Notes Chp 1-7 - Class 1 What is Anthropology Anthropos...

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1Class 1 What is Anthropology? Anthropos+ Logos or Humans+Study of/science of Anthropology is a young discipline. Began only around the 20 th century. Anthropology is the Handmaiden of Colonialism. Colonial powers used Missionaries, Priests, adventurers and Ship Captains to gather information about other cultures which they then used to conquer and rule a country better. Traditionally, Anthropology has 4 subfields- Cultural/sociocultural anthropology Physical/biological Archaeology Linguistics Today we have a fifth subfield, Applied Anthropology. Culture is an essential part of anthropology. Going to the football game, a wedding, going to church, or out on a date are all elements of culture. There is no such thing as ‘uncultured’ in anthropology. Anthropology believes that everyone has culture. The bushman or tribe in the desert has as much culture as a singer in the opera house. Edward B Tylor’s definition of culture- Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, arts, morals, law and custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society. “Acquired by man” refers to the fact that culture is learned. The process through which a child learns her/his culture- Enculturation Primary Group- The group from which a child learns much of their culture. This group includes Parents, Extended family and relatives. Secondary Group- The group from which a child learns culture but to a much lesser degree than with the Primary group. This group includes teachers, friends, acquaintances etc. Class 2 In 1952 there were 160 definitions for culture. Most of these definitions say the same thing in different terms. Edward B Tylor’s definition is considered the most comprehensive. Culture is everything we HAVE, THINK and DO as members of a society.
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HAVE- refers to material possessions, such as tangible objects. Pen, paper, cars. THINK- Ideas, values and attitudes DO- Actions performed by members of a society, all of which generally are part of a pattern. People often equate Race with Culture. But they are two different terms. Race is biological and Culture is social or non-biological. Attributes or characteristics of culture Culture is shared- all members of a group need to share something for it to be called culture. If only one person has, thinks or does something it is not culture. When it is shared and acquires a meaning understood by the group that it becomes culture. Culture is learned- we are not born with culture. It is not genetic. It is something that we pick up as members of a culture and society. We are born with the capacity for culture. Biological determinism- When we attribute behavior to genes/biology, it is considered biological determinism. Anthropology does not believe in biological determinism.
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