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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - Anthropology and Culture.docx
Chapter 1 - Anthropology and Culture.docx

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McMaster University
Emily Cowall

Anthropology 1AB3 – June 26/2013 Chapter 1: Anthropology and Culture What is a unique about the field of Anthropology? - Anthropology embraces different types of subfields - Early development of anthropology as a discipline: many looked at cultures + races through philosophical/theoretical ideals - Colonialism – part of ethnocentric thinking: where one culture/group of people was superior to others Anthropology Today: - An intense fieldwork experience distinguishes anthropology from other disciplines dealing with humans - Anthropology remains more comparative and global in its scope and interests than the other social sciences and humanities Anthropological Perspectives - Holistic o No one single aspect of a human culture can be understood unless its relationships to other aspects of the culture are explored - Comparative o Involves general theories or ideas scholars might have about humans  Eg. Human nature, sexuality, warfare, family relationships o Must take into account information from a wide range of societies o A lot of theoretical work has gone into the concept of what constitutes “The Other” - Cultural Relativism o No culture is inherently superior or inferior to any other o These ideas require judgements about the relative worthiness of behaviours, beliefs, and other characteristics of a culture Ethnocentrism: - The belief that the moral standards, manners, attitudes, and so forth of one’s own culture are superior to those of other cultures - Extreme ethnocentrism – in which people believe their values are the only correct ones and that all people everywhere should be judged – leads to attitudes of intolerance and misunderstandings that anthropologists find objectionable o Eg. The subjugation of the Aboriginals in Canada Subfields of Anthropology - Archaeology - Biological (Physical Anthropology) - Cultural Anthropology - Anthropological Linguistics - Applied Anthropology Fieldwork - Collecting information about particular cultures by living in their communities so that research can be conducted in close contact with the people - Fieldworkers communicate in the local language o Useful because the less you interrupt (generally because you are not familiar wit
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