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Anthropology and Social Policy

Anthropologists study human beings as social creatures. Tentatively, it is the study of human behavior; it highlights the differences in human behavior and the role that culture plays in that diversity. Anthropologists suppose that humans not only respond according to biological nature, but also depend on culture. The cultural differences and significances studied by anthropologists are essential considerations in the decision making process. The moral standing of an individual depends on their culture and how they uphold it. The moral standing of a person influences their tendency to resort to violence.

Globalization and modernization results in rapid changes, in culture and morality, this can cause an alteration in social policy. The field of anthropology is a constant contributor to research and advocacy for social policy. Certainly, anthropologists are historically strong opponents of social injustices such as war, racism, and marginalization. Moreover, knowledge in anthropology is relevant in explaining violent tendencies. As such, the violent tendencies form the basis for social injustices among the people.

Many people employ the utilitarianism theory in making, as well as, justifying their decisions. In the case when an individual takes a course of action or reacts to a situation, depends on the moral values of the individual. Tentatively, morality establishes how they justify their actions, the goals they intend to achieve and how far they are willing to extend. Understanding of what makes people’s decisions is crucial in the study of violence. As such, in order to understand violent trends, one must know how people justify them within themselves.

Apaches and White men differ in many aspects, in retrospect to the book portraits of the white man (Basso, 1979). The most significant difference is their social behavior. The Apaches framed their conversation styles differently from the white men. The informal interactions between the Apaches especially their interchange between the use of English and their native languages often had a deeper meaning. Their conversations, especially those that involved the white men like humor about them showed their treatment by them, their opinions, as well as, their insecurities and fears as regarded by the white men.

This book explores the humorous elevation of the Apaches to superb effect. The conversation styles reveal the differences between the two cultures and their attempts to understand each other. The Apaches rarely used English; instead they stuck to their own language. Primarily, their informal conversations showed how they felt about them. An elderly lady explains how they feared the white men and their perception towards humor. Only children ridiculed the white men until much later (Basso, 1979). This changed later as the Apaches began to understand the white men as such, improving the interaction between the two cultures.

Changes between one language to another portray implicit messages (Basso, 1979). When the Apaches changed from their native language to English, they change their mode of speech, as such, altering their tones, tempo, volume and pitch. As such, it presented a means of communication thus allowing humor. On the other hand, the English language was not common among the Apaches. On the other hand, it was vital for some undertakings such as grocery shopping. Preferably, the Apaches rarely used English among the people. This takes place in the conversation at the shop, when an older man starts speaking to the other in English, the whole crowded shop bursts into laughter.

A crucial aspect of the Apache small talk is their jokes about the white men, their imitation and the symbolism it presented. According to Basso, the imitation jokes regarding the white men are an indication of two aspects of their relationship with each other. It portrayed a message about the relationship between the Apaches at that time, and others which leads to the development of the present relationship (Basso, 1979). The Apaches joking about the white men were an indication of the social class differences, as well as, their perception towards them. The use of code switching for Apaches passed across information about their surrounding or setting, their social identity, as well as, their relationship with the object of their joke. As such, it presented their dissent at the new occupation of the white men.

The white men, on the other hand, seemed to view Apache as less important. They rarely learned their language, and this meant that the interaction between them was minimal. The Apaches saw no need for the English knowledge and reveled in their conservatives. They have resisted efforts towards modernization, choosing to practice their culture. They are most proud of the fact that they continue to learn and speak western Apache. Missionaries, as well as, the Anglo Americans, used several techniques in an attempt to diminish their language to little success. As such, the missionaries employed their evangelism approach in trying to make changes.

The Apaches and their interactions in informal settings as discussed in the first and second chapter were incredibly symbolic. They used humor and imitation to highlight the state of events and how they thought about the issue. Their small talk and imitations of the white man revealed their feelings towards the treatment, as well as, the white man’s behavior. Indubitably, it highlighted their air of superiority and their thoughts towards the white man- Apache relationship.

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