September 4 , 2013
Chapter One | Introduction to Anthropology
The fragmentary remains of bones and living materials preserved from
The material products of former societies, provides clues to the past.
Ancient trash piles.
A research strategy used by cultural anthropologists that learn the
language and culture of the group being studied by participating in the
group’s daily activities.
Description of a culture within a society. Typically reports on the
environmental setting, economic patterns, social organization, political
setting, and religious rituals and beliefs of the society under study.
A broad, comprehensive account that draws on all four subfields under the
umbrella of anthropology.
Testable proposition concerning the relationship between particular sets
of variables in the collected data.
Scientists first make observations and collect data. Many of these pieces of
data are referred to as variables.
Scientific research begins with a general theory from which scientists
develop testable hypotheses.
1. What are the four subfields of anthropology?
The four subfields of anthropology are physical anthropology, archaeology,
linguistic anthropology, and cultural anthropology (ethnology).
Archaeologists - look at cultures in the past.
Physical anthropology – May play a crucial role in police investigations by
reconstructing the appearance of murder victims on the basis of skull fragments
or helping the police determine the mechanism of death.
Linguistic anthropology – Explore different languages. One woman is creating a
dictionary of a remote Indian language in Mexico. May work with government agencies and indigenous people to document disappearing languages or work in
businesses to help develop marketing strategies.
Cultural anthropologists – study cultural variation in the present. May play a key
role in the planning of government programs so that they take peoples’ cultural
beliefs and needs into consideration.
*Behavioral anthropologists look at biological variation. May study behavioral
patterns of Neanderthals.
What is applied anthropology?
The use of anthropological data from the other subfields to address modern
problems and concerns. These problems may be environmental, technological,
economic, social, political, or cultural.
2. What is the scientific method?
A system of logic used to evaluate data derived from systematic observation.
Researchers investigate the natural and social worlds which easily done so with
What is the relationship between a hypothesis, data, and a theory?
If a hypothesis is proven true then it may be combined with other hypotheses to
form a general theory, or statement that explains hypotheses and observations
about natural or social phenomena. In order for any of this to be possible, data
must be collected to evaluate such hypotheses.
3. What are some examples of how anthropologists study topics of
interest in the humanities?
Cultural anthropologists examine artifacts from ancient societies. In order to
comprehend different practices and different cultures these anthropologists often
have to interpret these artifacts/locations as one may interpret a novel, poem or
religious text. – Linguistic anthropologists translate and understand various
languages. – Anthropologists look at musical forms, myths, poetry, literature and
art of non-western peoples.
Chapter Ten | Culture
Society – Consists of the patterns of relationships among people within a
Sociocultural system – Combination of society and culture. Used as a basic
conceptual framework for analyzing ethnographic research.
Cultural relativism – View that cultural traditions must be understood within the
context of a particular society’s responses to problems and opportunities.
Ethnocentrism – The practice of judging another society by the values and
standards of one’s own society. Worldview – Believed to consist of various beliefs about the nature of reality that
provided a people with a more or less consistent orientation toward the world.
Ideology – Consists of cultural symbols and beliefs that reflect and support the
interests of specific groups within society.
Cultural hegemony – Ideological control by one dominant group over values,
beliefs, and norms.
1. What is Scupin and DeCorse’s definition of culture and how is it
similar to and different from Paynter’s definition?
The first professional anthropologist, E.B Taylor defines culture as, “…that
complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, arts, morals, law, custom, and
any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.”
Essentially culture encompasses everything.
Contemporary anthropologists do not abide by this definition, as they
believe it is too simple and crude. Now, anthropologists have adopted the
term “sociocultural.” Trying to separately define “society” and “culture”
from anthropologic standpoint was not working any longer.
Glossary definition of “culture” – A shared way of life that includes the
material products and nonmaterial products (values, beliefs, and norms)
that are transmitted within a particular society from generation to
Paynter’s definition: Culture is humans' extra somatic (outside of the body)
means of adaptation passed on primarily by symbolic learning.
This definition is similar to the glossary definition in the way that is also very
general and abstract while E.B Taylor’s definition is very concrete and
specific. On the other hand, Paynter’s definition describes culture as extra
somatic while the glossary definition involves deeper personal concepts like
morals, beliefs, and norms. While Paynter may be trying to get the same
message across, his definition is most certainly more abstract.
2. What is the difference between ideal and real culture? Give an
example of ideal and real culture at UMass.
Ideal culture is what people say they do or should do.
People at UMass might say that they study hard for their finals.
Real culture refers to a person’s actual behavior.
In reality, those people did not study at all.
3. Cultural Universals
Refers to a list by George Murdock citing essential behavioral characteristics of
societies found all over the world.
Some things that universal people have are traits like having gender terms
for male and females, facial expressions to show basic emotions, morality,
and having a language with a complex grammar. Chapter Fourteen | Analyzing Sociocultural Systems
Demography – study of population and its relationship to society.
Technology – Consists of all the human techniques and methods of reaching a
specific subsistence goal or of modifying or controlling the natural environment.
Refers not only to tools but to cultural knowledge that humans can apply in
Social structure – Pattern of relationships in a society.
Ascribed status – Status attached to a person from birth or that a person assumed
involuntarily later in life.
Achieved status – Status based at least in part on a person’s voluntary actions.
Age grades – Statuses defined by age through which a person moves as he or she
ages. (examples, high school, young adult, young old, old old.)
Carrying capacity - The maximum population that a specific environment can
support, as determined by the environment’s potential energy and food
Family – Social group of two or more people related by blood, marriage, or
adoption who live or reside together for an extended period, sharing economic
resources and caring for their young.
Nuclear family – Composed of two parents and their immediate biological
offspring or adopted children.
Extended family – Composed of parents, children, and other kin relations bound
together as a social unit.
1. What is a biome and what is the name and characteristics of the
biome of Massachusetts?
A biome is an area distinguished by a particular climate and certain types of
plants and animals. Massachusetts is considered as having a temperate
deciduous forest biome. We get about 630-2,000mm of precipataion per year
with few droughts and some snow. Our temperatures range from -12-21 min and
-29-7 max degrees Celsius for the winter and 23-38 max and 15-27 min for the
summer. Our soil is categorized as “gray-brown podzol” and “red and yellow
2. What is meant by subsidence patterns and what are the basic kinds
of subsidence patterns found in the world’s cultures?