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Anthropology. What is Anthropology?. Anthropology is the board study of humankind around the world and throughout time. It is concerned with both the biological and the cultural aspects of humans. Four Main Subdivisions. Physical Anthropology :

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  1. Anthropology

  2. What is Anthropology? • Anthropology is the board study of humankind around the world and throughout time. • It is concerned with both the biological and the cultural aspects of humans.

  3. 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 patters, kinship, sex and marriage, socialization, social control, political organization, class, ethnicity, gender, religion, and culture change.

  4. 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 socio-cultural influences; nonverbal communication; and the structure, function, and history of languages, dialects.

  5. Methods used by Anthropologists • Participant - observation • Collection of statistics • Field of view • Rigorous collections of detailed notes • Fieldwork on anthropologists is known as “ethnography”

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Active in the study of social learning, primate cognition, thinking and culture in wild chimpanzees, their separation from the baboon and the inclusion of both species, along with the gorilla, as Hominids. Major contributions to the field of primatology was the discovery of tool-making in chimpanzees. Only humans were thought to make tools, and tool-making was considered the defining difference between humans and other animals. This discovery convinced several scientists to reconsider their definition of being human. Jane Goodall

  9. She set herself apart from the traditional conventions of the time in her study of primates by naming the animals she studied, instead of assigning them a number. The numbering was nearly a universal practice at the time and thought to be important in the removal of one’s self from the potential for emotional attachment to the subject being studied.

  10. Why do we need Anthropologists? • 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 anthropologist - they prove or disprove what we believe to be true.

  11. Kinship • Kinship is a family relationship based on what a culture considers a family to be • The family unit can vary depending on the culture in which the family lives

  12. Anthropological School of Thought • There are 3 schools of thought in Anthropology • Functionalism • Structuralism • Cultural Materialism

  13. Functionalism • The theoretical school of functionalism considers a culture as an interrelated whole, not a collection of isolated traits • The functionalists examined how a particular cultural phase is interrelated with other aspects of the culture and how it affects the whole system of the society • The method of functionalism was based on fieldwork and direct observations of societies.

  14. Functionalism - con’t • Every custom or practice in a culture serves a purpose in providing stability • To understand a culture, it is necessary to investigate the social functions of the institution (established laws, practices & customs) • At the core is a belief that society is itself a logical institution that functions in the best interests of the majority • Role of anthropologist is to explain, not judge

  15. Structuralism • The human mind functions on the principle of binary opposites • This means that humans tend to see things in terms of 2 forces that are opposite to each other - eg. Night and day • All cultures develop complex rules about what is good and what is bad • The rules are different in each culture.

  16. Structuralism - con’t • Structuralism believe that anthropologists must seek out and explain these rules • With a full understanding of the human mind, anthropologists will see that human cultures are logical structures trying to meet human needs.

  17. Cultural Materialism • Technological and economical factors are the most important ones in molding a society - known as materialism • Determinism - states that the types of technology and economic methods that are adopted always determine the type of society that develops

  18. Cultural Materialism - Con’t • Material factors are the starting point to understanding a culture • the ways in which goods are produce helps us understand social classes, distribution of wealth • Also examining free time,music, recreation, and the arts • Anthropologists will examine behaviour by analyzing decisions regarding technology & economic production to understand society

  19. Criticism of the 3 schools • Functionalists present cultures and societies as being more stable than they are • Since they also believe that every practice serves a purpose, critics accuse them of downplaying negative results of some practices • Structuralists: State that if these cultures rules create stability why do some cultures die? • Cultural materialists: have laws apply to all cultures • Critics also say that they view cultures through biased eyes (they try to find ways that the cultures reflect the laws of cultural materialism rather than letting the cultures explain themselves.)

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