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ERIC Number: ED227032
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982-May-1
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Anthropology and Popular Culture: A Case Study.
Estes, Jack
The study of popular culture in the United States is an appropriate anthropological endeavor, as evidenced in a case study of the volcanic eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Oregon. By examining its popular arts, anthropologists gain understanding of the culture and its people. For example, an analysis of reactions to the Mt. St. Helens eruption reveals the importance of symbolic rituals and tribal participation. This event triggered American entrepreneurship through the sales of souvenir items, establishment of cleaning services, and business sales commemorating the eruption. Human interest reports of people killed in the eruption have grown into legend, particularly in the case of Harry Truman, who refused to leave his home in the face of death. The behavior of nearby residents can also be analyzed. People learned how to cope with the after-effects of the incident, created a status hierarchy based on the proximity of one's home to the volcano, and established annual celebrations. The incident, therefore, illustrates people's search for wealth, control, understanding, significance, life, and community. (KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington