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Lecture 8

Anthropology 3332F/G Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Biosocial Theory


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTH 3332F/G
Professor
Andrew Walsh
Lecture
8

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Schlegel “Cross-Cultural Approach to Adolescence”
1. How does Schlegel define adolescence?
2. Keeping in mind the main reasons why anthropologists undertake cross-cultural
comparisons, why is Schlegel undertaking CCC in this paper?
3. What are some of the differences in boys and girls experiences of adolescence cross
culturally? What roles do peer groups and household organization play in boys and girls
experiences in particular societies?
4. Why is Schlegel comparing human practices to the practices of non-human primates
in this article?
Schlegel’s “biosocial” theory
• Adolescence as a “social stage is a response to the growth of reproductive capacity” (16).
• A social stage that has also been observed among non-human primates.
• The implication? The primatological veto?
• “If a distinctive social stage is present across species, then adolescence is not a product of
culture, although many of its features in humans are” (16).
Boys and Girls
• A tendency for boys to be extruded from contexts dominated by females, and a
resulting tendency for adolescent boys to spend more time with age-mates than parents.
• A corresponding tendency for girls to to be bound more closely to mothers, and for a
girl’s adolescence to be spent in hierarchical contexts with senior women.
• Which contexts of adolescence lend themselves more to “anti-social” behavior, and
which to “compliance”? (20)
Other insights from this CCC?
“mother-daughter relationships” in nuclear vs. extended family households (26)
“The Changing Picture” (28-29)
What comes with the introduction of “full-time schooling” in societies?
Fong’s Only Hope
Key Questions/Topics
• The “cultural model of modernization” and its effects on youth, parents, and
intergenerational relations.
• “Cultural models” related to gender, and some unexpected consequences in Dalian
under the one-child policy.
• The educational system and how it prepares youth, or not, for the existing job market.
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