Anthropology 2PA3 Study Notes
Culture-History – trying to write histories of peoples (sharing the same culture) in prehistory (‘people’
defined on the basis of shared archeological record). These said people embody the ethnic history of the
group they belong to. Critique of this theory is that ethnographic studies suggests many cases where
people do not always share the same practices (dwelling, burial practices, material culture); and can also
have two different people living in a very similar way.
Diffusionism: Cultures are the accumulation of ideas that spread from one location to another.
Cultural Evolutionism: Cultures are the product of progressive development from simpler to more
Cultural Ecology: Cultures are the product of adaptation to the environment.
Cultural Materialism: Cultures are the product of material needs and economic production.
Historical Materialism: Cultures are the product of economic production and social conflict.
Structuralism: Cultures are the product of systems of symbols, thought and belief.
Practice Theory: Cultures are the product of cultural and social structures and individual actions
History: The product of structures (economic, social, political and ideological), contingencies (events),
and agency (actions).
Early: (Documentation) Processual: (Explanation) Post-processual: (Interpretation)
Approach Emphasis Evidence
Antiquarianism Identity art, burials
Structuralism Beliefs, Worldview art, burials
Culture History Chronology technology
Diffusionism Identity technology, art
Cultural Evolutionism Economy, Social Organization technology, settlement patterns
Cultural Ecology Environment, Economy technology, biological remains