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ANTH202, CH 1-3

by: Danielle Palmucci

ANTH202, CH 1-3 ANTH 202

Danielle Palmucci


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About this Document

Cultural Anthropology notes on chapters 1-3.
Intro to Cultural Anthropology
William Fisher
Cultural Anthropology, Anthropology Unbound
75 ?




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This 4 page Bundle was uploaded by Danielle Palmucci on Tuesday February 9, 2016. The Bundle belongs to ANTH 202 at College of William and Mary taught by William Fisher in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 32 views. For similar materials see Intro to Cultural Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at College of William and Mary.

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Date Created: 02/09/16
Chapter 1- Science Basics  Biological anthropology- focuses on the history of our species, how we came to be the kinds of animals we are, and the role of culture in the process —questions our biological nature and its relationship to culture  Archeology- concentrates on gathering and interpreting material evidence we can use to understand the histories of our culture  Linguistic anthropology- asks about the nature of language and how it is related to culture  Sociocultural anthropology- about how contemporary cultures and societies work and how they got this way o Comparative  Noticing and explaining similarities and differences among many different systems o Holistic  Injunction to take things as they are  Seeing things as connected o Ethnographic  Paying attention to all the details of everyday life; observed and reported  Account of a way of life in which details matter  Irony o Calls attention to the difference between perception and reality (not personal or derogatory like sarcasm) o Calls attention to the discrepancy  Competitive ranking mechanism o Merit Worth (value)  Income o Most radical conclusion: those at bottom have no merit and hence deserve nothing; those at top deserve deference o Systematic function—transform incommensurable diversity into a ranking o Education  Ethnographic projects o Lave: how people learn to do math or any skill (legitimate peripheral participation)  Sports, activities, courses o How do prep schools work to transmit ideology of merit? o How do poor and working class schools produce self-exclusion and worthlessness  Relativism o Insider/outsider view o Hegemony  Don’t care about content, only results (grades) o Ideology  Cultural relativity- philosophic stance where one suspends judgements and opinions and is open to understanding other ways of life o Descriptive relativism- suspending your natural ethnocentrism so that you can describe another culture from the point of view of the people in it—how to understand other cultures o Ethical relativism- idea that there are no absolute values of good and bad; ethical judgements depend on culture o Epistemological relativism- all ways of knowing things are equally true  In this view, we can never really know reality; we can only know reality as our different cultures show it to us, and all those different ways are equally true  Epistemology- how we know things; different cultures define different ways of knowing things  Ethnocentrism- thinking that your way of doing things is either the only way or the best way o Opposite of cultural relativity Informant-Ethnographer  Relationship is the basis for ethnography. Informant is the teacher or guide o Ethics o System  Grasp native’s point of view  Hold system has (power)  Relationships/agency o World-view translation (cultural relativity) o Mutual interests? Mutual understanding? Existential catharsis? Relativism/ Ethnocentrism  Descriptive relativism: (see ethnocentrism)  Ethical: Good/bad judgments not universal  Epistemological: all ways of knowing are equally valid  Ethnocentrism: opposite of cultural relativism; assume one’s own categories, values, and mode of reasoning forms the basis to judge/understand others (e.g. economics, religion) The idea of science is that we never accept anything as really true, just as we think we know until we find out differently by checking it over and over again o Validity  Means you’re really measuring or describing what you think you’re measuring or describing  Pedometer measuring steps vs. distance o Reliability  Everybody else who checks the same thing will get the same results (repeatable)  Humanistic science- conveys the human condition by connecting people to systems  Systems o DV o IV o Direct and indirect relationships o Processes  Self-intensification (crashes)  Building bigger and bigger war weapons, until one nation goes broke  Sustainable (stable)  Fast food phenomena, carbon emissions and cars o Systematic change  Ethics o Do no harm o Transparency: purpose, methods, outcomes, sponsors (no deception) o Plagiarize, fabricate evidence is forbidden o Voluntary informed consent  Often non-linguistic o Make results accessible o Protect and preserve records o Ethical and supportive professional relationships—equitable Chapter 2- Human Variation; race and gender Natural Selection  If you have some feature that lets more of your offspring survive and grow-up to reproduce than those without it, the more and more individuals in later generations will come to share that feature o That feature is adaptive o Selective advantage Race  Humans are a polymorphic species—poly means “many”, and morph means “form”  Since race is not a biological reality, part of it came from ethnocentrism and part came from the idea that other people are different from us  Pigmentation variation o Adaption to solar radiation o Production of melanin (skin pigment)  Differs from racial or color classifications in other countries and between races in the US  Not a good way of describing existing genetic variation  Race is a cultural discourse/category not shared by other cultures Gender  Sexual dimorphism- two forms of sex o Differences of sex are greater in other primates than for us  Lineages- people form into large groupings—some are all the people descended from the same woman; some all the people descended from the same man o Matrilineal- mother’s line  Run by the mother’s brother (NOT the same as uncle)  Siblings are members of your lineage in the game generation  Mother’s brother siblings would be in the same generation, but not the same lineage, so they are not related in any way o Patrilineal- father’s line o Cross cousins- related parents are opposite sex o Parallel cousins- related parents are same sex  Need to know who ancestor is and need to know sex/gender of apical links (vertical lines) o Horizontal lines= siblings, Equal sign= marriage  Kinship- bloodline, relationships, division of labor/survival, must exclude people o Always begin breaking down a kinship system with the individual (EGO) o 2 classes: People within your group and people with whom you can marry o Cousins- cultural category; differ among world’s cultures  In a European system, they’re all related in the same way— children of a parent’s sibling  Genital Mutilation  Rites of Passage—Kono of Sierra Leone, West Africa o Bondo ceremony [pan-ethnic]  Excision (women)  Circumcision (men)  Ritual/myth/social organization o Become sexually active women o Nature/culture, matriarchal/ patriarchal o Marriage/households/lineage affiliation  Ethnographic fieldwork (Malinowski) o Organization of the tribe and the anatomy of its culture o Kinship, descent groups, myths, ritual, etc. o Imponderabilia of actual life and kinds of behavior  Activities and emotions, technical procedures, etc. o Corpus inscriptum  Stories, typical utterances, explanations, etc.


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