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University of Toronto Scarborough
James Cummins

Lecture 3: ANTHROPOLOGY What is Social/Cultural Construction?  Cultural constructionism- human behaviour and ideas are best explained as the result of culturally shaped learning (Gender is cultural)  Biological determinism- biological features such as genes or hormones are used to explain behaviour and ideas (Sex is biological) Social/Cultural Constructs:  Social construct is a concept or practice that is seen as natural, common sense, essential, or god given. We create it through our choices; we reinforce our own worldview. Gender As Cultural Construct:  Sex refers to biological categories (male & female) determined by genital, chromosomal and hormonal differences.  Gender refers to patterns of culturally constructed and learned behaviour and ideas attributed to men and women.  Anthropologists ignored “gender” & assumed men’s lives were the cultural norm  A cross cultural perspective challenges the idea that gender is natural, because gender is variable cross culturally  Gender and sex do not correlate “naturally” but culturally The Sambia of Papua New Guinea:  Boys do not naturally become men, they need help  Considered strong warriors, because they lived by constant threat of their neighbours, very important for meant to be very strong  Boys are trained from young age to become very strong “warriors”  Men don’t live with wife and children, they live in a men’s house, they get taken away from mother’s house when they are 6 or 7 to live in this place to gr
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