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cultural anthropology_chapter1notes

cultural anthropology_chapter1notes - C hapter 1 I n t...

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Chapter 1: Introduction to Anthropology Human Diversity Anthropology – the exploration of human diversity in time and space; the study of the human species and its immediate ancestors A comparative field that examines all societies, ancient and modern, simple and complex Of particular interest is the diversity that comes through human adaptability Holistic science – study of the whole of the human condition: past, present, and future; biology, society, language, and culture Culture – traditions and customs that form and guide the beliefs and behavior of the people exposed to them Enculturation – the adoption of the behavior patterns of one’s native culture, usually during adolescence o Human biological features that support adoption of culture: ability to learn, to think symbolically, to use language, and to employ tools and other products in organizing their lives and adapting to their environments Produces a degree of consistency in behavior and thought among the people who live in a particular society Transmitted through learning rather than through biological inheritance Adaptation, Vari ation, and Change Adaptation – the processes by which organisms cope with environmental forces and stresses, such as those posed by climate and topography or terrains Humans use biological means of adaptation (genetic adaptation, long-term physiological adaptation, and short-term physiological adaptation) but also have cultural means of adaptation Humans have devised diverse ways of coping with the range of environments they have occupied in time and space Page | 1
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The rate of cultural adaptation and change has accelerated, particularly during the past 10,000 years o It took only a few thousand years for food production (the cultivation of plants and domestication of animals), which originated some 12,000–10,000 years ago, to replace foraging in most areas (which was a means of survival for millions of years) Today’s global economy and communications link all contemporary people, directly or indirectly, in the modern world system. People must cope with forces generated by progressively larger systems—region, nation, and world General Anthropology General anthropology – the field of anthropology as a whole, consisting of cultural, archaeological, biological, and linguistic anthropology A scientific field that can be traced back to the 19th century o Early American anthropologists were concerned especially with the history and cultures of the native peoples of North America Interest in the origins and diversity of Native Americans brought together studies of customs, social life, language, and physical traits General anthropology explores the basics of human biology, society, and culture and considers their interrelations o Cultural and archaeological anthropologists study (among many other topics) changes in social life and customs o Archaeologists have used studies of living societies and behavior patterns to
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