Unit 1 Study Guide - Unit 1 Study Guide: Defining...

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Unit 1 Study Guide: Defining Anthropology Brief history: Malinowski & functionalism &holism linked; Boas=cultural relativism Polish-born Bronislaw Malinowski established a theoretical approach called functionalism: view that a culture is similar to a biological organism, in which parts work to support the operation and maintenance of the whole. Religion and family contribute to the functioning of the whole culture. Functionalism is linked to holism, the view the one must study all aspects of a culture in order to understand it. Franz Boas, considered founder of North American cultural anthropology; learned from the Inuit people in different cultures may have different perceptions of basic physical substances, such as “water;” came to recognize the individuality and validity of different cultures. Introduced cultural relativism, view that each culture must be understood in terms of the values and ideas of that culture and not be judged by the standards of another. According to Boas, no culture is more advanced than another. Mead as public anthropologist Mead is Boas’s most famous student; contributed to knowledge of South Pacific cultures, gender roles, and the impact of child-rearing practices on personality. Mead was an early public anthropologist who took the importance of bringing cultural anthropology knowledge to the general public on order to create positive social change. Cultural materialism Marxist theory emerged in anthropology, stating the importance of people’s access to the means of production; inspired the emergence of cultural relativism , an approach to studying culture by emphasizing the material aspects of life, especially the natural environment and how people make a living. Definitions of culture/ characteristics of culture Sir Edward Taylor “Culture, or civilization… is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” Marvin Harris “A culture is the total socially acquired life-way or life-style of a group of people. It consists of the patterned repetitive ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that are characteristic of the members of a particular society or segment of society” Clifford Geertz believes that culture consists of symbols, motivations, moods, and thoughts. This definition focuses on people’s perceptions, thoughts, and ideas and doesn’t include behavior as a part of culture. Miller believes culture is learned and shared behavior and beliefs; exists among all human beings, something that all humans have. Microculture, or local culture, refers to distinct patterns of learned and shared behavior and ideas found in local regions and among particular groups; based on ethnicity, gender, age, and more. Culture is not same as nature. Culture and nature are intertwined and difficult to separate. A good way to see how
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Unit 1 Study Guide - Unit 1 Study Guide: Defining...

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