ANTH 102 Study Guide
Chapter 1: Anthropology and the Study of Culture
agency: the ability of humans to make choices and exercise free will even within
applied anthropology: the use of anthropological knowledge to prevent or solve
problems or to shape and achieve policy goals.
archaeology or prehistory: the study of past human cultures through their material
biological anthropology or physical anthropology: the study of humans as biological
organisms, including evolution and contemporary variation.
class: a way of categorizing people on the basis of their economic position in society,
usually measured in terms of income or wealth and exhibited in terms of lifestyle.
cultural anthropology or social anthropology: the study of living peoples and their
cultures, including variation and change.
cultural constructionism: a theory that explains human behavior and ideas mainly as
shaped by learning.
cultural materialism: a theoretical position that takes material features of life, such
as the environment, natural resources, and mode of livelihood, as the bases for
explaining social organization and ideology.
cultural relativism: the perspective that each culture must be understood in terms
of the values and ideas of that culture and not judged by the standards of another
culture: people’s learned and shared behavior and beliefs.
ethnicity: a shared sense of identity among a group based on a heritage, language,
ethnocentrism: judging other cultures by the standards of one’s own culture rather
than by the standards of that particular culture.
functionalism: the theory that a culture is similar to a biological organism, in which
parts work to support the operation and maintenance of the whole.
gender: culturally constructed and learned behaviors and ideas attributed to males,
females, or blended genders.
globalization: increased and intensified international ties related to the spread of
Western capitalism and other forms that increasingly affect all world cultures.
holism: the perspective in anthropology that cultures are complex systems that
cannot be fully understood without paying attention to their different components,
including economics, social organization, and ideology.
indigenous people: groups who have a long-standing connection with their home
territory that predates colonial or outside societies.
interpretive anthropology or interpretivism: the view that cultures are best
understood by studying what people think about, their ideas, and the meanings that
are important to them.
1 linguistic anthropology: the study of human communication, including its origins,
history, and contemporary variation and change.
localization: the transformation of global culture by local cultures into something
microculture: a distinct pattern of learned and shared behavior and thinking found
within a larger culture.
“race”: a classification of people into groups on the basis of supposedly
homogeneous and largely superficial biological traits such as skin color or hair
symbol: an object, word, or action with culturally defined meaning that stands for
something else; most symbols are arbitrary.
Chapter 2: Researching Culture
collaborative research: an approach to learning about culture that involves
anthropologists working with members of the study population as partners and
participants rather than as “subjects.”
deductive approach (to research): a research method that involves posing a research
question or hypothesis, gathering data related to the question, and then assessing the
findings in relation to the original hypothesis.
emic: insiders’ perceptions and categories, and their explanations for why they do what
ethnography: a firsthand, detailed description of a living culture, based on personal
etic: an analytical framework used by outside analysts in studying culture.
fieldwork: research in the field, which is any place where people and culture are found.
indigenous knowledge (IK): local understanding of the environment, climate, plants,
animals, and making a living
inductive approach (to research): a research approach that avoids hypothesis formation
in advance of the research and instead takes its lead from the culture being studied.
informed consent: an aspect of fieldwork ethics requiring that the researcher inform
the research participants of the intent, scope, and possible effects of the study and seek
their consent to be in the study.
interview: a research technique that involves gathering verbal data through questions
or guided conversation between at least two people.
kula: a trading network, linking many of the Trobriand Islands, in which men have long-
standing partnerships for the exchange of everyday goods, such as food, as well as
highly valued necklaces and armlets.
multisited research: fieldwork conducted in more than one location in order to
understand the culture of dispersed members of the culture or the relationships among
different levels of culture.
participant observation: basic fieldwork method in cultural anthropology that involves
2 living in a culture for a long time while gathering data.
qualitative data: non-numeric information.
quantitative data: numeric information.
questionnaire: a formal research instrument containing a pre-set series of questions
that the anthropologist asks in a face-to-face setting, by mail, or by email.
rapport: a trusting relationship between the researcher and the study population.
toponymy: the naming of places.
Chapter 3: Economic Systems
agriculture: a mode of livelihood that involves growing crops with the use of plowing,
irrigation, and fertilizer.
balanced exchange: a system of transfers in which the goal is either immediate or
eventual equality in value.
consumerism: a mode of consumption in which people’s demands are many and infinite
and the means of satisfying them are insufficient and become depleted in the effort to
satisfy these demands.
expected reciprocity: an exchange of approximately equally valued goods or services,
usually between people roughly equal in social status.
extensive strategy: a form of livelihood involving temporary use of large areas of land
and a high degree of spatial mobility.
foraging: obtaining food available in nature through gathering, hunting, or scavenging.
generalized reciprocity: exchange involving the least conscious sense of interest in
material gain or thought of what might be received in return.
horticulture: a mode of livelihood based on growing domesticated crops in gardens,
using simple hand tools.
industrialism/informatics: a mode of livelihood in which goods are produced through
mass employment in business and commercial operations and through the creation and
movement of information through electronic media.
intensive strategy: a form of livelihood that involves continuous use of the same land
market exchange: the buying and selling of commodities under competitive conditions
in which the forces of supply and demand determine value; a form of unbalanced
minimalism: a mode of consumption that emphasizes simplicity, is characterized by few
consumer demands, and involves an adequate and sustainable means to achieve them.
mode of consumption: the dominant pattern, in a culture, of using things up or
spending resources in order to satisfy demands.
mode of exchange: the dominant pattern, in a culture, of transferring goods, services,
and other items between and among people and groups.
mode of livelihood: the dominant way of making a living in a culture.
3 pastoralism: a mode of livelihood based on keeping domesticated animals and using
their products, such as meat and milk, for most of the diet.
potlatch: a grand feast of Pacific Northwest cultures in which guests are invited to eat
and to receive gifts from the hosts.
pure gift: something given with no expectation or thought of a return.
unbalanced exchange: a system of transfers in which one party seeks to make a profit.
use rights: a system of property relations in which a person or group has socially
recognized priority in access to particular resources such as gathering, hunting, and
fishing areas and water holes.
Chapter 4: Reproduction and Human Development
adolescence: a culturally defined period of maturation from the time of puberty until
adulthood that is recognized in some, but not all cultures.