Feb. 28, 2013
Intro to Social Cultural Anthropology
What is social-cultural anthropology? What is this sub discipline?
Culture and its main traits
Anthropological conceptions and theories of culture over time
Ethnocentrism vs. cultural relativism
What is Social-Cultural Anthropology?
Cultural anthropology: human society and culture, subfield that analyzes social and cultural
similarities and differences
o Cultural adaptation
Modern cultural anthropology: “ethnology” (comparing different cultures)
o Secondary sources used
“Arm-chair anthropology” didn’t require going out to learn anthropology firsthand
Ethnography: research method and product of anthropological research
Why Social and Cultural?
Development in different forms in Europe and America
British “social anthropology”: concept of society (organized life in groups) and sociality
(propensity to associate with others and form social groups)
American “cultural anthropology”: ways people express self and view of world through symbols
Post WW1: gradual merging of social-cultural
What is social-cultural anthropology?
Goal: make familiar strange and the strange familiar
Cultural anthropology form study of “other”/non-European societies (strange familiar)
Help Europe think critically of own society and culture (familiar strange)
What is Culture?
Latin: cultura – “cultivation”
European usage: 1700s – 1800s
o Process of improvement (for individuals, especially in education)
Ex. European Grand Tour
Those with culture = “civilized”
“Uncivilized” = “state of nature” = non-European
Edward B. Tylor, Primitive Culture (1871) o “Culture… complex whole of knowledge, art, law, etc… habits of man as member of
Humans share society with other animals and organisms, but culture sets us apart
o Universal, general, particular
o Knowledge, behaviours, artifacts
o Learned, symbolic, shared
o All-encompassing and integrated
o Instrumental, adaptive, mal-adaptive
o Contested, dynamic, changing
o All humans able to have culture