Monday,September 16th 2013
Sociocultural Anthropology: An anthropological approach that retains the British focus on social
anthropology at the same time as it adds the American focus on culture to produce something slightly
different from either one.
-We cannot take anything about even our own beliefs and behaviour for granted, let alone the
behaviour and beliefs of those whose backgrounds and histories differ from our own.
Subdisciplines of anthropology:
Biological Anthropology (= focuses on human beings as one of a great multitude of organisms
that inhabit the earth.)
1. Paleoanthropology (=the study of fossil remains of the earliest humans, and attempt to
understand the history of human biological evolution.)
2. Primatology (=the study of our closest nonhuman relatives.)
3. Forensic Anthropology (=the study of human remains for identification and cause of
Archaeology (=the branch of anthropology that studies human history and its artifacts.)
Linguistic Anthropology (=the study of the relationship between language and culture.)
1. Descriptive linguistics
2. Historical linguistics
4. Language and Culture
Sociocultural Anthropology (=the study of how societies are structured and how cultural
meanings are created.)
3. Monographs Sociolinguistics
1. Language as marker of social status
i. Regional,social dialects
ii. Bilingualism, code switching.
2. Speech in action
I. Continuous traits (e.g height,skin colour)
II. Discrete traits (e.g blood types,earlobe shape)
Culture: The system of meanings about the nature of experience that are shared by a people and passed
on from one generation to another,including the meanings that people give to things,events,activities,
Armchair anthropologist: Refers to an approach to the study of various societies that dominated
anthropology in the late 1800s. It involved the collection,study, and analysis of the writings of
missionaries, explorers, and colonists who had sustained contact with non-Western peoples. Armchair
anthropologists used these documents to make comparisons and generalizations about the ways of life
of various groups.
Ethnographic Method: The immersion of researchers in the lives and cultures of the peoples they are
trying to understand in order to comprehend the meanings these people ascribe to their existence.
Participant observation: An element of fieldwork that can involve participating in daily tasks and
observing daily interactions among a particular group.
Ethnography: A written description and analysis of a particular group of people, usually based upon
Essentialism: The act of creating generalizations or stereotypes about the behaviour or culture of a
group of people.
Ethnocentric Fallacy: The mistaken notion that the beliefs and behaviours of other cultures can be
judged from the perspective of one's own culture.
Cultural Relativism: The attempt to understand the beliefs and behaviours of other cultures in terms of
the culture in which they are found.
Relativistic Fallacy: The idea that it is impossible to