Cultural Anthropology

the study of the human species and its immediate ancestors

encompassing past, present, and future; biology, society, language, and culture

traditions and customs transmitted through learning

food production
an economy based on plant cultivation and / or animal domestication

general anthropology
anthropology as a whole: cultural, archaeological, biological, and linguistic anthropology

combining biological and cultural approaches to a given problem

fieldwork in a particular cultural setting

cultural anthropology
the comparative, cross-cultural study of human society and culture

the study of sociocultural differences and similarities

archaeological anthropology
the study of human behavior through material remains

biological anthropology
the study of human biological variation in time and space

physical anthropology
same as biological anthropology

field of study that seeks reliable explanations, with reference to the material and physical world

linguistic anthropology
the study of language and linguistic diversity in time, space, and society

the study of language in society

applied anthropology
using anthropology to solve contemporary problems

cultural resource management
deciding what needs saving when entire archaeological sites cannot be saved

a set of ideas formulated to explain something

an observed relationship between two or more variables

a suggested but as yet unverified explanation

the process by which culture is learned and transmitted across the generations

something, verbal or nonverbal, that stands for something else

core values
key, basic, or central values that integrate a culture

member of hominid family; any fossil or living human, chimp or gorilla

hominids excluding the african apes; all the human species that ever have existed

something that exists in every culture

culture pattern or trait that exists in some but not all societies

distinctive or unique culture trait, pattern, or integration

national culture
cultural features shared by citizens of the same nation

international culture
cultural traditions that extend beyond national boundaries

different cultural traditions associated with subgroups in the same nation

judging other cultures using one’s own cultural standards

cultural rights
rights vested in religious and ethnic minorities and indigenous societies

cultural relativism
idea that behavior should be evaluated not by outside standards but in the context of the culture in which it occurs

intellectual property rights; an indigenous group’s collective knowledge and its applications

an exchange of cultural features between groups in firsthand contact

borrowing of cultural traits between societies

independent invention
the independent development of a cultural feature in different societies

the accelerating interdependence of nations in the world system today

human rights
rights based on justice and morality beyond and superior to particular countries, cultures, and religions

interview schedule
form (guide) used to structure a formal, but personal, interview

form used by sociologists to obtain comparable information from respondents

genealogical method
using diagrams and symbols to record kin connections

key cultural consultant
expert on a particular aspect of local life

life history
of a key consultant; a personal portrait of someone’s life in culture

research strategy focusing on local explanations and meanings

cultural consultants
people who teach an ethnographer about their culture

research strategy emphasizing the ethnographer’s explanations and categories

longitudinal research
long-term study, usually based on repeated visits

survey research
the study of society through sampling, statistical analysis, and impersonal data collection

a smaller study group chosen to represent a larger population

random sample
a sample in which all population members have an equal chance of inclusion

attributes that differ from one person or case to the next

complex societies
large, populous societies (e.g, nations) with stratification and a government

informed consent
agreement to take part in research- after having been informed about its nature, procedures, and possible impacts

unilinear evolutionism
idea (19th century) of a single line or path of cultural development

historical particularism
idea (Boas) that histories are not comparable; diverse paths can lead to the same cultural result

approach focusing on the role (function) of sociocultural practices in social systems

(studying societies) at one time

(studying societies) across time

view of culture as integrated and patterned

cultural materialism
Idea (Harris) that cultural infrastructure determines structure & superstructure

(Kroeber) The special domain of culture, beyond the organic and inorganic realms

symbolic anthropology
the study of symbols in their social and cultural context

interpretive anthropology
(Geertz) the study of culture as a system of meaning

the actions of individuals, alone and in groups, that create and transform culture

political economy
the web of interrelated economic and power relations in society

Which of the following most characterizes anthropology among disciplines that study humans?

a: it studies foreign places
b: it includes biology
c: it uses personal interviews of the study of population
d: it is holistic and comparative
e: it studies only groups that are thought to be “dying”


What is the most critical element of cultural traditions?

a: their stability due to the unchanging characteristics of human biology
b: their tendency to radically change every fifteen years
c: their ability to survive the challenges of modern life
d: their transmission through learning rather than through biological inheritance
e: their material manifestations in archaeological sites


Over time, how has human reliance on cultural means of adaptation changed?

a: humans have become less dependent on them
b: humans have become entirely reliant on biological means
c: humans have become more dependent on them
d: humans are just beginning to depend on them
e: humans no longer use them


The fact that anthropology focuses on both culture and biology:

a: is unique to European anthropology
b: is the reason it traditionally has studied nonindustrial societies
c: is a product of the participant observation approach
d: allows it to address how culture influences biological traits and vice versa
e: is insignificant, since biology is studied by biological anthropologists while culture is studied by cultural anthropologists


In this chapter, what is the point of describing the ways in which humans cope with low oxygen pressure in high altitudes?

a: to illustrate human capacities of cultural and biological adaptation, variation, and change
b: to expose the fact that “it is all in the genes”
c: to show how culture is more important than biology
d: to describe how humans are among the world’s least adaptable animals
e: to show how biology is more important than culture in human adaptation


Four-field anthropology:

a: was largely shaped by early American anthropologists’ interests in Native Americans
b: is unique to Old World anthropology
c: stopped being useful when the world became dominated by nation-states
d: was replaced in the 1930s by the two-field approach
e: originally was practiced in Europe, because of a particularly British interest in military behavior


the study of nonhuman primates is of special interest to which subdiscipline of anthropology?

a: cultural anthropology
b: archaeological anthropology
c: linguistic anthropology
d: developmental anthropology
e: biological anthropology


Which of the following statements about applied anthropology is false?

a: it encompasses any use of the knowledge and/or techniques of the four subfields to identify, assess, and solve practical social problems
b: it has been formally acknowledged by the American Anthropological Association as one of the two dimensions of the discipline
c: it is less relevant for archaeology since archaeology typically concerns the material culture of societies that no longer exist
d: it is a growing aspect of the field, with more and more anthropologists developing applied components of their work
e: it has applications because of anthropology’s breadth


Which of the following terms is defined as a suggested but yet unidentified explanation for observed things and events?

a: hypothesis
b: theory
c: association
d: model
e: law


The scientific method:

a: is limited to ethnology since it is the aspect of anthropology that studies sociocultural differences and similarities
b: is a powerful tool for understanding ourselves since it guarantees complete objectivity in research
c: is the best and only reliable way of understanding the world
d: characterizes any anthropological endeavor that formulates research questions and gathers or uses systematic data to test hypotheses
e: only applies to the analysis of data that leads to predictions, not associations


Anthropology is unique among the social sciences in its emphasis on both ____ and ____ perspectives
holistic; cross-cultural

A _____ approach refers to the inclusion and combination of both biological and cultural perspectives and approaches to comment on or solve a particular issue or problem

_____ provides an account of fieldwork in a particular community, society, or culture

______ encompasses any use of the knowledge and/ or techniques of the four subfields of anthropology to identify, assess, and solve practical problems. More and more anthropologists increasingly work in this dimension of the discipline.
applied anthropology

The ____ characterizes any anthropological endeavor that formulates research questions and gathers or uses systematic data to test hypotheses.
scientific method

Which of the following is not one of the ways in which individuals acquire the culture?

a: genetic transmission
b: unconscious acquisition
c: observation
d: direct instruction
e: conscious acquisition


The “psychic unity” of humans, a doctrine that most anthropologists accept, states that

a: psychology is the exclusive domain of the academic discipline of psychology
b: all humans share the same spiritual ethos
c: although individuals differ in their emotional and intellectual tendencies and capacities, all human populations have equivalent capacities for culture
d: psychological attributes are determined by our genes
e: even psychological attributes must be analyzed through the lens of cultural relativism


Which of the following statements about cultural traits, patterns, and inventions is false?

a: they mostly are determined genetically
b: they can be disadvantageous in the long run
c: they can be disadvantageous in the short run
d: they can be maladaptive
e: they are transmitted through learning


this chapter’s description of the similarities and differences between humans and apes, our closest relatives,…

a: explains why all hominids have evolved the same capacities for culture
b: emphasizes the need to expand the definition of cultural rights to include not just human individuals but also chimps and gorillas
c: explains why genetics has ben more important than culture in determining our particular evolutionary path
d: illustrates how human females’ lack of a visible estrus cycle determined our unique capacity for culture
e: emphasizes culture’s evolutionary basis, stressing the interaction between biology and culture


Certain biological, psychological, social, and cultural features are universal, found in every culture. All of the following are examples of universal features except…

a: a long period of infant dependency
b: seasonal (rather than year-round) sexuality
c: common ways in which humans think, feel, and process information
d: life in groups and in some kind of family
e: exogamy and the incest taboo (prohibition against marrying or mating with a close relative)


which of the following statements about culture is not true?

a: all human groups have culture
b: culture is the major reason for human adaptability
c: human groups differ in their capacities for culture
d: the capacity for culture is shared by all humans
e: cultural learning is uniquely elaborated among humans


in explaining how anthropologists have theorized the relationship between “system” and “person,” this chapter notes that culture is contested. This means that…

a: different groups in a society struggle with one another over whose ideas, values, goods, and beliefs will prevail
b: while symbols can have different meanings, most common symbols are agreed upon everyone in a culture
c: humans are passive beings who have little choice but to follow their cultural traditions
d: genes have programmed humans to manipulate the meanings and cultural symbols to increase our reproductive process
e: culture doesn’t exist


In anthropology, methodical cultural relativism

a: is not a moral position, but a methodological one
b: is both a moral and a methodological stance toward other cultures
c: is synonymous with moral relativism
d: is another version of ethnocentrism
e: is a political position that argues for the defense of human rights, regardless of culture


There were at least 7 different regions where plant cultivation developed. Therefore, agriculture is an example of which of the following mechanisms of cultural change?

a: acculturation
b: enculturation
c: independent invention
d: colonization
e: diffusion


What is the term for the processes that are making nations and people increasingly interlinked and mutually dependent?

a: acculturation
b: independent invention
c: diffusion
d: globalization
e: enculturation


Although humans continue to adapt ____, reliance on _____ means of adaptation has increased human evolution
biologically; cultural

Cultural traits, patterns, and inventions also can be ______, threatening the group’s continued existence (survival and reproduction)

According to Leslie White, culture, and therefore humanity, came into existence when humans began to use ______

The term ________ refers to any fossil or living human, chimp, or gorilla, while the term ____ refers only to any fossil or living human
hominid; hominin

unlike human rights, _______ are vested not in individuals but in groups, including indigenous peoples and religious and ethnic minorities
cultural rights

Which of the following statements about ethnography is not true?

a: it may involve participant observation and survey research
b: Bronisla Malinowski was one of its earliest influential practitioners
c: it was traditionally practiced in non-Western and small-scale societies
d: Contemporary anthropologists have rejected it as overly formal and for ignoring social process
e: it is anthropology’s distinctive strategy


In the field, ethnographers strive to establish rapport,

a: and if that fails, the next option is to pay people so they will talk about their culture
b: which is a timeline that states when every member of the community will be interviewed
c: which is a respectful and formal working relationship with the political leaders of the community
d: which is also known as cultural relativist attitude
e: which is a good, friendly working relationship based on personal contact


Which influential anthropologist referred to everyday cultural patterns as “the imponderabilia of native life and typical behavior?”

a: Franz Boas
b: Marvin Harris
c: Clifford Geertz
d: Bronislaw Malinowski
e: Margret Mead


Which of the following techniques was developed specifically because of the importance of kinship and marriage relationships in nonindustrial societies?

a: the life history
b: participant observation
c: the interview schedule
d: network analysis
e: the genealogical method


which of the following is a significant change in the history of ethnography?

a: larger number of ethnographies are being done about people in Western, industrialized nations
b:ethnographers now use only quantitative techniques
c: Ethnographers have begun to work for colonial government
d: ethnographers have stopped using the standard four-member format, because it disturbs the informants
e: there are now fewer native ethnographers


All of the following are true about ethnography except this statement:

a: it traditionally studies entire communities
b: it usually focuses on a small number of variables within a sample population
c: it is based on firsthand fieldwork
d: it is more personal than survey research
e: it traditionally has been conducted in nonindustrial, small-scale societies


Which of the following is one of the advantages an interview schedule has over a questionnaire based survey?

a: interview schedules rely on very short responses, and therefore are more useful when you have less time
b: questionnaires are completely unstructured, so your informants might deviate from the subject you want them to talk about
c: interview schedules give informants more of a chance to bring up things they see as important
d: interview schedules are better suited to urban complex societies where most people can read
e: questionnaires are emic, and interview schedules are etic


Reflecting todays world in which people, images, and information move as never before, ethnography is…

a: becoming increasingly difficult for anthropologists concerned with salvaging isolated and untouched cultures around the world
b: becoming less useful and valuable to understanding culture
c: becoming more traditional, returning to evolutionary models first proposed during the 19th century
d: requiring that researchers stay in the same for over three years
e: increasingly multisited and multitimed, integrating analyses of external organizations and forces to understand local phenomena


All of the following are true about anthropology’s four field approach except this statement:

a: Boas is the father of four field American anthropology
b: it initially formed around interests in Native Americans- their cultures, histories, languages, and physical characteristics
c: there are many strong four field anthropological departments in the US, but some respected programs lack one or more of the subfields
d: four field anthropology has become substantially less historically oriented
e: it has rejected the idea of unlinear evolution which assumed that there was one line or path through which all societies had to evolve


in anthropology, the crisis in representation refers to…

a: the study of symbols in their social and cultural context
b: questions about the role of the ethnographer and the nature of ethnographic authority
c: Durkheim’s critique of symbolic anthropology
d: the ethnographic technique that Malinowski developed during his fieldwork in the Trobriand Islands
e: the discipline’s branding problem that has made it less popular among college students


A _____ is an expert who teaches an ethnographer about a particular aspect of local life
key cultural consultant

As one of the ethnographer’s characteristic field research methods, the ____ method is a technique that focuses on kin connections

A _____ approach studies societies as they exist at one point in time, while a ______ approach studies societies across time
synchronic; diachronic

At the beginning of the 20th century, the influential French sociologist ____ proposed a new social science that would be based on the study of _____, analytically distinct from the individuals from whose behavior those facts were inferred
Emile Durkheim; social facts

______, a theoretical approach that aims to discover relations, themes, and connections among aspects of culture, has been faulted for being overly formal and for ignoring social process. Contemporary anthropologists now emphasize how day to day action, practice, or resistance can make and remake culture. _____ refers to the actions that individuals take, both alone and in groups, in forming and transforming cultural identities.
Structuralism; agency