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Midterm Chapter Notes (1-5).docx

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ANTH 1150
Victor Gulewitsch

Midterm Chapter Notes (Ch. 1-5) Chapter 1 – The Nature of Anthropology Holism - broad perspective study of humans Anthropology – the study of humankind in all times and places Four types of Anthropologies 1) Cultural/Social Anthropology – deals with humans as cultural animals 2) Biological Anthropology – primarily concerned with humans as biological organisms 3) Linguistic Anthropology – study of languages of the past and present as a means for people to communicate ideas about one another and the world Descriptive Linguists – deal with the description of a language (the way a sentence is formed or a verb is conjugated) Historical Linguists – study the history of languages (the way languages develop and influence one another with the passage of time) 4) Archaeology (Applied Anthropology) – practical applications in any of the subfields - Science of recovering physical remains of human culture - Usually deals with culture that have long since disappeared - Analyze results of what they find to learn more about the past culture All of these types of anthropologies are collectively known as the anthropological perspective Slow growth of anthropology is attributed to 1) geographical restrictions – without the means to travel to distant places, observation of distant cultures was difficult 2) Illiteracy Colonialism – when one nation dominates another through occupation (colonies), administration (military presence), and control of resources, thereby creating a dependency Cultural Imperialism - promoting one nation’s values, beliefs, and behaviour as superior to those of all others. Often associated with the Western world overwhelming other cultural groups with technology, religion, and ways of living (most often the media), but also through missionism, education, and economic control, thereby strongly influencing how people will live Early anthropological theory introduced the concept of “cultural progress” – that all cultures passed through evolutionary stages until they reached the technologically advanced level of Western societies Franz Boas (1858 – 1942) argued that every culture is unique, with a unique history and is neither superior nor inferior to another. He rejected racism and promoted cultural relativism Cultural Relativism - the belief that all cultures are equally valid and must be studied on their own terms Anthropologists such as Leslie White proposed that culture changed in direct response to technological “progress”, such as the Industrial Revolution or the introduction of air conditioning and refrigeration Julian Steward suggested that societies evolve to fit a particular ecological niche and that the environment influences the way of life Claude Levi-Strauss suggested that free will and the ability to make choices based on ideas and desires influenced culture. He identified a universal pattern of human thinking in all peoples Clifford Geetz studied the uniqueness of each culture and the action that have meaning for them The development of anthropology is due to museums, academic departments and applied research Paleoanthropology - the study of fossil remains with the goal of reconstructing human biological evolution Primatology – the study of non-human primates, their biology, adaptation, and social behaviour Forensic Anthropology – a field of applied biological anthropology and archaeology that specializes in the identification of human skeletal remains for legal purposes Pre-historic/Pre-contact Archaeology – the study of ancient cultures that did not possess writing systems to record their history Historic Anthropology – the study of past cultures that possessed written records of their history Culture Bound – theories about the world and reality based on the assumptions and values of one’s own culture Holistic Perspective – a fundamental principle of anthropology, that the various parts of culture must be viewed in the broadest possible context to understand their interconnections and interdependence Ethnography – the collection of descriptive material on a culture Ethnology – the comparative study of cultures to explain human behaviour - Cross-Cultural Comparison – comparing one particular aspect of a culture with that same aspect in others - Although ethnographers want to get inside views of other cultures, they do so as outsiders Ethnohistory – the study of cultures from the recent past using oral histories, archaeological sites, and written accounts left by explorers, missionaries and traders Participant Observation – a method of learning a people’s culture through direct observations and participation in their everyday life Culture Shock – the difficulty anthropologists have in adapting to a new culture that differs markedly from their own Popular Culture – the culture of our everyday lives; television, sports, fashion, arts/crafts, fiction and music Anthropology and Science - anthropology displays many of the characteristics of a science -> it entails designing hypotheses or explanations for certain observable phenomena, collecting data to test and prove/disprove these hypotheses, and developing a theory to explain the phenomena - in order to arrive at useful theories concerning human behaviour, anthropologists must begin with objective hypotheses that are as minimally culture-bound as possible • there lies a problem with this – it’s difficult for someone who has grown up in one culture to develop hypotheses about another that are not culture-bound Anthropology and the Humanities Gender – a set of standards and behaviours attached to individuals, usually but not always based on biological sex Feminist Anthropology – a subfield of anthropology that investigates gender and gender relations and that critically analyzes gender roles, positions, and experiences Androcentrism – male-centredness Chapter 2 – The Nature of Culture The Concept of Culture - Sir Edward Burnett Tylor’s definition of culture – “the complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” - recent definitions of culture tend to distinguish between actual behaviour on the one hand and the abstract values, beliefs, and perceptions of the world that lie behind the behaviour on the other - therefore culture is not only observable behaviour but also the shared ideals, values, and beliefs that people use to interpret experience and generate behaviour and that are reflected in their behaviour - culture enables people to adapt to a wide range of environments and circumstances - the beliefs and attitudes and the consequences of their behaviour all affect the way humans organize their world - culture provides the means for producing and distributing goods and services considered necessary for life such as: - biological continuity - teaching children appropriate behaviour - maintaining order among the members of a culture - maintaining appropriate relations with those outside the culture - encouraging members of the culture to find meaning in their lives Characteristics of Culture 1) Learned – as a member of society 2) Shared 3) Integrated 4) Based on symbols/communication 5) Adaptive Mechanism (how we adapt to life on earth) Culture is Shared - language transmits culture - although each culture is unique, it is important to note that all cultures display similarities as they go about fulfilling their members’ needs - culture is portable, whereas society consists of people and a place - culture change is constant - Multiculturalism – descriptor for a society, community, etc., made up of, involving, or relating to several distinct racial or religious cultures. Contrast with biculturalism or monoculturalism - Social Structuralism – the relationships of groups within a society that hold it together - although a culture is shared by its members, it is not entirely uniform - process of aging is influenced by culture - subculture – a cultural subgroup differentiated by status, ethnic background, residence, religion, or other factors that functionally unify the group and act collectively on each member - Pluralistic Society – societies contain several distinct cultures and subcultures - Ethnicity – a group of people who take their identity from a common place of origin, history, and sense of belonging - Ethnic Boundary Markers – those indicators or characteristics, such as dress and language that identify individuals as belonging to a particular ethnic group • religion is one marker that distinguishes ethnic subcultures • place of origin and history can also provide groups with a distinctive identity - identification of ethnic subcultures is not always clear-cut - the pluralistic nature of Canada is not without its problems – members of one cultural group may have trouble understanding the needs and concerns of another Culture is Learned - all culture is learned rath
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