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Chapter 1-13

ANT 252 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-13: Heterosexuality, Totalitarianism, Essentialism

Course Code
ANT 252
Dr.Alison Greene

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Holistic study of humankind. Requires consideration of human biology and culture as
well as environment.
Rooted in 18th century European enlightenment philosophy
Ethnography: the first hand, personal study of local settings
Holistic science: the study of the whole of the human condition—past, present, future,
biology, society, language, culture
Society: organized life in groups
Cultures: traditions and customs transmitted through learning that form and guide the
beliefs and behavior of the people exposed to them
Enculturation: the process by which a child learns his or her culture.
oBoth cognitive and bodily, both didactic (being taught/told) and mimetic
oCapacity to acquire culture is biologically encoded, but can’t be activated in
Food Production
Epistemology: the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity,
and scope. The investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion
Participant Observation: taking part in the events one is observing, describing, and
Informed consent: agreement to take part in research, after having been informed about
its nature, procedures, and possible impacts
oAmerican Anthropological Association (AAA) has Code of Ethics
oOur current standards of professional ethics have developed over the course of the
20th century, in response to actions by anthropologists later deemed unethical
oEx: reinforcing race categories, control and suppression of groups studied in
Colonial Empires, “counter-insurgency” efforts in Vietnam and Cambodia,
assistance in overthrow of Pres. Salvador Allende in Chile and the subsequent
campaign of terror against his supporters.
Anthropologists are concerned with human adaptation.
Form of Adaptation Type Example

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Technology Cultural Oxygen masks
(over generations)
Biological Larger “barrel chests”
Long-term Physiological
(during growth and
development of the individual
Biological More efficient respiratory
Short-term Physiological
(spontaneously when the
individual organism enters a
new environment)
Biological Increased heart rate,
Biocultural Perspective
Cultural forces constantly mold human biology
Refers to the inclusion and combination of both bio and cultural perspectives and
approaches to comment on or solve a particular issue or problem
Anthropology as two dimensions:
Academic, or general anthropology
Practicing, or applied anthropology
oApplication of anthropological data, perspectives, theory, and methods to identify,
assess, and solve contemporary social problems
o“The field of inquiry concerned with the relationships between anthropological
knowledge and the uses of that knowledge in the world beyond anthropology”
Applied archaeology, called public archaeology
Example: Cultural resource management (CRM): deciding what needs saving, and
preserving significant info about the past when sites cannot be saved; also allowing
destruction if not significant
Bourdieu’s “Habitus:” our specific subculture is written into our bodies and our speech through
a nonverbal process of observation and imitation that begins at birth ad is fairly fixed by
adulthood ad that features of our habitus reveal our class and cultural backgrounds easily—
regardless of attempts to mask low-status beginnings.

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