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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 ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: 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
  • Mechanisms of biological evolution, genetic
    inheritance, human adaptability and variation,
    primatology, and the fossil record of human
  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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
  • 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

Jane Goodall
  • 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.

  • 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 ones self from
    the potential for emotional attachment to the
    subject being studied.

Why do we need Anthropologists?
  • Intuition is believing something to be true
    because a persons 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.

  • 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

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

  • 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.

Functionalism - cont
  • 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
  • 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

  • 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.

Structuralism - cont
  • 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.

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

Cultural Materialism - Cont
  • 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

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
  • 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