Part One – Essay
In class, Dr. Steven’s presented what he considers the three “levels” of culture. Discuss
each, with careful discussion of its meaning and significance to the anthropological study of
people. Give at least one specific illustration from the course material, and identify the
The three levels of culture are ethnographic (a culture/society),
Ethnography is anthropology discription of a particular contemporary culture by means of direct
field work. They tend to be discriptive and focus on a single culture. For example,
one may live
in the Saharrah desert to observe the customs of the people (lecture?). Dr Andreatta, while
serving president of the Society for Applied Anthropology, conducts her own applied research
among fishermen on the North Carolina coast. Ethnology is the study of cultural similarities and
differences (comparison). They use the data collected by other ethnographers, and generalize
across many cultures.
Subjects for ethnologists include: the lifeways of the Inuits living in the
Artic tundra, Greek peasants, Maasai herdsmen in Tanzania, and the residents of a retirement
home in southern california. Biological is the study of human physical variation and how humans
adapt due to the environment. The anthropoligist may study gentics, population biology
(interrelationships between population characteristics and environments) or epidemiology (study
of occurrence, distribution, and control of disease in populations). All of these are significant to
anthropology and the study of cultures; how societies adapt, interact with eachother, and survive.
How/ why are we justified into looking for underlying biological bases for culture? If we
want to deduce an evolutionary biological basis
for culture, of what significance is the fact
of cultural universals
, to our investigation? Make reference to course material.
We are justified into looking for underlying biological bases for culture because
variation helps certain populations/ races adapt to their environment.
Genetics (the study of
inherited physical traits), population biology (the study of interrealtionships between population
characteristics and environments), and epidemiology (the study of the occurrence, distribution,
and control of disease in populations) are all looked into by anthropologists, to figure out how
certain societies adapted to certain environments. Some examples of human variation are:
populations with the greatest amount of melanin are found in tropical regions, while lighter
skinned live in the northern regions; africans tend to have sickle-celled to protect themselves
from malaria; dark skinned people in tropical areas becase it protects people from ultraviolet
light. Cultural universals (those general cultural traits found in all societies of the world), means
that humans are able to develop differences (or solutions) to different environmental and cultural
situations. Each culture has developed its own set of solutions to the universal human problems.