Hong Kong Polytechnic University Introduction to Anthropology Assignment 1 Topic 25: Explain, illustrate and evaluate the claim that Language is an Instrument of action and power Foreword The origin of language multiplicity was narrated in the Holly Bible by The Tower of Babel fable in the Genesis. Even in nowadays 21st century, it is still regarded as a feasible saying to explain the variety of languages and origin of language. The term ‘Able’, in Hebrew, refers to confusion. And this ‘confusion tower’ in the story began with the challenge of human beings towards the authority of the untouchable Lord.
The sky reaching tower was a powerful symbol to express humans’ pride and prosperous development at that time. Moreover, the tower had shouldered the mission to reach the noble heaven and broad humans horizons. The Lord in the sky was certainly curious with things related to heaven and his creations of mankind. The Lord of mankind, tempered like humans, quickly found himself irritated and offended after noticing the intention of humans to demonstrate their power. Punishment to the united mankind was the lost of unity. The systemically undefined language of mankind, was then confounded into different genres of engage system.
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What’s worst, people of Babylon were scattered to different places of all the earth as the punishment of offending God’s absolute authority. The Linguistic and Geographical barriers kept human beings away from continuing their symbolic construction. The great project of the Able Tower and the prosperity of Babylon was ended because of humans’ disunity. The Confusion of humans, became the name of the tower for people to remember. (Genesis 1 1:4-9) Humans tried to demonstrate their power. However, humans were punished and lost there instrument to become powerful ? the language of humans was scripted.
There are multiple interpretations in this mythology. One way of interpreting is that the fable is known as a warning letter’ from the respectful god, warmly reminding people to be aware of the power they hold, the language they speak and what cooperation work can bring out. Explain, illustrate and evaluate the claim that Language is an Instrument of action and power The myth of Babel, is probably the most suitable example as an opening for introducing how language may enact an important role in affecting people’s action and power.
Language in the myth was an instrument of action that it united people to pursue to do things with a certain shared goal. Cooperation of construction work was allowed because of the fluent comma inaction within humans usage of one language and one speech. Power in the myth of Babel can be interpreted as the ability to practice and enforce things, such as how humans practiced their project, how god confounded humans’ language, and scattered people to different places and so on. The existing text, is a form Of Religious Language who ICC brings message of telling people being respectful and fearful to god because of his adulate power.
This usage of language had actually shown a grading of power. The topic claim in the fable can be briefly explained as the above. In the following paragraphs, the topic claim will be further discussed with its definitions, illustrated examples and some sociological theories. Language in the topic is known as the way of how people communicate with each other. The possession of Language, perhaps, distinguishes humans from other animals more than any other attribute. Refers to the philosophy of myths and religions of people, language is the source of humans’ life and power. Victoria Frocking, 2011) The ability to create new ideas and new terms, re the most special character for mankind to perform in language system. Power, in Dining’s words , is both cause and effect of Language. (Downing, K, 2011) Language in power, is described as the medium for the expression of power in terms of various situations. And Apelike, had further described the present of language as an indicator of social situation, and politic situations. (Alex Contain, 2013) Other way to express power, is simply its nature which exists in different places or societies with probably has different forms but maintain the same nature.
It is, the nature of practicing the levered authority among the others. The dialect of ‘an Mary behind it becomes an language’ reveals the nature of power well that the authority of action can be demonstrated. The cause in the case is power, which puts an extra effect of potential action, and it, delivers the message of threat to the receiver without the using of language. The existence of power by its own, has already sent out a message of threat or fear. The term of Action, can not easily be well defined because of the simplicity with its own and it can be known as the practical behavior of oneself or a unite.
The definition of Language and Action, has been illustrated into the thought of symbolic behavior. Syphilis of Action had been known as the highest development of language. (Hacksaw,1991) The hidden mismanages has been endowed to an object to acquire a symbolic representation. For example, the Babel tower in the story can be regarded as an symbol of humans’ demonstration on power. Interpreting the man made symbol in a larger scale, the Babel Tower is a symbol of humans’ failure in probing god’s authority bottom line. The fable of the Babel Tower was told by Mr..
Chain, my teacher in the elisions class in the Catholic boys school. During the three junior years, me and my classmates were taught to always be respectful to god the father through ways of our living. Under the Catholic atmosphere, the religious lesions and teacher’s religious language received had affected me so a lot that my value to social norms, perspective to god was built bit by bit during the days in the Catholic School. Those religious worships and series I participated with all the sacred prayers, the way of delivering the wafers, and the ‘touching to the head’ praying, were all performed in a serious manner.
These kind of serious manner, or let’s say rites, did brought up fair messages of being respectful, knowledgeable to the religious of Catholic to we students. Did understand and treasure the role of being a student of the Catholic School at my three junior years. Besides, the role became an identical symbol which determines our way of thoughts and it was implicated in life with our daily action. Studying in such a religious structure had made me became a bit religious on how to look into the world. The using of religious language plays a big part in religious education. So does it in my junior school.
The principle of the school and school rules were very religious. There is a unspoken rule that the principal and vice principal had to be Chocoholic. Fathers and religious studies teachers had lots of says and they did matter in lots of big occasions of the school. The building up of students’ religious value is always an foreseeable process to spread out the power of religion among the young, and which, would certainly affect the actual practice of a student’s life in their ways of living. More than that, it does affect my life the very little things to the big issues in my life.
In my senior years, I encountered a big change in live that I moved to Guanos and went to a Chinese Secondary School. The change was tremendously huge that people in China tend to believe in the red party rather than any religion. We students in school were managed by straight rules. Political language are in school rules and the school principle education. Political education are well supported by in the apiary period by the Communist Youth League and in junior period by the compulsory subject study of Politics. Students in a class stick together closely with strong atmosphere of collective thoughts.
I uptime the moment still treasure a lot about the unforgettable unite we had in school. Super collectivism, emphasis of student common structure are well practiced. Hierarchical discipline of role playing is maintained between student and teachers. The first thing we students had to do before an academic year was military training. Getting used to listen to the commands after a playful summer vacation is quite important for school management. Staff at the administrative level needed to be ‘politically upright’, therefore, political language can be seen often under the speech given out by them.
Never topping political click© was the nightmare of students in the campus. The years I had spent studying in China was a pleasure for me to know more about how different institutes can be and how they have their own way Of thoughts in values and practical procedures. The aim Of Political Language teachers spoken in China, rather than only about practicing the institutional Will of the upper in the school, it is more likely to be a way of belief that political language been used had more or less being linked with nationalism and religious belief.
There is a similarity between the Political language in Chinese school and the Religious language in Hong Kong School, the way of using the language was usually serious, positive and beautiful, in sense of the language in use are Chinese and English respectively. The reason of so probably because of the education am in students’ language ability, or probably because of the nature of education is guiding, guiding students to become certain types of people in the society which fits in the needs of the nation.
And Language, no matter in soft or hard, good or bad in its form, would have been one of the most important instruments for people to enact ideas of an authority – a person or an institute, to practice power on the others to practice. In my point of view, the Grand Theory proposed by the Tailcoat Parsons has explained the concept of power and action comprehensively that it is within role playing in institutionalizing. (C. Wright Mills, 1 959) Mills interpreted and extracted Parsons theory of institute as a collision of values.
He sees an institute, even as big as a society, as a stable role playing of mankind, a group of all people maintaining a balance between ego and alter. Mills descriptive the concept of Standard as a personal confirmation of ego/value, which tends to be significance to himself. And alter, is the conformity to the other’s ego/value. Oneself value of recognition is interactive and it is determined by his own role expectation and the others sanctions to his act. The processing of finding the balanced compromise between role expectation and sanction, is referred as institutionalized.
A role grading would happen once people’s role expectation or sanction vary from each other in an institute. This role grading in an institute explain how people practice their authority and why people has different authority. The Grand theory has revived a saying to evaluate the topic of this essay that it had given us a review on how people obey the others within an institute. Although the Grand Theory was trying to explain sociological issue in a macro scale, I still found it useful for me to understand how language can affect people’s action and how a grading of power can be launched within an institute.
And it, did help me to further look into the obedience experiments in the follow. The classical Stanford Prison Experiment held by Psychology professor Philip Zanzibar in 1971, showed how and what degree the usage of language ND the power status with a institutional identity may change people’s action. 70 typical male participates in the experiment were put into a simulated prison, they were divided into prisoners and guards. In the beginning stage Of the test, the participants were not so serious in the role Of their part.
However, at the 6th day of the test, the experiment was compiled to stop because one third of the guards participates had turned into Abusive patients that they tortured the prisoners. Moreover, the prisoners had no repulse on the unreasonable requests after punishments were introduced. In the experiment, the tendency on the human nature on ‘role playing’ had further verified and illustrated as very similar to the Parson and Mill’s interpretation on humans contingent action on alter.
Similarly, the Amalgam Experiment in Yale University in 1 974 had once again proved humans’ weakness to obey command from an authority. The electric shock experiment was held in purpose to further evaluate the Prison Experiment and investigate Nazis cruel actions during the second world war . The Electric Shock Experiment in Yale aimed on finding the degree of human obedience to the authority to receive commands and enact commands and sanctions to the others. Fake electric shocks were given to the actor by participant’s pressing of fake button to increase the volt of electric shocks.
Commands of continuo Nagy increasing the electric shock would be given, following by the choice of the participants to keep going on or give up the experiment, the actor will give out related reaction to test the limit of abundance of the subject participants. The result showed that 65% of the participate will obey to continue till the maximum voltage of vi, and all participants keep going on until vi. The experiment figures suggested that human beings could have become a killing machine not in occasion but in most of the cases.
With help of some instructions given by an authority, with a role playing with decent explanation in what people are doing. Human conscience had been proved by the above two experiments that they can be easily put down. In an extreme extend, genocides happens, like what had happened in German Nazis or Rwanda. It really does not matter if people are conscious on it or not, the instrument of language can procedure so much energy for people to seek impossible outcomes.
A summary in Amalgam’s 1941 experiment article, “The Perils of Obedience” (Stanley Amalgam, 1974) Ordinary’ people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority. Aloud Helter had made his fame in his early political life with his speech talent.
His Nazism and Ethnic Cleaning policy Was the one and only genocide which had happened in such a scale. His crazy ideologies had been practiced through out the whole nation of Germany by his command. The two experiments held by Yale and Stanford, had somehow stimulated the situation of concentration camp. Human beings’ extreme obedience within particular conditions had been proved to be actual. In the language analysis of assignment 2, a famous plot in the movie Downfall/Deer Neutering would be investigated for further discussion on the topic of Power.
At the begin inning, important concepts in topic has been defined. How Language become an instrument of Action and Power had been illustrated and evaluated with an overview on the examples of the tower of Babel, religious language and political language. The Grand Theory had supported the experiments carried out by Yale and Stanford, has proved a theory to explain how people can be controlled by language to present power and execute extreme actions. Additionally, it had given a deeper review on how power and action functions.
Looking back of what I have written, the topic was not so easy to illustrate cause of its betray existence and my lack in life experience, however, the education example I think is fair correspondent and it is my first-hand feelings and experience. The theory, had shocked me in how value system can be described in such a concrete and precise way. The experiments of obedience, were profoundly capable to talk able the extreme cases happening with the topic’s principle ideas. I think I have learnt quit a lot during the process of writing. I would like to end my essay by a quote from the famous Stanford Professor, Philip Zanzibar.