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Ivan Kalmar

Social-Cultural Anthropology 2/28/2013 4:16:00 PM February 28 What is it?  The study of human society and culture, the subfield that descirbes, analyses, interprets, and explains social and cultural similarities and differences. It is particularly concerned with exploring cultural adaptation  Modern cultural anthropology has origins in 19 thcentury “ethnology,” which involves the organized comparison of human societies. Ethnology uses secondary data to compare and contrast and to make generalizations about societies and cultures  Early colonial ethnologists worked mostly with materials collected by others, usually missionaries  “armchair anthropology”  Modern cultural anthropology is characterized by the practice of ethnography, which is both a research method and the product of that research that describes and interprets a culture Why Social and Cultural?  Developed distinctly in Europe and America  “British social anthropology”  focused on society and sociality. Exploring relationships and social institutions (religion, economics, politics)  “America cultural anthropology  focused on the ways people expressed their view of themselves and their world, especially in symbolic forms  These approaches frequently converged and generally complimented each other  Gradual merging of social and cultural anthropology following WWII led to socio-cultural anthropology Social-cultural  One of primary goals is to make the strange familiar and the familiar strange  Developed historically as the study of the “Other”  Also served to help Europeans question and think more critically about their own societies and cultures Culture  European usage = 1700-1800  Process of improvement of individual, especially through education  Those with culture were deemed “civilized”  Those lacking culture were described as “living in a state of nature”  Non-Europeans were thought of as lacking culture  “Culture…is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” o Edward B. Taylor o One of the first descriptions. Not something we are born with, acquired through contact and exposure to society  Humans share society with other animals but culture is what sets us apart  Culture is: o Universal  All humans have the capacity for culture  Some cultu
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