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Glossary of Terms 15

Glossary of Terms 15

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Published by lp3893
glossary of terms, chapter 15
glossary of terms, chapter 15

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: lp3893 on Mar 15, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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- A -
the process by which a culture is transformed due to the massive adoption of culturaltraits from another society--it is what happens to a culture when alien traitsdiffuse in on a large scale and substantially replace traditional cultural patterns. See transculturation.
acephalous society
a society in which political power is diffused to the degree that there are noinstitutionalized political leadership roles such as chiefs and kings. Bands andtribes are acephalous. Most foragers and simple horticulturalists have highlyegalitarian, acephalous societies. The word "acephalous" is Greek for"without a head."
achieved status
a status that is acquired by doing something. For instance, someone acquires a criminal status by committing a crime. Likewise, the status of mother isattained by having a baby. See ascribed status.
actual behavior
what people really do in their lives rather than what they think they are doingor what they believe they should be doing. In most societies there is adiscrepancy between these three kinds of behavior. It is important foranthropologists to distinguish between actual, believed, and ideal behaviorwhen they learn about another society and its culture.adaptive mechanism
a behavior, strategy, or technique for obtaining food and surviving in aparticular environment. Successful adaptive mechanisms provide a selectiveadvantage in the competition for survival with other life forms. For humans,the most important adaptive mechanism is culture.
affinitya kinship link created by marriage, such as the bond between a man and hiswife and her family (in-laws). People who have an affinity relationship witheach other are "affines" . See consanguinity.
affirmative action
a program or policy intended to correct the effects of past discrimination inemployment, education, housing, etc. Usually affirmative action in the UnitedStates includes out-reach programs, hiring goals, set-asides, and/or extraopportunities for members of underrepresented minorities.
age grades
age-based categories of people recognized by a culture. In North America,for example, we generally label people as children, teenagers, adults, middleaged, and elderly or senior citizens. See age sets.
age sets
age grades that are clearly recognized in a culture as distinct identifiablegroups of people. They consist of people of similar age and usually of thesame gender who share a common identity and maintain close ties throughouttheir lives. They also pass through age-related statuses together as a group.The transition between these statuses is usually marked by a rite of passage.
agnatic descent
ambilineal descent
a form of cognatic descent in which individuals can select to trace descenteither matrilineally or patrilineally.The decision may be made eachgeneration based on the relative wealthand/or importance of the father's and themother's family lines.
ambilocal residence
the residence pattern in which a newly married couple has the choice of livingwith or near the groom's or the bride's family.
ancestor focused kindred
a kindred in which the person to whom all members trace their kinship ties is dead. An example would be the descendants of a well known pioneer family.It is rare for a kindred to continue functioning as an effective kin group after
the death of the individual who was its focus. This usually occurs only whenthe ancestor was historically important.
ancestral spirits
souls or ghosts of ancestors. A belief in ancestral spirits is consistent with thewidespread belief that humans have at least two parts--a physical body and some kindof non-physical spirit. The spirit portion is generally believed to be freed from the bodyby death and continues to exist. Ancestral spirits are often seen as retaining an activeinterest and even membership in their family and society.
androgynousthe characteristic of having a blend of both masculine and femininepersonality characteristics but not strongly either one.
a belief in a supernatural power not part of supernatural beings. For those who hold thisbelief, the power is usually impersonal, unseen, and potentially everywhere. It is neithergood nor evil, but it can be powerful and dangerous if misused.
a belief that natural objects are animated by spirits.This belief can take diverse forms. Things in nature may all have within them different spirits--each rock, tree, and cloudmay have its own unique spirit. In contrast, all things in nature may be thought of ashaving the same spirit. In both forms of animism, the spirits are thought of as havingidentifiable personalities and other characteristics such as gender.
a feeling of alienation and isolation from all other people, including family and friends.
the broad scientific study of human culture and biology. Anthropologists are interestedin what it is to be human in all of our many different societies around the world todayand in the past. In North American universities, the study of anthropology is usuallydivided into four main sub-disciplines: cultural anthropology,physical anthropology, archaeology,and linguistics.
anticipatory sororatea cultural pattern in which some sexual permissiveness is allowed between aman and his wife's sister in anticipation of a future marriage between them.This is usually associated with sororal polygyny.

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