Culture and Cultural Analysis as Experimental Systems Essay
In this weeks reading by Michael M. J. Fischer provides a spectrum of definitions of what culture embodies. Fischer also supplies a vast amount of examples that relate to various classifications of cultures. He describes “cultures as a methodological concept or tool of inquiry, might best be understood in terms of its historically layered growth of specifications and differentiations, refined into a series of “experimental systems” that, in a manner akin to the “experimental systems” of the natural sciences, allow new realities to be seen and engaged as its own parameters are changed. My take on what Fischer is elaborating, is the mechanics of culture and examinations and how deeply stratified the development from one characteristic into many through the progression of unproven theories. These theories help uncover the nuts and bolts of cultures that are always changing as a result of its environment, weather, politics, government, population, etc…
Throughout Fischer’s article, he provides an asthmatic variation of what the meaning of culture is, for instance, “culture is that relational, complex whole, whose parts cannot be changed without affecting other parts, mediated through powerful and power-laden symbolic forms, whose multiplicities and performatively negotiated character, is transformed by alternative positions, organizational forms, and leveraging of symbolic systems. I believe Fischer is simplifying his own explanation of culture and how culture identifies itself with distinct measures of the definition, by the means of how culture has developed globally through anthropological analysis. Further in the reading, Fischer discusses, “Cultural analysis and involves the work of interpretation. It requires charitable readings to get the “native point of view” in a form that natives recognize as “right,” and to elicit the context for the work of analysts (native or otherwise).
It also contributes to the poetics and politics of the living growth of cultural understandings. Anthropologists are among many who make such contributions. It may be useful to compare their work to that of advertising creatives who often judge their own work as borrowing from popular culture and returning to it leveraged formulations, which when successful, resonates, amplifies, and ramifies throughout the popular culture. Fischer main points of importance is identifying culture as an investigative instrument instead of fickle that can be responsible for social tribulations. Fischer argues, culture is where meaning is embedded and begins again, by professional cultural anthropologist as well as by the people they study. In addition Fischer also argues, that there are objections in the cultural interpretations to cultivate translation and mediation tools for helping make noticeable characteristics of interests, access, power, needs, desires, and philosophical views.
My group and I had spent a large amount of time trying to grasp every theory and concept that Fischer was mentioning throughout the article due to the immense amount of information that Fischer brought forth. Fischer in his article mentions a plethora of historical theories by numerously renowned anthropologist that have contributed their intellectual perspective that help discover the uncharted areas in culture. I personally found the article to be fascinating, but was a tad bit hard to follow with the amount of theories and information.