Chapter One What Is Anthropology? Key Terms
physical anthropologyThe study of humans from a biological perspective. paleoanthropologyArea of physical anthropology interested in reconstructing the evolutionary record of the human species.
primatologyThe study of our nearest living relatives (apes, monkeys, and prosimians) in their natural habitat. GeneticsThe study of inherited physical traits
population biologyThe study of the relationship between population characteristics and environment epidemiologyThe study of differential clusters of disease in populations over time.
archaeologyThe study of the lifeways of people from the past through excavating and analyzing the material culture they leave behind. artifactsObjects that have been made or modified by humans and that can be removed from the site and taken to the laboratory for further analysis. (Ex. tools, arrowheads,and fragments of pottery).
featuresObjects made or modified by people that cannot be readily carried away. (Ex. house foundations, fireplaces, and postholes.) ecofactsObjects found in the natural environment (such as bones, seeds, and wood) that were not made or altered by humans but were used by them.
anthropological linguisticsBranch of anthropology that studies human speech and language. historical linguisticsDeals with the emergence of language in general and how specific languages have diverged over time.
descriptive linguisticsThe study of sound systems, grammatical systems, and the meanings attached to words in specific languages. ethnolinguisticsBranch of anthropological linguistics that examines the relationship between language and culture.
sociolinguisticsExamines the relationship between language and social relations. cultural anthropologyThe branch of anthropology that deals with the study of specific contemporary cultures and the more general underlying patterns of human culture derived through cultural comparisons.
ethnographyDetailed descriptions of the features of specific cultures, the result of extensive field studies in which the anthropologist observes, talks to, and lives with the people he or she is studying. ethnologyThe comparative study of contemporary cultures, wherever they may be found.
paleopathologyThe analysis of disease in ancient populations. holismCovering as many aspects of a culture as possible in the total cultural context.
ethnocentrismThe belief that one’s own culture is superior to all others. cultural relativismThe notion that any part of a culture (such as an idea, a thing, or a behavior pattern) must be viewed in its proper cultural context rather than from the viewpoint of the observer’s culture.
emic approachRefers to the insider view, which seeks to describe another culture in terms of the categories, concepts, and perceptions of the people being studied. etic approachRefers to the outsider view, whereby observing anthropologists use their own categories and concepts to describe the culture under analysis.