Return to Laughter - Question

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RETURN TO LAUGHTER E. Smith Bowen The following are a series of questions that are designed to get you thinking about Bowen’s book as you begin to go through it. These questions should (I hope) help you to focus on relevant themes and issues as you go through the book. Please note, I do not expect you to hand in written answers to any of these questions. What I suggest, instead, is that you think about these questions before completing your first response paper or studying for the mid-term exam. NOTE: The Tiv are the name of the group of people with whom Bowen was working. Chapter 1: What are some examples of ‘culture shock’ that Bowen (or the Tiv) experience when she first arrives to carry out research? What habits, customs, appearances, etc. set the anthropologist apart from the local people? How do the local people behave and act towards Bowen? Do they find her actions and behaviors readily understandable? Chapter 2: On the basis of Bowen’s experience, are you inclined to believe or disbelieve the Sapir/Whorf hypothesis? What are some of the Tiv’s expectations about Europeans? (i.e., what stereotypes do they hold of European people)? Chapter 3: What kinds of cultural meanings do the Tiv attach to the giving and receiving of gifts? How might an ‘outsider’ misinterpret them at first? What can you tell me about ‘power’ relations between the anthropologist and the local people? That is, who has the ‘upper hand’? Chapter 4: How is the giving and receiving of food related to hospitality? What breaches in etiquette does Bowen unwittingly commit? What do metaphors of space -- i.e., ideas of ‘near’ and ‘far’ mean? Chapter 5: What kinds of misunderstandings arise over the building of Bowen’s house? What dangers do the Tiv believe await those who live alone in the bush? Chapter 6: How does Bowen’s dispute with her
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