Culture in Comparative Perspective 1

Culture in Comparative Perspective 1 - September 11th, 2007...

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September 11 th , 2007 Culture in Comparative Perspective Thirty percent of class will fail the midterm, because people do not do the readings. Do the work and the readings and you will do well in the course. The assigned questions that are given for the books are going to be test questions. Questions will be posted generally on Tuesdays for the next week. Four major sub fields of anthropology – 1) Archaeology, study of past human societies through material remains. 2) Physical anthropology, looks at humans being biological, genes ect. 3) Linguistics, the study of human languages, a week’s work of material is on this. 4) Social or culture anthropology is about human cultures, societies, a cross culture view of ideas and beliefs. Goals is to document the diversity of cultures globally in doing this it helps us understand what it means to be human. However not the only goal, the other goal is to compare and analyze other cultures. This covers all human societies’ western and non-western societies. Anthropologists argue that they have the broadest scope of all social science because they look at all human societies. They also argue because they have the broadest scope they are in the best position to evaluate the ideas of human behaviour and human societies. Anthropologists are sceptical of every other discipline because every other place their decision on western society. Four features that define it as a discipline: 1. Comparative perspective - looks at similarities and differences of different cultures. 2. Holistic perspective – looks at links, connections between relationships ex between religion and political views. 3. Fieldwork method – this is the major method of doing research, living with a group of people coming to understand their lives and points of view. Living, talking with and direct understanding of the cultures is how anthropologists get there information. The written accounts are known as ethnographies, this is the info from the fieldwork. There is no single formula that you can put for fieldwork. 4. Culture concept – first came out of early anthropology. The concept of culture is anthropologies major contribution to the twentieth century. There is no agreement on the definition of culture. Culture – customs and behaviours by socialization (Kottak), what people think their ideas, cognitive approach (Spradly). Culture is shared ideas and behaviours that people learn through socialization. Boas was a German immigrant that founded American anthropology which was founded differently than European, Culture more important or looked at more in American. The Boasians work who created the idea that culture is learned and a shared behaviour (Margaret Mead – most popular anthropologist she was a Boasians). The Boasians were critical about biological arguments of human behaviour, they used comparative perspective. Margaret Mead’s first field
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work when she was 21, she did this in Samoa in the 1920’s. The aim was to test ideas about
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Culture in Comparative Perspective 1 - September 11th, 2007...

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