Grief And A Headhunter's Rage Summary

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The practice of anthropology has evolved continuously throughout the course of its history. Anthropology itself is an adaptive, interpretive social science, which changes frequently in order to accurately examine and reflect human nature as it changes over time. During Renato Rosaldo’s time in the Philippines studying the Ilongot people, he was intimately involved in revealing the reasons behind their traditional practice of beheading fellow human beings. In his chapter, “Grief and a Headhunter’s Rage,” Rosaldo uses his exploration of and experience with grief and headhunting to introduce the idea that the classic, disconnected approach to ethnography may not be the most accurate way to represent a culture. In the beginning of his piece, Rosaldo describes how his initial attempts of merely questioning the Ilongots about their practices were ultimately…show more content…
His personal discovery of the sheer power of grief came with the death of his wife in 1981 (170). The death of Michelle Rosaldo, Renato Rosaldos wife, changed his view on grief and bereavement. He was finally able to understand the grief that the Ilongots had told him caused them to headhunt through personal experience. However, as Rosaldo notes in his article, his own anger and Ilongot anger overlapped, sharing similarities as well as having differences (171). Due to cultural distinctions, Rosaldo let the rage of his grief flow into his writing, rather than cutting off heads (171). Although Rosaldo channeled his grief into much different activities than that of the Ilongot people, it is essential to note that both shared the immensely powerful emotion of grief, and with grief, experienced rage. By acknowledging that his shared experiences caused him to experience similar emotions to those in other cultures, Rosaldo brings an authenticity to his work that many ethnographers

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