Anthro Study, 1
The “Psychic Unity of Mankind”
-- What are some major aspects of what anthropologists mean by “culture”?
Shelter, customs, dress, systems of betrothal and matrimony, religion, social
organization, language, diet, etc.
-- How does culture “work” in practice, according to anthropology?
It brings all members together under one identity.
Culture allows a group of
people to live a common lifestyle, share common beliefs, and grow as a
community around a core set of customs and principles.
-- What was it about the cultural variation in perception (of sounds, colors, etc.) that
influenced Boas’ thinking about culture?
Cultures divide and consider the color spectrum in different ways, and this is also
true of sounds.
Boas uses this fact in his argument that all cultural identities and
traits are artificial, so all peoples have equal general capacities.
construct and foster themselves in their own creative ways, and there should be no
definition of what constitutes a ‘correct’ way.
Boas claims that the term
‘primitive’ has no place in the comparison of peoples, and the concept of culture
must be approached with “loving penetration”.
Otherwise there is great risk of
wrong conclusions since bias results in misinterpretation.
-- Why are anthropologists suspicious of stories about children raised by wolves?
Because it’s a dumb fucking idea
-- What is cultural relativism?
judging cultures on their own terms
principle that people should not
judge the behavior of others using the standards of their own culture, and that
each culture must be analyzed on its own terms
“Anthropology and the Other”
-- Now, based on what you know about culture and cultural diversity, how is
cultural diversity related to history and social inequality?
After the renaissance and industrial revolution, Western nations and cultures
underwent dramatic changes as they moved into modernity.
All other peoples
were left behind in this movement, and Western nations began to develop a sense
of superiority towards cultures that now seem to be ‘primitive’.
has continued into current times in the form of racism and ethnocentrism by
historically western ethnicities.
As a result of discrimination, social inequality
exists in western nations towards minorities and immigrants from non-western