possibility that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in PARKIN gene could be associated with the disease and lead to the pathogenesis by genoenvironmental interactions. Role of PARKIN polymorphisms as risk factors varies in different populations among various ethnic groups. Indian populations, known for their rich diversity, are not included in the genotyping of single nucleotide polymorphisms in the global survey for all the genes associated with PD. Further detailed study in this field will give a greater insight to analyze the haplotypic and Linakage Disequilibrium (LD) and decipher the pathogenesis of PD patterns in this region. A total of 1000 individuals belonging to ten ethnic populations of India were included in the present study. Five PARKIN gene polymorphisms (rs1801474, rs72480421, rs1801582, rs1801334 and rs35125035) were screened by PCR and sequencing. The present study shows that the rs72480421 (His200Gln) is monomorphic for all populations. Five major haplotypes accounted for almost all chromosomes (90-98%) in all populations studied. LD was more fragmented across PARKIN locus in all populations. The haplotype diversity and the fragmented LD across PARKIN gene in all populations of the present study suggest the existence of frequent recombination within the large introns of the PARKIN gene.

[Read the article in PDF format (755 Kb)]

Sul rapporto tra Athena e Medusa

Hartswick in uno studio dedicato alle rappresentazioni di Medusa connesse all’egida della dea Athena, pone in relazione lo Ione di Euripide – nel quale è la dea stessa ad uccidere direttamente Gorgo – con un processo, iniziato con l’instaurazione della democrazia ad Atene, che avrebbe visto la messa in ombra di Perseus in quanto entità mitica strettamente legata a Pisistrato e ai suoi discendenti. Lo studioso, infatti, tramite un’analisi delle fonti iconografiche, sostiene che le figure di Perseus e Medusa potessero essere state utilizzate da parte di Pisistrato a simboleggiare la sua alleanza con Argo: città dalla quale proveniva la sua seconda moglie Timonassa e le truppe mercenarie che consentirono il ritorno al potere del tiranno nel 560 a. C. Pertanto, l’eroe di Argo e Gorgo, come sembrerebbe potersi rilevare dalle fonti iconografiche del periodo, sarebbero stati inseriti nel generale programma di promozione della dea Athena attuato dal tiranno, cosa che comportò, con l’instaurazione della democrazia e la promozione di Theseus come eroe rappresentante la nuova polis, la “marginalizzazione” del figlio di Danae. Per lo studioso, quindi, la variante mitica per la quale è la dea Athena stessa ad uccidere Medusa andrebbe interpretata come parte integrante di questo processo: come riflesso della “marginalizzazione” di Perseus sul piano della tragedia.

[Read the article in PDF format (219 Kb)]

Contrastive Study of “Time” in Iranian-Indian Mythology

The main aim in the study is to compare and contrast the textual contents and the formal structures that are involved in the myth of ‘time’ in Indian and Iranian mythologies. Three questions will be replay: What are the divisions of time? What is the function of time in the mythical system in both myths of Iran and India? And what is the formal structure in this myth in the both mythologies? Data collection for this article has been done with a documentary approach. The Primary sources involved the Avesta and the RigVeda and secondary sources (include: 31 books, related article) were reviewed, after data gathered from those, the data analysis has been done in this study.
Comparison of two myths is done with following mythical three indices: 1. Structure (trinity) 2.Binary Oppositions 3.Archetypal patterns time. In the Iranian myth, like the Hindu myth time is divided into three and then again four part horizontally. In Hindu myths, time is cyclical. Lord Brahma in Hindu mythology is referred to as the creator. The Zoroastrian concept of time is linear not cyclical. In the creation myth Unlimited/limited and Numeric /Divine time are cosmic oppositions; Golden Age / Iron Age indicate sociological opposition.

[Read the article in PDF format (302 Kb)]

To read articles in PDF format, please install the “Acrobat Reader” plug-in. You can freely get it visiting Adobe website.

To contact Authors, please send an email to Antrocom editorial board. The editorial board will not consider anonymous emails, spam, offensive texts and messages that are against the law.

Lascia un commento

Il tuo indirizzo email non sarà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *