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Midterm 1 .docx

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Victor Gulewitsch

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 remains 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 cultures 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 odd  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 culture Explanations of the Human Condition Dualism: The philosophical view that reality consists of two equal and irreducible forces  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 are 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 thought 2) Our hands are capable of manipulating matter in both powerful and delicate ways Culture v. Cultures Culture: Being able to create ideas and activities that encourage the survival of species Cultures: Learned way of life belonging to a specific group of human beings Critique: The plural concept of culture seems to endorse an oppressive kind of cultural determinism, but many groups have incorporated the plural use of culture into their own self-definitions, which other anthropologists defend as valuable and progressive Anthropologist Sherry Ortner finds three imperatives 1) “To the move to reduce difference…” 2) “Emphasize the issue of meaning-making” 3) “Situate cultural analysis within” Chapter 2 Culture is defined as a set of learned behaviors and ideas that humans acquire as members of a society. We use culture to adapt to and transform the world in which we live Subcultures: - An example of a subculture is a motorcycle gang - They have developed and created their own type of culture, where they created their own language, their own image as well as their own attitude, where you have to act a certain way and dress a certain way in order to be apart of this culture - It is really easy to differentiate between people who are and are not apart of this culture - Although they have created their own subculture, there are people within this group who follow their own beliefs Micro culture: Something specific in a subculture Fieldworks Fieldwork: An extended period of close involvement with the people in whose way of life anthropologists are interested, during which anthropologists ordinarily collect most of their data Parti
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