ANTH 201 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Class Conflict, Neoevolutionism, Social Evolution

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8 Aug 2016
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Archaeology As Anthropology:
-Culture History- Major ideas of diffusion and migration, which built on and
rejected evolutionary ideas.
-Archaeological culture: based on material culture we can trace the spread of
archaeological culture(Chronological)
-Functional and Processualist(New) Archaeology- Not always a clear
distinction.
-From Culture History to Processualism:
-Culture-historical:
1) Explains change from the outside
2)Focus on diffusion and migration
3)Culture as geographically well as chronologically bounded
-Processual Archaeology:
1)Explains change from the inside
2)Focus on social/cultural systems
3) Culture as systems that interact with other systems
-They interact with eachother in almost a lawlike fashion, follow rules.
-You can’t just look at individual parts, you have to look at how it works as
a whole. The whole is greated than the sum of the parts. You have to see
how the parts are linked with eachother. You need to see how the system is
constituted and how it functions. (gave it the term functionalist)
-Interested in how social systems interacted with the environment. They
studied the correlation between soil types and Neolithic settlements. They
thought that ecological factors determined and affected social factors.
-This is a functional and ecological perspective, it meant that the
environment allows the social life to function in a certain way. This is
similar to evolutionary theories where the environment affects how people
live. They weren’t interested in social change, they were interested in how
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the system worked at that time. They were less interested in trajectories
because they were influenced by anthropological studies.
Strutural-Functionalist Anthropology:
-Bronislaw Malinowski:
Rejected historical accounts which were mostly missionary about societys
they studied. They needed to engage in participant observation. Through
this, they could understand how the society functions because they could
explain it from the inside(not the outside like cultural history).(coined the
term participant observation)
-Radcliffe Brown too.
-Made arguments about how social systems worked: Functionally
independent elements. We look at it as systems made up of a bunch of
subsystems. To understand we need to understand human behavior in
relation to an overall social system as well as in relation to overall
subsystems.
-Human behavior is one part and the social system is a separate part but they
are linked. Interaction between elements.
1)Human behavior is understood in relation to social systems.
2)No interest in evolutionary or historical interpretation. Not chronological
anymore, they wanted to understand each part separately and thedn the
whole function together.
3) Interest in comparative study of the structure and functioning of societies.
-This was problematic: The a-historical aspects, they only looked at how it
worked in the present. They were started to become interested in prehistoric
past.
-Instead of focusing on cultural and social change, archaeologists also
looked at these societies and how they functioned.
-Some looked at the interplay between social life and the environment but in
the long term perspective, only to understand the functioning of it.
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Evolutionasists are also interested in this but on a focus on long term
development.
V.Gordon Childe(Functionalist-Processaulist Archaeology):
-The study of economy and social life.
-First person to systematically apply the culture concept.
-He was influenced by cosena’s work. He adopted the notion of culture and
archaeological culture(distribution of certain ancient people). He took over
some of these racsist notions. He thought there was the superiority of Nordik
peoples and worked with this notion. He had strong socialist views so we
thought he would be an anti-racsist but he was not.
-His interest in cosena’s work, made him take up an interest in material
culture and it’s link to ancient people. He applied this more systematically.
-Most focused on one archaeological aspect and used this one type to
correspond it to a certain type of people. He did something more complex by
understanding a culture through archaeological assemblages. He looked at
many artifacts and assemablages to understand ancient societys. He widened
the notion of archaeological culture.
-Definition of Archaeological Culture:
“Certain types of remains-pots,implements,ornaments,burial rites, house
forms-constantly recurring together”- They occur together repeatedly.
-He selected artifacts on a functionalist view of material culture. He choose
this material because he said we could only understand which material was
significant historically by understand the role it played in ancient society. It
comes to the functionalist perspective of explaining a society from the inside
and not the outside.
-We have to understand how assemblages are composed, how things are
distributed and the contexts that come with it to understand the historical
significance of the artifact.
-By saying that we look at assemblages, he was moving towards a more
functionalist approach. The idea of the whole is greater than the sum of its
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