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Unformatted text preview: Anthropology 101- Cultural Anthropology Chapter 1 Introduction to Anthropology What is Anthropology? Anthropology is the study of the human species and its immediate ancestors. It is a comparative science that examines all societies, ancient and modern, simple and complex. It offers a unique cross-cultural perspective, constantly comparing the customs of one society with those of others. Anthropology is holistic , in that the discipline is concerned with studying the whole of the human condition: past, present and future. Anthropology studies biology, society, language and culture. Anthropology offers a unique cross-cultural perspective by constantly comparing the customs of one society with those of others. People share both society and culture. Society is organized life in groups a feature that humans share with other animals. Cultures are traditions and customs, transmitted through learning, that governs the beliefs and behaviors of the people exposed to them. While culture is not biological, the ability to use it rests in hominid biology. Adaptation is the process by which organisms cope with environmental stresses. Humans are the most adaptable animals in the world; we have the ability to inhabit widely variant ecological niches. Through time, social and cultural means of adaptation have become increasingly important for human groups. Human groups have devised diverse ways of coping with a wide range of environments, and the rate of this cultural adaptation has been rapidly accelerating during the last 10,000 years. Food production developed between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago after millions of years during which hunting and gathering was the sole basis for human subsistence. The first civilization developed between 6,000 and 5,000 years ago. More recently, the spread of industrial production has profoundly affected human life such as, Modernization, Globalization, and Agroindustrialization that have had an immense impact on cultural communities in the Third World. The academic discipline of American anthropology is unique in that it includes four sub disciplines: Cultural Anthropology, Archaeological Anthropology, Bilogical/Physcial Anthropology, and Linguistic Anthropology. This is also known as the four-field approach developed in the U.S., as early American anthropologists studying native peoples of North America became interested in exploring the origins and diversity of the groups that they were studying. Variation in Time (diachronic research): using information from contemporary groups to model changes that took place in the past, and using knowledge...
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