Culture and transformation are two concepts that seem to have nothing in common when discussed separately. However, they have a range of overlapping points, focusing on which people can improve their understanding of particular historical events, political and societal changes. Evans-Pritchard, Hecht, Susser, and Trouillot are well-known professionals who concentrated on different topics but included these points in their works. Even though these professionals did not cooperate while preparing their papers and had different subjects matter, they used several similar methods and had similar research goals.
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Evans-Pritchard, in his book, revealed some insights on the Nuer’s life and their politics (2). The professional wanted the readers to see how those natural resources affected people’s production and formed their social organization and sovereignty, as those ideas they had. He was trying to show people the transformation from a hunter-gatherer society that was peculiar to prehistoric civilizations and first tribes to a proper permanent agricultural society that represented class society. In addition to that, Evans-Pritchard paid attention to the way democratic society, with the absence of chieftainship, selected its political authority (141). A similar topic was discussed by Hecht, as the author focused on the politics related to the environment (6).
She focused on the danger of nuclearity and identified the fact that the presence of Uranium on a particular territory urged the creation of nuclear workplaces, and defined the major production of the society. In addition to that, it shaped the politics of waste disposal. Evans-Pritchard’s work affects the readers with the author’s approach to gathering information. He made several visits to the area of interest and conducted several interviews to gather the most true-to-life information. As a result, he received an opportunity to include the words of other people and even some parts of their dialogues. In addition to that, the book was written from the first person, which makes it more interesting to read and easier to understand research goals. It seems that Evans-Pritchard wanted his audience to obtain as many details and examples as possible because, in this way, they have a chance to understand the way the Nuer changed with the course of time. In this way, Hecht also received an opportunity to reveal the connection between natural resources, occupation, and politics.
Trouillot focused on the concept of history, as he wanted the readers to realize how some events can be hidden so that the past seems to be utopic while its reality was terrible (7). The author referred to the discussion of a case study. He speaks of Sans Souci, as of a person who was killed and as of two castles with his name. Trouillot emphasized that history consists of ruins that are gathered together that is why it often leads those details that could improve people’s knowledge and understanding (35). He underlined that influential people had an opportunity to produce a better history than it really was, which he believed to be wrong. Just like Evans-Pritchard, he mentioned particular people’s experiences and gave the readers an opportunity to deepen into the situation that was discussed and analyzed later. Still, the introduction was written from the first person, which resembled the previous author. Both Trouillot and Evans-Pritchard use examples when they describe general notions, which allows them to appeal to readers’ imagination and enhance their understanding of the topics even though they did not have much in common.
Susser discussed another topic and focused on gender and sexuality, emphasizing their cultural peculiarities, and the way they were faced by politics (12). Unlike other authors, she organized her work more like a literature review than a case study that deals with personal involvement. Even though the author shares some personal ideas, she does not provide any personal and biased thoughts and allows her audience to gather data and then to analyze it personally. In this way, this book looks less attractive as a reading but more useful as a source of authoritative information that can be needed in practice. In addition to that, she discusses lots of events that had happened during several decades. Her goal was to provide theoretical knowledge but not practical, which also differs her book from those mentioned earlier. Still, her topic reveals the way the societal issue of gender inequality and AIDs spread so that it attracted the attention of global leaders and led to the implementation of new policies. In addition to that, it discusses the way people’s views regarding different sexual orientations altered with the course of time.
Thus, it can be concluded that concepts of culture and transformation have a lot of overlapping points, such as gender and sexuality, history and utopia, serenity, and natural resources. They reflect various historical events, political and societal changes. Even though they focus on different ideas, professionals who research them tend to conduct research studies that have select similar goals and methodologies. However, such tendency is not a rule, and each author identifies an approach that tends to be the most useful considering the very purpose of the study and the information that is to be gathered for analysis.
Evans-Pritchard, Edward. The Nuer: A Description of the Models. Oxford University Press, 1940.
Hecht, Gabrielle. Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium Trade. MIT Press, 2012.
Susser, Ida. AIDS, Sex, and Culture: Global Politics and Survival in Southern Africa. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
Trouillot, Michel. Silencing the Past. Beacon Press, 2015.