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O Cultural Anthropology is the study of human
cultures, beliefs, practices, values, ideas,
technologies, economies and other domains
of social and cognitive organization.

O This field is based primarily on cultural

understanding of populations of living
humans gained through first hand
experience or participant observation.
O Anthropology is the scientific study of
human beings as social organisms
interacting with each other in their
environment, and cultural aspects of life. It
Five Disciplines of Anthropology
O Applied Anthropology: Includes the fields of Applied
Medical Anthropology, Urban Anthropology, Anthropological
Economics, Contract Archaeology and others.
O Applied anthropology is simply the practice of applying
anthropological theory and or methods from any of the
fields of Anthropology to solve human problems. For
example, applied anthropology is often used when trying to
determine the ancestry of an unearthed Native American
burial. Biological anthropology can be used to test the DNA
of the body and see if the DNA of the burial has any
similarities to living populations. Medical Anthropology
studies illness and healthcare within specific populations in
order to form healthcare solutions that are tailored
specifically to populations as well as identify unique areas
of susceptibility within populations.
O Archaeology: The study and interpretation of
ancient humans or animals, their history,
and culture. This is done through
examination of the artifacts and remains
that they left behind. An example of this is
the study of Egyptian culture through the
examination of their grave sites and the
pyramids and the tombs in the Valley of
Kings. Through the examination of pyramids
and tombs in which these ancient humans
lived in, much about human history and
Egyptian culture is learned.
O Biological Anthropology: A subfield of
Anthropology that studies humanity through
the human body as a biological organism,
using genetics, evolution, human ancestry,
primates, and their ability to adapt.
O Cultural Anthropology: The study of
contemporary human cultures and how
these cultures are formed and shape the
world around them. Cultural anthropologists
often conduct research by spending time
living in and observing the community they
study (fieldwork) and participant observation
in order to increase understanding of its
politics, social structures, and religion. (also:
sociocultural anthropology, social
anthropology, or ethnology)
O Linguistic Anthropology: Examines human
languages: how they work, how they are
made, how they change, and how they die
and are later revived. Linguistic
anthropologists try to understand the
language in relation to the broader cultural,
historical, or biological contexts that make it
O Culture is the patterns of learned and
shared behavior and beliefs of a
particular social, ethnic, or age group.
It can also be described as the
complex whole of collective human
beliefs with a structured stage of
civilization that can be specific to a
nation or time period. Humans, in
turn, use culture to adapt and
transform the world they live in.
O Culture is:
O '•Learned' through active teaching, and passive
O '•Shared' meaning that it defines a group and
meets common needs.
O •'Patterned' meaning that that there is a
recourse of similar ideas. Related cultural
beliefs and practices show up repeatedly in
different areas of social life.
O •'Adaptive' which helps individuals meet needs
across variable environments.
O •'Symbolic' which means that there are simple
and arbitrary signs that represent something
else, something more.
Levels of Culture
 Familial culture is passed down from generation
to generation, it is both shared and learned. As a
family grows, new generations are introduced to
the traditional family practices. Familial culture
is learned by means of enculturation which is
the process by which a person learns the
requirements of the culture that he or she is
surrounded by. With enculturation, an individual
will also learn behaviors that are appropriate or
necessary in their given culture.
O Micro or Subculture are distinct groups
within a larger group that share some sort of
common trait, activity or language that ties
them together and/or differentiates them
from the larger group.
Cultural universals
O Among the cultural universals listed by Brown are:
O • Language and cognition All cultures employ some type
of communication, symbolism is also a universal idea in
O • Society Being in a family, having peers, or being a
member of any organized group or community is what
makes society.
O • Myth, Ritual, and aesthetics Different cultures all have
a number of things in common, for example, a belief
system, celebration of life and death, and other
ceremonial events.
O • Technology Thereare worldwide variations in clothing,
housing, tools and techniques for getting food through
different types of technology.
Two Views of Culture
O Etic
An etic view is a judgment or perspective about a
culture, gained based on an analysis from
an outsider's customs and culture.
O Emic
O An emic view of culture is ultimately a perspective
focus on the intrinsic cultural distinctions that are
meaningful to the members of a given society. This is
often considered to be an 'insider’s' perspective.
While this perspective stems from the concept of
immersion in a specific culture; the emic participant
is not always a member of that culture or society.
Cross Cultural
O Enculturation
O Enculturation is a process by which we
obtain and transmit culture. This process is
experienced universally among humans.
Cultural Transmission
O is the passing of new knowledge and
traditions of culture from one generation to
the next, as well as cross culturally.
O Cultural Transmission happens every day, all
the time, without any concept of when or
Social institutions
O are a framework of social relationships that
link an individual to the society, through
participation. The forms of these social
relationships can vary greatly across
political, economic, religious, and familial
Symbols within Culture
O A symbol is an object, word, or action that stands for
something else, depending on the culture.
O Symbols are also extremely common and important
in religion. Churches, mosques and temples are
places where people gather to practice a shared
belief or faith and establish relationships based on
this commonality, but many of these individuals will
spend most of their time at school, work or other
places where they are not amongst people with the
same belief so they often wear a symbol of their
religion to express belief.
O Language is the most used form of symbolism.
O Ethnocentrism is the term anthropologists
use to describe the opinion that one's own
way of life is natural or correct. Some will
simply call it cultural ignorance. Those who
have not experienced other cultures in depth
can be said to be ethnocentric if they feel
that their lives are the most natural way of
Cultural Relativism
O The Cross Cultural Relationship is the idea
that people from different cultures can have
relationships that acknowledge, respect and
begin to understand each others diverse
lives. People with different backgrounds can
help each other see possibilities that they
never thought were there because of
limitations, or cultural proscriptions, posed
by their own traditions.
Cultural Relativism
O Cultural relativism is the ability to
understand a culture on its own terms and
not to make judgments using the standards
of ones own culture.
There are two different
categories of cultural
O Absolute: Complete acceptance and
tolerance for any type of cultural practice.

O Critical: Critiquing cultural practices in terms

of human rights. Ex. Feet-binding in China
Qualitative Method

O The Qualitative Method is an anthropological

research method designed to map out detailed
descriptions of social activities within a culture. A
specialist such as an anthropologist enters a
foreign/home culture and observe whatever he or
she wants to investigate with tools that arrange from
taking notes to interviews. The observation(s) may
include social norms, activities, religious rituals,
cultural ideology and etc. This method doesn’t
require any statistical or mathematical
measurements (which is the Quantitative Method),
but only the written observation of culture within a
certain ethnic group.
O The word Ethnography comes from these two
Greek words:"Ethnos," meaning people and
"Graphein," meaning writing.

O Cultural anthropologists who write

ethnographies are called ethnographers and
they often use a research method known as
O Participant Observation is a technique of field
research used in anthropology by which an
anthropologist studies the life of a group by
sharing and participating in its activities.
O Ethnology is the comparative study of two or
more cultures and often compares and
contrasts various cultures.
Race and Racism
O The concept of race was produced long ago
by the process of racialization in order to
separate humans from different areas on
the globe to justify enslaving and belittling
O certain groups. Since its creation, there has
been a slow but steady attempt to
deconstruct it. Of course, there have been
many speed bumps along the way.
O Technology is an important aspect of
Cultural Anthropology. Anthropologists have
studied the examples of material life
established in different human civilizations.
O examples of these universal differences are
in the shelter, attire, tools and methods for
acquiring food and producing material goods