ANTH 1002 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Symbolic Anthropology, Structural Anthropology, Thick Description
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Course CodeANTH 1002
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ANTH 1002 Midterm Study Guide
The midterm exam will consist of three words or phrases from this list. Of those three terms, you
will choose two. Note: Do not answer three terms. We will only grade two.
1) define the term;
2) name the author(s) associated with it;
3) situate it within the reading(s); and
4) describe its significance in anthropology.
1. Ethnographic fieldwork
Hasham can be viewed in three ways anthropologically speaking, first, it is a social fact
that influences the members of the Awlad Ali to act in specific ways, especially in terms
of masculinity and femininity. Second, it can be viewed as a part of collective
consciousness, as is is apart of the commonly held beliefs of the Bedouin that modesty
is an important characteristic when it comes to honor and respect within the community,
And lastly, Abu-Lughod's ethnographic fieldwork of this seemingly mundane practice of
poetry is an example of a thick description.
2. Claude Lévi-Strauss
French anthropologist in 20th century. Developed study of structural anthropology (all
structures within societies are equitable) and structuralism (elements of human culture
must be understood through their relationship to a broader structure). “Structural Study
of Myth” and “The effectiveness of symbols”. Looked at society as a theory of
relationships. Doesn’t believe in cultural evolution and sees history as speculative (a
myth). All forms of society is what works for the people within them. There is no savage
mind or civilized mind.
CUNA Definition- Native Indians from the panama republic who practice a shamanistic cure
through song during childbirth.
Author- Claude Levi Strauss
Situate/Significance- Seen in “The Effectiveness of Symbols” which explains how the song, a
myth about the process of childbirth, facilitates a healthy birth and sometimes involving a
shaman. The use of myth is compared with the practice of psychoanalytic cures. Both cures
induce an experience and both succeed in creating a myth that the patient lives or relives. But
the Cuna use an outside social myth and the other involves the patient creating an individual
myth. Levi Strauss uses this study as an example of the effective use of myth in society. The
Cuna “prove” that the use of symbols and myths can have actually positive physical outcomes
for the persons in their society.
These terms appear in the Levi Strauss articles. Since you were provided a choice of
which article to read, you also have a choice of which of these two terms to study.
3. Social fact
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Define the term: Emile Durkheim believed that anthropology could be a social science,
with an object of study "social facts" he defines social facts as "consisting of manners,
acting, thinking and feeling, external to the individual." They are what drive people to
“perform duties, which are defined in law and custom.”
Name the author:Emile Durkheim
Situate it/Significance: Emile Durkheim believed that social facts were everything from
politics, economy, marriages, and suicide. He viewed the global transition from
traditional to modern as damaging to social facts of society and thus deteriorating social
cohesion, as people of the modern society felt isolated from one another Emile Durkheim
observed rising suicide rates, making social facts a measurable and observable
influence within society and a valid tool in anthropology
4. Collective consciousness
Definition: The body of beliefs that are common to a community or society and that give
people a sense of belonging, and social cohesion. Connected to social facts which are
given to us when we are socialized by institutions such as families, schools, and
religions to maintain said collective consciousness.
Author: Emile Durkheim
Situate The Division of Labor in Society
5. Generalized reciprocity
Definition: Giving and receiving goods with no immediate or specific return expected,
there is no gain except for the satisfaction of the giver for bestowing a gift.
Author: Marcel Mauss, Claude Levi-Strauss
Situate: In Marcel Mauss's The Gift, Mauss explores the act of exchange and the heavily
ritualized act of gift giving in various societies in the Andaman Islands, Polynesia,
Samoa, Maori, and Native Americans. After studying these groups, and various forms of
gift giving, Mauss concluded that while the act of gift giving may appear voluntary it is, in
fact, an obligatory aspect of society, with underlying meaning. An in the short film,
Ongka's Big Moka, generalized reciprocity is exemplified, as Ongka prepares his gifts of
pigs to a neighboring big man, Ongka expects nothing in return for his enormous and
thoroughly prepared gift but expects that this Moka will reinforce his social status as a
big man to others.
Significance:This idea of gift giving and reciprocity is representative of the idea of social
facts, within Anthropology, as generalized reciprocity is a societal requirement of people,
rather than a voluntary option.
6. Joking relationship
Define: "What is meant by the term "joking relationship" is a relation between two
persons in which one is by custom permitted and in some instances required to tease or
make fun of another."
Author: E.E. Evans-Pritchard/Radcliffe Brown
Situate: In On Joking Relationships
essay, concludes that a joking relationship is a part
of the social structure of a society and can function to uphold one of three types of a
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