Cultural Anthropology 101 Lecture Notes Chapters 4

Cultural Anthropology 101 Lecture Notes Chapters 4 -...

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Chapter 4 – The Process of Enculturation: Psychological Anthropology Psychological Anthropology ; that area concerned with how culture affects  personality, child rearing, emotions, attitudes, and social behavior.  Psychological anthropology  is a subdiscipline of anthropology that investigates the  psychological conditions that encourage endurance and change in social systems, with  the goal of better understanding the relationship between culture and the individual.  It  covers approaches that examine anthropological investigations that make use of  psychological concepts and methods. Defined simplistically as “the science of  behavior,” psychology encompasses the field of anthropology, which focuses on “the  science of humanity.”  It logically follows that without human behavior, the field of  anthropology would not exist.  With the rise of evolutionary theory in the mid-to late- nineteenth century it was believed that human beings progressed in three stages:  savagery, barbarism and civilization.  It was assumed that the members of a group at  any given evolutionary stage shared common psychological characteristics, including  ways of experiencing the world, distinctive needs and way of thinking. In the 1920’s a psychological approach to studying culture moved into the forefront of  American anthropology, with the formation of the culture and personality approach,  founded by Edward Sapir, Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead.  In 1934, Sapir posited  that “the more one tried to understand a culture, the more it seems to take on the  characteristics of a personality organization.” (Sapir, 1949, 201).  He went on to assert  that patterns of culture are connected by “symbolism or implication” and that an  ethnographer must get beyond the superficial categories usually explored, such as  kinship or ritual to fully understand the connections that make up these patterns.  He  encouraged anthropologists to focus their studies on individuals, because he believed  that individuals look for and create meaning in their world, acting as a microcosm of the  culture in which they live.  Sapir’s ideas became the foundation on which culture and  personality theory was built. The materialist approach is Marxist in nature.  They believed that the primary force in  people’s lives is the awareness of shared material interests.  This applies class 
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psychology to anthropology and cuts across nationalist and ethnic boundaries, looking  at class structure.
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This note was uploaded on 01/04/2012 for the course ANTH ANTH 101 taught by Professor Hazeljackson during the Fall '09 term at College of Southern Nevada.

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Cultural Anthropology 101 Lecture Notes Chapters 4 -...

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