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Chapter 1 –

Introduction to Anthropology
What is anthropology?
Anthropology is the systematic study of
 - man
 - word/study
Emergence of the discipline
Two major goals:
Understand uniqueness and diversity
Discover fundamental similarities
Four-field Approach
Four subdisciplines bridge science and
Physical Anthropology
Cultural Anthropology
Physical Anthropology
Primarily concerned with humans as a
biological species
Most closely related to natural sciences
Major research areas:
Human evolution
Modern human variation
Palaeoanthropology, primatology, forensics,
Archaeologists seek out and examine
the artifacts (material products) of past
Archaeology is not treasure-hunting (a
la Indiana Jones).
Subdisciplines of archaeology:
Prehistoric, historic, Classical, Biblical,
Modern “trash”
Linguistic Anthropology
Subfield of anthropology, philosophy,
and English
Main research areas:
How language is used
Relationship between language and culture
How humans acquire language
Fields of linguistics:
Structural, historical, sociolinguistics
Cultural Anthropology
Sometimes known as ethnology, cultural
anthropology examines contemporary
societies and cultures throughout the
Participant observation:
Ethnographic data
Holism and Applied Anthropology
Training in all four fields required
Links to other social sciences
Sociology, psychology, economics, political
science, history
Applied Anthropology
Sometimes called the 5th field
Offers practical solutions to cultural problems
Great Britain - 1966
Guinea Bissau, Africa
The Americas
The Netherlands
Tibet, 1997
Mexico - November 1
U.S. - Virginia, 2000
Cultural Relativism
The values of one culture should not be used as
standards to evaluate the behavior of persons from
outside that culture; a society’s custom and beliefs
should by described objectively.
Modern approach: We should strive for objectivity
and not be too quick to judge; however, there are
some moral absolutes that are removed from culture.
Examples of moral absolutes?
Introduction to Sociology
Sociology defined and explained

Question: What is Sociology?

Answer: The Scientific study of human

societies and social behavior.
A Systematic Approach

Q: Is it a science?

A: Yes, sociologists begin their work by proposing questions of

importance to them and then designing a research project that will
enable them to ascertain the answers to their major research

Q: Is it organized?

A: Yes, sociological investigations proceed systematically. As a social

science , sociology is a discipline that is organized and methodical
and it’s endeavors are undertaken for the purpose of enhancing
Defining the Sociological

“Sociology is the scientific study of

human society and social interactions.”
What makes sociology “scientific?”

Levels of Understanding Drug Use

Personal experience Awareness of friends Systematic study
with drug use and associates’ patterns of a random
of drug use sample of drug
Sociology and Common Sense
Common sense assumptions are usually based on very
limited observation.
Moreover, the premises on which common sense
assumptions are seldom examined.
Sociology seeks to:
• use a broad range of carefully selected observations; and
• theoretically understand and explain those observations.
While sociological research might confirm common
sense observation, its broader base and theoretical
rational provide a stronger basis for conclusions.
I am not an Animal!!!

Sociologists examine groups of humans in

an effort to understand the nature,
meaning and significance of human group

NOTE: Sociologists are not interested in

animal species.
Social behavior

Sociologists examine the following:

1. What people do that affect others
around them.
2. “things” that people do after they have
given thought to how others might
respond to their acts, especially when
the people are aggregated into groups.
The least we need to know…
Sociology seeks to understand how
groups work, how groups influence one
another, and how groups influence the
things that individuals do.
Sociology vs. Anthropology
One branch of anthropology (cultural)
shares an interest with sociology in its
focus on cultural issues. The other
branches, archaeology and physical
anthropology are different in their study of
relics and skeletal remains to understand
peoples of the past.
Sociology vs. Psychology
Psychology attempts to explain why
individuals act, or how individuals
influence other’s behavior.

Remember, sociology attempts to explain

how and why groups act or how groups
influence individual’s behaviors.
Introduction to Anthropology
Introduction to Anthropology
Introduction to Anthropology
Introduction to Sociology
Introduction to Sociology