Saturday, December 19, 2009

How We Think They Think

In this non-fictional resource, Maurice E. F. Bloch discusses and explores the anthropological approaches to cognition, memory and literacy. The focus of this exploration is on the different indigenous groups living in Madagascar.

In the first part, Bloch focuses on cognition; this includes discussion on language, anthropology and cognitive science—here he uses the connectionist theory to bring forth his points. In this section he also explores the conceptualization of the Zafirmaniry Society—one of the indigenous groups living in Madagascar. He delves into cognition and ethnography and concludes this section by discussing domain-specificity and symbolism.

The second part focuses on memory as it relates to the Zafirmaniry of Madagascar. He explores the conepts of internal and external memory and the different ways of being in history. He uncovers how the house is erected, created or resurrected according to the traditions and customs of the indigenous peoples of Madagascar. Bloch discusses time, narratives and how the past is represented in a multitude of different ways.

In the third part, Bloch explores literacy. Here he uncovers the relationship between astrology and the process of writing. He explores literacy and how it evolved during the period of enlightenment and how all this unfolds among the indigenous peoples of Madagascar. Bloch illustrates how the schooling and literacy is used in a Zafirmaniry village. He concludes this section with a pointed discussion on why the Malagasy cows speak French.

This resource is a pure academic approach to anthropology and would be an excellent resource for students of anthropology. In testing the theories of anthropology, Bloch brings in connections to psychology and the colonial history of the French as it relates to their colonization of Madagascar.

No comments: