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Chapter 2

ANTH 3650 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Participant Observation, Social Inequality, Ethnography

Course Code
ANTH 3650
Edward Hedican

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Muckle – Chapter 2 [Studying the Indigenous peoples of North America through the lens of
Core concept in anthropology – defined as the learned or shared things people have
Material culture includes tangible items [tools, structures]
Ideology includes beliefs, morals, values
Things people do are commonly called customers and include behavior patterns
Society as being comprised of people / culture is what binds these people together as
a group
Culture is learned, shared and not every member has to necessarily share same
customs, material culture, and beliefs
Several components of culture including:
o Subsistence – strategies people use to obtain food [foraging, hunting,
o Settlement patterns – patterns in which people move across landscape
o Technology – way people create material culture as well as the way people
process things [cooking, preserving foods, creating art]
o Communication – language [study both verbal and non verbal including
symbols and gestures]
o Economic systems – modes of production, distribution, trade, consumption
o Social and political systems – form and function of social organizations based
on descent groups, kinship groups, marriage, family patterns, social inequality
o Ideology – how people relate to the spiritual/supernatural world, as well as
values and worldview [mythology, ceremonial life]
o Arts – visual [painting, carving, sculptures] and performing arts [dance,
o Health and healing – how people diagnose and treat illnesses [both physical
causes and spiritual causes]
In North America, Anthropology has four major branches
o 1) Cultural
o Largest subfield
o Focus on cultures of the present or recent past
o Immense themselves with the group they are studying writing descriptions
[ethnography] in the form of participant observation
o 2) Archeology
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