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25 Cards in this Set

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Cultural relativism
the idea that each culture is unique and distinctive, but no one culture is superior; also that one's own culture should not be the basis on which to judge the behavior of other peoples (p. 2)
Ethnocentrism
the belief that one's own culture represents the best way to do things (p. 2)
Universal human rights
a doctrine emphasizing the rights of the individual over the cultural norms of the community (p. 3)
Comparative approach
identification of fundamental similarities of cultural patterning as well as differences (p. 4)
Culture
the central concept of anthropology, which consists of the things people make, their behavior, their beliefs and ideas; a set of ideas and meanings that people use, derived from the past and reshaped in the present (p. 5)
Enculturation
the continuing process by which culture is learned and acquired by infants, and the development of similar mental schemes as the result of sharing reoccurring common experiences (p. 7)
Society
the organization of social relationships within groups (p. 8)
Cultural universals
fundamental similarities shared by all cultures (p. 12)
Cultural rules
the information learned and internalized by human infants that govern human behavior within a given society
(p. 12)
Social structure
the particular patterns of social relationships that characterize a society (p. 14)
Social organization
the way in which individuals perceive the structure and context of any situation and make decisions and choices from among alternative courses of behavior (p. 14)
Agency
individual decision-making based on perception of context and the range of choices and possibilities (p. 14)
Social status
the positions in human society an individual occupies
(p. 14)
Social role
the behavior expected of individuals towards other people based on social status (p. 14)
Structure
pattern or form, distinguished from function, which is how the parts of a structure operate (p. 14)
Cultural evolution
now largely discredited nineteenth century theory drawing on an interpretation of Social Darwinism, conceptualizing all cultures as representing stages through which all societies’ progress, with simple societies developing into increasingly more complex forms (p. 15)
Cultural particularism
also referred to as cultural relativism, the perspective of Franz Boas and his followers that all cultures are equally distinctive and complex in different ways. (p. 17)
Functionalism
associated with British anthropologists at the beginning of the twentieth century, a vision of society that borrowed the organic analogy to theorize how cultural institutions interacted with each other to maintain the ongoing life processes of individuals and societies (p. 18)
Structuralism
associated with French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss and envisioning the elements of a culture as meaningless on their own but part of a larger structure from which their meaning can be understood (p. 19)
Historical anthropology
the contemporary anthropological approach that positions ethnographic data within a historical framework (p. 19)
Symbolic anthropology
envisioning culture as a system of symbols, and the task of the anthropologist one of translating the layers of meaning into our concepts and language (p. 20)
Postmodernism
a multifaceted reassessment of anthropology arguing that the discipline should stress humanism, cultural particularism, local voice, and the literary components of ethnography
(p. 25)
Contemporary analytical approaches
are much less unified than the theoretical approaches described above, and do not share a single set of assumptions, as did the earlier theoretical points of view. Many contemporary anthropologists work within historical or symbolic frameworks that do not constitute theories in the formal sense.
Bronislaw Malinowski
a major theorist in the development of fieldwork as anthropological methodology and functionalism, spent several years in the Trobriand Islands gathering field data on institutions that made up the "skeleton" or structure of society
A. R. Radcliffe-Brown
stressed the function of institutions in the ongoing life processes of the society. Both scholars opposed the conjectural history of evolutionary theory and stressed the gathering of field data, discouraging historical research by British anthropologists prior to World War II.