ANT 201 chapter 1-8 Essay

the study of the full scope of human diversity and the application of that knowledge to help people of different backgrounds better understand one another
– look at more non-western cultures and marginalized groups- covers the whole world and not constrained by geographical boundaries
the belief that ones culture or way of life is normal and natural; using ones own culture to evaluate and judge the practices and ideals of others
– your culture superior above others
ex. France – banned religious clothing
ethnographic fieldwork
primary research strategy in cultural anthropology involving living with a community of people over an extended period to better understand their lives
– can change the anthropologists and site
– ex. connects a culture with the rest of humanity from first hand experience
and understand marginalized communities
– “walk in their shoes”
ex. Nancy Hughes field work on lives of women in shantytown, Brazil – women let their sick children die (ill fated for life/ better off dead)- seen as an angel – field work allowed her to understand patterns of nurturing and can change the anthropologist
four-field approach
use of these 4 disciplines to study humanity:
1. physical/biological anthropology
– studies evolution and human body
– primatology, paleoanthropology, and forensic anthropology
2. archeology
-artifacts, garbology
3. linguistic anthropology
-descriptive, historic, and socio linguistics
4. cultural anthropology
-participant observation, ethnography, ethnology
looking at the whole society- biology, language, culture, history/archaeology
– distinguished European from American anthropology
physical anthropology
study of human from a biological perspective- focused on human evolution
– ex. humans share 97.5% of our DNA with gorillas and 98.7% with chimpanzees
– ex. skin color research traced back to UV light intensity in different parts of the world
study of the history of human evolution through the fossil record
– specialization of physical anthropology
– show us cultural adaptation over time
study of primates and how they compare to human behavior and evolution
– specialization of physical anthropology
the investigation of the human past by means of excavating and analyzing artifacts
prehistoric archaeology
Field that uses excavation of sites and analysis of material remains to investigate cultures that existed before the development of writing
– ex. camp sites, burial grounds, garbage
historic archaeology
explores recent past through an examination of physical remains and artifacts as well as written and oral records
– ex. the UCLA clutter culture project – analyze what people have in their homes as a way to see why people buy an extensive amount of toys for their children and how that reflects american behavior (psychological/ social meaning to possessions)
-ex. garbologist – search garbage to learn about contemporary culture
linguistic anthropology
the study of the human language in the past and present
descriptive linguistics
focused on describing/ analyzing how languages work and cataloguing language diversity
historic linguistics
how language changes over time within a culture and how languages change across cultures
relating social and cultural aspects to language- ex. Body language, accents
cultural anthropology
the study of peoples communities, behaviors, beliefs, and institutions including how people make a meaning as they live, work, and play together
– develop patterns, theories, trends
– how local interact with global forces
participant observation
Basic fieldwork method in cultural anthropology that involves living in a culture for a long period of time while gathering data
– participating and observing daily life of the people being studied
– see the world through their eyes
– look for systems of power and meaning that people construct
– protects against false assumptions
– Malinowski
how long should an anthropologist do field work?
1 year minimum
analyzing and comparing ethnographic data across cultures
an ongoing phenomenon where interactions between people all across the world are becoming more frequent and easier
– increased movement of money, people, goods, and ideas within and across national borders
ex. multi-sited ethnography – China and NY – immigrants who go to NY from china and send money back to home
time-space compression
-rapid innovation of communication and transportation technologies associated with globalization that transforms how people think about space and time
-distance becomes shorter through technology (Facebook, video-chatting, air travel)
flexible accumulation
profit elsewhere, outsourcing- cheap labor, lower taxes, fewer environmental regulations else where
increasing migration
acceleration of movement of people due to easier transportation/ communication within and between countries
uneven development
– unequal distribution of the benefits of globalization
-local and global development- poverty
rapid change
dramatic transformations of economics, politics, and culture characteristic of contemporary globalization
-technological change, material change that affects human groups or cultures, social media
climate change
changes in the earth climate-
pollution from industrialization/ urbanization
– ex. Holly Baker- Micronesia- small island in the Pacific
– Nuclear radiation from American testing nuclear weapons
arm chair anthropology
James Frazer
sitting in chair and reading books from data that other scientist collected – no actual field work
used in colonial times to understand people in order to administer them
– Malinowski was the first to do something beside this
salvage anthropology
focused on native American groups – since they thought native Americans would be lost/die off so they recorded everything
Franz Boas
Father of American Anthropology
-against creating evolutionary scales, anti-racist
-during WW2 he was against collecting info as spies for the American Government (ethics)
– created historical particularism
-First to insist that cultural anthropologists conduct firsthand fieldwork
– jewish immigrant- sensitive to dangers of racial stereotyping – worked with immigrants against white supremacy, inferiority and racism
Margaret Mead
-compared other cultures to American culture
– used public anthropology (Applying anther to everyday life to try to solve problems)
-the first major anthropologist studying outside the U.S
-found that gender roles were not innate properties and could vary widely among societies
– research in Samoa, Bali, and New Guinea
– focused on enculturation and its effects on cultural patterns and personality types
Margaret Mead in Samoa
– explored sexual freedom and experimentation of young Samoan women and compared it to the repressed sexuality of young women in the U.S
– role of enculturation in shaping behavior
– controversial research – challenged biological assumptions about women and role of women in US culture
describing cultures
applied anthropology
The application of anthropological data, perspectives, theory and methods to identify, assess and solve contemporary social problems
Coke example
Plachimada, India
– 3 mile walk to the nearest fresh water
-Coke plant- uses 9 liters of fresh water for 1 liter of coke (they produce 1.2 million bottles)
– Plants water use made local water fall from 45 m to 150 m–> local wells went dry
– dumping chemical waste on the land near factory and polluting local ground water
“Anatomy of a Burmese [Padaung] Beauty Secret”
How do Padaung carry this tradition out? what kind of practice is it? why do it? damage?
– Padaung tribeswomen in Burma
-when a girl turns 5, she gets coils around her neck, pushing down her collarbones and ribs so that her neck eventually looks longer
– practice helps maintain individual and tribal identity
-signal elegance, wealth, and position
– punishment= removal of the coils
-damage- head can flop over and lead to suffocation
– this is a particularity – only found within a few cultures
the kiss problem/ example on culture differences
U.S. hollywood star kisses an indian star on stage – causes controversy and uproar over cultural differences
– social media made the issue spread (globalization)
– “his culture, not ours”
– western vs. non-western
– kissing= symbolic action with different social meaning depending on the culture
Culture is a system of knowledge, beliefs, patterns of behavior, artifacts, and institutions that are created, learned, and shared by a group of people
how has the term culture changed from old definition?
old definition (1870’s): “That complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.”
– changed from”man” to “group of people” = gender neutral
– includes learned and created rather than just “acquired”
process of learning culture and passing cultural information within populations and across generations
– occurs as a part of a group, not individual
– learn though formal (school, institutions) and informal instruction (family, friends, media – unconsciously)
– taught differently depending on your culture (institutions and media are used as mechanisms to enculturate society)–> promotes and enforces “appropriate” behavior and thinking
why is culture shared yet contested?
shared- by living as a member of a group – large or small
contested- debates over government policies, religious and medical practices, school curriculum
ex. police regulations on when to shoot- greatly contested in the U.S
example of culture at Cal poly
– classroom culture- you have to learn to behave a certain way to succeed academically (what to wear, how to sit, when to show up)
– Poly time – 10 past the hour
– Cal Poly lifestyle
idea or rules about how people should behave in particular situations and towards other people
– “normal”/ “appropriate” behavior
ex. what to wear to different setting (school vs funeral), how to treat people of different ages, who you should date/ marry
ex. Kiss example between American and Indian movie stars- different cultural norms
ex. anti-miscegation laws (no inter-racial marriage allowed)
exogamy vs endogamy
exogamy- marriage outside one’s group
endogamy- marriage within one’s group
– contested: might get shunned/ punished for going against the cultural norm
fundamental beliefs about what is important, true or beautiful and what makes a good life
– standards that guide behavior and goals people create for themselves
– ex. American values: freedom, individualism, liberty, self-reliance, free speech, social mobility
-depends on culture – ex. US Patriot Act – takes away some citizen privacy rights in order to catch terrorists –> undermines the high valued aspects of American culture
anything that signifies something else
– different meaning depending on culture
– non-verbal communication – body language
ex. hand shakes, wave, smile, nod, finger signs
ex. national flags
ex. spatial comfort zones
mental maps of reality term
cultural classifications of what kinds of people and things exist and the assignment of meaning to those classifications
– shaped by enculturation
– affected by globalization – closer contact with world diversity
ex. time – years, decades, minutes, afternoon, time zones (flexible to those in power who created it)
2 important functions of mental maps
1. classify reality – create the categories we follow – maps drawn from those in power
– problem: ex. race is not scientifically or biologically “natural”
2. assign meaning to classifications
– place values/ meanings to our maps
ex. responsibilities of children vs. adults
cultural relativism
understanding a groups beliefs and practices within their own cultural context without making judgements
– counter effects of ethnocentrism on anthropologists work
– assume the norms, values, beliefs and practices make sense to the participants in the culture
– anthropologist must understand culture’s internal logic and system of meaning to accurately represent the diversity of human life and culture
– must ignore their sense of right/wrong
unilineal cultural evolution
the theory in the 19th century that all cultures naturally evolve through the same sequence of stages from simple to complex
3 stages of evolution:
– savage, barbarism, civilized (western cultures)
– only one route to civilized- euro-centric/ doesn’t account for diversity
early anthropologists who created unilineal cultural evolution? the theory?
– Lewis H. Morgan, Frazer, Tylor
– similarities among cultures emerged through independent invention as different cultures independently got to similar solutions to similar problems
who were against unilineal cultural evolution? why?
Franz Boas and Malinowski
– can’t fit all cultures into 3 categories, external only- no cultural or historical context
historical particularism
the idea that cultures develop in specific ways because of their unique histories (cultures develop in diff. ways at diff. times)
– Franz Boas
– idea of diffusion – the borrowing of cultural traits and patterns from other cultures to explain apparent similarities (NOT through independently arriving at similar solutions to similar problems like early anthropologists thought)
– shaped current anthropology
structural functionalism
a conceptual framework positing that each element of society serves a particular function to keep the entire system in equilibrium
– internal part of culture and how each part connects – each part of a culture has a function (like an organism)
– synchronic approach: analyze societies at fixed time excluding historical context, global influences
– E.E. Evans-Pritchard and Malinowski
– problem: doesn’t account for culture change
interpretivist approach
a conceptual framework that sees culture primarily as a symbolic system of deep meaning
– Clifford Geertz
– how culture is related to a system of meanings and interconnected to people in that culture – to understand deep layers of meaning you have to observe and be there
– unspoken communication
– Ex. Cock fight – part of their culture – symbolize status, prestige, power and resources within a community
– ex. wink vs eye twitch have diff. meanings
the ability to bring change through action or influence
– threat or force
– relationships, institutions, structural frameworks
– Eric Wolf – power in all relationships
– racism – ex. white students in Louisiana who tied hanging nooses to a tree (reserved for white students) after a black student sat there- showed how these kids though of power relations between white vs. black at school and in their community
uneven distribution of resources and privileges among participants in a group or culture
– some are accepted into a culture easily, while others are marginalized depending on their race, age, gender, class
– creates shift in balance of power
the ability of a dominant group to to create consent and agreement within a population without the use of threat or force
– media, institutions – unconsciously make people develop a set of shared beliefs
ex. christianity spread during colonialism through colonial schools/churches
ex. even states without anti-miscegation laws still have low % of inter-racial marriage
material power
political, economic, or military power
– exerts itself through force or coercion
– ex. military colonialism
the potential power of individuals and groups to contest cultural norms, values, symbols, mental maps, institutions and structures of power
– inferior still go against dominant culture to create change – resistance can bring change overtime
a global outlook emerging in response to increasing globalization
ex. american Tv dramas on the other side of the world
material culture
the study of objects used and made by humans, as well as the knowledge & technology of how these are made and used
– artifacts of past, present and future
– past vs. present
– ex. iphones vs. tools that you needed to know how to make to use
cultural universals
all cultures do this:
– live in groups
– have family
– raise children
– rites of passage
– material culture
– eating (biological)
– ethnocentrism
most cultures do this:
– nuclear families
– marriage
– speak english in north america, Australia, and Canada
allow for diversity
only a few cultures do this:
– how universals appear in a given culture
– rites of passage (rituals, circumcision, graduation)
– funeral, marriage ceremonies
– food traditions (how you eat)
ex. the Na of China – husbands sleep with wife/ have children but live elsewhere
3 keys affects of globalization on culture
1. homogenization (spread of U.S culture will lead to lead to less diversity) ex. fast food chains
2. two way interference through migration- cultures aren’t bound to a geographical location ex. sushi
3. increased cosmopolitanism – link different cultures
the social & cultural contexts of food, eating, cooking
ex. double dipping
mechanisms that change culture
1. assimilation (direct/indirect, forced/ voluntary)
2. acculturation
3. independent invention (agriculture invented)
4. adaptation
5. globalization
6. situations- ex. colonialism
– adaptation
– keeping old culture and learning new one
– father of fieldwork – told anthropologists to go to the site, learn the language, leave your chair/ explore, engage in participant observation
– research in Trobriands islands in Northern Australia
– first to practice participant observation
salvage ethnography
fieldwork strategy by Franz Boas to rapidly collect cultural, material, linguistic, and biological info about US native populations being devoted by western expansion
– began the 4 field approach
– reject ethnocentrism
a critical examination of the role the anthropologists plays and awareness that ones identity affects one’s fieldwork and theoretical analysis
ex. Malinowski in the Trobriand islands- he focused on male dominated system – research done 60 years later by Weiner showing that Malinowski’s age and gender may have influenced what he saw and what others were comfortable telling him
literature review
the process of reading all available published material about a research site or research issue before you begin fieldwork
anthropologist tool kit
the tools needed to conduct fieldwork, notebook, pen, camera, voice recorder, and dictionary
quantitative data
stat info about a community that can be measured and compared
qualitative data
descriptive data from non stat sources, participant observation, personal stories, interviews and life histories
the relationship of trust and familiarity developed with members of community being studied
key informant
a community member who advises the anthropologist on the community issues, gives feedback, and warns against cultural miscues
gather data through formal/ informal conversation with informants
life history
form of interview that traces the biography of a person over time examining changes and illuminating the interlocking network of relationships in a community
info gathering tool for quantitative data analysis
kinship analysis
traditional strategy of examining genealogies to uncover the relationship built upon structures like marriage and family ties
social network analysis
used to examine relationships in a community- conducted by identifying who people turn to in times of need
field notes
anthropologists written observations and reflections on places, practices, events and interviews
analysis of a physical or geographic space where field work is conducted
built environment
intentionally designed features of human settlement
– buildings, transportation, public service infrastructure and public spaces
elements of a story or picture that are not told or seen but still offer key insights into issues that might be too sensitive to talk about or display
mutual transformation
potential for both anthropologists and community members being studied to be transformed by the interactions of the fieldwork
approach of gathering data that investigates how local people think and how they understand the world
description of local behavior and beliefs from the anthropologists perspective in ways that can compare across cultures
analysis and comparison of ethnographic data across cultures
practice of using many different voices in ethnographic writing and research question development , allowing the reader to hear more directly from the people studied
AAA code of ethics
Do no harm
Informed consent
Establish collaborative relationships in host country
“Give back” to the host
Obligations to the Discipline, Hosts, Students
informed consent
protect those being studied by ensuring they fully know the goals of the project and have given you consent to participate
protect identities of those you study by changing or taking out their names/ identifying characteristics
– American culture
– focused on care of the human body
– human body is ugly – endangered with diseases and must be treated with care
– visit dentists/ “holy mouth men”
system of communication organized by riles that use symbols like words, sounds, and gestures to convey info
– embedded in culture
– arenas where norms and values are created, enforced and contested, where group identity is negotiated
– arenas where systems of power & status are taught & challenged
– use varies across social groups and social situations
– not universal
linguistic ability to use known words to invent new word combinations
ability to use words to refer to objects not immediately present to events occurring the past or future
smallest units of sound that can make a difference in meaning
ex. vietnamese tone differences
study of what sounds exist and which are important for a particular language
smallest units of sound that carry meaning on their own
study of patterns/ rules of how sounds combine to make morphemes
the specific patterns and rules for constructing phrases and sentences
the combined set of observations about the rules governing the formation of morphemes and syntax that guide language use
study of the relationship between body movements and communication (i.e. nonverbal communication)
noises and tones of voice that convey information
– show happiness, sadness
sapir-whorf hypothesis
the idea that different languages create different ways of thinking
all the words for names, ideas and events that make up a language’s dictionary
focal vocabulary
vocab that belongs to a certain group or group specific
ex. cal poly language – “wowies”
simplified languages that emerge as a means of communication
Do not have native speakers
pidgins overtime become a Creole language, with native speakers & its own syntax, vocabulary & sound system
Linguistically speaking a creole is a language, not “slang”
a nonstandard variation of a language, non-prestige; specific to a group or place
prestige language
a language variation associated with power, success, wealth, status
– mainstream/ standard language
code switching
changing the way you talk depending on situation or cultural context
socio linguistics
how culture shapes language and how language shapes culture
– intersections b/w language and systems of power like race, gender, class and age
ex. N word
language continuum
the idea that variation in languages appears gradually over distance so that groups who live near one another speak in a way that is mutually intelligible
language loss
extinction of languages that have very few speakers
digital natives
generation born ater 1980 who have been raised in the digital age and spent lives thinking digitally
A flawed system of classification without biological basis, that uses certain physical characteristics to divide the human population into supposedly discrete groups
individual thoughts and actions and institutional patterns and policies that create unequal access to power, resources, and opportunities based on imagined differences among groups
inherited genetic factors
physical traits that make up visible appearance
practice by which a nation state extends political, economic, and military power beyond its own borders over an extended period of time to secure access to resources, labor, and markets in other countries
demeaning term for interracial marriage
white supremacy
whiteness: culturally constructed concept from 1600’s in Virgina- clear boundary between who is white and who is not – central to the formation of US racial stratification
– white seen as dominant over other races
jim crow
laws implemented after civil war to legally enforce segregation in the south after slavery ended
one drop of blood rule
racially mixed kids assigned to subordinate group
– ex. Obama
favoring certain long term inhabitants over new immigrants
pseudo science attempting to scientifically prove the existence of separate human races to improve the populations genetic composition boy favoring some races over others
assigning race to a person, with all its complications
Ascribed vs. Achieved status
individual racism
personal prejudiced beliefs and discriminatory actions based on race
institutional racism
patterns by which racial inequality is structured through key cultural institutions, policies and systems
racial ideology
set of popular ideas about race that allows for discriminatory behaviors of individuals and institutions to seem reasonable, rational and normal
sense of historical, cultural and sometimes acestral connection to a group of people who are imagined to be distinct from those outside the group
origin myth
a story told about the founding and history of a particular group to reinforce a sense of common identity
ethnic boundary marker
practice or belief such as food, clothes, language, shared name, religion used to signify who is in or not in a group
the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic or religious group
situational negotiation of identity
an individuals self identification with a particular group that can shift according to social location
ethnic cleansing
efforts by representatives from one ethnic or religious to remove or destroy another group in a particular geographic area
ex. old Yugoslavia – Bosnian muslim- catholic community lived in peace together but once war broke out bosnian muslims focused more on religion and turned to other muslims for support –> croat forces killed off the muslim village
melting pot
process of immigrant assimilation into US dominant culture
process through which minorities accept the patterns and norms of the dominant culture and ease to exist as separate groups
– adapting to new culture
immigration – ex. mexican immigrants told to only speak english
ex. forced assimilation – indian boarding school- replaced their culture with western culture – traumatic
pattern of ethnic relations in which new immigrants and their children enculturate into the dominant national culture and retain their ethnic culture as well
autonomous regional structure of political economic, and military rule with a central government authorized to make laws and use force to maintain order and defend its territory
political entity,, located within geographic territory withe enforced borders where population share a sense of of culture, ancestry, and destiny as people
describes a group of people who share a place of origin – used inter changeably with nation state
desire of an ethnic community to create or maintain a nation state
imagined community
the invented sense of connection and shared traditions that underlies identification with a particular ethnic group or nation who’s members will likely never meet
gender studies
research on cultural construction of masculineness and femininity across cultures as flexible , complex and historical and culturally constructed categories
observable physical differences between male and females
biological – human reproduction organs
expectations of thought and behavior that each culture assigns to people of diff. sexes
sexual dimorphism
the phenotypic differences between males and families of the same species
ex. weight, height, voice / tones/ pitch, stronger
cultural construction of gender
the ways humans learn to behave as man or female and to recognize behaviors as masculine or feminine within their cultural context
ex. korean drama
gender performance
the way gender identity is expressed through action
person born with both female and male reproductive organs or chromosomes
gender identity or performance that does not fit with the cultural norms associated with their born sex
ex. Hijras in Bangladesh – men that dress like women – Work as entertainers
Face discrimination – cant fully assimilate into society – violence towards them
Seen as access to spirit world
gender stratification
unequal distribution of power and access to a groups resources, opportunities, rights and privileges based on gender
ex. unequal pay
gender stereotype
a preconceived notion that attributes of, differences between and proper roles of men and women in culture
gender ideology
a set of cultural ideas, usually stereotypical, about the essential character of different genders that functions to promote and justify gender stratification
ex. egg and sperm metaphor – women stay still while men do all the work
gender violence
forms of violence shaped by gender identities of people involved
structural gender violence
gendered societal patterns of unequal access to wealth, power and basic resources like food, shelter, and health care – affecting women particularly

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