Saturday, July 12, 2014

Source Analysis


Identify and consider the social web revealed in a source

Whenever a group of people are together, you can analyze their interactions, connections, relations. You can analyze who has power, who does not. What else? You can analyze the culture.

The Social Web in this Source

Author to audience

Father and son
Father and acquaintances/friends
Russian Culture

Social constructions I see in this source involve the roles of father and son. What does it mean to be a father? a son? Also, the idea of education is discussed in this source. What should parents teach their children and how should children be taught?

It's important to think about what a source is and what it is not.

Think of sources as sources of information AND meaning. Sources (there are many different kinds) can be read one dimensionally or multi dimensionally. When you read a source one dimensionally, you are often just pulling the most obvious content, the surface content, from the source and treating that information in a literal manner. Think of how you read a recipe, a menu, or an instruction manual.

Historians read sources, often texts, from many different angles, multi dimensionally.

I am currently reading Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s book a Midwife’s Tale, paying particular attention to how she conducts source analysis.

Taking a closer look at the source excerpt at the top.  

Considering the language of the source

There is a certainty connected with this source. Where does that certainty come from? Is it religious in nature?  Does it represent other core beliefs about children? The Domostroi is a Russian manual, a how to guide that speaks with confidence, asserting that “A man who loves his son will whip him.” Linking love and the violent act of whipping is done by labeling the action as an act of teaching. You are not hurting your child for no reason. You are hurting (presentism?) your child to teach them a lesson, to provide them with a good education.   

What assumptions are embedded in this source?

From my reading of this source, it is reasonable to assert that...
-It is acceptable to whip your child.
-A father’s authority is supreme.
-Children learn best when pain is involved.
-The actions of a child, in the present and future, reflect on the parent. Children's actions may induce joy or humiliation in a parent. A parent is justified in doing all he can to make sure that the child is a source of joy. 
-It is not necessary to use restraint when using force/violence as a method of parenting.

Who would have read a source like this?
The literate who, at this time in Russia, would have been small in number.

What central question(s) does this source address answer?
What’s the best way to discipline a child?
How do parents show their love for children?
How did religion influence these views?

What values are embedded in this source, as revealed by the author? Authority, power of father, education: how children learn,

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