anthropology essay-1

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Word count 750, not outside resources needed. Make clear citation


This paper will offer your reflection on Edith Turner’s There Are No Peripheries to Humanity (post in file) and the concept of “framing process” discussed on p. 355 of Essentials of Cultural Anthropology.

Throughout her article, Turner describes how Inupiat people sought recognition that their disproportionately high rates of cancer and cancer deaths were due to radioactive dumping and poisoning of their land and water. Turner started her research with the Inupiat with one goal: to study healing. In that process, the ravages of cancer became an overwhelming reality not only for the Inupiat people of Point Hope, but for Turner as well. This led her to join in their fight for justice, and to question the role of the anthropologist and anthropological research.

Throughout, we are offered different frames for understanding cancer in Point Hope and the role of the anthropologist. These frames include those of U.S. government agencies, the people of Point Hope, and Turner herself. While Guest’s definition describes a “framing process” as the “creation of shared meanings and definitions that motivate and justify collective action by social movements” (Guest, 355), anthropologists often encounter framing processes among government officials and others in power, as well. These are often similar to what Tett describes in the excerpt from her book “Fool’s Gold”: that those in power also frame issues in way that may serve their interests, such as by acting on shared ideologies and assumptions that permit one set of facts to be public, but keep another set of facts quiet or hidden. In relation to cancer in Point Hope, at least three groups, U.S. government agencies, Point Hope residents, and the anthropologist, Edith Turner, were engaged in framing the issue and their role in it.

First, using the expanded discussion of a “framing process” above, write 750 words describing how:

  1. U.S. government agencies initially framed the high cancer rates in Point Hope (or what justification they offered for not exploring the possibility of radioactive pollution);
  2. The people of Point Hope framed their position vis-a-vis the government and their high cancer rates (or what shared understandings did they create that motivated action);
  3. Edith Turner framed her role as an anthropologist, and how that changed over time. Did she come to accept the frame offered by the U.S. government or that offered by the people of Point Hope? Why?

Finally, describe how the balance of power shifted over time, that is how the people of Point Hope were able to convince U.S. government agencies to pay attention to their frame and clean up the pollution.

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