Cultural Anthropology: A Toolkit for a Global Age Chapters 1-5

Deep Time
A framework for considering the span of human history within the much larger age of the universe and planet earth.
The remains of an organism that have been preserved by a natural chemical process that turns them partially or wholly into rock.
Deoxyribonucleic acid; the feature of a cell that provides the genetic code for the organism.
Scientist who studies the past through the examination of preserved genetic material.
Theory of Evolution
The theory that biological adaptations in organisms occur in response to changes in the natural environment and develop in populations over generations.
A belief that God created Earth and all living creatures in their present form as recently as six thousand years ago.
Intelligent Design
An updated version of creationism that claims to propose an evidence-based argument to contradict the theory of evolution.
A deviation from the standard DNA code.
Any agent that increases the frequency or extent of mutations.
Natural Selection
The evolutionary process by which some organisms, with features that enable them to adapt to the environment, preferentially survive and reproduce, thereby increasing the frequency of those features in the population.
Gene Migration
The movement of genetic material within a population and among diverse populations.
Genetic Drift
The process whereby one segment of a population is removed from the larger pool, thereby limiting the flow of genetic material between the two groups.
A group related organisms that can interbreed and produce fertile, viable offspring.
The ability to habitually walk of two legs; one of the key distinguishing characteristics of humans and our immediate ancestors.
Oldowan Tools
Stone tools shaped for chopping and cutting found in the Olduvai Gorge and associated with Australopithecus garhi.
Acheulian Stone Tools
Stone tools associated with Homo erectus, including specialized hand axes for cutting, pounding, and scraping.
A late variety of archaic Homo sapien prevalent in Europe.
Multiregional Continuity Thesis
The theory that modern Homo sapiens evolved directly form archaic Homo sapiens living in regions across the world.
Out of Africa Theory
The theory that modern Homo sapiens evolved first in Africa, migrated outward, and eventually replaced archaic Homo sapiens. Also called replacement theory.
Genetic Adaptation
Changes in genetics that occur at a population level in response to certain features of the environment.
Developmental Adaptation
The way in which human growth and development can be influenced by factors other than genetics, such as nutrition, disease, and stress.
The process of the body temporarily adjusting to the environment.
Cultural Adaptation
A complex innovation, such as fan, furnaces, and lights, that allows human to cope with their environment.
The pigment that gives human skin its color.
Salvage Ethnography
Fieldwork strategy developed by Franz Boas to rapidly collect cultural, material, linguistic, and biological information about U.S. Native populations being devastated by Western expansion.
A critical self-examination of the role the anthropologist plays and an awareness that one’s identity affects one’s fieldwork and theoretical analyses.
Literature Review
The process of reading all the available published material about a research site and/or research issues, usually done before fieldwork begins.
Anthropologist’s Toolkit
The tools needed to conduct fieldwork, including a notebook, pen, camera, voice recorder, and a dictionary.
Quantitative Data
Statistical information about a community that can be measured and compared.
Qualitative Data
Descriptive data drawn from nonstatistical sources, including participant observation, personal stories, interviews, and life histories.
The relationships of trust and familiarity developed with member of the community being studied.
Key Informant
A community member who advises the anthropologist on community issues, provides feedback, and warns against cultural miscues.
A research strategy of gathering data through formal or informal conversation with informants
Life History
A form of interview that traces the biography of a person over time, examining changes and illuminating the interlocking network of relationships in the community.
An information-gathering tool for quantitative data analysis
Kinship analysis
A traditional strategy of examining genealogies to uncover the relationships built upon structures such as marriage and family ties.
Social network analysis
A method for examining relationships in a community, often conducted by identifying who people turn to in times of need.
Field Notes
The anthropologist’s written observations and reflections on places, practices, events and interviews.
The Analysis of the physical and/or geographic space where fieldwork is being conducted.
Built Environment
The intentionally designed features of human settlement, including buildings, transportation and public service infrastructure, and public spaces
Elements of a story or a picture that are not told or seen and yet offer key insights into issues that might be too sensitive to discuss or display publicly
Mutual Transformation
The potential for both the anthropologist and the members of the community being studied to be transformed by the interactions of fieldwork.
An approach to gathering data that investigates how local people think and how they understand the world.
Description of local behavior and beliefs from the anthropologist’s perspective in ways that can be compared across cultures.
The analysis and comparison of ethnographic data across cultures.
The practice of using many different voices in ethnographic writing and research question development, allowing the reader to hear more directly from the people in the study.
Informed Consent
A key strategy for protecting those being studied by ensuring that they are fully informed of the goals of the project and have clearly indicated their consent to participate.
Protecting the identities of the people involved in a study by changing or omitting their names or other identifying characteristics.
A system of knowledge, beliefs, patterns of behavior, artifacts, and institutions that are created, learned and shared by a group of people.
The process of learning culture.
Ideas or rules about how people should behave in particular situations or toward certain other people.
Fundamental beliefs about what is important, true, or beautiful, and what makes a good life.
Anything that signifies something else.
Mental Maps of Reality
Cultural classifications of what kinds of people and things exist, and the assignment of meaning to those classifications.
Cultural Relativism
Understanding a group’s beliefs and practices within their own cultural content, without making judgments.
Unilineal Cultural Evolution
The Theory proposed by nineteenth-century anthropologists that all cultures naturally evolve through the same sequence of stages form simple to complex.
Historical Particularism
The idea, attributed to Franz Boas, that culture develop in specific ways because of their unique histories.
Structural Functionalism
A conceptual framework positing that each element of society serves a particular function to keep the entire system in equilibrium.
Interpretivist Approach
A conceptual framework that sees culture primarily as a symbolic system of deep meaning.
The ability or potential to bring about change through action or influence.
The uneven distribution of resources and privileges among participant in a group or culture.
The ability of a dominant group to create consent and agreement within a population without the use or threat of force.
The potential power of individuals and groups to contest cultural norms, values, symbols, mental maps of reality, institutions, and structures of power.
A global outlook emerging in response to increasing globalization.
the study of the full scope of human diversity, past and present, and the application of that knowledge to help people of different backgrounds better understand one another.
The belief that one’s own culture or way of life is normal and natural; using one’s own culture to evaluate and judge the practices and ideals of others.
Ethnographic Fieldwork
A primary research strategy in cultural anthropology involving living with a community of people over an extended period to better understand their lives.
Four-Field Approach
The use of four interrelated disciplines to study humanity: physical anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology and cultural anthropology.
The anthropological commitment to consider the full scope of human life, including culture , biology, history, and language, across space and time.
Physical Anthropology
The study of humans from a biological perspective, particularly focused on human evolution.
The sudy of the history of human evolution through the fossil record.
The study of living nonhuman primates as well as primate fossils to better understand human evolution and early human behavior.
The investigation of the human past by means of excavating and analyzing artifacts.
Prehistoric Archaeology
The reconstruction of human behavior in the distant past (before written records) through the examination of artifacts.
Historic Archaeology
The exploration of the more recent past through an examination of physical remains and artifacts as well as written or oral records.
Linguistic Anthropology
The study of human language in the past and present.
Descriptive Linguists
Those who analyze languages and their components parts.
Historic Linguists
Those who study how language changes over time within a culture and how languages travel across cultures.
Those who study language in its social and cultural contexts.
Cultural Anthropology
The study of people communities behaviors beliefs and institution including how people make meaning as they live work and play together.
Participant Observation
A key anthropological research strategy involving both participation in and observation of the daily life of the people being studied.
The analysis and comparison of ethnographic data across cultures.
The worldwide intensification of interactions and increased movement of money, people, goods, and ideas within and across national borders.
Time-space compression
The rapid innovation of communication and transportation technologies associated with globalization that transforms the way people think about space and time.
Flexible Accumulation
The increasingly flexible strategies that corporations use to accumulate profits in an era of globalization, enable by innovative communications and transportation technologies.
Increasing Migration
The accelerated movement of people within and between countries.
Uneven Development
The unequal distribution of the benefits of globalization.
Rapid Change
The dramatic transformations of economics, politics, and culture characteristic of contemporary globalization.
Climate Change
Changes to the earth’s climate, including global worming produced primarily by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases crated by human activity such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation.
the linguistic ability to use known words to invent new word combinations
the ability to use words to refer to objects not immediately present or events occurring in the past or future
Descriptive Linguistics
the study of the sounds symbols and gestures of a language and their combination into forms that communicate meaning
The smallest units of sound that can make a difference in meaning
the study of what sounds exist and which ones are important for a particular language
The smallest unit of sound that carry meaning on their own
the study of patterns and rules of how sounds combine to make morphemes
the specific patterns and rules for constructing phrases and sentences
the combined set of observations about the rules governing the formation of morphemes and syntax that guide language use
the study of the relationship between body movements and communication.
an extensive set of noises and tones of voice that convey significant information about the speaker.
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
the idea that different languages create different ways of thinking.
all the words for names, ideas and events that make up a languages dictionary
Focal vocabulary
the words and terminology that develop with particular sophistication to describe the unique cultural realities experienced by a group of people.
the study of the ways culture shapes language and language shapes culture, particularly the intersection of language and systems of power such as race gender class and age.
a nonstandard variation of a language.
Prestige language
A particular way of speaking or language variation that is associated with wealth success education and power
Code switching
switching back and forth between one linguistic variant and another depending of the cultural context
Historical linguistics
the study of the development of language over time including its changes and variations
Language continuum
The idea that variation in languages appears gradually over distance so that groups of people who live near one another speak in a way that is mutually intelligible
Language loss
the extinction of languages that have very few speakers
Digital natives
A generation of people born after 1980 who have been raised in a digital age

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