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Soc 102 Chapter 1 Reading Notes

by: Summer Reeder

Soc 102 Chapter 1 Reading Notes Soc 102

Summer Reeder

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These are my notes from the Chapter 1 reading assignment in the textbook.
GE: Intro Cultural Diversity
Prof. Muller
Class Notes
Anthropolgy, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Introduction to Sociology, Culture




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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Summer Reeder on Sunday August 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Soc 102 at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania taught by Prof. Muller in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see GE: Intro Cultural Diversity in Sociology & Anthropology at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.

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Date Created: 08/21/16
CHAPTER 1: WHAT IS ANTHROPOLOGY?  Anthropology: The study of the human species and its immediate ancestors UNDERSTANDING OURSELVES: Culture is an environmental force that affects our development as much as nutrition, heat, cold, and altitude We think about “who we are” as a collection of set characteristics and tendencies, but we are also determined by our culture We study anthropology because one culture, age group, or gender can’t tell us everything we need to know about what it means to be human Understanding human nature requires comparative, cross- cultural studies The Cross Cultural Perspective:  Mass media promotes the idea that essentially everyone is the same – “human nature”  Anthropology offers a broader view – a distinctive, comparative, cross-cultural perspective  Anthropology is a comparative study that extends to all societies, ancient and modern, simple and complex  Ethnography: Fieldwork in a particular culture  Ethnographic workers spend a year or more living with the local people and learning their way of life Human Adaptability:  Anthropology is the exploration of human diversity in time and space  Humans are among the world’s most adaptable animals  Creativity, adaptability, and flexibility are basic human attributes  Human diversity is the subject matter of anthropology  Holistic: Pertaining to the whole of the human condition, past, present, and future; biology, society, language, and culture  Society: refers to all organized life in groups; humans, plants, animals, etc…  Culture: Traditions and customs that govern behaviors and beliefs; distinctly human; transmitted through learning  Enculturation: the gradual acquisition of the characteristics of a culture or group by a person of another culture etc.…  A culture produces a degree of consistency in behavior and thought among people who live in a particular society  Culture depends on biological capacities such as: o The ability to learn o To think symbolically o To use language o Employ tools in adapting to environments Adaptation, Variation, and Change:  Adaptation: The process by which organisms cope with environmental stress o Ex: climate, topography, terrain  As human history unfolds, the social and cultural means of adaptation have become increasingly important  An example of cultural adaptation would be food production  Food Production: Plant cultivation and animal domestication o Ex: millions of years ago we relied on hunting and gathering; Now we have food production  Another cultural adaptation is Industrial Production o Ex: Today’s global economy and communications link all contemporary people – directly or indirectly – in the modern world system  An example of Biological Adaptation would be people who live in high altitude places have more efficient respiratory systems than those in lowland places General Anthropology: General Anthropology: the field of anthropology as a whole consisting of cultural, archaeological, biological, and linguistic anthropology th The origin of anthropology can be traced to the 19 century and the study of the Native Americans Cultural and Archaeological anthropologists study changes in social life and customs Biological anthropologists examine evolutionary changes in physical form Linguistic anthropologists may reconstruct the basics of ancient languages by studying modern ones The four subfields interact with one another through books, journals, and professional organizations  The most fundamental idea shared among anthropologists is that sound conclusions about “human nature” cannot be derived from studying a single population, nation, society, or cultural tradition Cultural Forces Shape Human Biology:  Anthropologists comparative biocultural perspective recognizes the cultural forces constantly mold human biology  Biocultural: combining biological and cultural approaches and perspectives  Cultural traditions promote certain activities and abilities, discourage others, and sets standards of physical well-being and attractiveness  Cultural standards of attractiveness and propriety influence participation and achievement in sports o Ex: Brazilian women don’t swim competitively because of the way swimming shapes the body  Culture guides our emotional and cognitive growth and helps determine personality The Four Sub-Disciplines of Anthropology: 1.Cultural Anthropology: Cultural Anthropology: the study of human society and culture; describes, analyzes, interprets, and explains social and cultural similarities and differences 2 Kinds of Activity: Ethnography: Fieldwork Ethnology: the theoretical comparative study of society and culture; compares cultures in time and space Ethnography provides an account of a particular community, society, or culture Ex: Ethnographers live in small communities and study local behavior, beliefs, customs, social life, economic activities, politics, and religion Ethnology examines, interprets, analyzes and compares the results of ethnography 2.Archaeological Anthropology: Archaeological Anthropology: “Archaeology” – reconstructs, describes, and interprets human behavior and cultural patterns through material remains; best known for the study of prehistory Artifacts: material items that humans have made, used, and modified such as tools, weapons, campsites, buildings, and garbage Archaeologists reconstruct patterns of production, trade, and consumption Many archaeologists examine Paleoecology Paleoecology: ecosystems of the past Archaeologists may infer cultural transformations Ex: The number of settlement levels (city, town, village, hamlet) in a society is a measure of social complexity The presence or absence of certain structures reveals differences in function between settlements Ex: ceremonial towns, burial sites, farming communities Archaeologists also reconstruct behavior patterns and lifestyles of the past by excavating Excavating: digging through a succession of levels at a particular site Excavation can document changes in economic, social, and political activities Archaeologists also study the cultures of historical and living peoples Ex: By studying garbage archaeologists learn what people did not what they think they did 3.Biological or Physical Anthropology:  Biological (Physical) Anthropology: The branch of anthropology that studies human biological diversity in time and space – hominid, evolution, human genetics, human biological adaptation; also includes primatology (behavior of monkeys and apes)  5 Special Interests of Biological Anthropology:  Human evolution as revealed by the fossil record (paleoanthropology)  Human Genetics  Human Growth and Development  Human Biological Plasticity (the body’s ability to change as it copes with stress such as heat, cold, altitude)  The Biology, Evolution, Behavior and Social Life of Monkeys, Apes and other Nonhuman Primates  These interests link physical anthropology to other fields: biology, zoology, geology, anatomy, physiology, medicine, and public health  Paleoanthropologists: scientists who study fossils  Paleoanthropologists often collaborate with archaeologists in reconstructing biological and cultural aspects of human evolution  Charles Darwin noticed that variety allows some individuals to do better at surviving and reproducing  Both genetics and the environment affect the variety in a society  Biological anthropology investigates the influence of the environment on the body as it grows and matures Environmental factors:  Nutrition  Altitude  Temperature  Disease  Standards of Attractiveness  Primatology: The biology, evolution, behavior, and social life of monkeys, apes, and other nonhuman primates  Primates: members of the zoological order that includes humans, apes, monkeys, and prosimians such as lemurs  Primatologists: study the biology, evolution, behavior, and social life often in primates’ natural environments  May shed light on early human behavior and nature 4.Linguistic Anthropology: We don’t know exactly when language came about, but we know that well developed grammatically complex languages have existed for thousands of years Linguistic Anthropology: studies language in its social and cultural context across space and over time Linguistic Anthropologists:  Make inferences about universal features of language  Reconstruct ancient languages  Study linguistic differences  Historical linguistics considers variations in time such as the changes in sounds, grammar, and vocab between Middle English and Modern English  Sociolinguistics: study the relationships between social and linguistic variations; study of language in its social context  Ex: regional dialects/accents, class/gender, bilingualism of ethnic groups Anthropology and Other Academic Fields:  Anthropology is linked to other academic fields o Fossils are dates using physics, chemistry, and geology o Plant and animal remains are typically found with artifacts so anthropologists collaborate with botanists, zoologists, and paleontologists  Anthropology is a science  Science: a systematic field of study or body of knowledge that aims through experiment, observation, and deduction to produce reliable explanations of phenomena with reference to the material and physical world  Humanistic Science: discovering, describing, understanding, and explaining similarities and differences in time and space among humans and our ancestors  Anthropology has strong links to the humanities  Humanities: English, Comparative Literature, Classics, Folklore, Philosophy, and the Arts  One might argue that Anthropology is among the most humanistic of all academic fields because of its fundamental respect for human diversity  Humanism: refers to respect for human diversity and welfare Applied Anthropology:  Applied Anthropology: The application of anthropological data, perspectives, and theory, and methods to identify, asses, and solve contemporary social problems o Ex: public health; family planning; business; economic development; cultural resource management  Applied anthropology encompasses any use of the knowledge and/or techniques of the four sub-divisions to identify, asses, and solve practical problems  Applied Anthropology has many applications o Ex: Applied medical anthropologist consider both the sociocultural and the biological contexts and implications of disease and illness  Applied Anthropology includes cultural resource management, contrast archaeology, public education, and historic preservation o Ex: cultural resource management: the branch of applied archaeology aimed at preserving sites threatened by dams, highways, and other projects


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