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Chapter 1

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Victor Barac

Preface: How you can begin to think like an anthropologist? • Questions anthropologists are concerned with o How can people understand beliefs and behaviors other than their own o How do we explain transformation of human societies over the 10 thousand years from a scale of hunters and gatherers o Why do people believe different things and why are they certain their view of the world is correct Chapter 1: Culture and Meaning Introduction The World Behind EverydayAppearances • Sociocultural anthropology o An anthropological approach that retains the British focus on social anthropology at the same tome as it adds theAmerican focus on culture to produce something slightly different from either one • Everyday worlds this piece of furniture is utilitarian object: something to sit on, or write on, or even to put our feet on • What Makes SocioculturalAnthropology Unique o Anthros means human and loga means study of o Includes collecting evidence of how and when we became human and comparing human to other organisms o Anthropology divided into four different approaches to the study of humans  Biological anthropology • Focus on human beings as one of a greatest multitude of organism that inhibit the earth • Specialize in paleoanthropology o Study of fossil remains o Biological evolutions • Primatology o Study of closest nonhuman relatives • Forensic anthropology o Study of human remains for identification and cause of death  Archaeology • Studies human history and its artifacts • Look at material remains of human group in order to learn how people lived • Tools, pottery shards and other artifacts offer clues about social and cultural lives of societies that existed  Linguistic anthropology • Remains the relationship between language and culture • Interested in how people use language, nothing a physical sense with regards to communication is structured  Sociological anthropology • How societies are structured and cultural meanings are created • Fieldwork • Incorporates both methodological and analytical rigor of the sciences Question 1.1: Why Do Human Beings Differ in their Beliefs and Behaviours? • Culture o The system of meanings about the nature of experience that are shaped by a people and passed on from one generation to another, including the meanings that people give to things, events, activities and people • Question 1.2: how do anthropologists learn about culture: The formative years of anthropology\ • Age of Exploration was launched by Christopher Columbus when he arrived in theAmerica in 1942 • Anthropology did not emerge as a displine until 1883, when Edward Tyler was appointed to the first position • Armchair anthropologists: refers to an approach to the study of various societies that dominated anthropology in the late 1800s. It involved the collection study, and analysis of the writings of missionaries, explorers, and colonists who had sustained contact with non-western peoples.Armchair anthropologists used these documents to make comparisons and generalizations about the ways of life of various groups Ethnographic Fieldwork • Bronislow Malinowski and Franz Boas would move the armchair • Anthropologist use surveys, written documents, historical accounts, and questionnaire s as apart of their research • Ethnographic method: the immersion of researchers in the lives and culture s of the peoples they are trying to understand in order to comprehend the meanings of these people ascribe to their existence • Participant observation: an element of fieldwork that can involve participating in daily tasks, and observing daily interactions among particular group • Fieldwork:Anthropologists engage in long-term interactions (usually a year or more) with various groups of people. This often involves living with people, observing and contributing to daily chores and tasks (participant observation), and conducting interviews. Most fieldwork in anthropology has historically been qualitative in nature. • Had to travel to non-western people and conduct fieldwork for about a year; interviews and surveys, taking photographs, and recording songs and narratives, among other things • Participants observation requires long-term engagement with group of people • They observe and participate in daily tasks • Ethnography: a written description and analysis of a particular group of people, usually based upon anthropological fieldwork • Natives point of view, also referred to as the emic or insider perspective, implies that anthropology is to understand peoples beliefs and culture from their own perspective Changing Notions of Fieldwork • Salvage anthropology: an approach to anthr that arose in the 1800s when anthropologists witnessed the extinction and/or assimilation of indigenous groups throughout the world. In response, some anthropologists, such as Franz Boas suggested that anthropologist rapidly document the oral story, songs, histories and other traditions of indigenous groups before they disappeared • Documented inuit reserves before the disappeared • Anthropologist continue to focus on indigenous groups however ideas about
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