Cultural Anthropology

anthropology
the study of the human species and its immediate ancestors

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

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: culture, archaeological, biological, and linguistic anthropology

biocultural
combining biological and cultural approaches to a given problem

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

ethnography
fieldwork in a particular cultural setting

archaeological anthropology
the study of human behavior through material remains

ethnology
the study of socio-cultural differences and similarities

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

physical anthropology
same as biological anthropology

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

sociolinguistics
the study of language in society

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

applied anthropology
using anthropology to solve contemporary problems

theory
a set of ideas formulated to explain something

association
an observed relationship between two or more variables

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

hypothesis
a suggested but as yet unverified explanation

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

symbol
something, verbal or nonverbal, that stands for something else

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

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

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

maladaptive
something that is threatening to a group’s continued existence

universal
something that exists in every culture

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

particularity
distinctive or unique culture trait, pattern, or integration

subcultures
different cultural traditions associated with subgroups in the same nation

national culture
cultural features shared by citizens of the same nation

international culture
cultural traditions that extend beyond national boundaries

ethnocentrism
judging other cultures using one’s own cultural standards

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

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

cultural relativism
idea that to know another culture requires full understanding of its members’ beliefs and motivations

Intellectual property rights (IPR)
intellectual property rights; an indigenous group’s collective knowledge and its applications

diffusion
borrowing of cultural traits between societies

acculturation
an exchange of cultural features between groups in firsthand contact

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

globalization
the accelerating interdependence of nations in the world system today

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

questionnaire
form used by sociologists to obtain comparable information from respondents

genealogical method
using diagrams and symbols to record kin connections

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

emic
research strategy focusing on local explanations and meanings

cultural consultants
people who teach an ethnographer about their culture

etic
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

sample
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

variables
attributes that differ from one person or case to the next

complex societies
large, populous societies with stratification and a government

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

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

synchronic
(studying societies) at one time

diachronic
(studying societies) across time

configurationalism
view of culture as integrated and patterned

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

superorganic
(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 a culture as a system of meaning

agency
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

language
primary means of human communication, spoken and written

call systems
communication systems of nonhuman primates

cultural transmission
transmission through learning, basic to language

productivity
creating new expressions that are comprehensible to other speakers

displacement
describing things and events that are not present; basic to language

kinesics
study of communication through body movements and facial expressions

phonology
study of language’s phonemics and phonetics

morphology
(Linguistic) study of morphemes and word construction

lexicon
vocabulary; all the morphemes in a language and their meaning

syntax
arrangement of words in phrases and sentences

phoneme
smallest sound contrast that distinguishes meaning

phonetics
study of speech sounds- what people actually say

phonemics
study of sound contrasts (phonemes) in a language

Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
Idea that different languages produce different patterns of thought

focal vocabulary
set of words describing particular domains (foci) of experience

ethnosemantics
study of lexical (vocabulary) categories and contrasts

semantics
a language’s meaning system

style shifts
varying one’s speech in different social contexts

diglossia
language with “high” (formal) and “low” (informal, familial) dialects

honorifics
terms of respect; used to honor people

Black English Vernacular(BEV)
Rule-governed dialect spoken by some African Americans

subgroups
(Linguistic) closely related languages

historical linguistics
study of languages over time

daughter languages
Languages sharing a common parent language (latin)

protolanguage
language ancestral to several daughter languages

religion
belief and ritual concerned with supernatural beings, powers, and forces

communitas
intense feeling of social solidarity

animism
belief in souls or doubles

mana
impersonal sacred forces, so named in melanesia and polynesia

taboo
sacred and forbidden; prohibition backed by supernatural sanctions

magic
using supernatural techniques to accomplish specific aims

ritual
formal, repetitive, stereotyped behavior, based on liturgical order

rites of passage
rites marking transitions between places or stages of life

liminality
the in-between phase of a passage rite

cosmology
a system, often religious, for imagining and understanding the universe

tribe
food-producing society with rudimentary political structure

conflict resolution
means of settling disputes

law
legal code of a state society, with trial and enforcement

head, village
local tribe leader with limited authority

big man
generous tribal entrepreneur with multivillage support

sodality, pantribal
nonkin-based group with regional political significance

age set
unisex(usually male) political group, includes everyone born within a certain time span

office
permanent political position

differential access
favored access to resources by superordinates over subordinates

superordinate
upper, privileged, group in a stratified society

subordinate
lower, unprivileged, group in a stratified society

wealth
all a person’s material assets; basis of economic status

power
ability to control others; basis of political status

prestige
esteem, respect, or approval

sexual dimorphism
marked differences in male and female biology, beyond breasts and genitals

gender roles
the tasks and activities that a culture assigns to each sex

gender stereotypes
oversimplified, strongly held views about males and females

gender stratification
unequal distribution of social resources between men and women

domestic-public dichotomy
work at home versus more valued work outside

matrilineal descent
descent traced only through women only

patrilineal descent
descent traced through men only

patrilocality
married couple resides in husband’s community

matrilocality
married couples reside in wife’s community

matrifocal
mother-centered; e.g. household with no resident husband/father

patrilineal-patrilocal complex
male supremacy based on patrilineality, patrilocality, and warfare

extradomestic
outside the home; public

patriarchy
political system ruled by men

sexual orientation
sexual attraction to persons of the opposite sex, same sex, or either sex

descent group
group based on belief in shared ancestry

family of orientation
nuclear family in which one is born and grows up

family of procreation
nuclear family established when one marries and has children

neolocality
couple establishes new residence

extended family household
household with three or more generations

unilineal descent
matrilineal or patrilineal descent

lineage
unilineal descent group based on demonstrated descent

clan
unilineal descent group based on stipulated descent