* Anthropology uses a holistic perspective to understand human culture and what it means to be human * The working definition: the empirical comparative study of humans as biological and cultural beings, informed by the overarching principles of cultural relativism and by the avoidance of ethnocentrism * Four Traditional Fields of Anthropology
* Physical anthropology
* Also known as biological anthropology. Examines the biological and behavioral characteristics of humans and nonhuman primates, including their ancestors * Primary interest in reconstructing anatomical and behavioral evolutionary record of human species and fossil record-includes medical anthropology and forensic anthropology * Second area of interest in primatology: the study of our nearest living relatives * Archaeology
* The study of life ways of people from the past by excavating and analyzing the material culture they have left behind * Artifacts, features, structures, and ecofacts serve as material records for life ways and environmental adaptations * Linguistics
* The modern scientific study of all aspects of language * Perhaps the most distinctive feature of being human, as language, enabled by physiological adaptations, has transmitted culture across generations and enabled abstract thought for more than 40,000 years * Includes historical linguistics, descriptive linguistics, ethno linguistics, and sociolinguistics * Cultural Anthropology
* Also known as social or Sociocultural anthropology, it is the study of specific contemporary cultures, and the more general underlying patterns of human culture derived through cultural comparisons * Key concepts: field work requirements, development of trust and norms, participant observation, ethnography, ethnology, urban anthropology, medical anthropology, development, environmental anthropology * Key considerations in anthropology
* Ethnocentrism: the belief that ones own culture is superior to all others- be cautious to avoid culture bound theories * Cultural relativism: the belief that efforts at understanding other life ways are most successful if one views those customs in their own traditional context and avoids judging them according to the values of one’s culture * Fundamentally rejects the notion that any culture including our own possesses a set of absolute standards by which all other cultures can be judged. * Key terms
* Cultural romanticism: the idea that a culture is better than it is * Life ways: customary manners of living: the ways in which people obtain what is necessary to live * What is culture?
* A society’s shared and socially transmitted ideas, values, and perceptions which are used to make sense of experience, which generate behavior and are reflected in that behavior * Everything that people have think and do as members of a society * Systems of arbitrary symbols with assigned meanings(super organic, housing, colors, dogs, gender) * Characteristics of culture
* Learned, symbolic, general and specific, all encompassing, shared, patterned & maladaptive (LISSA) * Learned
* Culture is learned from others in a society through enculturation * Enculturation occurs through observation, interaction with others, and through language and can be modified over time * Difference between enculturation, acculturation and assimilation? * En: the process by which people learn the requirement s of their surrounding culture and acquire values and behaviors appropriate or necessary in that culture * A: explains the process of cultural and psychological change that results following meeting between cultures. * As: is the process by which a groups current language and culture is lost to form to the dominant pressuring one....