A Fraction of the Feast: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Studies All Humans Everywhere
 Studies All humans Through All Times
 Humans as Biological and Cultural Beings
Cultural Anthropology
› What humans do, why they do it, and the
› Study of people in the past using material
Physical (Biological) Anthropology
› Human evolution, genetics, and physiology
› Language and communication
Knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom,
and any other capability acquired by
humans as members of society
 Material and Non-Material Culture
› Non-Material Culture – What is in peoples’ heads
 Beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions
 Shared and Patterned
 What people do – real and ideal culture
› What people make
Ever Changing
 Adaptation
 Beliefs versus Social Structure
 Beliefs versus Tradition
Length of Research
› Fieldwork
Language of Research
 Research Methodologies
› Participant Observation
› Accidental Fieldwork
› Ethnography
› Ethnology
What people believe
 What people recognize
 How people behave
 Structural Functionalism
 Historical Particulism
 Symbolic Anthropology
 Biome
 National Culture
 Tribal or Ethnic Identity
 Regional, State, and Local culture
Ethnic Identity
 Race is a Social construct
 Religion
 Political Beliefs
 Social Class
 Education Level
 Subsistence or livelihood strategy
 Rural or Urban Setting
 Age, historical age, development in life
Everyone is an immigrant
 Melting Pot—No Salad Bowl
 Democracy, Religious Freedom, and
 Progress is good Resistance is futile
› Focused on one’s own ethnic group
Cultural Relativism
› Understanding a culture in context, and not
Theory of Mind
› Others have different thoughts, knowledge,
and understandings
Culture Shock
The world can’t be divided into us and them
People who look similar may belong to very
different cultures
People who live in one country may belong to
many different cultures
People who share culture may live in many
different spots around the world
People who look very different then you may
share your culture
People who look and act like you may in fact
have very different views and beliefs

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