Anthropology Terms

processes by which organisms cope with environmental forces and stresses, such as those posed by climate
the study of the human species and its immediate ancestors
Applied Anthropology
the application of anthropoligical data, perspectives, theory, and methods to identity, assess, and solve contemporary social problems
Archaelogical Anthropology
reconstructs, describes, and interprets human behavior and cultural patterns through material remains
the inclusion and combination of both bilogical and cultural perspectives and approaches to comment on or solve a particular issue or problem
Biological Anthropology
human biological diversity in time and space
Cultural Anthropology
the study of human society and culture, the subfield that describes, analyzes, interprets, and explains social and cultural similarities and differences
Cultural Resource Management
decides what sites need saving, and to preserve significant information about the past when sites cannot be saved
traditions and customs, transmitted through learning, that form and guide the beliefs and behavior of the people exposed to them
provides an account of a particular community, society, or culture
examines, interprets, analyzes, and compares the results of ethnography
Food production
the cultivation of plants and domestication of animals
General Anthropology
the academic discipline of anthropology, which includes the subfields sociocultural, archaelogical, biological, and linguistic anthropology
refers to the study of the whole of the human condition: past, present, and future; biology, society, language, and culture
Linguistic Anthropology
studies language in its social and cultural context, across space and over time
Natural Selection
the process by which the forms most fit to survive and reproduce in a given environment do so in greater numbers than others in the same population do
refers to an organism’s evident traits
Racial Classification
the attempt to assign humans to discrete categories based on common ancestry
a systematic field of study or body of knowledge that aims, through experiment, oberservation, and deduction, to produce reliable explanations of phenomena, with reference to the material and physical world
investigates relationships between social and linguistic variation
a belt extending about 23 degrees north and south of the equator, between the Tropic of Cancer, and the Tropic of Capricorn
Complex Societies
large and populous societies with social stratification and central governments
Cultural Consultant
refers to individuals the ethnographer gets to know in the field, the people who teach him or her about their culture, who provide the emic perspective
Emic Approach
investigates how local people think
Etic Approach
shifts the focus from local observations, categories, explanations, and interpretations to those of the anthropologist
Genealogical Method
a well-established ethnographic technique
Informed Consent
the agreement to take part in research, after having been so informed
Interview Schedule
when an ethnographer talks face to face with people, asks the questions, and writes down the answers
Key Cultural Consultants
people who, by accident, experience, talent, or training, can provide the most complete or useful information about particular aspects of life
Life History
a recollection of a lifetime of experiences
Longitudinal Research
the long-term study of a community, region, society, culture, or other unit, usually based on repeated visits
Participant Observation
taking part in the events one is observing, describing, and analysing
Random Sample
a survey type in which all members of the population have an equal statistical chance of being chosen for inclusion
a manageable study group
Survey Research
involves sampling, impersonal data collection, and statistical analysis
attributes that vary among members of a sample or population
the exchange of cultural features that results when groups have continuous firsthand contact
Core Values
key, basic, central values
Cultural Relativism
the viewpoint that behavior in one culture should not be judged by the standards of another culture
Cultural Rights
include a group’s ability to preserve its culture, to raise its children in the ways of its forebears, to continue its language, and not to be deprived of its economic base by the nation in which it’s located
borrowing of traits between cultures
the process by which a child learns his or her culture
the tendancy to view one’s own culture as superior and to apply one’s own cultural values in judging the behavior and beliefs of people raised in other cultures
features that are common to sevaral but not all human groups
encompasses a series of processes, including diffusion, migration, and acculturation, working to promote change in a world in which nations and people are increasingly and mutuall dependent
Human Rights
include the right to speak freely, to hold religious beliefs without persecution, and not to be murdered, injured , or enslaved or imprisoned without charge
Independent Invention
the process by which humans innovate, creatively finding solutions to problems
Intellectual Property Rights
concept that says that a particular group may determine how indigenous knowledge and its products may be used and distributed and the level of compensation required
International Culture
a level of culture that extends beyond and across national boundaries
National Culture
a level of culture that embodies those beliefs, learned behavior patterns, values, and institutions that are shared by citizens of the same nation
features that are unique to certain cultural traditions
different symbol-based patterns and traditions associated with particular groups in the same complex society
signs that have no necessary or natural connection to the things they stand for, or signify
features that are found in every culture
Black English Vernacular
the relatively uniform dialect spoken by the majority of black youth in most parts of the US today
Call Systems
the natural communication systems of other primates
Daughter Languages
languages that descend from the same parent language and that have been changing separately for hundreds or thousands of years
Descriptive Linguistics
scientific study of a spoken language
applies to high and low variants of the same language
the ability to talk about things that are not present
Focal Vocabulary
specialized sets of terms and distinctions that are particularly important to certain groups
Historical Linguistics
the longer-term change of contemporary variation in speech
the study of communication through body movements, stances, gestures, and facial expressions
a dictionary containing all its morphemes and their meanings
studies the forms in which sounds combine to form morphemes – words and their meaningful parts
a sound contrast that makes a difference
studies the significant sound contrasts of a given language
the study of speech sounds in general
the study of speech sounds
Linguistic Productivity
to use the rules of a language to produce entirely new expressions that are comprehensible to other native speakers
the original language from which a daughter language diverges
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
states that different languages produce different ways of thinking
a language’s meaning system
investigates relationships between social and linguistic variation
Style Shifts
when speech is varied in different contexts
Languages within a taxonomy of related languages that are most closely related
the arrangement and order of words in phrases in sentences
Domestic-Public Dichotomy
a strong differentation between the home and the outside world
outside the home; within or pertaining to the public domain
Gender Roles
the tasks and activities a culture assigns to the sexes
Gender Stereotypes
oversimplified but strongly held ideas about the characteristics of males and females
Gender Stratification
describes an unequal distribution of rewards between men and women, reflecting their different positions in a social hierarchy
a political system rules by men in which women have inferior social and political status, including basic human rights
Patrilineal-Patrilocal Complex
consisting of patrilineality, patrilocality, warfare, and male supremacy
Sexual Dimorphism
refers to differences in male and female biology besides the contrasts in breasts and genitals
Sexual Orientation
refers to a person’s habitual sexual attraction to, and sexual activities with, persons of the opposite sex (heterosexuality), the same sex (homosexuality), or a lack of attraction to either sex (asexuality)
describes the process of change that a minority ethnic group may experience when it moves to a country where another culture dominates
Cultural Colonialism
refers to internal domination by one group and its culture or ideology over others
to assign social identity on the basis of ancestry
refers to policies and practices that harm a group and its members
Ethnic Group
a group that shares certain beliefs, values, habits, customs, and norms because of their common background
identification with, and feeling part of, an ethnic group and exclusion from certain other’s groups because of this affliation
when a dominant group tries to destroy the cultures of certain ethnic groups
the deliberate elimination of a group through mass murder
automatically placing the children of a union between members of different groups in the minority group
Majority Groups
superordinate, dominant, or controlling group
Minority Groups
subordinate with inferior power and less secure access to resources
the view of cultural diversity in a country as something good and desirable
an independent, centrally organized political unit, or a government
refers to an autonomous political entity, a country
ethnic groups that one had, or wish to have or regain, autonomous political status
an organism’s evident traits – it’s physiology and anatomy, including skin color, hair form, facial features, and eye color
Plural Society
a society combining ethnic contrasts, ecological specialization, and the economic interdependence of these groups
devaluing a group because of its assumed behavior, values, capabilities, or attributes
an ethnic group that is assumed to have a biological basis
discrimination against a race
people who have been forced or who have chosen to flee a country, to escape persecution or war
Social Races
groups assumed to have a biological basis but actually defined in a culturally arbitrary, rather than a scientific, manner
fixed ideas about what the members of a group are like
nonindustrial system of plant cultivication characterization by continuous and intensive use of land and labour
Balanced Reciprocity
applies to exchanges between people who are more distantly related than are members of the same band or household
basic unit of social organization among foragers that includes fewer than one hundred people
an association between two or more variables such that when one changes, the other also changes
a population’s system of production, distribution, and consumption of resources
Generalized Reciprocity
principle that characterizes exchanges between closely related individuals
nonindustrial system of plant cultivation in which plots lie fallo for varying lengths of time
Market Principle
profit-oriented principle of exchange that dominates in states, particularly industrial states
Means of Production
land, labor, technology and capital – major productive resources
Mode of Production
way of organizing production – a set of social relations through which labor is deployed to wrest energy from nature by means of tools, skills, and knowledge
Nomadism, Pastoral
movement throughtout the year by the whole pastoral group with their animals
people who use a food-producing strategy of adaptation based on care of herds of domesticated animals
small-scale agriculturalist living in a state, with rent fund obligations
competitive feast among Indians on the North Pacific Coast of North America
one of the three principles of exchange that governs exchange between social equals
major exchange mode of chiefdoms, many archaic states, and some states with managed economies
one of two variants of pastoralism; part of the population moves seasonally with the herds while the other part remains in home villages
Achieved Status
social status that comes thrrough talents, actions, efforts, activities, and accomplishments, rather than ascription
Age Set
group uniting all men or women born during a certain time span
Ascribed Status
social status that people have little or no choice about occupying
Big Man
figure often found among tribal horticulturalists and pastoralists, who occupies no office but creates his reputation through entrepreneurship and generosity to others
Caste Systems
closed, hereditary system of stratification, often dictated by religion
form of sociopolitical organization intermediate between the tribe and the state; kin-based with differential access ro resources and a permanent political structure
Conflict Resolution
the means by which disputes are socially regulated and settled
Differential Access
unequal access to resources
pertaining to finances and taxation
a legal code, including trial and enforcement
permanent political position
Open-Class System
stratification system that facilitates social mobility, with individual achievement and personal merit determining social rank
the ability to exercise one’s will over others
esteem, respect, or approval for acts, deeds, or qualities considered exemplary
the most extreme, coercive, abusive, and unhumane form of legalized inequality
Sociopolitical Typology
classification scheme based on the scale and complexity of social organization and the effectiveness of political regulation
Pantribal Sodality
a non-kin based group that exists throughout a tribe, spanning several villages
complex sociopolitical system that administers territory and populace with substantial contrasts in occupation, wealth, prestige, and power
any position that determines where someone fits in society
characteristic of a system with socioeconomic strata
the lower, or underpriviledged, group in a stratified system
the upper, or priviledged, group in a stratified system
form of sociopolitical organization usually based on horticulture or pastoralism
Vertical Mobility
upward or downward change in a person’s social status
Village Head
leadership position in a village that has limited authority; leads by example and persuasion
all a person’s material assets, including income, land, and other types of property
a customary gift before, at, or after marriage from the husband and his kin to the wife and her kin
unilineal descent group based on stipulated descent
Descent Group
a permanent social unit whose members claim common ancestry
a marital exchange in which the wife’s group provides substantial gifts to the husband’s family
marriage between people of the same social group
mating or marriage outside one’s kin group
Extended Family Household
extended household including three or more generations
a group of people who are considered to be related in some way
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
sexual relations with a close relative
custom by which a widow marries the brother of her deceased husband
unilineal descent group based on demonstrated descent
Matrilineal Descent
unilineal descent rule in which people join the mother’s group automatically at birth and stay members throughout life
Customary residence with the wife’s relatives after marriage, so that children grow up in their mother’s community
postmarital residence pattern in which a couple establishes a new place of residence rather than living with or near either set of parents
Patrilineal Descent
unilineal descent rule in which people join the father’s group automatically at birth and stay member’s throughout life
customary residence with the husband’s relatives after marriage, so that children grow up in their father’s community
Plural Marriage
marriage of a man to two or more women or marriage of a woman to two or more men at the same time
variety of plural marriage in which a woman has more than one husband
variety of plural marriage in which a man has more than one wife
Progeny Price
a gift from the husband and his kin to the wife and her kin before, at, or after marriage
custom by which a widower marries the sister of the diseased wife
Unilineal Descent
matrilineal or patrilineal descent
Domestic-Public Dichotomy
contrast between women’s role in the home and men’s role in public life, with a corresponding social devaluation of women’s work and worth
outside the home; within or pertaining to the public domain
Gender Roles
the tasks and activities that a culture assigns to each sex
Gender Stereotypes
oversimplified but strongly held ideas about the characteristics of males and females
Gender Stratification
unequal distribution of rewards, reflecting their different positions in a social hierarchy
political system ruled by men in which women have inferior social and political status, including basic human rights
Patrilineal-Patrilocal Complex
an interrelated constellation of patrilineality, patrilocality, warfare, and male supremacy
Sexual Dimorphism
marked differences in male and female biology besides the contrasts in breasts and genitals
Sexual Orientation
a person’s habitual sexual attraction to, and activities with persons of the opposite sex (heterosexuality), the same sex (homosexuality), or both sexes (bisexuality)
belief in souls or doubles
Cargo Cults
postcolonial, acculturative, religious movements common in Melanesia that attempt to explain European domination and wealth and to achieve similar success magically by mimicking European behavior
Communal Religions
communal cults in which people organize community rituals such as harvest ceremonies and rites of passage
intense community spirit, a feeling of great social solidarity, equality, and togetherness; characterisic of people experiencing liminality together
Leveling Mechanism
customs and social actions that operate to reduce differences in wealth and thus to bring standouts in line with community norms
the critically important marginal or in-between phase of a rite of passage
use of supernatural techniques to accomplish specific aims
sacred impersonal force in Melanesian and Polynesian religions
worship of an eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent supreme being
Olympian Religions
religions that develop with state organization that have full-time religious specialists
belief in several deities who control aspects of nature
beliefs and rituals concerned with supernatural beings, powers, and forces
Revitalization Movements
movements that occur in times of change, in which religious leaders emerge and undertake to alter or revitalize a society
Rites of Passage
culturally defined activities associated with the transition from one place or stage of life to another
behavior that is formal, stylized, repetitive, and stereotyped, performed earnestly as a social act
a part-time religious practitioner who mediates between ordinary people and supernatural beings and forces
prohibition backed by supernatural sanctions
one of Karl Marx’s opposed classes; owners of the means of production
wealth or resources invested in business, with the intent of prodcuing a profit
Capitalist World Economy
the single world system, which emerged in the 16th century, committed to production for sale, with the object of maximizing profits rather than supplying domestic needs
the political, social, economic, and cultural domination of a territory and its people by a foreign power for an extended time
a social system in which property is owned by the community and in which people work of the same common good
a political movement and doctrine seeking to overthrow capitalism
dominant structural position in the world system
a policy od extending the rule of a nation or empire over foreign nations and of taking and holding foreign colonies
Indigenous Peoples
the original inhabitants of particular territories; often descendants of tribespeople who live on as culturally distinct colonized peoples, amny of whom aspire to autonomy
Industrial Revolution
the historical transformation of traditional into modern societies through industrialization of the economy
Intervention Philosophy
guiding principle of colonialism, conquest, missionization, or development; an ideological justification for outsiders to guide native peoples in specific directions
revival of Adam Smith’s classic economic liberalism, the idea that governments should not regulate private enterprise and that free market forces should rule
weakest structural position in the world system
referring to interactions between European nations and the societies they colonized
structural position in the world system intermediate beteen core and periphery
Working Class (Prolerariat)
those who must sell their labor to survive
World-System Theory
argument for the historic and contemporary social, political, and economic significance of an identifiable global system, based on wealth and power differentials, that extends beyong individual countries
Anthropology and Education
anthropological research in classrooms, homes, and neighborhoods, viewing students as total cultural creatures whose enculturation and attitudes toward education belong to a larger context that includes family, peers, and society
Applied Anthropology
the application of anthropological data, perspectives, theory, and methods to identify, assess, and solve contemporary social problems
specialized role acquired through a culturally appropriate process of selection, training, certification, and acquisition of a professional image
Development Anthropology
the branch of applied anthropology that focuses on social issues in, and the cultural dimension of, economic development
an etic or scientifically identified health threat caused by a bacterium, virus, fungus, parasite, or other pathogen
Health Care Systems
beliefs, customs, and specialists concerned with ensuring health and preventing and curing illness; a cultural universal
an emic condition of poor health felt by individual
Equity, Increased
a reduction in absolute poverty and a faired distribution of wealth
Medical Anthropology
unites biological and cultural anthropologists in the study of disease, health problems, health care systems, and theories about illness in different cultures and ethnic groups
characteristic of development projects that require major changes in people’s daily lives, especially ones that interfere with customary subsistence pursuits
Scientific Medicine
a health care system based on scientific knowledge and procedures, encompassing such fields as pathology, microbiology, biochemisty, surgery, diagnostic technology, and applications
planning fallacy of viewing less developed countries as an undifferentiated group; ignoring cultural diversity and adopting a uniform approach for very different types of project beneficiaries
Urban Anthropology
the anthropological study of life in and around world cities, including urban social problems, differences between urban and other environments, and adaptation to city life
the active role that individuals play in interpreting, using, making and remaking culture
the rejection of the modern in favor of what is perceived as an earlier, purer, and better way of life
Cultural Imperialism
the rapid spread or advance of one culture at the expense of others, or its imposition on other cultures, which it modifies, replaces, or destroys – usually because of differential economic or political influence
the offspring of an area who have spread to many lands
the process of viewing an identity as established, real, and frozen, so as to hide the historical processes and politics within which that identity developed
Hegemonic Reading
the meaning of a text as defined by its creators or other elites
a stratified social order in which subordinates comply with domination by internalizing its values and accepting its naturalness
Hidden Transcript
the critique of power by the oppressed that goes on offstage in private where the power holders can’t see it
modified to fit the local culture
describes the blurring and breakdown of established canons, categories, distinctions, and boundaries
a style and movement in architecture that succeeded modernism
condition of a world in flux, with people on the move, in which established groups, boundaries, identities, contrast, and standards are reaching out and breaking down
Public Transcript
the open, public interactions between dominators and oppressed – the outer shell of power relations
something that is creatively read, interpreted, and assigned meaning by each person who receives it
the acculturative influence of Western expansion on other cultures

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