ANTH 202 Midterm Notes

ANTH 202 Midterm Notes - ANTH 202 Midterm 1 Notes Fields of...

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ANTH 202 Midterm 1 Notes Fields of Anthropology o Archaeology o Physical/biological anthropology o Linguistic anthropology o Cultural/social anthropology Distinctive Features of Cultural Anthropology Anthropology: anthropos means human (man) and logy from logia (study of man or humanity) Ethnology: ethnos (Greek) means people (study of). In North America the definition of ethnology is the study of comparative cultures, to study one issue or institution (such as marriage) across different cultures Ethnography: written description of a culture. Inspired by holism (description of a whole culture, like Malinowski’s “Argonauts of the Western Pacific”) o Now take into account regional and global forced o Often focus on one topic, believe holism is impossible o Incorporates hitor Holism: that the culture is an integrated system of features such as religion and economics, to have a whole picture all the features to be studies Modern ethnologies: o Villages/ local cultures are treated as embedded within regional and global forces o Focus more on one topic instead of the whole culture o Also studying Western cultures Cultural Relativism vs. Ethnocentrism Ethnocentrism: judging other cultures by the standards of one’s own culture rather than the standards of that particular culture
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Relativism: each culture has the same value and must be understood in it’s own terms, values, beliefs. One explanation is not better in one culture than another o Boas, Benedict, Mead Absolute Cultural Relativism: no custom can be questioned including headhunting, rape, abuse, but must be seen in the context of the culture. This also means that one culture or issue cannot be compared to another Critical Cultural Relativism: poses questions about cutural practices and ideas in terms of who accepts them and why, who might they harm or help Cultural Imperialism: one dominant group claims supremacy over minority cultures and proceeds to change the situation in their own interests at the expense of other cultures Contemporary Debates Biological Determinism vs. Cultural Constructivism Biological Determinism (Freeman): people’s behavior is explained by biological factors such as genes and hormones. Researchers try to find the gene or hormone that might lead to certain forms of behavior such as homicide, alcoholism, Cultural Constructivism (Mead): peoples’ behavior is explained by cultural factors such as upbringing * Freeman vs. Mead and adolescent stress Interpretive Anthropology vs. Cultural Materialism Interpretive Anthropology (Douglas): considers how peoples use symbols, moods and emotions to make sense of the world, internal forces . Culture is not shared or imposed on everyone…everyone is not the same. Rules of Leviticus Cultural Materialism: natural environment or material conditions shapes the cultural behavior, external forces. Based on repetition. Taboo such and Hindu’s and beef are explained because cows are worth more alive
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This note was uploaded on 12/12/2008 for the course ANTH 202 taught by Professor Olofsson during the Fall '08 term at McGill.

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ANTH 202 Midterm Notes - ANTH 202 Midterm 1 Notes Fields of...

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