Culture Change Throughout A African A Merican Life Cultural Anthropology Essay

1077 words - 5 pages

Leah Bankhead
Cultural Anthropology
Dr. S. Hall
April 18, 2018
Culture Change Case Study
"We are always hopeful for tomorrow but missing yesterday." My grandmother tells me after we conclude our second interview. I realize we are never in the same state as we were the day before. Change is a part of life and I realized that my grandmothers' change ultimately was for the better. Through the interviews I conducted I attempt to explain how the changes that occurred in her work history, family life and religion can be explained through functionalism. Work was always a component of her life, but as her life underwent changes so did her occupations The household she ran differed from the upbringing she experienced due to her being a single mother. And religion played a huge role throughout her life transforming her into the woman I now know her as.
Functionalism seeks to understand how parts of culture contribute to the well-being of individuals (Ferraro: 94). Work is a major part of society, as it contributes to the economic aspect of society. Functionalist George Peter Murdock claimed economy was one of the four basic functions of family (The Role And Function Of The Family). Of course, my grandmother is no stranger to hard work as stated in my interview she began working outside the house at the tender age of 12. Her first official job was picking cotton and working at a hotel laundry room in order to make enough money to afford school uniforms. For the next several years my grandmother job history mostly included domestic work which is understandable due to the time. My grandmother first change of a job field came when she abandoned her marriage and left the small neighborhood of Glenwood. She was now all alone and needed to support herself the best way she could, and this happened to be becoming an exotic dancer. After starting a family and running a single parent household she had several jobs ultimately to get by for her and her children. The list of jobs is expansive, and I quote "I den worked a lot of jobs hunny." My grandmother stepped away from domesticated work and had careers such as: Mailwoman, Tyson chicken, Jackson cookies, Tenenbaums, private nursing, and selling cars. My grandmother is very reflective of how her occupations changed and are indicative of her as a person. She believes that most of her jobs deal with her helping others. It was her responsibility to care for the welfare of her children and make income in order to provide them with necessities.
My grandmother was raised in a two-parent home, although she didn’t mention to much about her father. Most of her attention went toward her mother and grandmother. This is reflective of a matrifocal family structure. The term matrifocal, simply means mother or female centered...husbands and fathers are present but marginal to family life (Schwimmer, Brian). When describing her family life, it is evident that she mostly relied on her mother and grandmother. She is noted saying t...


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