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CLEMSON / Anthropology / ANTH 2010 / What does pottery tell us about past societies?

What does pottery tell us about past societies?

What does pottery tell us about past societies?

Description

School: Clemson University
Department: Anthropology
Course: Introduction to Anthropology
Term: Fall 2015
Tags: Anthropology
Cost: 50
Name: Test 2 Material
Description: This material covers what will be on test 2 of Anthropology 2010 with John Coggeshall.
Uploaded: 03/22/2016
36 Pages 123 Views 3 Unlocks
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INTRODUCTION TO ARCHAEOLOGY 


What does pottery tell us about past societies?



A. Introduction:

a. Most popular subfield

B. Archaeological Methods.

a. Have a problem to investigate

b. Chose a site that would yield an answer

c. Excavation

i. Find evidence of structures of buildings, homes, etc. 1. Bricks, stones, clay

ii. Features – human modifications to the landscape 1. Example: storage pit, post holes (indicates  

where posts once were)

2. Pollen samples show what plants were there

iii. Document location of all their findings (position in  site, horizontal relation, as well as depth) using  

notes, photographs, diagrams, etc.  

d. Try to figure out what their findings mean - Analysis i. Experts in ceramics and pottery can determine shape of thing based on only a fraction of it  the purpose  of this is to determine its use which can help us  


What did early humans use stone tools for?



understand the culture

ii. Determine if things were mixed with the clay  

“tempering”

iii. Materials from which pots were made can tell us a lot about human behavior

iv. Decorations on pots tells us something about cultural period and religious ideas

v. Determine where the clay came from

1. Trade patterns

2. Tells us something about economics

vi. Stone and metal tools can tell us the use of that  place

1. Understand stone and metal tools using the  same questions as clay pots

2. Economics, culture, uses, religions, location,  etc.

vii. Floral and faunal remains

1. Animals and plants that lived in the area

2. Things that were being consumed at that place 3. Social inequality


What is social information sources?



Don't forget about the age old question of What are culture specific disorders?

a. Type of meat consumed (low class vs.  

upper class diets)

4. Process of domestication  

a. Further back in time we go, plants and  

animals look different

i. Corn used to be small

ii. Animals get more robust as time  

goes on

viii. Human burials

1. Tell us about the people who live at that site 2. Ages of people who died (life expectancy) 3. Nutritional qualities

4. Injuries, wounds, weapons (indication of  warfare)

5. Population size and depth

6. Social inequality (way people are buried) 7. Religious ideas (what are people buried with) 8. Ethnic identities

9. Indicative of a lot of social information

ix. Features and structures

1. Size of structure – social inequality

2. Number of houses represents population

3. Relationship of one site to other sites shows  

relationships between places

x. Goal of archaeology

1. Reconstruct human behaviors to ultimately  

reconstruct the culture that shaped those  

behaviors We also discuss several other topics like What is the opportunity cost of one unit of good y?

2. How did people in the past live?  

e. Presenting the evidence to the public

i. Analysis is worthless unless you publish the results of your research

1. Other people can examine your data so they  

can test your hypothesis and conclusions

2. Each archaeological report is a step or page  

the entire history of the world

3. Publish everything they find, don’t leave any  

parts out

a. Site maps

b. Pictures

c.Information about plants and animals

d. Human skeletons

ii. Save artifacts found in a store house because at  some point in the future, someone will challenge  Don't forget about the age old question of Who translated the “a little night music,”?

your findings and compare it to other findings

iii. Native Americans question archaeologists why they  excavate their sites and not regular American ones

1. Not fair

2. Dig up native Americans and display them in  

museums  

C. Archaeological Ethics.

a. Archaeological sites on state property belong to the state

b. Archaeological sites on federal property are owned by the  federal government (national parks, etc.)

c. Archaeological sites on native American reservations are  subject to tribal and federal law

d. When archaeologists dig, they destroy a culture’s heritage   affects mostly Native Americans, put their ancestors in  museums

i. How is that culturally relative?

ii. Rebuttal: archaeologists need the data so scientists  can examine in the future

e. NAGPRA – congress legislation, when we find Native  American remains, they must be returned to the nearest  living descendants

i. Can only be returned to federally recognized tribes,  some tribes are still around but not federally  

recognized

ii. Native American remains are no longer in museums iii. Archaeologists barter with the native Americans so  that they directly take data and give the results to  

the scientists

1. Archaeologists assure that the remains are  If you want to learn more check out What are the three main concepts with evolution?

stored peacefully and securely  

iv. Overall improved dialogue between native Americans and archaeologists  

ORIGINS OF FOOD PRODUCTION 

A. Introduction:

a. Why did people develop domestication?

i. Easier lifestyle?

B. Mesolithic  

a. 12,000 years ago: upper-Paleolithic

i. Gradual warming trend

1. Food resources multiply exponentially

2. Wild plants and animals for humans to  

gather/hunt

3. So abundant, people settle in one place for  longer periods of time

a. Called sedentism

4. People are aware of what it takes to grow food 5. Human population increasing – why? We also discuss several other topics like Who is matthew arnold?

a. Human beings are prolific at reproducing b. Children are an economic asset for  

hunter-gatherers If you want to learn more check out Is ultraviolet radiation lower in energy than visible light?

c.Women nurse for shorter periods of time i. Ovulate more

d. Life expectancy increases

e. Hunting and gathering is a great way to  make a living

f. As populations increase, the carrying  

capacity is reached and the environment  

suffers (cannot support all the people)

g. Population stays stable but the  

environment may degrade too much on  

its own

h. Choices: starve to death or move to  

someplace better or protect the wild  

resources that you already have

i. Dig irrigation

ii. Save seeds

iii. Crossbreed

iv. Pull up weeds

v. Capture baby animals

i. Takes time, effort, labor, and energy

ii. Domestication may have been forced upon humans  for them to survive or they made the choice on their  own

iii. More effort put in  more dependent humans become and eventually more dependent the plants and  

animals become because of the humans

iv. Domestication is not easier, its just necessary to  survive

C. Neolithic

a. 10,000 years ago, some people are totally dependent on  domesticated plants and animals

b. Population continues to increase

c. Have food stored year round

i. Means that there are people have time to do other  things

1. Pottery, metal workers, travellers, astronomers,

leaders responsible for group decisions,  

2. Leaders gains access to elite things that other  

people cant have, better quality of food

3. Nutritional quality varies by class

d. Population increase  sanitation issues  diseases spread  infant mortality increases  some diseases go from animals to humans  quality of life declines  trade increases  villages struggle with each other over resources

e. Elites benefit the most from domestication

D. Consequences of Domestication:

a. People produce a surplus

i. Controlled by those in power

ii. Feeds specialists who don’t have to be farmers

iii. Population becomes more specialized

E. Centers of Domestication:

a. South of Sahara desert (Saheel)  first definitive Neolithic  place (11k years ago)

i. Cattle domestication

b. Near east – (10k years ago)

i. Goat, sheep, cattle

ii. Wild plants are still there

iii. Domesticated descendants of oat, wheat, barley, etc. c. Andes Mountains (10k years ago)

i. Environmental crisis  population increase  

ii. Include llama, guinea pig, gourds, & potatoes

d. Central America

i. Aztecs

ii. Peppers, corn (most amazing botanical creation),  beans, squash

e. Southeast/ East Asia

i. Chickens, rice, millet

f. West Africa (5k years ago)

i. Rice, millet, grain called “sorghum”  

F. Development of States:

a. Some places increasing Neolithic villages pass another  threshold around 6k years ago

i. Transitions from complex villages to state level  

societies

1. Control territory

2. Urban centers

3. Thousands of people

4. One leader

b. What does it take to build a city? What does it take to  become a leader?

i. Population increase  increasing distance between  leaders and followers  bureaucracy develops 

central location with outlying communities  elites  

have access to things commoners don’t  physically  display things to their followers

1. Followers expect something in return from their

leaders

2. Leaders face a challenge

a. Followers must be satisfied and leaders  

must satisfy them

b. Voluntary compliance vs. involuntary  

compliance

i. Voluntary

1. You get food in exchange for  

digging irrigation ditches

ii. Involuntary

1. If you refuse to dig the ditch,  

you will starve to death

ii. How do you measure social inequality?

NORTH AMERICAN PREHISTORY 

A. Introduction:

a. Opens around 30 – 45 thousand years ago

b. Ocean levels were lower

c. Land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska

B. Paleo-Indian Period.

a. Hunter and gatherers

b. Moving from place to place

c. Not significantly altering the landscape

i. No permanent structures

ii. Because of this, its hard to find paleo-indian sites

iii. Downside

1. Typically would follow coastline but since the  

ocean levels were lower, the sites are now  

underwater  

d. Gather in large groups and hunt animals

i. Gather large herds of mammals and run them off  cliffs

ii. People would then process these animals

iii. Leads to depopulation of species

e. Camp sites

i. Collected local resources and moved on

ii. Topper Site, South Carolina

1. Quarry site (processing of local stone)

2. Older than 40 thousand years

f. Lifestyle

i. Compared to modern day hunter gatherers

ii. No evidence of social inequality

iii. Gather together in large groups in the summer and  scatter in the winter

C. Archaic Period.  

a. Around 10 thousand years ago

b. Climate begins to warm up

c. Ice sheets retreat northward

d. Plants and animals become much more abundant e. Downside:

i. Large bodied mammals adapted to the ice age  

disappear

ii. Could be because of hunters as well though

f. Sedentism increases (post holes, storage pits, etc.) i. Wild food resources increases

ii. Archeologists see a cultural transformation: Archaic  Period

g. Different from paleo-indian

i. Stay in one place for longer periods of time

ii. Covers all of north and south America

h. Problems

i. Population increase

ii. Social inequality increases

iii. 1000 BC – human population face a dilemma 1. Too many people for everyone to be fed using  wild resources

i. Solution

i. Occurs independently in many places across the  Americas

ii. American South West

1. Four corners region, northern Mexico  

2. How do we feed a growing population?

3. Domestication of beans and squash

4. Cultures

a. Pueblo

i. Rises after domestication

ii. Located still today in northern  

Arizona and New Mexico

iii. Reaches its peak around 1000 AD

iv. People totally dependent on  

domesticated foods

v. Chaco Canyon

1. Epitome of pueblo culture

2. Major population center  

a. Symbolically important

3. Complex society but not  

considered a state level  

society

4. Mini cities and apartment  

style complexes

a. Massive public spaces

5. Buildings aligned with outer  

space

6. No direct evidence of social  

inequality

7. Roads going out of Chaco

8. Evidence of trade from 100s  

of miles away

a. Copper, parrots, etc.

9. Lacked bounds that required  

people to stay in one place

10. As things declined,  

people just got up and left

11. 1200 AD: invasion of  

new people – decline of  

Pueblo culture

12. Relocate to the Rio  

Grande

iii. Eastern third of the United States

1. East of the Mississippi

2. Eastern Archaic

3. Resources were very abundant

4. Population increases

5. Social Inequality increases

6. Humans began to face the same crisis

7. Answer already came from Mexico

a. Crop domestication

8. Woodland Period

a. Dependent on domestication

b. Blossoms in southern Ohio and spreads  through the east

c.200 AD – peak

d. Villages where the elites live (not a huge  amount of social inequality) are  

supported by the outlying villages

i. Find enclosures where higher  

status people were buried

1. Examples of monumental  

architecture

e. 600 AD – climate cools and there’s not  enough food available; social unrest and  warfare

i. growing season shortens for  

consecutive years

ii. disease breaks out

iii. war

iv. followers begin to leave and the  

leaders are no longer supported

v. flowering of new cultural period  

just east of Saint Louis 

f. Mississippian Period

i. Southeastern USA

ii. No difference in genetics between  Woodland and Mississippian  

periods

iii. Cultural Differences

1. Now a total dependence on  corn

2. Massive population centers 3. New architectural style

4. New artistic style – reflects  brand new way of thinking  

about the world

a. Reflect significance of  

birds and snakes

5. Peak at 1100 AD

6. Largest center is Cahokia

a. Very complex society

b. Huge social inequality

c. Not a state level  

society

d. Why not?

i. Did not have any  

bounds to keep  

people from  

leaving

e. Power dims

iv. 1300 AD cities start to have  political centers

1. Cahokia diminishes

2. New centers begin to pop up  more towards the south

3. Etowah  north Georgia,  

draws power from Cahokia

4. Persists through European  arrival until about 1650 when

it sort of dies down

g. Cherokee carry on Mississippian culture  into present day

iv. Mesoamerica

1. Cultures develop

2. Mayans develop city states

3. Evolution of empire type societies

4. Aztecs last and baddest of all the empires in all of Mesoamerica

a. Started as nomadic people wondering  

Northern Mexico deserts

b. Had a vision and starting building a city

i. Eagle holding a snake perched on a

cactus

c.City was called Tenochtitlan

i. The largest city in the world (bigger

than Rome)

ii. 200,000 people

iii. Stretched all over the continent –  

controlling millions of people

iv. Extremely powerful emperor, high  

ranking nobility, lesser ranking  

nobility, commoners

v. Artisans, merchants, farmers,  

priests, warrior class

vi. At the heart of the city – two  

temples for the God of Rain and the

God of War

vii. Did not take war lightly

1. We stole might from the  

Gods; Gods were upset; so  

there were times that human

sacrifices needed to be made

(sometimes 1000s of people  

at once)

viii. Domestication

1. Ate dogs, ate the human  

sacrifices

ix. Aztecs were bloody af

1. Take obsidian blade and slice  through the breast bone, take

out the heart, burn it, and roll

it down the pyramid

x. 1519 – Cortez lands on coast of  Mexico

1. Journeys inland and discovers Tenochtitlan

2. Kidnapped Aztec emperor  

and the Aztec chased them  

out of Mexico

3. A few years later, Spanish  

came back and brought  

disease which ended up  

devastating the Aztecs

4. Remaining Aztecs continued  living in Central Mexico after  

the Spanish conquest

5. Tenochtitlan was ruined so  

Mexico city was built right on  

top of it

xi. Aztecs spoke Nahuatl which is still  spoken today

d. Mexican national flag has that Aztec  

image

CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY 

A. Introduction:

a. Interested in what we share as human beings

b. Study present day societies

c. Why do differences exist and what do we still have in  common

d. Questions

i. How do people extract food from their environment? 1. Mode of production

2. Different strategies

3. Agriculture vs. Foraging (hunting and  

gathering)

ii. Relationship between economic system and culture 1. Forms of distribution

iii. Marriage and family systems

1. Cultural rules associated

2. How to define family

3. Obligations of being a family member

iv. Belief systems

1. Everyone believes in something beyond  

themselves

v. How do people come to learn the rules they’re  

supposed to follow?

B. Concept of Culture:

a. Culture: system of rules that we carry in our heads that tell us how to think and act in the world

b. Mental rules and outward expression of those rules

c. As people act, they change their environments –  consequences of human behavior

d. How to anthropologists study culture

i. Interviews

ii. Observing everyday things

1. See outcomes of behavior

iii. Consequences of human behavior

1. Observe what and how people leave things  behind

e. Aspects of Culture

i. Culture is learned behavior

1. We learn it as we grow up in our society

2. Can be observed

3. Primarily passed on through language

a. Language is a symbol system

b. Context of how words are used affects  

their meaning

i. Ex. Bread and wine in Christianity

c.We have to learn not only the meaning of  

words but also how the context changes  

the meaning (this is an added level of  

complexity)

4. Alternate theory: human behavioral ecology  a. Much of what we do as human beings is  

biologically programmed

b. No denying that humans are animals –  

has to be some kind of biological basis  

for human culture

i. But how much is learned and how  

much is instinctive

c.As time went on, our brains got bigger  

meaning that we had a larger capacity  

for a large range of possibilities  

ii. Culture is shared by members of a society 1. Rules for the game of life

2. Anthropologists are not interested in individual  differences, they look at culture is a share  

behavior

a. What do most people do most of the time iii. We have an ideal pattern of behavior but we don’t  always follow the rules

1. Culture exists on an ideal continuum

2. Interview people for the rules and then watch  real people in real time and space and notice  that most people follow the rules but there are  oddities

a. Why is there variation?

3. Allows us to recognize that there are individual  behaviors

4. Regional, gender, ethnic, etc. differences exist  as well

iv. Culture is integrated

1. Parts of culture fit together and support each  other

v. Cultures change through time

1. How do cultures change?

a. Response to…

i. Environmental change

ii. Other groups challenge them

iii. Internal variations

b. Ex: 1700s native Americans lived in the  

great plains and were almost exclusively  

woodland farmers until the introduction  

of the horse – made life easier for  

hunting so they mostly gave up farming  

and became hunters and gatherers –  

economically valuable – changed social  

interaction and value system

2. Cultural change is unpredictable

MODES OF PRODUCTION 

A. Introduction:

a. Mechanisms used to extract food from the environment b. Cultures are integrated so the mode of production  influences other parts of society as well

c. Tied with family systems generally

d. Human adaptability – given the same environment,  cultures don’t always look exactly alike

i. Different historical backgrounds

ii. Correlation but not causation

1. Pueblo vs. Navajo

a. Both live in the southwest  

b. Same environment

c.They have same modes of production but  

very different cultures

B. Foraging or Hunting/Gathering (societal examples) a. We have been foragers for millions of years

b. Live off the land

c. Hunt large and small animals, gather wild plants, fish d. Foragers are NOT living on the edge of society

e. Work the least amount of time and collect more than  enough food to support them

f. Support more people using less energy

g. Most efficient mode of production (least amount of energy  per capita)

h. Generally, foragers live together in groups called bands i. Share everything in their group

ii. Related to other bands nearby (economically and  martially)

iii. Around 50 people that share these resources  i. Assumptions (erase forever from your mind) i. Males go out and hunt and provide for the females 1. Women gather and hunt as well with their  

baskets and babies

2. Often times male hunting is not successful  

which makes them very dependent on women

ii. Humans are inherently selfish

1. Foragers are primarily nomadic  

2. Don’t own a lot of stuff, everything is shared 3. Foragers cant afford to be selfish

a. Doesn’t do you any good as foragers

iii. Human beings are naturally violent against their  neighbors

1. No one controls territory

2. No reason to fight, you need them in case of  shortages

3. Foragers rely on cooperation and mutual  

interdependency

iv. Human beings need leaders and followers

1. Group decisions are made by everybody in the  group

a. Males, females, everyone

2. Males are not leaders more than women are

3. Mutual interdependency of genders

a. Women provide vast bulk of calories

4. Women have an equal voice in everything

5. Where did gender inequality come from?

j. This kind of lifestyle is how human beings have been for  hundreds of thousands of years – change from this is  relatively recent

k. All of these foraging groups live at the margins of  ecological sustenance  

i. Large scale societies push these smaller ones,  

decreasing their presence

l. Cultural Examples

i. NW Coast

ii. Bambuti

iii. Ju/hoans:/!Kung/San

iv. Australian Aborigines

v. Iñuit  

C. Horticulture (societal examples)

a. The use of domesticated plants and animals but using less  amount of energy than agriculture; more energy intensive  than hunting and gathering

b. Twice as effective in tropical rainforest areas than  agriculture

c. How it works

i. Groups select patch of forest, cut into some trees,  slash away at the undergrowth and burning it, this  

fertilizes the soil and then seeds are planted in that  spot

d. Strategies

i. Don’t worry about clearing the fields completely,  leave the material where it is, fields don’t look like  agriculture fields

ii. Several plants in one area

iii. Don’t worry about pulling out rocks, weeds, etc. (less energy intensive than agriculture)

e. Two things must remain constant: population should  remain stable and there must be enough forest to use a  new site while the other recovers for horticulture to be  effective

f. Rainforest soil is not fertile

g. Horticulturalists collect wild materials from the rainforest:  animals, fish, fruits, nuts

h. Fish are a major source of protein for these societies i. Supplement diets using domesticated animals  i. The domesticated animals are usually low energy:  doesn’t take much to take care of them (pigs,  

chickens, dogs)

j. Maximize productivity by trading products acquired with  hunter gatherers

i. Bantu and Bambuti

k. Through trade, humans can have better chances at  survival because more materials and possibilities are  available

l. All horticulturalists usually live in sedentary villages i. Several hundred people

ii. Some distance between leaders and followers 1. More people, more social inequality

2. Not considered significant

m. Successful adaptation for societies for thousands of years n. Amazon rainforest

i. Had a much denser human population a few hundred years ago

o. Why are so many people in the third world short of food i. People who practiced horticulture are transformed  into civilized farmers which declines their quality of  life but increases ours

p. Cultural Examples

i. Bantu

1. Central Africa

ii. Yanomami

1. Amazon Rainforest

iii. Maya

1. Central American rainforests

iv. Pueblo

1. Desert South West USA

D. Pastoralism (societal examples)

a. Uses domesticated plants but focuses on domesticated  animals

b. Human adaptation to environments that would otherwise  be unusable to farmers

c. Culture can overcome biological limitations

d. Because so much focus on animals, animals are used for  everything

i. Meat

ii. Milk, cheese

iii. Hides, wool, hair

iv. Sign of wealth (more animals more wealthy you are) v. Beast of burden (transportation)

vi. Animal dung burned for fuel

e. Social Organization

i. Highly mobile

1. Benefits

a. Moving herds periodically avoids conflict,  

disease

b. Can escape easily from enemies

c.Don’t always have to trade with farming  

communities

i. Invade, take what you want,  

retreat/escape

1. Don’t obey national  

boundaries

ii. They are now forced to settle down

1. Disease breaks out, animals  

overgraze, don’t have  

freedom to wonder

2. Downsides

a. Everything you own must be portable

b. Cant have a sedentary location

3. Live in camps (semi-temporary)

ii. See some social inequality

1. Leaders and followers

2. Distribution of wealth

iii. Trade with farming communities

f. Cultural Examples

i. Navajo

1. Desert South West USA

2. Sheep

ii. Bedouin

1. Middle east

2. Camels

iii. Sa’ami

1. Northern Scandinavia

2. Reindeer

3. Affected by Chernobyl  

iv. Nuer

1. South Sudan, south of Sahara

2. Cattle

v. Mongols

1. Central Asia

2. Horses

E. Agriculture (societal examples)

a. Different levels of agricultural (industrial vs. small farms) –  we are talking about industrial here, the one that feeds us b. Involves domesticated plants and animals

c. Uses much more energy per capita than horticulture – main difference between the two

i. Genetically modify seeds, create fertilizer, fertilize  fields after they are ready, pesticides, maintain  

farms, harvest foods, ship food somewhere, store it,  modify it, check it, market it

ii. One third of this energy is totally wasted – of all  modes of production, agriculture is the least  

sustainable

d. Characterized by massive populations, massive urban  centers, highly stratified society, lots of social inequality,  highly specialized tasks

e. How is it possible that agriculture is so unsustainable yet  still support us?

i. Horticulture – 1 calorie of energy yields 300 calories  of food

ii. Agriculture – 20 calories of energy yields 1 calorie of  food

iii. 20% of worlds population lives in the developed  world

iv. This 20% uses 86% of the worlds resources

v. USA is 5% of worlds population, we use 22% of all  the world’s resources

vi. Consequences of inequality

1. Imagine how the other parts of the world view  

us

vii. If we evenly distribute we don’t necessarily have to  degrade our quality of life

ECONOMIC ANTHROPOLOGY 

A. Introduction:

a. Area of cultural anthropology that studies production,  consumption, and distribution of goods and services in all  cultures

b. Economics is a part of culture tied to modes of production,  political, and family systems

c. Influence almost all parts of culture (influence does not  mean cause)

d. Are economic concepts universal or bounded?

B. Some Basic Economic Concepts

a. Supply and demand

i. Economists assume there is a scarcity of high value  stuff and that we always want more than we have

ii. Assumptions:

1. There is a limited good of high value stuff

2. People always want more than they have (not a

human universal)

a. Common concept in American culture  however

b. Not found in every human society

c.Foragers expect environment to provide  all

d. Rather a consequence of cultural values 3. Are these cross-cultural?

a. Betsileo (horticultural society in  

Madagascar)

i. Produce everything they need

ii. Economically independent

iii. Don’t want anything they don’t  

already have

iv. Knew about western technology  

but didn’t want it

v. Dilemma

1. How do you sell a product to  

people who don’t want it?

a. Bombard with  

advertisements

b. Destroy traditional way

of life and absorb them  

into system

c. Absorb them into a  

nation state  make  

them pay taxes by  

forcing them to work

2. Transform economically  

independent culture to a  

dependent one

3. Who benefits?

a. Modern society/western

world benefits (we get  

to maintain our  

standard of living)

b. Indigenous people’s  

quality of life declines

4. Results in long term impact

b. Maximization  

i. From our perspective means you invest a certain  amount of time and then expect to maximize  

outcome

ii. Invest in stock market expecting a return

iii. Invest money and expect to get more back

iv. Northwest native people were very interested in  getting ahead of their neighbors

1. Host a potlatch – a village would spend months making canoes, sewing baskets, saving food  

and then have a celebration giving away as  

much stuff as possible to neighbors or other  

people invited  in the long run you end up  

with less stuff than you started with

a. Linked groups and villages together in a  

network of mutual interdependency  

2. What can be maximized without yielding stuff? a. By giving away goods, you get prestige

i. Recipients appear dependent on  

you  

ii. Makes them embarrassed

b. Marking social climbing

c.Eventually, the ahead village needs stuff  

so they attend a potlatch

3. Selfishness and individuality does do much  

good

4. Canadians and Americans saw these people as  

children who didn’t understand the value of  

their stuff – they just give it away

a. We outlawed the potlatch in attempt to  

help them understand the value of their  

goods

b. Potlatch went underground but became  

legal again a few decades ago  

v. What can we learn?

1. Human are more than just consumers; we have

other cultural factors that affect decisions that  

we make

2. Plug in concepts in respective cultural context  

to see how it makes sense for that society

3. Wants and needs (economic laws) are heavily  

affected by culture and differ globally

4. Understand emic perspective of why people do  

things in order to be a good anthropologist

5. Use fieldwork to understand as well

GENDER, MARRIAGE, AND KINSHIP 

A. Introduction:

a. Every human society recognizes the need to reproduce b. Have cultural rules defining family roles (social obligations  of different family members)

i. One part of social rules of defining kinship

c. Cautions to keep in mind:

i. Culture varies from real to ideal

1. Ideal rules are don’t always match actual  

behavior

ii. Culture are integrated

1. Gender, marriage, and family connect to other  

parts of culture

2. Hopi people (Pueblo)

a. Land is owned by family groups not  

individuals

b. Family groups are defined by women not  

men (pass through the mother’s line) 

women own land and pass on the land

c.Gender relationships are way different  

here than when women don’t own the  

means of production

iii. Culture is more than just biological

1. Interested in trying to figure out biological vs.  

learned behavior

2. Biological father vs. adult male who raises the  

child

a. In some cultures biological father is  

different than social father

3. When we take a cross cultural approach we see

how culturally varied humans really are

iv. Be culturally relative

1. Culture fits in with other parts

2. Don’t pass value judgments

B. Concept of Gender:  

a. Difference between sex and gender

i. Sex: biological

ii. Gender: cultural

1. We see gender as one or the other

2. But we are now aware of the fact that the XX  and XY chromosomal differences are not black  and white

3. Sometimes people are born with ambiguous  genitalia

4. Get rid of dichotomous roles: genders actually  are a continuum/spectrum; many possibilities  

(transgender)

a. American culture wrestles with the  

concept of transgender people

i. In between category exists in many

other cultures around the world

ii. Berdache- native American term

1. Embodiment of both genders  

in one body

2. Dress as opposite gender and

do opposite activities

3. No social stigma attached to  

this  nobody really cared, it  

was no big deal

4. They were seen as above  

normal, considered to be  

closer in touch with the  

supernatural, became  

religious leaders sometimes  

because of this status

5. Additional gender category is no the same as  homosexuality

b. Homosexuality appears in every culture around the world i. About 60% of cultures accept homosexuality as  acceptable

C. Gender Roles:

a. Every human society recognizes that there are tasks that  need to be done and so dividing people by gender is a  common social attribute

b. Males to certain tasks while females do others

c. Male tasks and female tasks differ so much from culture to  culture

i. Hard to distinguish between female activity and male activity

d. Culture overrides biology

i. Males have more muscle mass, assume they do more physical tasks

ii. Women give birth and burse babies

iii. Just because women give birth and nurse how does  that affect what women do compared to males

iv. Americans have deep seeded assumptions that  because males are stronger and women give birth;  those biological facts determine roles

1. Women’s economical place is in the home

2. Men’s economical place is in the workplace

v. Animal females stay in nest and protect young while  males get food (generally)

1. Exceptions

a. Female baboons gather food with their  

babies side by side with the males  

gathering

b. Similar with hunter gatherer societies

i. Women provide bulk of calories

vi. Think about how dangerous that assumption become 1. Easier to equate gender to role/status

vii. Where does this assumption come from?

1. Is it based on biology?

a. Primate societies: females provide for  

themselves and their children, not  

dependent on males

b. Upper Paleolithic societies women helped

hunt

c.Hunter-Gatherers: women provide for  

themselves

viii. What does it matter that some societies believe that  the woman’s place is in the home?

1. Gender roles in foraging societies

a. Males hunt bigger game but women help  

hunt too

b. Males help gather  

c.Mutual interdependency between genders

d. Women know how to make weapons and  

tools

e. Child care is shared  

f. Women have a great deal of control over  

political, economic, and sexual decisions

i. Rape is not a natural part of society

g. Unthinkable for someone to control  

someone else

e. Very few tasks are exclusively male or female f. As societies increase in size, women’s’ roles become more  rigid and the kinds of things they do become less and less  valuable

i. As this happens, there develops an ideology that  justifies that inequality

g. Consequences

i. Value system says that the inequality is perfectly  normal and can be cultural or religious

ii. If its biological, there is no need to worry because it  is a natural thing and there’s nothing we can do  

about it

iii. Its not biological however because this inequality is  entirely cultural  doesn’t happen across all human  societies

iv. Power of these stereotypes can cause people to think its okay to degrade/demean women for biological  

reasons

v. Because gender inequality is not universal, we can  change this because there are societies that exist  

where gender inequalities aren’t a thing

vi. Gender and sexual inequality are learned behaviors vii. As societies increase in size:

1. Women’s roles become more domestic and less

valued

2. As they lose economic control they lose social  

control as well

3. Warfare; male activity needed more

4. Their control over their own sexuality declines

D. Human Sexuality

a. Reproduction is a basic biological fact

b. Cultural rule that overly reproduction- in every human  society human beings recognize the necessity of males and females to reproduce

c. Varying factor: social rules about how your supposed to  feel emotionally about this basic biological activity

d. Not usually publically discussed: harder to observe so we  don’t know that much about it

e. Human sexual behavior varies tremendously from culture  to culture

i. Some are open and some are restrictive

ii. Vast majority permit some type of non marital sexual activity

iii. Cautions

1. More liberty to males  

2. “Window of opportunity”  

3. Most sexual activity is pre-marital instead of  post marital  

iv. Mangaia

1. Allows pre-marital sex and is very liberal about  sexual activity

2. As people reach puberty, they gather together  and pair up, engage in sexual activity, do this  

every night and maybe switch partners

3. Eventually as women reach marriage age they  decide who they feel most emotionally close to  and then sexual activity come to an end

4. Assumption that in Mangaia sexual activity  

leads to the emotional bond of falling in love

5. America: falling in love precedes sex

6. Self esteem: females select male partners and  it is males responsibility to satisfy females  

before themselves

7. Young females feel very comfortable with their  bodies and abilities

8. Social Repercussions

a. STDs: don’t really exist in Mangaia until  

Europeans came

b. Puberty arises at different times in  

different cultures

c.Social paternity is different than biological  fatherhood

v. Generally, westerns engage in sex later than other  societies, with less partners, with less frequency, and cease earlier than other societies

vi. Correlation between sex and gender roles vii. Sex becomes a mechanism of control

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