For the final blog post, reflect on the linkages between the weekly themes. In 300-500 words reflect on how either meaning making OR structures of difference were evidenced in readings or films across at least three of the weeks.
I noticed that much of the content across the many weeks of class contained information that could be viewed through a meaning making lens. For the fourth week of class — systems of relationship, I found some pervasive themes of meaning making in the readings and videos. In the video for the week, I noticed the immense amount of meaning that the three brothers imputed to finding a wife. They gained meaning out of finding an Albanian woman to bring back to rejuvenate the village. This was an interesting point to contrast with other cultures, or even just sects of other cultures, that have reduced the value of having women around as companions or who have reduced the desire to have children. For many reasons, many people nowadays are less inclined to have children/ families. Also, say there was a community of homosexuals, they might not necessarily be bothered by the fact that there are no female mates around.
In week 5, there were clear indications of meaning making in the “Pig Tusks and Paper Money” video. The one that stuck out most to me was the culture that used banana leafs as a currency. This is a prime example of meaning making, since the meaning that they ascribed to the banana leafs as currency changed it from a valueless object, like it would be in all other cultures, to one of immense value, to be used to exchange for living provisions or other goods. Additionally, in the reading by Rosman and Rubel, an interesting point was made about how in capitalist, industrialist societies, much meaning is assigned to the economy. This is a clear difference from certain other political models, in which other areas of society are stressed more. However, in capitalist countries, the economy has gained a very high amount of meaning, which has affected the history of the particular nation.
In week 6, still more examples of meaning making arise. “How Sushi Went Global” was a quintessential case of meaning making. Sushi itself gained a good reputation in America for numerous reasons. Meaning was ascribed to the food in general, partially because of the meaning that was ascribed to Japanese design beforehand. Sushi’s reputation was enhanced and was perhaps even aggrandized; a sure instance of meaning making that most everyone (in the US at least) can attest to. The movie Life and Debt was also an interesting case of meaning making. In this case, meaning making was undergone on the side of the Free Trade institutions, who through and through emphasized the meaning that prophets could have. IN fact, as shown in the movie many times, prophets were seemingly perceived of as more meaningful than the well being of the people being exploited in their working positions. This meaning making out of money–out of sheer profit–is a pervasive theme that I have witnessed around me in the current world order, and is one that has come up a few times in this course as well.