ANT 102 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Linguistic Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Historical Linguistics

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Published on 30 Aug 2018
CHAPTER 1: What is anthropology and why should I care?
Anthropology- the scientific and humanistic study of human beings
Society- a group of people dependent upon one another for their well-being or survival
Culture- the way members of a society adapt to their environment and give meaning to their lives
Ethnocentric- considering your own behavior both right and natural
Cultural Relativism- the practice of attempting to understand cultures within their context
Holistic- an approach that considers the study of culture, history, language, and biology to be essential to
a complete understanding of human society
Biological Anthropology- the study of humankind from a biological perspective; focuses on the inherited
aspects of humanity
Linguistic Anthropology- the study of how language relates to culture and diversity; focuses on how
languages are structured, learned, and understood
Archaeology- the subdiscipline of anthropology that focuses on the study of past cultures based primarily
on their material remains
Cultural Anthropology- the study of human thought, behaviors, and lifeways that are learned rather than
genetically transmitted and that are typical of particular groups of people
Ethnography- the major research tool of cultural anthropology, including fieldwork from working with
people in a particular society and the written results of such fieldwork; the description of a society or
Emic- examination of societies using concepts, categories, and distinctions that are meaningful to
members of those societies
Etic- examination of societies using concepts, categories, and distinctions that are derived from science;
an outsider’s perspective
Ethnology- the attempt to find general principles or laws that govern cultural phenomena through the
comparison of cultures
Applied Anthropology- the application of anthropological knowledge to the solution of human problems
We can achieve an accurate understanding of humanity only by realizing that other groups of
people who behave differently from us and have different understandings also consider what they
do and believe to be natural and right
One job of anthropology is to understand what actions and ideas mean within their context and to
place these within the broader framework of human society and interaction
Four separate subdisciplines: biological (physical), cultural, linguistic, anthropological
Biological subfields: skeletal analysis (osteology), human nutrition, demography, epidemiology,
primatology, human variation (physical differences between cultures)
Also work with non-human primates to study differences
Cultural adaptation has freed humans from the long process of awaiting biological evolution
Because language consist of so much more than words, linguistic anthropologists also study how
people “perform” their language and how they modify the meaning or importance of their words
Historical linguists work to see how languages have changed over time and how they relate to
each other
Linguistic anthropologists also take into account non-verbal communication, especially with the
development of electronics and other forms of communicative technology
Contemporary archeologists are much more interested in explaining and understanding what they
find in terms of what they say about the behaviors that produced them than in creating collections
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