Anthropology Definition Of Personhood

1707 Words 7 Pages
Anthropology is one of, if not the most diverse and versatile disciplines of study. There is no academic domain which is broader in area of study than anthropology, a fact which I have only recently learned. On the first day of class I had preconceived notions about anthropology, I believed it was simply the study of cultures from a subjective manner, a very cut and dry study which would not take much elaborate thought. As classes progressed, particularly once we had moved onto the study of sex, reproduction and personhood, my understanding of the versatility of anthropology expanded greatly. I have realised that what I before thought was a static, uniform study is in fact more variable that I could have imagined. In this essay, I will explain …show more content…
Personhood, by definition, begins at birth, however in some cases it can take months to many years achieve. In the case of adopted infant children, familial personhood does not begin until one has met and been accepted into the family. Though the adoptive parents my see pictures of their future child, the child does not become truly real to them until they are seen in person, regardless of the fact that they have existed for an extended amount of time. The child which adoptive parents are set to adopt typically does not occur in the mind as an individual but as a collective child, a blank face rather than a specific, individual child. This is reflected in Dr. Blasco’s article “A Wondrous Adventure”, in her extended use of the example of the adoptive family who, upon spending time with the little girl they were to adopt - returned her and exchanged for another girl as if there was no difference. They did not see the little girl who decided to not be good enough for them as being the same girl they had been picturing as adopting for all that time. Another obstacle to personhood would be the conceptions put onto a child based on who their parents are. In the …show more content…
Through a six step process beginning when the boy is between the ages of 9 - 12, the boy is made to ingest semen, growing stronger, more virile - preparing him to become a man and a successful husband. Aside from the fellatius nature for which semen is used for, “Semen as a commodity evaluates and conditions basic Sambian cultural institutions - personhood, marriage, clanhood - as well as key social relationships in the family, village and ritual cults, between men and women, humans and spirits.” (Herdt: 1993, 171) Due to the importance of sperm, once a male reaches the point in puberty at which he is able to emit ejaculate - his importance as a member of the community increases. Insemination is thought to be vital for puberty to even occur, thus it is extremely important in the, pardon the pun, coming of age rituals. Once men have completed their homosexual initiation, they have achieved full personhood. “Semen metaphorically defines political power: inseminators are more powerful than recipients in virtually every sense.” (Herdt: 1993,

Related Documents