Wednesday, we talked about categories in class, and how they change the way we see and interact with things. I said that categories are a short cut substitute for context. Identifying someone as belonging to the Democratic party creates all sorts of template context in my mind that may or may not be true, but knowing a person is a Democrat, I often base my judgment off of the default template context rather than finding out the real context that describes that person. In Madagascar, categories are just as prevalent as any where else. One prominent category is higlander versus coastal person. This category implies ethnicity, socio-economic standing, political leanings, and much more. Hopefully, my research will help me to dig past this categorization and to really understand the richer context. What are the variations in ethnicity, socio-economic standing, and political leanings that don’t fit into the template? How do they change how individuals fit into categories? A book I’m reading for my political science class talks about how people have choices in defining their identity. They can choose to identify themselves by religion, tribe, language, or any number of other “categories.” The author talks about how the institutions that overlay this set of choices combine with those choices to determine how people identify themselves and which coalitions develop in  conjunction with those identities. My research will help me to understand prominent categories in Madagascar and, hopefully, what variations exist in those categories.

~ by Abraham on 25 March 2011.

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