1. Adaptation Variation, and Change
Through Time, social and cultural means of adaptation have become increasingly important for human
Humans have devised diverse ways of coping with a wide range of environments
The rate of this cultural adaptation has been rapidly accelerating during the last 10,000 years.
Food Production developed between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago
The first civilizations developed between 6,000 and 5,000 years ago
More recently, the spread of industrial production has profoundly affected human life
Variation in “time”: Diachronic research
Variation in “space”: Synchronic research
All knowing is comparative; any conclusions about human nature must be pursued with a comparative,
2. Examples: Bio Cultural interactions in sports
Cultural traditions promote certain activities and abilities, discourage others, and set standards for physical
wellbeing and attractiveness.
Participation and achievement in sports is determined by cultural and historical factors, not racial ones
Swimming US vs. Latin females
Representation of African Americans in basketball rather than ice hockey; Puerto Ricans and Cubans in
baseball rather than soccer.
3. Example 2: Intelligence Tests
There is no conclusive evidence for biologically based contrasts in intelligence related too gender, “race” or
The best indicators of how well any individual will perform on an intelligence test are environmental, such as
educational, economic, and social background.
All standard tests are culturebound and biased because they reflect the training and life experiences of
those who develop and administer them. 4. Cultural Anthropology
Cultural Anthropology combines ethnography to study human societies and cultures for the purpose of
explaining social and cultural similarities and differences.
Ethnography produces an account of a particular community, society, or culture based on information that is
collected during fieldwork.
Participant observation: living or spending a lot of time with the subjects of the ethnography
Ethnographic fieldwork tends to emphasize the “local” versus the “regional” or the “national”. Emphasis on
However, ethnographers must also consider the local, regional, national, and global systems of policy,
economics, and information contexts. January 31 ,2014st 01/30/2014
Ethnology examines, interprets, analyzes, and compares the ethnographic data gathered in different
societies to make generalizations about society and culture.
Ethnology uses ethnographic data to build models, test hypotheses, and create theories that enhance our
understanding of how social and cultural systems work.
Ethnology works from the particular (ethnographic data) to the general (theory).
2. Cultural Anthropology
Look at differences between ethnology and ethnography
3. Archeological Anthropology
Archaeological anthropology reconstructs, describes, and interprets past human behavior and cultural
patterns through material remains
The material remains of a culture include artifacts (e.g. potsherds, jewelry, and tools), garbage, burials, and
the remain of structures.
Archaeologists use paleoecological studies to establish the ecological and subsistence parameters within
which given group lived.
4. Biological Anthropology
Biological, or physical, anthropology investigates human biological diversity across time and space.
Some special interests within biological anthropology:
Paleoanthropology: human evolution as revealed by the fossil record
Human genetics, growth and development
Human biological plasticity: the body’s ability to change as it copes with environmental stresses
Primatology: The study of the biology, evolution, behavior, and social life of primates.
5. Linguistic Anthropology
Linguistic anthropology is the study of language in its social and cultural context across space and time.
Historical linguists reconstruct ancient languages and study linguistic variation through time.
Sociolinguistics investigates relationships between social and linguistic variation to discover varied
perceptions and patterns of thought in different cultures.
6. The Fifth Dimension; Applied Anthropology
Applied anthropology is the application of any anthropological data, perspectives, theory, and techniques to
identify, assess, and solve contemporary social problems.
Examples: Medical anthropology, environmental anthropology, forensic anthropology and developmental
Applied anthropologists are generally employed by the government, developmental agencies and the non
7. Two Dimensions of Anthropology
General Anthropology Applied Anthropology st
January 31 ,2014 01/30/2014
Cultural Anthropology Medical, ecological, developmental
Archaeological Ant. Culture Resource Management
Biological or Physical Ant. Forensic Anthropology
Linguistic Ant. 01/30/2014
1. The Duality of Anthropology
Anthropology’s own broad scope has always lent it to interdisciplinary collaboration.
Anthropology is a science: a systematic field of study that uses experiments, observations, and deduction
to produce reliable explanations of phenomena.
Anthropology is also one of the humanities: the study and crosscultural comparison of languages, texts,
philosophies, arts, music and performances.
2. Theories, Association, and Explanations
Theory: set of ideas formulated to explain something
Association: observed relationship between two or more measured variables
Hypotheses: suggested but yet unverified explanations
In social sciences, associations usually stated in form of probability.
In social sciences, associations usually stated in form of probability
Theories suggest patterns, connections, and relationships that may be confirmed by new research
How has variable exposure to television affected Brazilians?
Current viewing level and length of home TV exposure
Strong correlation between liberal social views and current viewing hours
Stronger correlation between years of home viewing by individuals and liberal social views.
3. Know the scientific method
4. Franz Boas February 10th 01/30/2014
Definitions of Culture
Learned and shared information and behavior
Ralph Linton (1936):”… the sum of total ideas, conditioned emotional responses, and patterns of habitual
behavior … acquired through instruction or imitation and shared to a greater or lesser degree”
Spradley and McCurdy (1975): “the acquired knowledge that people use to interpret experience and
generate social behavior”.
Ward Goodenough (1957):”… a society’s culture consist of whatever a person needs to know or believe in,
in order to operate in a manner acceptable to its members and to do so in any role that they accept for any
one of themselves”
Culture is socially acquired (learned from others). (Although the capacity for it is biological)
Culture enables meaningful behavior. It’s kind of a blueprint for behavior.
Culture is “out of awareness”: it’s invisible unless it is purposefully brought into relief, usually by comparison
with different cultures or practices.
Culture is a complex whole:… of norms, behavior, cultural production, language, art, adaptations to the
environment, and others.
Exists… in out heads? In our interactions with others? In objects with symbolic meaning? In language used
to share it? February 12th 01/30/2014
Ethnocentrism The tendency to view ones own culture as standard
It is also the use ones own standards to judge others.
Ethnocentrism is a major impediment to understanding and knowledge in anthropology, thus the
anthropologist has to attempt to suspend judgment to the degree possible
2. Cultural Relativism: Franz Boas, inappropriate to use outside standards to judge behavior in a given
society; such culture should be evaluated in the context of the culture in which it occurs
3.Ethnocenrtism, Cultural Relativism, and Human Rights
Human Rights: rights vested in individuals and includes the right to speak freely, to hold religious beliefs
without persecution, and not be murdered, injured, enslaved or imprisoned without charge
Cultural Rights: rights vested in religious and ethnic minorities and indigenous societies.
4.Key Characteristics of Culture
Cultural learning is unique to humans
Human cultural learning depends on uniquely developed human capacity to use symbols
Symbols: Signs that have no necessary or natural connection with the things for which they stand
These symbols include
Iconic when the sign resembles the object (Ex. Sun, water)
Indexical correlation between a direction and sign
Symbolic Coded messages
5. Culture in Learned
Geertz defines culture as ideas based on culture learning and symbols
Culture learned through both direct instruction and observation
Anthropologists in the 19 century argued for “physic unity of man”
There is variation on particular individual qualities, but capacity for culture is universal
6. Culture is Shared
Culture is located and transmitted in groups
Shared beliefs, values, memories, and expectations link people who grow up in the same culture
Variation and sharedness coexist
Encultrulnation unifies people by providing common experiences February 12th 01/30/2014
Not everyone in a given cultural group is going to share everything to the same extent.
7. Culture and Nature
Culture takes natural biol