Slumber`s Unexplored Landscape

Report
Slumber’s Unexplored
Landscape
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Bruce Bower
in Applying Anthropology, pp. 53-56
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“Sweet simplicity” (p.53)
Natural
Universal
Don’t think about it unless a problem
“Single bout” with “regular bedtime”
Solitary
Even anthropologists haven’t studied it
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“It’s time for scientists to get out into natural
sleep environments. It’s embarrassing that
anthropologists haven’t done this” (Carol M.
Worthman, p.54)
Assumptions about sleep
Europeans 200years ago: twophase sleep
Lab studies:
segmented sleep
Gebusi: communal;
deep sleep is risky
Balinese “fear sleep”
Communal, no regular
bedtime, rituals
Cross-cultural & historical cases
and historical context
In cross
cultural
Sleep does not
look quite so
natural and
universal
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Classic example of
using anthropology to
question the natural
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Human capacities are not
genetically specified but
emerge within processes of
ontogenetic development.
Moreover the circumstances of
development are continually
shaped through human
activity. There is consequently
no human nature that has
escaped the current of history.
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Tim Ingold, “Against Human
Nature” (2006:259)
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Or, there is no genetic
or biological program
for how we sleep
The way we sleep is
always within
particular historical
and developmental
circumstances
Biology and culture are
inseparable
Bower could take us beyond
nature/nurture
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This does not mean, of course,
that a human being can be
anything you please. But it
does mean that there is no way
of describing what human
beings are independently of the
manifold historical and
environmental circumstances
in which they become--in
which they grow up and live
out their lives.
 Tim Ingold, “Against Human
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People need to sleep
There are biological
components and
biological variability
for sleep needs
But this biology is
always within a
particular history and
environment
Nature” (2006:273)
Does not mean anything is possible
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People always interact, explore different
possibilities, change over time
Variability within any group
Interaction, possibility, change, variability—are
also part of being human
Does not mean everything is
determined
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Profound statement of
anthropological
holism: nature &
nurture always
considered together
Thank you
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For more, see section on “Human Nature and
Anthropology”:
http://www.livinganthropologically.com/anthropology/human-nature/
©2011 Jason Antrosio, Living Anthropologically

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