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AN101 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Participant Observation, Scientific Method, Culture Shock

Course Code
Victor Gulewitsch
Study Guide

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Chapter 1
What is anthropology?
Anthropology is the study of human nature, human society and human history
- “Ology” comes from the word logos-> “word”
Anthro comes from man-> people
-> Anthropology is the study of people
4 Subfields to Anthropology
Biological anthropology: The specialty of anthropology that looks at humans as a
biological organism and tries to discover what characteristics make us different
from and/or similar to other living things
Races: Social groupings that allegedly reflected biological differences
Archaeology: The study of the human past through the analysis of material
Linguistic Anthropology: The specialty of anthropology concerned with the study
of human languages
Cultural Anthropology: The specialty of anthropology that studies how variation in
beliefs and behaviors is shaped by culture and learned by different members of
human groups
Applied Anthropology: The use of information gathered from the other
anthropologist’s specialties to solve practical problems within and between
The Challenges of cultural differences
Ethnocentrism: Opinion that one’s own way of life is the most natural, correct or
fully human way of life; the way people live becomes the norm for them, so when
they see the difference in the way another culture acts they feel as though it is
A barrier to accept other cultures
Cultural relativism: The perspective that all cultures are equally valid and can
only be truly understood in their own terms
Ability to understand other people’s cultures without judging it
Taking on the position that no one is to make a judgment about another

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Explanations of the Human Condition
Dualism: The philosophical view that reality consists of two equal and irreducible
Humans have physical/cultural behavior
Idealism: The philosophical view that ideas- or the mind that produces such
ideas- constitutes the essence of human nature
Ideas determine culture reality, more than the physical culture itself
Spiritual, not material
Materialism: The philosophical view that the activities of our physical bodies in
the material world constitute the essence of human nature
Food, materials, etc; help shape culture
Determinism: The philosophical view that one simple force (or a few simple
forces) causes (or determines) complex events
Essence: An unchanging core of features that is unique to things of the same
kind (whether they are chairs, cows, ideas, or people) and makes them what they
The Anthropological Perspective: The Cross-disciplinary Discipline
- Holistic: Assumes that mind and body, person and society, humans and their
environment interpenetrate and define one another
- Comparative: Views humans across time and space
- Evolutionary: Includes the view of co-evolution, the relationship between
biological and symbolic processes
Anthropology and the Concept of Culture
- Profound impact on the evolution of human nature and human society
- “That complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law,
customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired… as a member of
society” – Edward. B. Tylor
- Culture is central to the explanations of why we are what we are why why we do
what we do
- Individuals observe and then copy certain actions performed by others
- Biocultural organisms are organisms whose defining features are codetermined
by biological and cultural factors
- Our way of interacting with the wider world is distinct for two reasons
1) Our large, complex brains are capable of extremely intricate open symbolic
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