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The Beginner's Guide to Culture and Anthropology

by Various

Care about culture and human history? Take this course and get acquainted with the subject of cultural anthropology.

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adaptation A change in the biological structure or lifeways of an individual or population by which it becomes cognitive anthropology A theoretical approach that defines culture in terms of the rules and meanings underlying human beha cultural ecology A theoretical approach that regards cultural patterns as adaptive responses to the basic problems of cultural materialism A theoretical perspective that holds that the primary task of anthropology is to account for the sim culture and personality theory An anthropological perspective that focuses on culture as the principal force in shaping the typical diffusion The spread of cultural elements from one culture to another through cultural contact. ecological functionalism A theoretical perspective that holds that the ways in which cultural institutions work can best be u enculturation The process of learning to be a member of a particular cultural group. ethnobotany A field of anthropological research focused on describing the ways in which different cultures class ethnomedicine A field of anthropological research devoted to describing the medical systems and practices of diffe ethnoscience A theoretical approach that focuses on the ways in which members of a culture classify their world a functionalism (functionalist perspective) The anthropological theory that specific cultural institutions function to support the structure of innovation A new variation on an existing cultural pattern that is subsequently accepted by other members of th interpretive (symbolic) anthropology A theoretical approach that emphasizes culture as a system of meaning and proposes that the aim of c neo-evolutionism A theoretical perspective concerned with the historical change of culture from small-scale societies neo-Marxism A theoretical perspective concerned with applying the insights of Marxist thought to anthropology; n norm An ideal cultural pattern that influences behavior in a society. plasticity The ability of humans to change their behavior in response to a wide range of environmental demands. sociobiology A theoretical perspective that explores the relationship between human cultural behavior and genetic structural anthropology A theoretical perspective that holds that all cultures reflect similar deep, underlying patterns and subculture A system of perceptions, values, beliefs, and customs that are significantly different from those of symbol Something that stands for something else. transculturation The transformation of adopted cultural traits, resulting in new cultural forms. value A culturally defined idea of what is true, right, and beautiful. cultural adaptation A complex of ideas, activities, and technologies that enable people to survive and even thrive in th cultural relativism The idea that one must suspend judgment of other people's practices in order to understand them in t enculturation The process by which a society's culture is passed on from one generation to the next and individual ethnic group People who collectively and publicly identify themselves as a distinct group based on cultural featu ethnicity This term, rooted in the Greek word ethnikos ("nation") and related to ethnos ("custom"), is the exp gender The cultural elaborations and meanings assigned to the biological differentiation between the sexes. infrastructure The economic foundation of a society, including its subsistence practices and the tools and other ma pluralistic society A society in which two or more ethnic groups or nationalities are politically organized into one ter social structure The rule-governed relationships-with all their rights and obligations-that hold members of a society society An organized group or groups of interdependent people who generally share a common territory, langua subculture A distinctive set of ideas, values, and behavior patterns by which a group within a larger society o superstructure A society's shared sense of identity and worldview. The collective body of ideas, beliefs, and symbol A mark, sound, gesture, motion, or other sign that is arbitrarily linked to something else and repre cultural constructions The ways the members of a culture perceive social and natural reality and divide reality into catego cultural identity The cultural tradition a group of people recognize as their own; the shared customs and beliefs that culture (as used in this text) Shared, socially transmitted knowledge and behavior. enculturation (socialization) The transmission of culture to succeeding generations by means of social learning. norms Shared ideas and expectations about how certain people ought to act in given situations. patterns of behavior The behaviors that most people perform when they are in certain culturally defined situations. role A social position in a group, with its associated and reciprocal rights (privileges) and duties (obl society A territorially distinct and largely self-perpetuating group whose members have a sense of collectiv symbols Objects, behaviors, and so forth whose culturally defined meanings have no necessary relationship to values Shared ideas or standards about the worthwhileness of goals and lifestyles. world view The way a people interpret reality and events, including how they see themselves in relation to the adaptive nature of culture The implication that culture is the major way human populations adapt or relate to their specific ha civilization A term used by anthropologists to describe any society that has cities. cultural diffusion The spreading of a cultural trait (that is, material object, idea, or behavior pattern) from one soc cultural universals Those general cultural traits found in all societies of the world. culture shock A psychological disorientation experienced when attempting to operate in a radically different cultu enculturation The process by which human infants learn their culture. innovations Changes brought about by the recombination of already existing items within a culture. monochronic culture A culture whose people view time in a linear fashion, place great importance on punctuality and keep organic analogy Early functionalist idea that cultural systems are integrated into a whole cultural unit in much the pluralistic societies Societies composed of a number of different cultural or subcultural groups. polychronic culture A culture in which people typically perform a number of tasks at the same time and place a higher va small-scale society A society that has a relatively small population, has minimal technology, is usually preliterate, ha subculture A subdivision of a national culture that shares some features with the larger society and also diffe symbol Something, either verbal or nonverbal, that stands for something else. adaptation a change in the biological structure or lifeways of an individual or population by which it becomes cognitive anthropology a theoretical position in anthropology that focuses on the relationship between the mind and society cultural ecology a theoretical position in anthropology that focuses on the adaptive dimension of culture Culture and personality a theoretical position in anthropology that held that cultures could best be understood by examining diffusion the spread of cultural elements from one culture to another dominant culture the culture with the greatest wealth and power in a society that consists of many subcultures ecological functionalism a theoretical position in anthropology that focuses on the relationship between environment and soci enculturation the process of learning to be a member of a particular cultural group ethnobotany a focus within anthropology that examines the relationship between humans and plants in different cu ethnomedicine a focus within anthropology that examines the ways in which people in different cultures understand ethnoscience a theoretical position in anthropology that focuses on recording and examining the ways in which mem functionalism a theoretical position in anthropology, common in the first half of the 20th century, that focuses o historical particularism a theoretical position in anthropology associated with American anthropologists of the early 20th ce innovation an object or a way of thinking or behaving that is new because it is qualitatively different from ex interpretive anthropology a theoretical position in anthropology that focuses on using humanistic methods, such as those found norms shared ideas about the way things ought to be done; rules of behavior that reflect and enforce cultu organic analogy the comparison of societies to living organisms plasticity the ability of human individuals or cultural groups to change their behavior with relative ease postmodernism a theoretical position in anthropology that focuses on issues of power and voice. Postmodernists sug subculture a group within a society that shares norms and values significantly different from those of the domi symbol something that stands for something else. Central to culture. symbolic anthropology a theoretical position in anthropology that focuses on understanding cultures by discovering and ana values shared ideas about what is true, right, and beautiful

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