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SC Lecture 1

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James Stinson

Feb. 28, 2013 Intro to Social Cultural Anthropology Overview  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 society.”  Humans share society with other animals and organisms, but culture sets us apart  Culture is 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 Multi-scalar  Universal o All humans able to have culture
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