DSST Anthropology as a Discipline

Context of each find is vital to enable the

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'context' of each find is vital to enable the archaeologist to draw conclusions about the site and the nature and date of its occupation. Various Theoretical Perspectives In cultural anthropology, structuralism is the school of thought developed by the French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss , in which cultures, viewed as systems, are analyzed in terms of the structural relations among their elements. According to Lévi-Strauss's theories, universal patterns in cultural systems are products of the invariant structure of the human mind. Structure, for Lévi-Strauss, referred exclusively to mental structure, although he found evidence of such structure in his far-ranging analyses of kinship, patterns in mythology, art, religion, ritual, and culinary traditions. In analyzing kinship terminology and kinship systems, the accomplishment that first brought him to preeminence in anthropology, Lévi-Strauss suggested that the elementary structure, or unit of kinship , on which all systems are built is a set of four types of organically linked relationships: brother/sister, husband/wife, father/son, and mother's brother/sister's son. Lévi-Strauss stressed that the emphasis in structural analysis of kinship must be on human consciousness, not on objective ties of descent or consanguinity. In social sciences, functionalism is the theory based on the premise that all aspects of a society —- institutions, roles, norms, etc.-—serve a purpose and that all are indispensable for the long-term survival of the society.
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The approach gained prominence in the works of 19th-century sociologists, particularly those who viewed societies as organisms. The French sociologist Emile Durkheim argued that it was necessary to understand the "needs" of the social organism to which social phenomena correspond. Durkheim was a major supporter of functionalism, a theory stressing the importance of interdependence among all behavior patterns and institutions within a social system to its long-term survival. In an attempt to develop a more dynamic analysis of social systems, the American sociologist Talcott Parsons introduced a structural-functional approach that employs the concept of function as a link between relatively stable structural categories. Any process or set of conditions that does not contribute to the maintenance or development of the system is said to be dysfunctional. In particular, there is a focus on the conditions of stability, integration, and effectiveness of the system. Thus, ecology in the social sciences is the study of the ways in which the social structure adapts to the quality of natural resources and to the existence of other human groups. When this study is limited to the development and variation of cultural properties, it is called cultural ecology .
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