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TitleAnthropology Notes
TagsLinguistics Anthropology Human Ethnography Field Research
File Size348.9 KB
Total Pages6
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Anthropology Notes


Chapter 1

 Anthropology is the study of humanity, including our prehistoric origins and contemporary

human diversity.

 Scientific and humanistic approaches

1. Biological anthropology (physical anthropology): humans as biological organisms, including their

evolution and contemporary variation

a. Primatology, study of nonhuman members of the order of mammals called primates,

which includes a wide range of animals from very small, nocturnal creatures to gorillas,

the largest members.

b. Paleoanthropology, the study of human evolution on the basis of the fossil record. One

important activity is the search for fossils to increase the amount and quality of the

evidence to the way human evolution occurred.

c. Contemporary human biological variation: Define, measure, and seek to explain

differences in the biological makeup and behavior of contemporary humans.

2. Archaeology (prehistory): study of past human cultures through their material remains

a. Study of first Homo sapiens about 200,000 years ago, or of first human made tools,

around 100,000 years ago

b. Prehistoric archaeology: concerns human past before written records

i. Often identify themselves with broad geographic regions, old world being

Europe, Asia, and Africa, and New World being the Americas

c. Historical archaeology: concerns with human past in societies that have written


d. Underwater archaeology: study and preservation of submerged societies

3. Linguistic anthropology: study of human communication, including its origins, history, and

contemporary variation and change

a. Historical linguistics: study of language change over time and how languages are related

b. Descriptive linguistics: or structural linguistics, study of how contemporary languages

differ in terms of their formal structure

c. Sociolinguistics: study of relationships among social variation, social context, and

linguistic variation, including nonverbal communication

4. Cultural anthropology (social anthropology): study of living peoples and their cultures, including

variation and change

a. Culture refers to a people’s learned and shared behaviors and beliefs; devoted

to studying human cultures worldwide, both similarities and differences

 Bronislaw Malinowski

o Functionalism: culture is similar to biological organism: parts work to support the

operation and maintenance of the whole

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o Marvin Harris: “A culture is the total socially acquired life way or life style of a group of

people. It consists of patterned repetitive ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that are

characteristic of the members of a particular society of segment of society.”

o Clifford Geertz: culture consists of symbols, motivations, moods, and thoughts

 Culture is not Nature

o Eating

o Drinking

o Sleeping

o Elimination

 Culture is based on Symbols

 Culture is Learned

 Cultures are Integrated

 Culture is patterned

 Culture is shared

 Symbol: an object, word, or action with culturally defined meaning that stands for something

else; most symbols are arbitrary

 Globalization: increased and intensified international ties related to the spread of Western,

especially United States, capitalism that affects all world cultures

 Localization: the transformation of global culture by local cultures into something new

 Clash of civilizations argument says that the spread of Euro American capitalism and lifeways

throughout the world has created disenchantment, alienation, and resentment among other

cultural systems.

 McDonaldization under the powerful influence of US dominated corporate culture, the world is

becoming culturally homogeneous

 Hybridization when aspects of two or more cultures are mixed to form something new

 Localization: the transformation of global culture by local microcultures into something new.

 Class: a way of categorizing people based on their economic position in society, usually

measured in terms of income or wealth

 Race: a way of categorizing people on the basis of supposedly homogeneous biological traits

 Ethnicity: shared sense of identity among a group based on heritage, language, or culture

 Indigenous people: a group with a longstanding connection with their home territory predating

colonial or other societies that prevail in that territory

 Gender: patterns of culturally constructed and learned behaviors and ideas attributed to males,

females, or blended categories.

 Goals of anthropologists

o Ethnography: a firsthand, detailed description of a living culture, based on personal


o Ethnology: the study of a particular topic in more than one culture using ethnographic


 Ethnocentrism: judging cultures by the standards of one’s own culture rather than by the

standards of that particular culture

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 Biological determinism: a theory that explains human behavior and ideas mainly as the result of

biological features such as genes and hormones

 Cultural constructionism: a theory that explains human behavior and ideas mainly the result of


 Cultural materialism: examines environment and how people make a living within particular


o Infrastructure: basic material factors such as natural resources, the economy, and


o Structure: social organization, kinship, and political organization

o Superstructure: ideas, values, beliefs

Chapter 2


 Fieldwork: research in the field, which is any place where people and culture are found

 Armchair anthro: sitting and reading about other cultures

 Verandah anthro: typically, natives come to the verandah for interviewing by anthropologist

 Lewis Henry Morgan: wrote book League of the Iroquois showing different perspective of


 Participant observation: basic fieldwork method in cultural anthro that involves living in a

culture for a long period of time while gathering data. Father of this is Bronislaw Malinowski

o Living with people

o Learning language

o Participating in their everyday life

 Multisited research: fieldwork conducted in more than one location in order to understand

the behaviors and ideas of dispersed members of a culture or the relationships among different

levels such as state policy and local culture


o Project selection: topic should be important and feasible, often chosen by carrying out a

literature review, reading what others have already written

o Funding: Governmental, non-governmental,

o Informed consent: requires that the researcher inform the research participants of the

scope, and possible effects of the study and seek their agreement to be in the study;

required by institutional review boards (IRBs)

 Working in the field

o Site Selection

o Gaining Rapport

 Rapport: trusting relationship between researcher and he study population

 Gatekeepers: people who formally or informally control access to the

group or community

 Gift Giving and Exchange

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