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What is anthropology?
• Study of humanity.• Study of societies (groups with theirorganization, institutions, relations, rules ofbehavior)• Anthropology confronts basic questions ofhuman existence and survival:- How we originated- How we have changed- How we are changing still
What is anthropology?3 Characteristics
Three distinctive characteristics:1. Concept of culture2. Holistic3. Comparative
What is anthropology?Culture
• Culture: The learned, shared values, beliefs, and rules that structure people’sthinking and behaviours.
• ** Unlike psychology, sociology, political science, economics (which otherwiseoverlap in many ways with anthropology, but generally pay little attention tothe role of culture)
What is anthropology?Holistic
• Holistic: any aspect of life is enmeshed in many other aspects − to reallyunderstand things, you have to take all aspects of culture or society intoaccount
• Interested in the whole of the human condition:- Past, present, and future- Biology- Society- Language- Culture
What is anthropology?Comparative
• Comparative: Anthropology collects and compares examples of differentways of living
• Anthropology values all different ways equally no assumption that our ownis necessarily the best, most natural, most common, etc.
• Anthropology has an interest in learning comparative things about culturessuch as− what is universal and what is not− what is common, rare, and why− why certain variations occur in certain circumstances but not in others,− why certain features tend to occur together, etc.
• Comparisons across time: culture change− evolution or development of new kinds of societies and features of culture− globalization being the overarching process now− but actually since 1492 or beforeWednesday, January
Where did Anthropology come from?
• A long interest and concern in Western thought with the “other” (one thatcontinues today, although the “other” is just as often corporate culture andurban subcultures as exotic “lost” tribes).
• Distinct traditions in North America and Europe.
• What we consider Anthropology today was founded in North America byFranz Boas.
The traditional four subfields of Anthropology(As defined by Franz Boas)
- - linguistic anthropology
- -physical anthropology
- -cultural anthropology
- -archeologicl anthropology
• Cultural Anthropology: The study ofliving people and societies
• Ethnography: description of a culturethrough “participant observation”
− Ethnography refers to both the product (abook) and the process (anthropologists doethnography)
•Ethnology: the comparative study ofcultures, based on personal observation andon reading ethnographies:
− coming up with generalizations, patterns,theories, etc. about cultures
Physical or Biological Anthropology
• Biological Anthropology: Study of human fossils, genetics, and bodily growth andnonhuman primates
• Humans as biological organisms− human adaptation to the environment− how human biology affects or even explains some aspects of behavior, society, andculture, and how features of culture in turn have biological effects
• Paleoanthropology: evolution of humans and our closer relatives
• Primatology: study of non-human primates for clues about basic human nature
• Archaeology − study of past culturesbased primarily on remains of materialculture
• Prehistoric and historic
• Artifacts, food remains, architecture,modified landscapes, human remains, etc,all show how people lived andrelationships between groups of people.
• Shows cultural process over long periodsof time.
• Linguistic Anthropology: considers how speechvaries with social and cultural factors and overtime.• To learn and document unstudied languages, oftenwithout their own writing system• To study of language itself− documenting and understanding languages− their development (historical linguistics)− cognitive processes involved- language in social context− how language is influenced by other aspects ofculture, and how it influences other aspects ofculture
Since Boas’ day, Anthropology has changed
More than 4 fields, and other cross-cutting types ofAnthropology
• Most broadly, appliedanthropology− government development andaid projects− medical programs− non-governmentalorganizations (non-profits), oftendevelopment, economic,advocacy, human rights/ UN• business anthropology:- culture of the workplace,production, marketing,management• Medical anthropology• Cultural resource management(CRM)• Visual anthropology• cognitive or psychologicalanthropology• Anthropology of law
• Anthropological practice:
• by immersion• meanings as well as measurement• observation as well as experiment• humanistic as well as scientific• small scale as well as complexsocieties• advocacy as well as analysis
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