Harris Book Midterm Review
The Five Fields of Anthropology
1. Cultural Anthropology: Deals with the description and analysis of cultures
2. Archeology: Examines the material remains of past cultures left behind
3. Anthropological Linguistics: Study of the great variety of languages spoken by
4. Physical Anthropology: Connects the other fields to the study of animal origins
5. Applied Anthropology: Using findings from anthropology to solve practical
Holism: An approach that assumes that any single aspect of culture is integrated
with other aspects, so that no single dimension of culture can be understood in
-First hand experience with the people being studied
-Data collected by anthropologists
-Rely entirely on research subjects as sources of knowledge
-Places the ethnographer at the scene where a combination of direct observation
and interviewing provides the evidence from with ethnographic accounts are
-The feeling of anxiety and disorientation that develops in an unfamiliar situation
when there is confusion about how to behave or what to expect
-A firsthand description of a living culture based on personal observation
-Anthropologists use the comparative method to understand the patterns of thought
or behavior that occur in a number of societies Chapter 2
-refers to the learned, socially acquired traditions of thought and behavior found in
-members of a subculture share certain features that are significantly different from
those of the rest of society
- A partially conscious and partially unconscious learning experience whereby the
older generation invites, induces, and compels the younger generation to adopt
traditional ways of thinking and believing.
-The belief that ones own patterns of behavior are always natural, good, beautiful, or
important and that strangers, to the extent that they live differently, live by savage,
inhuman, disgusting, or irrational standards.
-Stipulates that behavior of a particular culture should not be judged by the
standards of another
-Takes place when culture contact leads to borrowing and passing on of culture
-Describe culture from the participants' viewpoint; the observer uses concepts and
distinctions that are meaningful and appropriate to the participants
-Describe culture from the observers perspective; the observer uses concepts and
distinctions that are meaningful and appropriate to the observer
The Universal Pattern
The universal pattern is a set of categories that is comprehensive enough to afford
logical and classificatory organization for a range of traits and institutions that can
be observed in all cultural systems.
(1) Infrastructure: Consists of the technologies and productive and reproductive activities that bear directly on the provision of food and shelter, protection against
illness, and the satisfaction of sexual and other basic human needs and drives.
(2) Structure: Consists of groups and organizations present in every society that
allocate, regulate, and exchange goods, labor, and information. The primary focus of
some groups is on kinship and family relations; others provide the political and
economic organization of the whole society.
(3) Superstructure: Consists of the behavior and thought devoted to symbolic,
ideational, artistic, playful, religious, and intellectual endeavors as well as all the
mental and emic aspects of a cultures infrastructure and structure.
- The research strategy that holds the primary task of cultural anthropology is to
give scientific causal explanations for the differences and similarities in thought and
behavior found among human groups.
Nineteenth-Century Evolutionism and Social Darwinism (Natural Selection)
(Tylor, Morgan, Spenser)
-According to evolutionism, cultures were usually regarded as moving through
various stages of development according to different levels of rational knowledge,
ending up with something resembling Euro-American lifestyle.
-Morgan divided evolution of culture into 3 main stages: savagery, barbarism, and
-Social Darwinism is based on the belief that cultural and biological progress
depended on the free play of competitive forces in the struggle of individual against
individual, nation against nation, and race against race.
Historical Particularism (Boas, Kroeber)
-Stresses the uniqueness of each culture and the need for in-depth ethnographic
-Reconstruct the unique path a culture followed to understand them fully
British Functionalism and Structural Functionalism ( Malinowski, Radcliffe-
-The task of anthropology is to understand how cultural institutions meet the needs
of individuals and contribute to the functioning of society
-Describe the recurrent functions of customs and institutions, rather than to explain
the origins of cultural differences and similarities
-Cultural institutions function to meet the basic physical and psychological needs of
the people\ Culture and Personality ( Benedict, Mead)
-Anthropology's task is to show the relationship among early childhood experiences
in creating a common personality that impacts cultural variables.
Cultural Ecology (White, Steward)
- Cultures evolve in direct proportion to their capacity to harness energy; cultures in
similar environments have similar features in response to environmental challenges
-Stressed the interaction between natural conditions such as soils, rainfall, and
temperature with cultural factors such as technology and economy as the cause of
both cultural differences and similarities
Symbolic Anthropology (Geertz)
-Public symbols and rituals represent important aspects of culture
-View culture as a mental phenomenon and examine how people create and
-A unique aspect of human communication. It refers to the communicative power of
language: the fact that language provides for nearly infinite combinations that
express different experiences and thoughts in different ways.
-The study of the phones, or individual sounds that native speakers make.
-Represent Etic occurrences. They occur due to variations in the location of the
tongue and lips and the stress pitch, and tone of the sound. They can be observed
and identified in speak without having to question the speaker.
-Units of sound, that lack meaning in themselves