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Cultural Anthropology Study

Guide #1

Terms and Concepts

Anthropology the study of humanity

Culture Bound - restricted in character or outlook by belonging

or referring to a particular culture.
Applied Anthropology - the application of the method and
theory of anthropology to the analysis and solution of practical
Physical Anthropology - a scientific discipline concerned with
the biological and behavioral aspects of human beings, their
related non-human primates and their extinct hominin ancestors.
Molecular Anthropology - a field of anthropology in which
molecular analysis is used to determine evolutionary links
between ancient and modern human populations, as well as
between contemporary species.
Paleoanthropology - the study of the origins and predecessors
of the present human species, using fossils and other remains.
Primatology - the scientific study of primates.
Forensic Anthropology - the application of the science of
anthropology and its various subfields, including forensic
archaeology and forensic taphonomy, in a legal setting.
Archaeology - study of ancient cultures through remains
Linguistic Anthropology - the interdisciplinary study of how
language influences social life
Cultural Anthropology - the study of cultural variation among
Ethnography - the scientific description of the customs of
individual peoples and cultures.
Fieldwork - the work of gathering information by going into the
Participant Observation - one type of data collection method
typically done in the qualitative research paradigm.
Ethnology - the study of the characteristics of various peoples
and the differences and relationships between them.
Holism the idea that systems and their properties should be
viewed as wholes, not as collections of parts.

Informants - a person who provides privileged information about

a person or organization to an agency.
Medical Anthropology - e study of how health and illness are
shaped, experienced, and understood in light of global, historical,
and political forces.
Fact - something known to exist or to have happened
Hypothesis - a supposition or proposed explanation made on the
basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further
Theory - a contemplative and rational type of abstract or
generalizing thinking, or the results of such thinking.
Doctrine - a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a church,
political party, or other group.
Globalization - a process of interaction and integration among
the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a
process driven by international trade and investment and aided
by information technology.
Culture - a way of life of a group of people--the behaviors,
beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without
thinking about them, and that are passed along by
communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
Society - the aggregate of people living together in a more or
less ordered community.
Gender - the range of characteristics pertaining to, and
differentiating between, masculinity and femininity.
Subculture - a cultural group within a larger culture, often
having beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger
Ethnic Group - a socially defined category of people who identify
with each other based on common ancestral, social, cultural or
national experience.
Ethnicity - a social group that shares a common and distinctive
culture, religion, language, or the like

Pluralistic Society - societies that contain a diverse group of

religious cultures and traditions.
Traditional Society - a society characterized by an orientation
to the past, not the future, with a predominant role for custom
and habit.

Enculturation - the gradual acquisition of the characteristics and

norms of a culture or group by a person, another culture, etc.

Symbols - an object that represents, stands for or suggests an

idea, visual image, belief, action or material entity
Social Structure - the system of socioeconomic stratification,
social institutions, or, other patterned relations between large
social groups.
Infrastructure - the basic physical and organizational structures
and facilities needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.
Superstructure - an upward extension of an existing structure
above a baseline.
Human Relations Area Files - a microfiche collection of
information on more than 330 different ethnic, cultural, religious,
and national groups worldwide, is used by social scientists and
students studying a particular culture or cultural trait or for
making cross-cultural analyses.
Ethnohistory - the branch of anthropology concerned with the
history of peoples and cultures, especially non-Western ones.
Ethnocentrism/Centrism - judging another culture solely by the
values and standards of one's own culture.
Cultural Relativism - the principle that an individual human's
beliefs and activities should be understood by others in terms of
that individual's own culture.
Language - the ability to acquire and use complex systems of
Signals - a gesture, action, or sound that is used to convey
information or instructions, typically by prearrangement between
the parties concerned.
Linguistics - the scientific study of language.
Descriptive Linguistics - the work of objectively analyzing and
describing how language is actually used by a group of people in
a speech community.
Phonetics - a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of
the sounds of human speech, or the equivalent aspects of sign.

Phonology - a branch of linguistics concerned with the

systematic organization of sounds in languages.
Phonemes - any of the perceptually distinct units of sound in a
specified language that distinguish one word from another, for
example p, b, d, and t in the English words pad, pat, bad, and bat.
Linguistic Morphology - the identification, analysis and
description of the structure of a given language's morphemes and
other linguistic units, such as root words, affixes, parts of speech,
intonations and stresses, or implied context.
Morphemes - the smallest grammatical unit in a language.
Frame Substitution - enables the linguist to establish the rules
or principles by which language users construct phrases and
Syntax - the arrangement of words and phrases to create wellformed sentences in a language.
Grammar - the set of structural rules governing the composition
of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language.
Form classes - a class of linguistic forms with grammatical or
syntactic features in common; a part of speech or subset of a
part of speech.
Gesture - a movement of part of the body, especially a hand or
the head, to express an idea or meaning.
Kinesics - the interpretation of body motion communication such
as facial expressions and gestures that is, nonverbal behavior
related to movement of any part of the body or the body as a
Proxemics - one of several subcategories of the study of
nonverbal communication.
Paralanguage - the nonlexical component of communication by
speech, for example intonation, pitch and speed of speaking,
hesitation noises, gesture, and facial expression.
Voice Qualities/inflection - the modulation of intonation or
pitch in the voice.

Vocal Characterizers - nonverbal behaviors such as crying,

laughing, and whining (emotions).
Vocal Qualifiers - one of the manners of speaking (as whining,
chuckling, loud tone of voice, rasp, general high pitch) that may
accompany the articulation of the vowels and consonants of an
utterance and convey a meaning of social relationship and
Tonal Language a language (usually East Asian) where
different tones will change the meaning of the words
Historical Linguistics - the scientific study of language change
over time.
Language Family - a group of languages related through
descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of
that family.
Linguistic Divergence - one of the five principles by which you
can detect grammaticalisation while it is taking place.
Glottochronology - that part of lexicostatistics dealing with the
chronological relationship between languages.
Core Vocabulary - a small set of simple words, in any language,
that are used frequently and across contexts
Pidgin - a grammatically simplified means of communication that
develops between two or more groups that do not have a
language in common
Creole - people of present or former colonies, usually locally born
with foreign ancestry; or, a stable, full-fledged language that
originated from a mixture of two or more languages
Linguistic Nationalism - a dominant culture's use of language
to exercise its dominance
Ethno-Linguistics - a field of linguistics which studies the
relationship between language and culture, and the way different
ethnic groups perceive the world. It is the combination between
ethnology and linguistics.

Linguistic Relativity - the structure of a language affects the

ways in which its respective speakers conceptualize their world,
i.e. their world view, or otherwise influences their cognitive
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis - the structure of a language
determines or greatly influences the modes of thought and
behavior characteristic of the culture in which it is spoken
Gendered Speech - a sociolinguistic matter concerned with the
language which differs between the two genders.

Dialects - a particular form of a language that is peculiar to a

specific region or social group.
Code Switching - when a speaker alternates between two or
more languages
Displacement - the capability of language to communicate
about things that are not immediately present (spatially or
temporally); i.e., things that are either not here or are not here
Writing System - any conventional method of visually
representing verbal communication.
Alphabet - the letters of a language in their customary order.
Codification - he process of standardizing and developing a
norm for a language in linguistics.
Practice - the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or
method as opposed to theories about such application or use.
Agency - the capacity of an entity to act in any given
Self & Other - a person or thing referred to with respect to
complete individuality; concept of the identity of difference
Speed Mechanisms
Voice Box & Chords - Vocal cords produce the sound of your
voice by vibration and the air passing through the cords from the
Diaphragm/Breath Control organ that performs an important
function in respiration
Brocas Area - part of the brains frontal lobe linked to speech
Wernickes Area a region of the brain concerned with the
comprehension of language
Thoracic Vertebrae - help to support the weight of the upper
body and protect the delicate spinal cord as it runs through the
vertebral canal.

Hyoid - a U-shaped bone in the neck that supports the tongue.

Trachea - a tube that connects the pharynx and larynx to the
lungs, allowing the passage of air, and so is present in almost all
air-breathing animals with lungs.
Esophagus - an organ in which food passes from the pharynx to
the stomach.
Self-Awareness - the capacity for introspection and the ability
to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the
environment and other individuals.
Non-Human Primates & Language attempts to make
primates capable of speech
Gensus Homo - the genus that includes modern humans and
their close relatives.
Australopithecines refers to all species in the related genera
of Australopithecus and Paranthropus
Basal Hominids origin of modern hominids
Naming Ceremony - the event at which an infant, a youth, or an
adult is given a name or names.
Personality - refers to individual differences in characteristic
patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving.
Dependence Training - refers to child rearing practices that
foster dependence on the family rather than reliance on oneself.
Independence Training - refers to child rearing practices that
foster independence, self-reliance and personal achievement.
Modal Personality - the personality characteristic held by the
most people in the group.
Coral Values - attitudes and beliefs thought to uniquely pattern
a culture.
Intersexual - a general term that refers to those individuals
which have sexual characteristics midway between normal males
and normal females.

Transgender - denoting or relating to a person whose selfidentity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions
of male or female gender.
Ethnic Psychoses - mental disorders specific to particular ethnic
Informal Science - science teaching and learning that occurs
outside of the formal school curriculum in places such as
museums, the media, and community-based programs.
Formal Science - an area of study that uses formal systems to
generate knowledge such as in Mathematics and Computer
Problem Solving - the act of defining a problem; determining
the cause of the problem; identifying, prioritizing and selecting
alternatives for a solution; and implementing a solution
Research Hypothesis - the statement created by researchers
when they speculate upon the outcome of a research or
Null Hypothesis - refers to a general statement or default
position that there is no relationship between two measured
phenomena, or no difference among groups.
Quantitative Data - information about quantities
Qualitative Data - a categorical measurement expressed not in
terms of numbers, but rather by means of a natural language
description (i.e. this is blue)
Standardized Measurements - accepted or approved instance
or example of a quantity or quality against which others are
judged or measured or compared.
Random Sample - a set of items that have been drawn from a
population in such a way that each time an item was selected,
every item in the population had an equal opportunity to appear
in the sample.
Statistical Analysis - involves collecting and scrutinizing every
data sample in a set of items from which samples can be drawn.
Fact - something known to exist or to have happened:

Hunch - a feeling or guess based on intuition rather than known

Objective - not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in
considering and representing facts.
Subjective - belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the
object of thought
Chance Probability - the absence of any cause of events that
can be predicted, understood, or controlled
Event Probability - a set of outcomes of an experiment to which
a probability is assigned
Sample Size - the act of choosing the number of observations or
replicates to include in a statistical sample.
Theory - a contemplative and rational type of abstract or
generalizing thinking, or the results of such thinking.
Law/Principle - a fundamental truth or proposition that serves
as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain
of reasoning.
Supernatural - attributed to some force beyond scientific
understanding or the laws of nature.
Revelation - a surprising and previously unknown fact,
especially one that is made known in a dramatic way.
Prophet - a person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer
of the will of God.
Creation Myth - a symbolic narrative of how the world began
and how people first came to inhabit it.
Oral Narrative Myth myth told through oral narratives;
passed down as such
Conflation Evidence evidence that sometimes wrongly
combines different ideas into one
Faith - confidence or trust in a person or thing or a belief not
based on proof.

Supernatural-Natural Approach dealing with something in

vis a vis a supernatural manner; dealing with something via a
natural manner
Edward Taylor - an English Anthropologist and was often
regarded as the founder of modern anthropology.
Franz Boas argued that culture developed historically through
the interactions of groups of people and the diffusion of ideas,
and that consequently there was no process towards continuously
"higher" cultural forms; introduced the concept of cultural
Charles Darwin anthropologist known for his theories of
natural selection and common decent
Charles Lyell - proposed that for the vast majority of the Earths
history, only slow-acting processes have been agents of
geological change (Uniformitarianism); same concept influenced
Darwins theory of evolution
Bronislaw Malinowski - His ethnography of the Trobriand
Islands described the complex institution of the Kula ring, and
became foundational for subsequent theories of reciprocity and
Margaret Mead - her reports detailing the attitudes towards sex
in South Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures
influenced the 1960s sexual revolution. She was a proponent of
broadening sexual mores within a context of traditional Western
religious life.
Ruth Benedict - studied the relationships between personality,
art, language and culture, insisting that no trait existed in
isolation or self-sufficiency
Claude Levi-Strauss - key in the development of the theory of
structuralism and structural anthropology; argued that the
"savage" mind had the same structures as the "civilized" mind
and that human characteristics are the same everywhere.
Lewis Henry Morgan - best known for his work on kinship and
social structure, his theories of social evolution, and his
ethnography of the Iroquois.

Hammurabi - known for the set of laws called Hammurabi's

Code, which constitute one of the earliest surviving codes of law
in recorded history.
Herodotus - the first historian known to collect his materials
systematically and critically, and then to arrange them into a
historiographic narrative.
Victor Turner - a British cultural anthropologist best known for
his work on symbols, rituals and rites of passage.
Paul Rabinow anthropologist known for his application of
Michel Foucaults concepts of power onto the field of
anthropology; the mutually productive relations of knowledge,
thought, and care are given form within shifting relations of
Constantine the Great - a Roman Emperor from 306 to 337 AD;
known for his successful expansionism
Abrahamic Religions - religions originating from the traditions
of Iron Age proto-Judaism; the major ones are Judaism,
Christianity, and Islam
Monotheism - the doctrine or belief that there is only one God.
Polytheism - the belief in or worship of more than one god.
Anitimism/Animism - the belief in a supernatural power that
organizes and animates the material universe.
Age of Exploration - an informal and loosely defined European
historical period from the 15th century to the 18th century,
marking the time in which extensive overseas exploration
emerged as a powerful factor in European culture.
Age of Enlightenment - an era from the 1620s to the 1780s in
which cultural and intellectual forces in Western Europe
emphasized reason, analysis, and individualism rather than
traditional lines of authority.
Romans - of or relating to ancient Rome or its empire or people.
Hebrews - a member of an ancient people living in what is now
Israel and Palestine

Cannanites - a historical/Biblical region and people in the area of

the present-day Levant
Chinese - of or relating to China or its language, culture, or
Greeks - the ancient or modern language of Greece; also an
inhabitant of Greece
Celtic - an ethnolinguistic group of tribal societies in Iron Age and
Medieval Europe who spoke Celtic languages.
Germanic - an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern
European origin,
Aryans - a member or descendant of the prehistoric people who
spoke Indo-European
Dravidians - native speakers of any of the Dravidian languages
of South Asia.
Egyptians - an ethnic group and the citizens of Egypt sharing a
common culture and a variety of Arabic.
!Kung - San people living in the Kalahari Desert in Namibia,
Botswana and in Angola; constantly use the click constant in their
Inuit - a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting
the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, and Alaska.
Murngin - an Indigenous Australian people inhabiting northeastern Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Kpelle - e largest ethnic group in Liberia.
Americans - citizens of the United States of America
Nuer - a Nilotic ethnic group primarily inhabiting the Nile Valley.
Trobrianders people who reside in the Trobriand Islands
Saami - an indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting the Arctic
area of Spmi
Renaissance a period in Europe, from the 14th to the 17th

Reformation - the schism within Western Christianity initiated

by Martin Luther, John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli and other early
Protestant Reformers.
Colonialism - the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial
political control over another country, occupying it with settlers,
and exploiting it economically.
World View - the fundamental cognitive orientation of an
individual or society encompassing the entirety of the individual
or society's knowledge and point of view.
Lexicon - the vocabulary of a person, language, or branch of
Historical Particularism - Claims that each society has its own
unique historical development and must be understood based on
its own specific cultural context, especially its historical process.
Functionalism a theory of the mind; mental states are
identified by what they do rather than by what they are made of.
Functional- - spin-off from systems theory in sociology.
Structuralism - the theory that elements of human culture must
be understood in terms of their relationship to a larger,
overarching system or structure (or the search for the
underlying patterns of thought in all forms of human activity).
Interpretative - something helping you understand or make
meaning (i.e. signs on a memorial to help you understand a
memorials symbolism).
Post-Modern - subsequent to or coming later than that which is
Hybrid Approach combination of two systems
Religion - an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems,
and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.
Magic - the power of apparently influencing the course of events
by using mysterious or supernatural forces.

Possible Essay Questions

Discuss the benefits and problems with

Cultural Relativism and Ethnocentrism, be

Describe the steps for the scientific method, be


Describe the field of Historical Linguistics,

using an example, be complete.