Anthropology: The Fundamental Social Science
Anthropology is, according the American Anthropological Association, "the study of humans, past and present" (AAA, 2011). Anthropology looks at what it means to be human; it is "a field of inquiry that studies human culture and evolutionary aspects of human biology, including cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and biological anthropology" (Jurmain, Kilgore, & Trevathan 2006: 6). It, therefore, is the fundamental social (and behavioral) science discipline that is concerned with humans. To understand Anthropology, one must understand social science, which is "a branch of science that deals with the institutions and functioning of human society and with the interpersonal relationships of individuals as members of sociality" (ebster's, 2011). hile other social sciences describe and explain aspects of humanity, anthropology looks at humanity holistically.
Anthropology is, at its heart, a discipline concerned with both the biological and sociocultural aspects of humanity. As such, it sets the…… [Read More]
Anthropology can broadly be defined as the study of humanity based on its evolutionary origins in the past millions of years and its current global diversity. Unlike other disciplines that focus on one or another aspect of humanity, anthropology focuses on how people plan their lives and relate to each other in interacting, interconnected groups or societies with similar beliefs and practices. Anthropologists share many interests with other disciplines such as economics, sociology, political science, psychology, and biological science. However, this discipline distinguishes itself from the others based on three major characteristics i.e. A holistic view, a comparative perspective, and focus on the concept of culture (Bonvillain, p.4).
I am interested in becoming an anthropologist because of the focus of this discipline in studying humanity. A career in this field will provide me with knowledge, skills, and tools that will enable me to study the past, work with…… [Read More]
Religion is an inherent part or element of a culture or society, and this must be viewed in the context of the society/culture in which this religion developed and thrived. It must be considered that all religions give credit to humanity's existence through a certain god / goddess (or in the case of polytheistic religions, gods/goddesses). Differences across religions lie only on the traditions observed, roles assumed by each member, and worldview and perspectives about specific issues, understood from the context of the society's/culture's religion. However, the central idea of having a creator/creators that govern all living and non-living things in the world remains constant across religions, therefore making it possible for anthropologists to consider and explain the concept of universality of religion.
10. How and why do cultures change?
Cultures change because of changes in the peoples' interactions or geographical phenomena. Changes in the social actors and their interactions…… [Read More]
Although the writer explained his honest opinion, he still showed respect to the people concerned and his reasons sound fair enough for the Yanomami and other indigenous people.
The fourth letter indicated some direct criticisms to the AAA organization. The writer explained facts based from his study and in turn explained his comments and criticisms which are also based from factual information that he had researhed on. As compared to the first three letters where the writer showed deep concern for the Yanomami and other indigenous people, the writer in this letter showed concern on the credibility of the AAA organization. This is apparent in his suggestions that can prevent Yanomami from failures and from having criticisms from others.
The fifth letter sounds suggestive and yet reprimanding. In the first paragraph of the letter, the writer explained the purpose of the AAA. This is perhaps to generally indicate to the…… [Read More]
Cultural Construction -- Fundamental beliefs, definitions, behaviors, and relationships that are attributable to social learning and culture-specific expectations rather than to biology.
What is participant observation and what are the advantages of it (please use the virtual reality game (econd Life) as an example.
Participant observation is a type of anthropological, sociological, and other research-based disciplines in which the researcher can become directly and intimately involved with specific populations of research subjects. In its traditional format, researchers from one culture live with foreign societies as a method of increasing their understanding of their cultures through direct first-hand, face-to-face experiences as temporary members of those cultures.
In the context of the study of virtual-reality-game societies such as econd Life, participant observation takes the form of participating in the virtual reality game and interacting exclusively with econd Life characters within that virtual context. The advantage of this type of research is that…… [Read More]
Anthropology, in the broadest sense of the term, is concerned with the whole history of mankind: man in the context of evolution. Yet this is a difficult position to take because being concerned with man as he occurs and as he has occurred means that the body and the soul must be taken into consideration together and the differences in man associated with time and location must be investigated. Still, there is a fundamental difference between the work of an anthropologist and that of an anatomist or a psychologist who deal, primarily, with the common functioning of the human mind and body. Accordingly, "Minor differences such as appear in any series of individuals are either disregarded or considered as peculiarities without particular significance for the type, although sometimes suggestive of its rise from lower forms."
To the anthropologist, on the other hand, each individual human must be seen through the…… [Read More]
How an Anthropologist Knows
There are many different ways anthropologists can gather information and draw conclusions about the artifacts they encounter. Even when confronted with two very similar female skeletons from the same period, a skilled anthropologist will likely be able to make certain determinations about the people that these skeletons belonged to back when they were animated and covered in softer tissues. Features of the skeletons themselves as well as other artifacts found on or near the skeletons can also provide clues as to their identity -- not their names or other highly specific information (at least, not in most cases), but possibly their occupation familial role(s), station in society, and especially their socioeconomic status. The next few paragraphs will outline several ways in which an anthropologist can come to these and other conclusions about a skeleton from a simple examination.
There are three main types of forensic…… [Read More]
Anthropology: An Analysis of Two Articles
The Gender and Labor Politics of Postmodernity" by Aihwa Ong and "Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Community" by Arjun Appadurai both offer perspectives on the impact of the changing global economy. These two articles will now be analysed in turn. This involves describing the main argument of each article, considering how each article is persuasive, considering how each article is confusing, and finally, considering how each author either agrees or disagrees with the ideas of other scholars.
In "The Gender and Labor Politics of Postmodernity" Aihwa Ong discusses the situation in the modern industrial work environment, also focusing on the role of women in this environment. Ong argues that there is a gap between what the literature says is happening and what the real experiences of workers are. In the essay, Ong attempts to show what the real situation is by looking…… [Read More]
Anthropology - Culture
According to White's "Energy and the Evolution of Culture," culture is a multifaceted dynamic which operates on a few different levels. Quite literally, the author proposes the notion that there are three primary facets of culture and its expression. These are the technological, sociological, and the ideological parts of culture. However, the writer makes a point of noting that despite the fact that these different modes of culture are interrelated and both act upon and react to the forces of one another, they do not do so equally. White believes that the technological aspect of culture is the most dominant one, and effectively asserts its influence on the other two realms the most. Consequently, the author believes that culture evolves in accordance to technology and the technological aspect of culture.
Essentially, culture evolves because of technology's effect upon it. At the core of this notion advocated by…… [Read More]
Gift giving creates a bond between the giver and the receiver. Mauss felt that to reject a gift, was to reject the social bond attached to it. Likewise, to fail to reciprocate is viewed as a dishonorable act in some cultures. Gift giving is a means to create social cohesion among the group.
What Distinctive contributions did Weber make to social theory?
Weber used his work to attempt to understand the differences between traditional cultures and modern western society. He disagrees with organic theories and placed more emphasis on the individual's contribution to the whole (Weber, in Anthropological Theory, 1922: 112-113). Weber contributed the idea that religion changes the motives of the individual. Therefore, religion played a constructive role in the development of society. Weber felt that individuals in traditional societies selected and followed leaders based on their personalities, or out of tradition. He felt that individuals in Western society…… [Read More]
Technological innovations were common as mankind learned to communicate with one another. Working in social groups early humans discovered tools, methods for controlling fire and using the wheel and eventual begin developing methods for "recording and communicating message" to one another, resulting in "the creation of larger societal units, hierarchical differentiation and specialized division of labor" (Laszlo, 2001: 654).
Language communication and development have made possible faster growth, more complexity within society and higher levels of socialization and interaction. Through increased communication and interaction humans were able to develop and work together to discover technological innovation that further changed the way humans behave. Organization within human communities and territorial expansion continued to rise and homosapiens continued on a path of socio-cultural evolution stemming from language developments (Gibson, 1987).
Current Behavioral Implications Modern Humans
Laszlo (2001) suggests we are at a "critical juncture in the history of our species" when "a…… [Read More]
Many of the poems produced by the Bushmen are written in this manner, which does not rhyme and can seem disjointed. However, it is also possible to sense the deep communion with nature that the Bushmen have in the way they express themselves through poetry and other writings. They want to show the beauty of the land they live on, and provide others with a way to see the value in it, as well. The flowers, trees, grass, and even the animals they hunt and kill for food and other needs are all revered by them, much more so than most people do today. They also see themselves in nature, and want to express that experience of everything being connected to everything else. This is not always an easy thing to express, but it Bushmen found a way to do so.
Both Bank and Krog, in their discussions of Bleek…… [Read More]
The other positive is that I will be travelling and meeting new people in my life as well as trying out new ways of life there.
How do you anticipate your field experience might change your initial plans and expectations?
The field work will definitely change my plans as well as expectations since from the American view, Turkey happens to be another society that is not fully democratized ad needs to adapt to democratic leadership. The thing no one is talking about is the type of community exists at the grassroots especially the youth and the changes they might be undergoing and only concentrates on the older generation. These are the perceptions that will be shaped about the Turkey community and the youth community in particular.
eflect on what you think distinguishes an anthropological approach and anthropological research from other types of research through your specific imagined case study.
Anthropological…… [Read More]
Anthropology of Power and Maoism by Andrew Kipnis
China in the 20th century had been under the reformist political system of Communism, where Mao Zedong, its first leader, led to country towards Cultural Revolution. Under Mao's leadership, Chinese society has been transformed into a Socialist society, which became possible through the peasant revolution, since Socialism decrees that social changes include the rise of peasant leadership (the proletariat class) over the elite (bourgeoisie class).
Indeed, Mao's influence as the great Communist leader of one of the biggest and most powerful Communist countries in the world had permeated the lives of every Chinese of the 20th century. That is why anthropologists, seeking to understand the anthropology of power under Mao's leadership, conducted research that looked into power relations and dynamics during and after Mao's reign as leader of China. In Kipnis' study on the anthropology of power and Maoism in China, he…… [Read More]
Anthropology and Total Institutions
The presence of total institutions within our overall societal structure provides a unique opportunity for anthropologic inquiry through the standardization of individual behaviors. First introduced by sociologist Erving Goffman in his 1957 essay On the Characteristics of Total Institutions, the concept of total institution is used to describe "social arrangements which regulate, under one roof and according to one rational plan, all spheres of individuals' lives -- sleeping, eating, playing and working" (Goffman, Lemert and Branaman, 1997, p. 54). While total institutions exist in multiple forms throughout society, ranging from orphanages and nursing homes to army barracks and mental hospitals, perhaps no other organizational establishment embodies Goffman's conception of a total institution better than the modern prison. The intensely structured and overtly authoritarian environment fostered inside a prison system epitomizes a total institution because its "total character is symbolized by the barrier to social intercourse with…… [Read More]
People attended universities and literacy expanded so there was a commensurate appreciation for aesthetics in general, and cathedral art in particular. Secular themes appearing in religious paintings brought a genre to the attentive eye that had not previously been presented.
FIVE: Three heroes in the romantic genre include Jean-Jacques Rousseau (historical), who was a hero leading up to the French Revolution, and many of his ideas of liberty were embraced after the revolution. Also, Byron's "Manfred" (literature) was a hero of a different sort as he wandered among the mountains and stayed far away from society. In the world of art, heroes were portrayed by Eugene Delacroix (he made Arabs heroes in "The Lion Hunt") and Jacques-Louis David who painted heroes from Greek mythology, and he painted Socrates ("The Death of Socrates") certainly an historic hero.
INTRODUCTION to CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY: ONE: European Colonialism is the seizing of land on foreign…… [Read More]
Short-Term Consequences of Long-Term Evolutionary Benefits:
Over the long-term, bipedal locomotion provides such a profound evolutionary advantage that it outweighs even significant negative consequences to the individual. In fact, many of the most common medical complaints of modern humans relate directly to the physiological realities of the transition of anatomical systems originally designed for quadruped locomotion to the later evolution of bipedalism. Chronic lower back pain, for example, afflicts approximately 80% of the human population. According to physiologists, this is a direct function of the changed role of a spinal column originally designed as an arched support connecting two sets of load-bearing limbs to a vertically- loaded column supporting the compression load required by the shift to bipedalism.
Likewise, the transition to the narrower hips necessary for efficient bipedal locomotion is the source of significant potential problems affecting the connective tissues, particularly in the knee. Specifically, the change in angle…… [Read More]
The Songs of Salanda and Other Stories of Sulu by H. Arlo Nimmo is loosely based on the experiences he had conducting field work as an anthropologist. Nimmo injects into the narrative insight based on the two years in the mid-1960's he spent living with the nomadic boat-dwelling Bajau in the Sulu Islands of the southern Philippines. The book contains a total of 16 stories, many of which describe the practices of shamans and the role that they play in the context of this particular community.
In general a Shaman is defined as "a priest or priestess who uses magic for the purpose of curing the sick, divining the hidden, and controlling events ("shaman")." According to Atkinson, the concept of Shamism in the study of ananthropology has been met with a great deal of skepticism. Atkinson explains that "shamanism is ... A made-up, modem, estern category, an artful reification…… [Read More]
Colonialism has left lingering negative effects nearly everywhere it has been practiced, and particularly in Africa. The film N-ai, the Story of a ?Kung oman by John Marshall is a documentary that clearly shows the legacy of colonialism and the perpetuation of ethnocentrism and an unjust social order. hen determining how to proceed, and what recommendations to make the governmental and non-governmental groups working in Namibia, it is critical to understand the background and legacy of colonialism in this part of Africa. Only by learning from the mistakes of the past will it be possible to envision and create a bright future for all residents of the region.
As N!ai states in the documentary, "Before the white people came, we did what we wanted." This is a deceptively simple statement, but one that reveals the complex current relationships between the residents of Namibia and the foreign interests that continue…… [Read More]
Film Analysis: First Contact
The film First Contact is a real example of what happens when two cultures collide. It is the true story of over a million people in Papua New Guinea who had no idea other people existed outside their world. This changed when three white men in search of gold, walked into their world. This documentary covers the initial reaction of the people and how they perceived the white men, describes the way the white men perceived the tribe and shows how the tribe changed. This documentary offers a real look at the situation from the perspective of the non-estern culture. In the article "Cosmologies of Capitalism" Sahlins argues that the impact of estern cultures on non-estern cultures needs to be understood from the perspective of the non-estern culture. The documentary provides this focus, showing how the people of New Guinea perceived the white men. Based…… [Read More]
Anthropology eview and Critique: Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspectives
The textbook by Brettell and Sargent on the myriad and diverse studies of gender is not only written with excellent scholarship and with a style that is engaging, but the subject selections - and their order of placement - contribute to a wholly informative presentation. Even the introductions to each section are interesting and informative; indeed, a bright, alert reader could digest just the introductions to each section and be enriched far beyond what he or she knew prior to reading those openings.
But that same reader would be missing an enormous and valuable volume of information on the history of the human race and the human condition were he or she to only read the introductions.
NUMBE ONE: Studies of the anthropological perspective.
One very interesting angle on the study of man and woman in prehistory is provided by Lila Leibowitz…… [Read More]
A low reliability coefficient would imply that the test cannot be administered to the same subjects on successive occasions because subsequent administration of the test yields higher performance results by virtue of learning. I would employ this mechanism by administering the same test on different occasions; I would then use those results to determine the extent to which the test is useful beyond the first administration to any specific group of subjects.
5. Example of Gender-Biased Symbolic Logic Test Question
"A football team scores a touchdown and now leads its opponent by four points. Should they attempt a single-point kick or a two-point conversion?"
6. Specific Nature of Bias and Proposed Solution Prior to Testing
This test question is an objective measure of quantified logical reasoning but would be biased toward males by virtue of differential familiarity with American football rules. The researcher could have identified this bias by administering…… [Read More]
Biology is not destiny, either in terms of gender status or in terms of reproductive roles. Although female bodies carry the unique equipment for gestation and birth, their bodies do not and should not determine their destinies as human beings. The belief that biology is destiny has been used systematically to create and maintain patriarchal societies. Moreover, the belief that biology is destiny has been used to create and maintain strict gender norms, roles, divisions of labor, and social stratification. Just because a woman can bear children does not mean that she must or should. Likewise, just because a woman can bear children does not mean that the ensuing duties and responsibilities associated with childcare and child rearing are hears alone to bear. As Stone (2014) points out, scholars critique the “biology is destiny” approach because it is too often and too easily used to justify gender roles, norms, and…… [Read More]
Bipedalism – Human Evolution
Human evolution takes into account the biotic as well as cultural development of humans. Human philosophies of the manner in which evolution of man came to be is ascertained by beliefs that have been espoused by scientists and societies dating as back as 400 decades ago. Human species, scientifically referred to as homo sapiens has extremely evolved in the last number of billion years. There have been numerous scientific developments and dissimilar events that gave rise to the ultimate evolution of mankind. One of the key changes that have taken place through evolution is bipedalism, which encompasses alterations in body features, for instance, increase in brain capacity. In particular, bipedalism is a kind of locomotion conducted on two feet and is the one aspect that that distinguishes humans from other kinds of hominoids (Ishida et al., 2006). The purpose of this paper is to examine…… [Read More]
One can run up against the barriers of entrenched social class, or perhaps lack certain required distinctions or certifications that readily confer status. hile few modern nations claim to possess hereditary classes, most do possess groups of individuals who control vast amounts of family wealth, and the power that goes with it. Many other individuals, by virtue of the social status of their families possess at least the resources to obtain college degrees, or open businesses of their own - all things that will improve their social status. Others lack these things and seem, despite socio-political theories to the contrary, to be condemned to a life as low status individuals. As in the past, inequality exists today, even in a supposedly equal society.
Angle, John. "The Surplus Theory of Social Stratification and the Size Distribution of Personal ealth." Social Forces 65.2 (1986): 293-326.
Maisels, Charles…… [Read More]
One of the major organizational consequences of matrilineal descent is that it results to the dominance of women while at the same time eradicating the "territorial" nature of males. This important feature of a matrilineal organization is vital, especially in the case of the Mosuo tribe, wherein the absence of territoriality discourages the practice of marriage. That is, women are bound only to their families and not their husbands or male relatives; the dominance of women in the tribe and dependence of males to females creates a matriarchal society instead of a patriarchal one.
The men's role in a matriarchal society is parallel with women's role in a patriarchal society, that is, to aid women in the process of procreation. Apart from his role as a father (but not a husband, as in the context of the Mosuo culture), males also help in daily household chores and to serve…… [Read More]
.." When one uses health foods it shows that person has "certain values and a commitment for a certain world view," Dubisch writes; and that person is experiencing a "mazeway resynthesis," a mental map, a mental image of the world that is entirely individual. Health food use is a "system of symbols" in which foods have life-giving properties. The Pentecostal Church also believes in "healing" and like the health food movement, is skeptical about doctors' ability to heal. "Even when a person receives medical assistance, he can still look to God for diving healing" (United Pentecostal Church International). "He can and often does heal miraculously without any human assistance...many people in our churches can testify to being miraculously healed by God..."
10 Occupational Folklore: When a person in an occupation learns and plays out certain rituals and beliefs, it is important for research to be conducted into those behaviors for…… [Read More]
Shamanism is a practice that is pervasive throughout many cultures. The Songs of Salanda and Other Stories of Sulu by H. Arlo Nimmo explored shamanism amongst the Bajau people of the Philippines. Life and Hard Times of a Korean Shaman: Of Tales and the Telling of Tales is a novel created by Laurel Kendall which explores shamanism in Korea. The purpose of this discussion is to provide anthropological commentary on Life and Hard Times of a Korean Shaman while also comparing and contrasting the book to The Songs of Salanda and Other Stories of Sulu. Let us begin the discussion with some background information on the book by Laurel Kendall.
Life and Hard Times of a Korean Shaman
Like Nimmo, Kendall is also an anthropologist. Kendall worked with Korean shamans throughout the 1970's and the book came about as a result of those experiences. Life and Hard Times of…… [Read More]
I try not to pry into what I see as the private business of others. Privacy, I believe is something that is strongly valued in America -- in other societies, older societies, what one did was of interest to the community, even if it took place behind closed doors. However, despite or even because of the privacy and freedom given to me, I try to uphold my high moral standards, even when I do not feel that there is someone like a priest or a policeman 'watching' over my shoulder.
However, I do think that given that we live in an age where life is growing even more private, maybe too private, as so many people spend the little leisure time they have surfing the net, pretending to be anonymous individuals in the virtual and disembodied space of the Internet. It is easy to profess one set of morals at…… [Read More]
... further, that it would be only a question of time until the entire Pacific coast region would be controlled by the Japanese.' Yet Japan's ultimate aim was not limited to California or the Pacific Coast but was global domination achieved through a race war. 'It is the determined purpose of Japan,' the report stated, 'to amalgamate the entire colored races of the world against the Nordic or white race, with Japan at the head of the coalition, for the purpose of wrestling away the supremacy of the white race and placing such supremacy in the colored peoples under the dominion of Japan.'
The presence of sizeable numbers of persons of Japanese origin in California and other Western states was seen as but the beginnings of a Japanese attempt to not merely expand territorially into the United States, but to literally substitute the existing racial order with a new scheme…… [Read More]
According to functionalism, societal values also play an important role in governing a society by offering general guidelines for acceptable behavior through the establishment of roles and norms. For example, such societal institutions as the family, economy, education and government are essential aspects to the social structure, with each institution playing a role, related to the roles of the other institutions. In this sense, individuals will become interconnected through these institutions and therefore form a community.
Functionalism is based on three fundamental concepts. First, functionalism views society as a system. Accordingly, society is defined as a collection of interdependent parts that each exhibit a tendency toward reaching an equilibrium. Second, in order for a society to survive, certain functional requirements must be satisfied. An example of such a function is reproduction. Without reproduction, the population will not survive. Third, all societal phenomena or trends exist for the sole reason that…… [Read More]
This is not a revelation to those alert, informed, intelligent citizens who pay attention to news broadcasts. Still, the ongoing media bias towards distinct racial groups is intolerable in democratic societies, whether the U.S., Australia, or Britain. An article in the Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology (Voorhees, et al., 2007) states it very well in terms of the media portrayal of minorities in the U.S. Gulf Coast during and after Hurricane Katrina. Storm survivors (there were 1,500 deaths) indicated a "misrepresentation of minorities in media coverage" and this "systematic negative portrayal...contributes to...negative mental models, stereotypes, prejudices and ideologies about others, and hence," worst of all, "...indirectly [leads] to the enactment and reproduction of racism" (Voorhees, p. 418).
Balibar, Etienne. (?) Fictive Ethnicity and Ideal Nation.
Cable News Network - CNN (2009). The Black oman & Family. Retrieved March 6, 2009 at http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2008/black.in.america/index.html.
Goldenberg, Suzanne. (2008). Interview:…… [Read More]
For example, consider the phenomenon of the evil eye. Among this rural Iranian community, the evil eye represented a kind of gaze that could be cast-sometimes intentionally and sometimes not -- that can cause harm to others. The evil eye is a common concept throughout the Middle East and in many other communities. In the modern world, most consider the evil eye to be little more the ridiculous superstition. However, for the women of Deh Koh, the evil is very real and affects their behavior and reactions to life events.
Specifically, consider the matter of Simin's pregnancy. Once discovered, news of the upcoming birth spread rapidly throughout the community. The other women with whom Simin was close quickly presented her with all manner of charms and practices that they felt would best insure the health (and gender, for that matter) of the child. Simin's own mother "brought a bag with…… [Read More]
Most intriguing is the explanation that taphonomy provides as to why so many of the facial bones of Peking Man are missing from the skulls that were found at the Zhoukoudian site. An examination of the existing skulls demonstrated bite marks above the brow ridges that suggest the hyenas grasped the face of Peking Man in their mouth and literally bit off the face as a means of killing the prey, or gaining access to the lipid-rich brain tissue. The evidence, in this case, supports the authors' claims that taphonomy is a better explanation of the site than original archaeological conclusions. This sub-discipline is of particular import because it rejects the implied notion that fossils remains are static images of the moment of a creature's death, and instead accepts that even after death changes can occur that will affect the record we are…… [Read More]
What does racism means if race has no biological basis?
Race may have no biological basis, but anthropology does not study biology alone -- race is also a cultural construction. An African-American man might have the physical DNA of European, Caucasian individuals within his genetic code, but because he is subject to the racial classification and potential discrimination within America, because America holds race to be an extant category, this does not mean that race lacks significance as a subject of cultural study. Race may be a constructed fiction, but racism, or the hatred that the cultural fiction of race has spawned, is real.
It is important to remember the lack of true 'races' in the world, however, when analyzing potential associations between groups. For example, even though they may be considered different 'races' by society, groups of marginalized persons subject to the culturally constructed notion of racism may wish…… [Read More]
She provides a thorough account concerning how Buddhism is one of the religions that came to have a strong influence on people's understanding of their culture. Thailand is a location where Buddhism is an active part of people's lives and this means that religion can actually be considered an important tool for ethnographers wanting to find out more about the country's culture.
2. Victor Turner provides a complex account regarding how rituals are important when considering religion as a whole and about how particular rites are actually He relates to how social life needs social dramas where people are provided with the opportunity to introduce luminal experiences into their lives. The masses generally need to contain individuals who put across anti-social behavior and to actually encourage these people in doing so by promoting eccentric behaviors.
Michael Atwood Mason focuses on having people understand more concerning the role of the body…… [Read More]
The new division of these apartments that was thought to be a main feature of modern housing was not a solution to the problem of privacy. Most of the families only got a small bedroom with a small living space. Males and females often had to share the same rooms and in fact there was no room for children and guests (Bounrdieu, 1960).
This definitely shows the need for negotiating for modern space and daily life within el-Masaakin.in an analysis by an anthropologists he came to the conclusion that modern housing would not be sufficient for the production of modern articles and dispositions. However there are objective conditions which structure individual's appropriation of modern apartments. He maintained a clear distinction between the less and more privileged sections of the working class. Adopting modern housing is bound by cultural transformation where the segments of those who earn low incomes can not…… [Read More]
It would be easy to assume, then, that biologists are making a mistake by rejecting the race concept because that rejection would force them to also ignore such biological variation. However, this assumption would be false. Most intelligent anthropologists are not rejecting the idea of biological variation or a geographical/genetic component to that variation. On the contrary, they reject the idea of "race" specifically because it is not flexible enough to accurately model the full range of biological variation and therefore lumps all geographic/genetic variable populations together based on a small subset of their traits.
The race concept would lump together, for example, both the small and slightly darker Mediterranean body build with the robust, blond Nordic body build as both "White" while assuming that all the wide variety of genetic, facial, and morphological differences in Africa rendered a single "Black" race. The critical anthropologists would have to reject such…… [Read More]
Sociology and Anthropology
Because sociology and anthropology are both social sciences, one might assume that the same research methods would be utilized in the different fields. However, while some of the same approaches can be used in both fields, it is important to realize that the differences in the fields make different approaches possible for each discipline. Sociology specifically examines social life, social change, and the social factors that contribute to individual behavior. Sociologists use surveys, interviews, experiments, observation, and secondary analysis (Sociology.com, 2013). Cultural anthropology examines human culture. Anthropologists employ the following research methods: participant observation, cross-cultural comparison, survey research, interviews, archival research, media analysis, and historical analysis (Donahue-Lynch, 2000). Clearly, the disciplines are related; however, they are not the same. As a result, some approaches that are appropriate for one discipline would not be appropriate for the other discipline. This paper will investigate the different research methods used…… [Read More]
Culture in Anthropology:
Culture is basically defined as values, attitudes, and behaviors that are shared by a group of individuals. However, this definition of this has been a complex and relatively difficult task for anthropologists since the commencement of discipline in the late 19th Century. Culture originates from interactions and behaviors of people who eventually develop common attitudes, values, and behaviors. In essence, as people live and interact with one another, their learning skills and attitudes are in turn transmitted as knowledge and beliefs that are shared among them, which results in cultural beliefs and practices.
Despite the simple, basic definition of culture, anthropologists have struggled to describe and specify the concept since the discipline was established in the late 19th Century. There are various anthropologists who have attempted to define and specify the culture including Edward Tylor whose definition incorporates various significant features that are currently included in most…… [Read More]
The Usefulness of Anthropology in a Globalized Society
In his seminal text, The Naked Ape, Desmond Morris examines the biological basis for modern human behaviors in urban settings, and makes the point that some of the more baffling ways that people act today can be traced to evolutionary responses to the exigencies of the prehistoric environment. Since its publication in 1967, this anthropological analysis has been followed by a growing body of scholarship concerning evolution and ecological principles and their implications for modern society (Dunaif-Harris, 1987). Today, the concept of gender is undergoing increased scrutiny and notions such as pansexuality have emerged in response. The fundamental debate concerning nature versus nurture, though, still remains unresolved with respect to extent to which the environment influences modern gender roles, most especially those included in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queer (LGBTQ) communities. This paper provides a review of the relevant literature…… [Read More]
Ethics in Anthropology
The use of anthropologists in the war in Iraq is both compelling and troubling. The thought that social scientists could partner with marines to produce results in war extends my understanding of the role of social scientists well beyond the initial limited confines. Social scientists have played dominant roles in business, academia and other sociopolitical arenas. The inclusion on the battle redefines the role and provide new avenue for controversy. The troubling area is the ethics of using social scientists in a war zone. I believe that the role of social scientists will be more beneficial than harmful.
From the reading and the video it was clear that the American Anthropological Association is decidedly against anthropologists providing critical information to assist in military decision making. This position is based on the view that anthropologist in their interaction with other peoples and cultures should do no harm. Consequently,…… [Read More]
Letter to Future Anthropology Students
This letter is meant to help you make an informed decision on whether anthropology should be your minor or major. The letter addresses anthropology as related to human life. My hope is that you will gain from reading this letter and that you will, therefore, easily, decide. Anthropology focuses on human diversity and its meaning. It also looks at the inequities that bedevil human existence over time and the geographical stretch that such events occur in. Anthropology is both a humanistic science and a social science. The course is usually placed under the college of Humanities and Social Sciences in most universities across the globe. It explores the whole range of human activities and their attainments thereof. It has never been more important to understand the world we live in more than it is in the modern era. It is almost a survival…… [Read More]
Ethnology: Balinese vs. The Lahu
Gender and Sex in Anthropology
A Case Study in Comparative Ethnology: Balinese vs. The Lahu
Defining Sex and Gender
The definition of sex is generally treated as a category by both biologists and cultural anthropologists, a category with mainly two choices: male or female (orthman 597-598). From a biologist's perspective sex is the exchange of genetic material and the requisite biological functions required for successful procreation activities. For example, sperm and ovum are supplied by males and females, respectively, and women are the only ones capable of gestation and lactation. Primates, including humans, are generally required to make significant investments in child-rearing activities, so parental investment, in addition to mating investment, is thought to be required of both sexes (McIntyre and Edwards 84). The form that parental investment takes can in turn be heavily influenced by social norms, and accordingly sex helps to…… [Read More]
Our urban metropolises are no longer the vibrant or essential centers they used to be. The mass migration of the wealthy into the suburbs has left our cities with reduced tax bases and less stability and in turn the cities have rapidly begun decaying. Our cities today are decadent and dangerous. Cites are the remnants of the industrial age and that time is gone. Breaking down or getting a flat tire in the wrong block will get an unfortunate traveler an introduction into the horrors of street crime and the illegal narcotics industry. Our cities are just not nice places any more. "Residents air their complaints in community meetings (of block dubs, police beats, the Local School Council, church groups, the Chamber of Commerce). Gangs and gang bangers top the list of their concerns." (Pattillo) This report will attempt to present an anthropological answer to the culture of…… [Read More]
Jaguars and Were-Jaguars:
Conceptions and Misconceptions in Olmec Culture
There is not a question that jaguars were important to Mesoamerican religion and culture. The Olmecs were no exception to this rule. However, it seems that previous interpretations of Olmec art and architecture have erroneously placed more emphasis on the jaguar than is actually due. While a significant part of Mesoamerican culture, the jaguar did not play quite the all-encompassing role that many archaeologists have attributed to it. Specifically, the so-called "were-jaguar" motif might be representative of something other than a jaguar, or at least, contain elements of other animals in addition to the feline. Among others, it has been suggested that the "were-jaguar" babies were, instead, crocodilians, toads, deformed human children, snakes, or iguanas. This essay will look at the most convincing of these arguments, in particular, the possibility of the "were-jaguar" actually representing congenitally deformed babies, were-crocodilians,…… [Read More]
Sociology and Anthropology
After 1880, Africa underwent a major transformation with the European powers effectively dividing the continent among themselves. Over the next 100 years, nearly every major decision affecting the region would be made in a European capital. Then, each nation was able to gain their independence. To fully understand what took place requires: carefully examining the rationale for imperialism in Africa and studying the British vs. French colonizing missions. These factors will highlight the kinds of approaches that were used by the Europeans and the long-term impact of colonization. (Ciment, 2007, pp. 19 -- 24)
The ationale for Imperialism in Africa
The Europeans had different reasons for colonizing Africa. A few of the most notable include: to protect their own economic interests, maintain a balance of power and control key areas that are strategic importance. In the case of protecting their own economic interests, the Europeans believed that…… [Read More]
Kinship structures, then, are not normative, but is actually consisted of the mother and child alone, illustrating how the role of males have been gradually decreasing to being 'suppliers' of sperm cells for the women's use in assisted reproduction.
Studies from Carsten and Stone demonstrate the aspects demonstrated in Kahn's research. Carsten's research centers primarily on the kinship system extant in Malaysia, while Stone looks at how females have managed to gradually increase and assert their role in human society, eventually having their own choice to actively participate in the process of reproduction or not.
Carsten's analysis of the Malaysian kinship system shows that the concept of family goes beyond the traditional distinction of blood relations -- that is, people consider an individual as part of the family even though they are not related in blood. Being considered as part of family, then, happens through a process of constant interaction…… [Read More]
Louis Wirth based his urbanism studies on the city of Chicago where he lived.
A his research, he has identified three definable factors for urbanism: large population, dense settlement and social diversity. A city is "a large and permanent settlement, densely inhabited by a heterogeneous population." His urbanism describes the typical Western, industrial city: dangerous, unhealthy, where, due to the largeness of the city they live in, people develop forms of alienation and anarchy and where there is no sentiment of community.
Sally Merry found that Wirth's model worked best at a macro level, where she agrees with the anonymity that people live in and the disorder. However, she is more preoccupied with people manifestations at the city's peripheries: boundaries are a source of tension for people because of the unknown, so, starting with is, she observes human behavior at the city's boundaries.
Stanley Milgram somewhat refuted Wirth…… [Read More]
he debate on Neanderthal man's place in human evolution has continued unabated since the discovery of the first Neanderthal fossil in 1856. One camp believes Neanderthal man is a human ancestor and should be classified as a subspecies of modern man -- homo sapien neandertalis. he opposing view argues that Neanderthal man is a distinct species - homo neandertalis - a species entirely separate from modern humans. his paper argues that Neanderthal man is indeed related to modern humans by looking at key elements of the Neanderthal physiology, behavior and cultural life.
Recent findings on the mitochondrial DNA taken from the right humerus of a Neanderthal skeleton failed to show significant similarities with the mitochondrial DNA of modern humans. According to the study, one sequence of Neanderthal DNA shows significant variances from the same sequence in moderns. From this, researchers concluded that Neanderthals diverged about 600,000…… [Read More]
THE BLACKFEET NATION INDIANS
This is a five page paper dealing with the Blackfeet Nation Indians. It will explore the tribe's history and early lifestyles. It will also cover the health and education of the tribe now. Problems facing the tribe and methods used in preserving their culture will also be addressed. There are seven references used.
The Blackfeet Indians are a Native American tribe that live in Northern Montana. They have a history rich in traditions and rituals. There is some controversy on how they became known as Blackfeet, but many believe it is because of the black moccasins they wore. It's not sure how these moccasins became black, but two suggestions are the Indians painted them or they were darkened by prairie fire (www.blackfeetnation.com).
The original home of the Blackfeet is believed to have been in the eastern woodlands "north of the Great Lakes (www.blackfeetnation.com)."…… [Read More]
Votive deposition, religion and the Anglo-Saxon furnished burial ritual." In this article, Crawford examines burial practices for what they tell us about early religious belief's systems. View the following video by the anthropologist Nick Herriman; he describes the logic underneath belief systems. He does this with a few different societies. Explain what Nick Herriman examples provides to Crawford's article which is focused on burial evidence. Overall, connect the two sources to explain the ways that anthropologists are interested in uncovering clues about a group's belief system.
Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpgAtylzMQE
According to Crawford (2004), gravesites are often seen as physical reflections of abstract spiritual belief systems. In her analysis she "questions the distinction between grave sites and other sacred places" and "whether deposits should only ever be interpreted as reflections of social structure."[footnoteRef:1] The focus of anthropologists upon burial grounds and surrounding rituals, as noted in the video narrated by anthropologist…… [Read More]
Ethnography From an Artistic Point-of-View
One of the most intriguing things about art is that it pervaded all cultures, regardless of the conditions present in some communities. Values that seem absurd for some cultures can be especially appreciated by others and vice-versa, considering the complex nature of the contemporary society. Napoleon A. Chagnon's article "Doing Fieldwork among the Yanomamo" provides readers with a first person understanding of the Yanomamo tribe and with the opportunity to understand why the community's members take on attitudes that the masses might be inclined to criticize.
The writer emphasizes the extreme aggression present in the Yanomamo culture and the fact that these people actually consider this to be one of the most important values in their community. hat was even more surprising is that they seemed to be enthusiastic about it and that this induced feelings related to brutality and unfairness in Chagnon. As most…… [Read More]
Marvin Harris on the Cultural Materialist explanation for warfare ("Primitive War" in Cows, Pigs, Wars, & Witches)
American anthropologist Marvin Harris discusses the cultural materialist perspective of anthropology in explaining the occurrence of warfare among primitive societies in "Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches." In his exploration and study of different cultures in the world such as India, Brazil, Venezuela, among others, he emphasizes the role the structure and mode of production plays in the prevalence of warfare and the dominance of males within these societies (that is, the development of a patriarchal society).
Cultural materialism stems from Karl Marx's study of the political economies of industrial societies. Marvin Harris, following this Marxian tradition, intends to explain cultures in the world as dependent on their respective histories and economies. Cultural materialism posits that social activity is largely derived from structures within society (of which the terms "infrastructure," "structure," and "superstructure"…… [Read More]
Andean Indigenous Interest and Rights regarding the Politics of the Amazon
In today's society, there is a tremendous need for global initiatives to support biodiversity, conservation and the protection of nature, as well as the culture of local inhabitants, especially those living in the Amazon. In recent years, many governments and coalitions have partnered with communities and native leaders to protect biodiversity and culture.
Grass-roots organizations and scientific discoveries have increased awareness about these issues, which include democratic participation by indigenous people, intellectual property rights, and cultural and ethnic identity. Within the context of globalization, the world is shrinking, and the dominant cultures, those of Europe and the United States, are penetrating the local world, including the indigenous groups in the Amazon basin. This paper will discuss the Andean indigenous interest and rights regarding the politics of the Amazon.
Global interest in ecological issues began in the mid-1980's.…… [Read More]
Domesticates in the Old and New Worlds
The point of this article, "Domesticates in the Old and New Worlds," is the difference between the Old World domesticated animals and crops, and the New World domesticated animals and crops. It seeks to discover just why so many crops and animals were domesticated in the Old. World and so many fewer species were domesticated in the New World before the advent of Europeans on the scene. It also discusses the spread of domesticated animals from the Old World to the New, and the spread of domesticated crops from the New World to the Old, and how this created new markets and tastes around the world. The point is, that domesticated crops and animals differed, but spread throughout the world as discovery and exploration increased.
The argument the author uses is that food and animals traveled around the world, and became staples…… [Read More]
communicative processes of humans to those of non-humans, taking as a primary example the member of the primate family the chimpanzee with follow up examples from birds, members off the canine family and cats. Bibliography cites no sources.
Human and non-human communication, a comparison of interspecies speak
Humans and animals are very different creatures, however if we look at the differences in communication we can see that although humans have the ability to form words in their form of communication, animals also have their own unique way of communication, birds chirp and whistle, primates hoot and stamp the ground and wolves or those of the canine family growl, use their ears and tails in their own form of sign language.
Moreover if we compare the system of communication with that of those that are closest to the human race but are not human, this is the primate family, for this…… [Read More]
symbolizes the sum total of qualitative and quantitative values on which the degree and extent of exploitability of the region for the purpose of tourism depends. It Is difficult to explain the 'potential' in numerical terms as it involves many factors in the context of tourism.
Tourism deals with the physical, psychological and sometimes even spiritual demands of the people from diverse geographical, socio-cultural and economic background that travel under different motives, interests, preferences and immediate needs. In other words, tourism development in any area depends on availability of recreational resources, in addition to factors like climate, seasons, accessibility, attitude of the local people, planning and 'tourist plant' facility. All this put together creates a 'tourism magnetic atmosphere', which is resource base for the tourism
Factors influencing tourism and assist in exploiting the complete potential of an area, therefore vary from socio-economic to political and evolution of demand. These factors…… [Read More]
Religion and Urban Landscape
Social Assimilation and Identity in Gods of the City by Robert Orsi
Religion as a social institution is considered one of the most influential agents in the society. As an institution, religion plays a vital role in altering or changing the way people behave and think. This is especially true in the case of immigrants and other people of different nationalism and race in the United States. Contemporary American society is a 'melting pot' for people who came from all kinds of societies and cultures. As the number of immigrants increased, cultures are brought and assimilated within the American society, where 'hybridization' of societies occurs.
Religion, indeed, is one aspect of culture that directly influences individual and collective thinking and behavior. For individuals trying to cope with a different kind of society, religion serves as 'relief' and social companion for the lone individual. Through religious activities,…… [Read More]
Girls is an ethnographic documentary detailing a female rite of passage in a small island community in the Niger River delta in Africa. The film's purpose is primarily to illustrate the conflicts that emerge as cultures find themselves perched between two worlds: the world of old customs and traditions, and the world of globalized culture and its customs, values, and norms. However, Monday's Girls is also about gender issues, and how gender issues are at the forefront of every culture's ability to remain relevant. The film touches upon many related issues such as cultural relativism, and the filmmakers show that it is difficult to make a clear judgment for or against preserving traditions like those of the Waikiriki.
Rather than suggest a clear moral stance about the female rite of passage, the filmmakers illustrate the complexities and ambiguities involved in studying culture. Even within its own people, there are sometimes…… [Read More]