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Cultural Anthropology

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Cultural Anthropology A tool for understanding what makes people and cultures different and what makes them the same. What is Culture? Culture is defined as: A ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Cultural Anthropology


1
Cultural Anthropology
  • A tool for understanding what makes people and
    cultures different and what makes them the same.

2
What is Culture?
  • Culture is defined as
  • A specific set of learned behaviors, beliefs,
    attitudes, values, and ideals that are
    characteristic of a particular society or
    population.

3
Culture as a Learned Characteristic
  • Culture is learned and passed down from previous
    generations.
  • This is also called Enculturation
  • It is not something an individual is born with.

4
Culture as an agent of Environmental Adaptation
  • The material objects and customs produced by a
    group of people are influenced by the environment
    around them.
  • For example
  • The types of tools and the materials that they
    are manufactured out of are determined by what is
    available.
  • No stone? Then your tools will be made out of
    wood, bone, or antler.
  • This is a problem for archaeologists.

5
Two Components of Cultural Anthropology
  • Ethnography
  • and
  • Ethnology

6
Ethnography
  • This is the most visible and most widely used
    research tool in cultural anthropology.
  • Two main components of ethnography
  • Fieldwork
  • Published results
  • Excellent example of an ethnography is
  • Lewis H. Morgan
  • League of the Ho-dé-no-sau-nee Or Iroquois
  • Ill post the PDF on the Wiki for anyone who is
    curious.

7
Fieldwork
  • Process by which data is gathered from the study
    location.
  • This can be as far away as Australia or as close
    as your local delicious and refreshing Starbucks

8
Publishing
  • Without this part of the anthropological process
    the rest of the research is wasted.
  • Why do the fieldwork and record the data if no
    one will ever even have the chance to read it?

9
Ethnology
  • This is a comparative study and analysis of the
    worlds cultures.
  • Uses the ethnographic accounts recorded in the
    field to formulate broader anthropological
    theories that help to explain why cultures are
    different or similar.

10
So whats the difference between Ethnography and
Ethnology?
  • Ethnography
  • Detailed description of a culture based on field
    work.
  • Ethnology
  • Comparing different cultures to try and discover
    broader patterns that extend across many cultural
    groups.

11
Methodology in the Field
  • Participant Observation
  • Associated with Ethnography
  • This is an anthropological technique used to
    understand groups of people by interacting with
    them in their own environment.
  • An anthropologist will go and live with a certain
    group of people for an extended period of time
    and this allows for a more complete view of the
    culture being studied.
  • Informants
  • These are individuals who assist the Ethnographer
    in interpreting certain aspects of the culture
    being observed.

12
Bronislaw Malinowski
  • Born 1884
  • Died 1942
  • First anthropologist to truly use the Participant
    Observation technique.

13
The Importance of Symbols in Culture
  • Symbols are extremely important to every culture
    in the world.
  • Symbols can be defined as
  • Signs, emblems, and other things that can have a
    meaningful representation of something else that
    may or may not be related to the physical
    structure of the symbol itself.
  • Symbols are given meaning by the culture that
    creates them.

14
Does Culture Change?
  • Definitely!!
  • Thats what makes it so exciting to study!
  • For example
  • In what ways has American society changed from,
    say, the 1940s to the year 2008?
  • This means that the work is never done for
    ethnographers.
  • Each culture that is studied should be revisited
    in order to ascertain how it has changed over a
    certain period of time.
  • Not always possible but it is the ideal situation.

15
Cultural Change
  • The ways in which cultures provide for their
    people and respond to threats from both outside
    and within their society is extremely important
    for understanding the culture as a whole.
  • There is a delicate balance within every culture
  • The needs of the many out weigh the needs of the
    few, or the one.

16
Ethnocentric Attitudes
  • This is related to the topic of Cultural
    Relativity that was previously discussed.
  • This is a common problem among both the general
    population and anthropologists as well.
  • Ethnocentrism is the idea that one persons
    culture is superior to other cultures.
  • Everyone, anthropologists included, must
    constantly try to keep this in check and ensure
    that attitudes such as this do not pollute the
    interpretations of any culture being studied.
  • Eliminating these attitudes is one of the primary
    goals of anthropology in general

17
Wrap It Up!
  • Any questions about anthropology in general?
  • About possible careers or opportunities?
  • Other questions about the course?
  • Anything at all? The weather? Brett Favre playing
    for the Jets?
  • ???
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