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Child Rearing, Intersexuality & Ethnic Psychosis

1) What is the significance of "tabula rasa" for understanding human personality?

2) What are some examples of ethnic psychosis?

3) What is the Native American view on intersexed individuals and why is it relevant to the field of anthropology?

4) What is the biological basis for intersexuality?

5) What are some contrasting approaches to naming and why are they important?

6) Why are the Native American and Euro-American views on intersexuality so diametrically opposed?

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Tabula Rasa & the development of Human Personality

Tabula Rasa is an epistemological thesis that human beings are born as 'blank slates' - that knowledge and skills are learned via experience, observation and tutelage. Aristotle, John Locke and Descartes have shared this classical view. As a socialization theory, tabula rasa then points to human identity and personality as sociologically imbued via cultural immersion. This particular expression of childhood socialization refers to the infant as the receiving end of a social agency that is, parenting. The structure in place is that of the family and as social agents the parents carry on their role to mould the child slowly into a social agent himself, teaching him skills, giving him their own acquired knowledge of the culture they are living in so that the child can slowly learn and eventually develop his own social facilities to develop a personality that will allow the child to survive in that particular culture, in that particular social group. Eventually the child will be able to move on to experience, socialise and facilitate membership in not just the primary social grouping of his family but also survive the larger, secondary group environment of a school, and by his acquired social skills become an active member of small primary groupings of friends. This view is what most sociologists refer to when explaining the development of a personality in a child, or when they explain socialization in families and schools in the context of childhood. I would go as far expressing that this view applies to all of us. Whether or not our experiences in childhood are negative or ideal, whether the culture we know is enforced or taught by example because we live it, we were all at one point in time blank slates. The rewards of good behaviour and our little successes at home and in school made us understand that right and what is good ought to be our choice as punishment for what we've done wrong, so we could learn is something we don't want to endure. Slowly the child draws the line between good and bad, right and wrong and learns to navigate that line, acquiring the skills to cope in the process. Over time, via exposure to particular cultures, behaviours, personalities and experiences, the child develops his own, informing his future self. Tabula Rasa is only among the many theories that seek to explain identity and personality development (including, for example, psychoanalysis) but it is the theory that most incorporates social experience, structures, agencies, culture and the nature of social dynamism.

Ethnic Psychosis

Ethnic Psychosis or psychoses (plural) are mental or psychological disorders particular or unique to members of a culture, social group or tribe (in other words, an 'ethnic' grouping of people). It is a kind of paranoid schizophrenia that manifests itself ethno-specifically. Take for example the Windigo psychosis that occur among members of the Northern Algonkian tribe - their craving for flesh or meat is feared as signs of them turning into a ...

Solution Summary

The solution is an intensive 2,065-word narrative divided into 6 sections to answer the questions listed in the original problem (see long description) including the tabula rasa & human personality, ethnic psychosis, Native American view on inter-sexuality, biological inter-sexuality, approaches to naming & the opposition of European & Native-American views on inter-sexuality. A word version of the solution is attached. References, both web and print are listed to allow students to expand on the information provided.

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