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Cultural Anthropology Study Guide One

by: Ashlee Notetaker

Cultural Anthropology Study Guide One ANT 10

Ashlee Notetaker
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

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The material on the study guide covers what will be on exam one.
Cultural Anthropology
Dr. Donner
Study Guide
Cultural Anthropology
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This 8 page Study Guide was uploaded by Ashlee Notetaker on Monday February 8, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to ANT 10 at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania taught by Dr. Donner in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 243 views. For similar materials see Cultural Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.

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Date Created: 02/08/16
Cultural Anthropology: study guide one Chapter One – Overview of Anthropology Human Diversity: anthropology explores human diversity across time and space, seeking to understand as much as possible about the human condition. Particularly interested in human adaptability (humans are of the worlds most adaptable animals)  Creativity, adaptability, and flexibility are basic human attributes, and human diversity is that subject matter of anthropology. Anthropology: the study of human species and its immediate ancestors. Offering a cross-cultural perspective by constantly comparing the customs of one society with those of another.  A comparative and holistic science. o Holism: the study of the whole of the human condition: past, present and future; biology, society, language, and culture. Culture: traditions and customs, transmitted through learning, that form and guide the beliefs and behaviors of the people exposed to them.  Children learn such tradition by growing up in a particular society, through a process called enculturation.  Culture traditions include customs and opinions, developed over the generations, about proper and improper behavior.  A culture produces a degree of consistency in behavior and thought among the people who live in a particular society.  Critical element of cultural traditions is their transmission through learning rather than through biological inheritance.  Humans possess some of the biological capacities on which culture is depends. o These abilities are to learn, to think symbolically, to use language, and to make and use tools.  Anthropology confronts and ponders major questions about past and present human existence. o By examining ancient fossils and tools – enable use to unravel the mysteries of human origins. Adaptation: processes by which organisms cope with environmental forces and stresses.  Humans have biological means of adaptation, but humans habitually rely on cultural means of adaption. General Anthropology (or “four-field” anthropology): the academic discipline of anthropology includes four man subfields (sociocultural, archaeological, biological and linguistic anthropology). Exploring the basics of human biology, society, and culture and considers the interrelations.  Four subfields because… o Early anthropologists were concerned with history and cultures of the native people. Interest in the origins and diversity of Native Americans brought together studies of customs, social life, language and physical traits. Also an interest in the relation between biology and culture. Each subfield considers variation in time and space.  Cultural and archaeological anthropologists study changes in social life and customs. o Archaeologists have used studies of living societies and behavior patterns to imagine what life might have been like in the past.  Biological anthropologists examine evolutionary changes in physical form. o Example: anatomical changes that might have associated with the origins of tool use or language.  Linguistic anthropologists may reconstruct the basics of ancient languages by studying modern ones.  Anthropologists share certain key assumptions. The most fundamental assumption – human nature cannot be derived from studying narration, society, or cultural tradition. A comparative cross-cultural approach is essential. Biocultural: using and combining both biological and cultural perspectives and approaches to analyze and understand a particular issue or problem. Cultural Anthropology: the study of human society and culture, the subfield that describes, analyzes, interprets, and explains social and cultural similarities and differences.  To study and interpret cultural diversity, cultural anthropologists engage in two kinds of activity: o Ethnography provides an account of a particular group, community, society, or culture.  During fieldwork, the ethnographer gathers date that he or she organized, describes, analyzes, and interprets to build and present that account, which may be in the form of a book, article or film.  Traditionally, ethnographers lived in small communities where they would study local behaviors. Today, ethnographers recognize that such settings are influenced by external forced and events.  Ethnographers often observe discriminatory practices directed toward such people, who experience food and water shortages, dietary deficiencies, and other aspects of poverty.  Anthropological perspective derived from ethnographic fieldwork often differs radially from that of economics or political science.  Communities and cultures are less isolated today than ever before. o Due to exposure of external forces coming through the mass media, migration, and modern transportation.  Such linkages are prominent components of regional, national and global systems of politics, economics and information. Ethnology: examines, interprets, and analyzes the results of ethnography – the data gathered in different societies. It uses such data to compare and contrast and to make generalizations about society and culture.  Ethnologists attempt to identify and explain cultural difference and similarities, to test hypothesis, and to build theory to enhance our understanding of how social and cultural systems work. o Acquire data by ethnography, but also from the other subfields, particularly from archaeology, which reconstructs social systems in the past. Archaeological Anthropology: reconstructs, describes, and interprets human behavior and cultural patterns through material remains. At sites where people live or have lived, archaeologists find artifacts, material items that humans have made, used, or modified, such as tools, weapons, campsites, buildings and garbage.  Plant, animal remains and garbage tell stories about consumption and activities.  Wild and domesticated grains have different characteristic, which allow archaeologists to distinguish between gathering and cultivation.  Examination of animal bones reveals the ages of slaughtered animals and provides other information useful in determining whether species were wild or domesticated.  From such information, archaeologists reconstruct patterns of production, trade and consumption. Potsherds: fragments of earthenware. More durable than many other artifacts, such as textiles and wood. The quantity of pottery fragments allows estimates of population size and density.  The discovery that potters used materials unavailable locally suggests systems of trade.  Similarities in manufacture and decoration at different sites may be proof of cultural connections. Groups with similar pots may be historically related. Perhaps sharing common cultural ancestors, traded with each other, or belonged to the same political system. Paleoecology: looks at ecosystems of the past. Ecology is the study of interrelations among living things in an environment. The organisms and environment together constitute an ecosystem, a patterned relationship of energy flows and exchanges. Human ecology studies ecosystems that include people, focusing on the ways in which human use of nature influences and is influenced by social organization and cultural values.  In addition to reconstructing ecological patterns, archaeologists may infer cultural transformations. o The number of settlement levels (city, town, village, and hamlet) in a society is measure of social complexity. o Buildings offer clues about political and religious features. o The presence or absence of certain structures, reveals differences in function between settlements.  Archeologists reconstruct behavior patterns and lifestyles of the past by excavating. o Excavating involves digging through a succession of levels at a particular site. Excavation can document changes in economic, social and political activities. Garbology: the study of modern garbage.  What people report may contrast strongly with their real behavior as revealed by garbology. The subject matter of biological, or physical, anthropology is human biological diversity in time and space. A common interest in biological variation unites five specialties within biological anthropology: 1. Human evolution is revealed by fossil record (paleoanthropology). 2. Human genetics. 3. Human growth and development. 4. Human biological plasticity (the living body’s ability to change as it copes with stresses, such as heat, cold and altitude.) 5. Primatology (the biology, evolution, behavior, and social life of monkeys and other nonhuman primates).  These interests link biological anthropology to other fields: biology, zoology, geology, anatomy, physiology, medicine and public health. Osteology – the study of bones – helps paleoanthropologists, who examine skills, teeth, and bones, to identify human ancestors and to chart changes in anatomy overtime. A paleontologist is a scientist who studies fossils. A paleoanthropologists is one sort of paleontologist, one who studies the fossil record of human evolution. Often collaborating with archaeologists, who study artifacts, in reconstructing biological and cultural aspects of human evolution.  Fossils and tools are often found together. Different types of tools provide information about the habits, customs, and lifestyles of the ancestral humans who used them. Biological anthropologist investigate the influence of environment on the body as it grows and matures. Among the environmental factors that influence the body as it develops are nutrition, altitude, temperature, and disease, as well as cultural factors, such as standards of attractiveness.  Biological anthropology also includes primatology. The primates include our closest relatives – apes and monkeys. Primatologists study their biology, evolution, behavior, and social life, often in their natural environments. Primatology assists paleoanthropology, because primate behavior may shed light on early human behavior and human nature. Linguistic Anthropology studies language in its social and cultural context, across space and over time. Some linguistic anthropologists also make inferences about universal features of language, linked perhaps to uniformities in the human brain. Others reconstruct ancient languages by comparing their contemporary descendants and in so doing make discoveries about history. Still others study linguistic differences to discover varied perceptions and patterns of thought in different cultures.  Historical linguistics studies variation over time, such as the changes in sounds, grammar, and vocabulary between Middle English and some modern English.  Sociolinguistics investigates relations between social and linguistic variation. o One reason for variation is geography, as in regional dialects and accents. Linguistic and cultural anthropologists collaborate in studying links between language and many other aspects of culture (how people recognize kindship and how they perceive and classify colors) Anthropology is a science – a systematic field study or body of knowledge that aims, through experiment, observation, and deduction, to produce reliable explanations of phenomena, with references to the physical and material world. Ethnomusicology studies forms of musical expression on a worldwide basis. Cultural anthropology and sociology share an interest in social relations, organization, and behavior. Differences between these disciplines arose from the kinds of societies each traditionally studied. Data collection: different methods emerged to deal with different societies.  Sociology relies on statistical analysis, whereas statistical analysis has been less common in anthropology.  Ethnographers study small and nonliterate populations and relied on methods appropriate to that context. o Closely observes, records, and engages in the daily life of another culture. Applied Anthropology: the application of anthropological data, perspectives, theory, and methods to identify, assess, and solve contemporary social problems. Chapter two: Culture Cultural learning depends on the uniquely developed human capacity to use symbols, signs that have no necessary or natural connection to the things they signify or for which they stand.  Enculturation: the process by which culture is learned and transmitted (shared) across the generations. Cultural is the way humans adapt to their environments so they can survive.  Maladaptive: cultures can do things that destroy themselves. Instrumental/Functional  Biological (Primary): satisfy basic human needs – food, housing, reproduction.  Social (Secondary): creates solidarity, social satisfaction. Normative: rules, laws, both formal and informal (etiquette). Symbolic Integrated:  Core values – basic human values that affect all aspects of a culture.  Institutions such as family, economy, art, law, and business – are all integrated. Historical/Traditional: maintain tradition across generations. Levels of Cultural Influence  International: McDonalds.  National: specific to nation – such as, NASCAR in the US.  Subculture: traits shared by a group of people that also share many traits within a large group. Often belong to many different subcultures.  Example: Italian American Diffusion: transfer of traits and ideas between two groups. Invention: Something new – rare compared to diffusion. Levels of culture analysis for anthropologists  Universal: everywhere (almost) – varies in how it is applied.  General: widespread – belief in supernatural, marriages.  Particular: One place, subculture Stereoscopic Vision:  Looking at an object from different angels.  Provides death perception – distance of object.  Look at other cultures to get a new perspective on own. Ethnocentrism: occurs when a person uses his or her own culture to judge another culture. Cultural Relativism: no judgements made – you want to try and understand other cultures.  Used as method Chapter five: Language Language, which may be spoken or written, is our primary means of communication.  Most anthropologist believe language shapes thought, rather than determine it. Language changes over time. It evolves – caries, spreads, divides into subgroups (languages within a taxonomy of related languages that are most closely related) Language Families: Indo-European, Savaiki Linguistic Divergence: daughter language – when an ancestor language splits up. Phonology: the study of speech sounds, considers which sounds are present and significant in a given language.  Phonetics: what people actually say.  Phonemics: study of sound contracts in a language. Morphology: studies how sounds form morphemes – words and their meaningful parts.  Derivations (-ing,-s) o Bound morph – affixes that cannot stand alone. o Free morph – words. Syntax and Grammar  Rules about sequencing and relationships.  Word, order, parts of speech. o Subject/verb/object Semantics: a languages meaning system. Sapir-Whorf: hypothesis that language determines thought. Language and social relations:  Children are generally raised to follow the more prestigious form of language.  Typically – mothers offer more prestigious language to offspring, rather than fathers.  Allegiance to who people are by language. Sociolinguistics: the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used, and the effects of language use on society. Ethnolinguistics: studies the relationship between language and culture, and the way different ethnic groups perceive the world. It is the combination between ethnology and linguistics.  Dialect o Boundary  Usually geographical  Can be social Kinesics and Proxemics  Kinesics – body language, nonverbal communication.  Proxemics – use of space.


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