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Textbook: Chapter 1 Outline

by: Isabel Uribe

Textbook: Chapter 1 Outline 0780

Isabel Uribe
Intro to Cultural Anthropology
Dr. Yearwood

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About this Document

Outline of Chapter 1 of Richard H. Robbins' textbook "Cultural Anthropology: A Problem-Based Approach" (6th edition). Answers the basic questions of anthropology and culture.
Intro to Cultural Anthropology
Dr. Yearwood
One Day of Notes
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This 3 page One Day of Notes was uploaded by Isabel Uribe on Tuesday September 9, 2014. The One Day of Notes belongs to 0780 at University of Pittsburgh taught by a professor in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 88 views. For similar materials see Intro to Cultural Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at University of Pittsburgh.

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Date Created: 09/09/14
Cultural Anthropology CHAPTER 1 CULTURE AND MEANING 1 Problem 1 How can people begin to understand beliefs and behaviors that are different from their own 2 3 a b c Cultural Anthropology Look beyond what39s taken for granted find patterns of meaning in everyday objects Political Anatomy people control other s bodies in order for them to work with the necessary speed and efficiency Basic Questions to understanding others i Why human beings differ in their beliefs and behaviors ii Values how do we judge the beliefs and behaviors of others iii Is it possible to set aside your own beliefs in order to see the world through someone else s perspective iv How to interpret and describe the meanings that other find in experience v What does learning about others tell us about ourselves Question 11 Why do human beings differ in their beliefs and behaviors a b Members of a society share same perspectivevalues bc they share same culture so people of different cultures will have different perspectives i Attitude toward death fear vs celebration etc ii Attitude toward food eatnot eat dependent on human values not edibleinedible Culture to ascribe meanings of own creation to objects persons behaviors emotions events then act as though those meanings were real i Different realities different cultures Question 12 How do people judge the beliefs and behaviors of others a b 039 Ethnocentric Fallacy intellectually unsatisfactory the idea that our beliefs and behaviors are right and true but those of other peoples are wrong and misguided i CA s try to show that what behaviors traditions may appear bizarre are actually functionallogical in the context of a certain culture ii Intellectually intolerable if people adhere to this than they will reach an intellectualsocial dead end Relativist Fallacy morally unsatisfactory no behavior or belief can be judged to be odd or wrong simply because it is different from our own i a specific belief or behavior can be understood only in relation to the culture system of meanings in which it is embedded ii Moral problem fallacy the idea that it39s impossible to make moral judgments about the beliefs and behaviors of others Virginity Testing in Turkey seed and soil representation of reproduction process leads to implications that prove for their culture virginity testing is necessary Cannibalism of the Wari vs Medieval Europe quotconsuming grief Beth Conklin vs medicinal purposes i Wari obliterate memories bc separate living from dead try to forget ii Western bury body bc believe body is just a shell so can make dead look as they did in life for memory try to memorialize e Objectivity and Morality i Dilemma maintain quotmoral distance and remain quotobjective OR become actively involved ii Recently calling for a humanitarian anthro concerned with how people treat each other 1 Must serve as witnesses and reporters of human rights abuses and the suffering of the poor and the oppressed Human rights activists how can we ever criticize what may seem to be violations of basic human rights iv When or if it is proper to judge beliefspractices of others When to actively participate to change them v What our culture hides from us gt what it reveals 4 Question 13 Is it possible to see the world through the eyes of others 5 a b d 1 Anthropologists use surveys written documents historical accounts and questionnaires for research Cultural Anthropologists use the Ethnographic Method researchers immerse themselves in the lives they are studying so that through their experience they may better understand of that culture Anthropological Fieldwork researcher s culture and subject39s culture must meet anthro usually must set aside own culture to try gain new perspective of world i Participant observation observers actively participate in the lives of the people they are studying ii Like children learning from their elders Researchers learn from the awkwardembarrassing situations that their fieldwork may place them in i Cultures systems of meaning are reasonable if viewed or experienced from within the context of the culture Researches can also find themselves in very dangerous situations especially when violations of human rights come into play i May give insight to the threats of violence that their subjects experience By actively participating in the culture that she is studying an anthropologist can then take him or herself as a quotsubject of investigation Question 14 How can the meanings that others find in experience be interpreted and described a b Time western society work patterns designated by clock while other countries work patterns designated by actual task itself Cultural Text an object that an anthropologist wil read or study the fine details in order to make inferences about the culture in order to reveal the character of the object39s owner i Culture text of symbols like words gestures drawings natural objects etc anything that is important or meaningful ii Ex Balinese cockfight is all about status and the ranking of people within the society BUT quotthe cockfight is a story the Balinese tell themselves about themselves pg 24 iii A society39s culture must be viewed as a whole with all symbols and meanings taken into account in order to get a full understanding Ill 6 Question 15 What can learning about other peoples tell Americans about themselves a Studying other cultures helps us recognize the meanings and importance we ascribe to our own culture b Balinese Anthropologist studies American football it highlights the meanings that Americans associate with gender differences players vs cheerleaders i ii iii Also about the meanings that Americans ascribe to the abstract idea of success It only matters that someone wins doesn t matter who Football team compared to business corporation c Analysis of a quotHappy Meal I ii iii IV Meat at center of meal beef better for outdoor grill than pork Fat and sugar diet quotenvironmentally destructive esp of tropical forests and water systems Cultural Text consumption patterns create waste and environmental damage 7 Conclusions pg 35 a Answers to Basic Questions i ii iii iv Humans create their own realities in which they associate objects persons behaviors emotions events to meanings which then make up the society39s culture Ethnocentric Fallacy intellectual dilemma means intercultural understanding is impossible since everyone believes hisher own culture is the only correct way Relativistic Fallacy moral dilemma means we would have to accept any and all beliefs or behaviors if it makes sense within the context of the culture Ethnographic Method makes an anthropologist doing fieldwork into a quotmargina person meaning that that will always be an outsider but may have some idea of life as an insider View culture as a text whose symbols and meanings can be deciphered Examining these symbols can give us part of the overall view a society39s culture We can also apply this method to our own culture to study the meanings we ascribe to different things III


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