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Eller CH1

What is Anthropology ?

Broad subject with science on 1 side and philosophy on the other.

Study of Human kind.

Comes from two words logos meaning man and .

Has 4 disciplines:

1. Biological/Physical

2. Linguistic

3. Archaeology of Pre-Literate and Pre-Historic

4. Social or Cultural

All the natural and social sciences ask distinctive questions which unify all 4 fields. How many
different ways are there to being a human being ? How are the different elements of human
past fit into 1? What leads to change ?

Its the study of the diversity of human bodies and behaviours in the past and in the present.

He defines Biological/physical anthropology as the study of change in human bodies.

The homanans led to present human beings by branching of through evolution which took about
6-7 million years.

Linguistic Anthropology is different from Linguistics. Do all languages follow the same logic ?
Language is related to social practices and social performances. Different groups and
different cultures make use of language differently.

Archaeology of Pre-Literate and Pre-Historic: Different from Classical Archeology. Includes

incas of peru.
Social and Cultural Anthropology: Studies human beings in different parts of the world.
Community study. Evolved and problem studies were created, were a social problem (P.Burgois
In search of respect) example drugs or poverty are studied. (J. Boissevain Saints and
Fireworks). Studies of a field of interaction, social networks (J. Boissevain Friends of
friends). 3 definition of Social and Cultural Anthropology as the comparative study of
different society and cultures by different ethnography and theory to generate a more
comprehensive idea of human social behaviour.

Ethnography is the holistic analysis of a small scale society (based on forms of economy which
are made of small groups, who you know is more important than what you know, face to face
interaction is crucial) using the field work method of investigation. Large scale societies are
dominated by large industries and create mass production.

Social Cultural System: Human Ecology (how people react to their environment) overlaps with
Economy (system of production distribution), this in turn overlaps with Social structure
(system of social groupings in different societies), this overlaps with Cosmology (consists of
religion, philosophy)/Ideology (consists of the approach to political organization, translation of
religion into politics)/Morality (peoples notion of right and wrong).

For Eller culture is the system of actions and beliefs.

Field work is living with the people for considerable time to gain more knowledge (participant
observation). Read Eller ch2 pgs 35-41)

What is Social Theory ?

In order to be true or false consists of generalisations of humans in societies these

generalisations show that mature humans have particular characteristics. There are
generalisations which explain human action and speech. Lines up facts in terms of cause and

Marx: Human action and speech in terms of the economy.

Durkheim: Human action and speech in terms of social structure.

Weber: Human action and speech in terms of culture eg. mentality, religion. Verstehem
understand mentality.

When people do ethnography they are looking at the culture as a whole but they need to use
theory to answer why by generalising.