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.
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