- Slides: 18
What is Anthropology? • Anthropology is the broad study of humankind around the world and throughout time. • It is concerned with both the biological and the cultural aspects of humans.
Included in anthropology are four main subdivisions: Physical Anthropology • Mechanisms of biological evolution, genetic inheritance, human adaptability and variation, primatology, and the fossil record of human evolution Cultural Anthropology • Culture, ethnocentrism, cultural aspects of language and communication, subsistence and other economic patterns, kinship, sex and marriage, socialization, social control, political organization, class, ethnicity, gender, religion, and culture change Archaeology • Prehistory and early history of cultures around the world; major trends in cultural evolution; and techniques for finding, excavating, dating, and analyzing material remains of past societies Linguistic Anthropology • The human communication process focusing on the importance of sociocultural influences; nonverbal communication; and the structure, function, and history of languages, dialects, pidgins, and creoles
What would be the best way to really get to know another society and its culture? Why?
Participation-observation • Anthropologists have learned that the best • way to really get to know another society and its culture is to live in it as an active participant rather than simply an observer. By physically and emotionally participating in the social interaction of the host society it is possible to become accepted as a member.
Dian Fossey • Dian Fossey believed that • in order to study gorillas effectively she had to immerse herself with them in an effort to get them to accept her presence She was murdered in her cabin at Karisoke on December 26, 1985. Her death is a mystery yet unsolved.
Why do we need social scientists? Don’t they tell us what we already know to be true?
Why we need social scientists: • Intuition is believing something to be true because a person’s emotions and logic support it • Intuition is not proof of fact – this is why we need social scientists – they prove or disprove what we BELIEVE to be true • Question: According to your intuition, would introducing the death penalty into a society decrease the murder rate?
Anthropology: The Question of Kinship • Kinship is a family relationship based on what is • • • a culture considers a family to be The family unit can vary depending on the culture in which the family lives Anthropologists have concluded that human cultures define the concept of marriage in three ways: mating (marriage), birth (descent) and nurturance (adoption) Most human societies are patrilineal (organized through the father’s line). Examples?
Skills and Methods used by Anthropologists • Participation-observation • Collection of statistics • Field interviews • Rigorous compilation of detailed notes • Fieldwork on anthropologists is know as “ethnography”: the scientific study of human races and cultures
Anthropological Schools of Thought • School of thought: when a certain way of interpreting a discipline’s subject matter gains widespread credibility, it is considered to be a ‘school of thought’ • Anthropology Schools of Thought 1. Functionalism 2. Structuralism 3. Culturalism
Comparing the Schools of Thought Similarities • Functionalism Structuralism Cultural Materialism -attempts to understand cultures as a whole -attempts to understand cultures based on common properties of the human mind -attempts to understand cultures though technology and economy Differences Investigates the social -seeks out and explains -explores members’ functions of rules that are based on decisions regarding institutions binary opposites (ie. human reproduction Day / night; male; and economic females) production Criticisms -presents societies as being more stable than they are and downplays the negative results of some practices -overemphasizes logic and stability in human societies; societies wouldn't die out if they always met the needs of their members -tries to establish laws that apply to all cultures and their development; observes cultures through biased eyes
Social Change • Refers to changes in the way society is organized, and in the beliefs and practices of the people who live in it • Change in the social structure and the institutions of society • Examples?
Anthropology and Social Change • Anthropologists regard CULTURES, the focus of their studies as constantly changing organisms • Key Questions -What are the known basic mechanisms of social change? -What ideas or explanations can we use to describe what causes cultures to change?
Three Major Sources of Cultural Change (anthropology) 1) Invention: new products, ideas and social patterns. Examples? 2) Discovery: finding something that was previously unknown to a culture. Examples? 3) Diffusion: spreading of ideas, methods and tools from one culture to another. Examples?
Four Classifications of Culture • Anthropologists focus on the process of ENCULTURATION (members of a culture learn and internalize shared ideas, values and beliefs) • Culture is made up of 4 inter-related parts: 1) Physical Environment 2) Level of Technology 3) Social Organization 4) System of Symbols
Theories of Social Change • Adaption to change or cultural change takes place through three methods: 1) Diffusion- one culture borrows cultural symbols from another 2) Acculturation- prolonged contact between two cultures where they interchange symbols, beliefs and customs 3) Cultural Evolution- cultures evolve according to common patterns