Cooperation and Competition in Social Anthropology

J.L Molina et al., an Anthropologist, publishes an article in Today’s Anthropology as a peer-reviewed academic journal. In the article, Cooperation and Competition in Social Anthropology Molina touches on the history of Social Anthropology and it’s relation in cooperation. This article differs greatly from Mary Bateson’s speech, The Myths of Independence and Competition where she is persuading her audience about society’s role in climate issues. Molina follows an organized structure allowing the readers to follow through with how all his points are related, as Bateson took a more informal approach to persuade the readers into making a change. It is evident that both Molina and Bateson uses examples to inform the readers about the influence of cooperation and competition. Bateson however, takes a more personal approach by involving personal anecdotes in her speech. I was persuaded more by reading Bateson’s speech versus Molina’s because of her ability to include personal anecdotes and seeing how what she is arguing plays out in real life.

In Molina’s article he focuses on the history of Social Anthropology. Using his knowledge on kin-selection, non-kin selection, reciprocity, and group selection he reaches out to other Anthropologists about the different approaches. Molina mentions the Prisoner Dilemma and how it relates to reciprocity and how it relates to our concept of cooperation. With emphasis on reciprocity, Molina relates this key idea by talking about the effects of hunter-gatherers, tribes, and our moral economy.

Through reading both Molina and Bateson’s articles, it is evident that they are designed to inform different audiences. Molina’s evidence and structure is directed more towards an audience that consists of Anthropologists, while Bateson’s speech can be understood by a more general audience. Bateson’s speech is more focussed on the “how-to” and a “call to action” with how a society can improve, while Molina directs his content to a more specific group and how they can approach the issue.


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