Cultural Anthropology Chapter 1-4


A detailed description of a particular culture primarily based on fieldwork.


Study & Analysis of different cultures from a comparative/historical point of view that help explain why certain important differences or similarities occur among groups.


It is the study of all aspects of human kind, biological, cultural, and linguistic, past and present, throughout the world, using a holistic approach.

Cultural Anthropology

Also known as social or sociocultural anthropology. The study of customary patterns in human behavior, thought, and feelings. It focuses on humans as culture-producing and culture-reproducing creatures.


Way of life, society shared & socially transmitted ideas, values, emotions and perceptions

Holistic Perspective

Various parts of human culture and biology must be viewed in the broadest possible context in order to understand their interconnections and interdependence.


A cultural attitude marked by the tendency to regard one's own culture as superior to others.


Ethnographic research that involves observing and interviewing the members of a culture to describe their way of life

Linguistic Anthropology

Study of human languages- looking at their structure, history, and relation to social and cultural contexts.


In biology, the taxonomic category of subspecies that is not applicable to humans because the division of humans into discrete types does not represent the true nature of human biological variation.


the archaeological study of human remains, emphasizing the preservation of cultural and social processes in the skeleton

Historical Archaeology

a subfield of archaeology that studies the remains of cultures that existed during the time of written records but about which little was recorded

Contemporary Archaeology

archaeologists that study in contemporary settings on the human antiquity & some prefer to focus on modern societies and cultures.

Cultural Resource Management

a branch of archaeology tied to government policies for the protection of cultural resources and involving surveying and/or excavating archaeological and historical remains threatened by construction or development

Physical Anthropology

Also known as biological anthropology. The systematic study of humans as biological organisms.

Molecular Anthropology

study of genes and genetic relationships


study of biological changes through time (evolution) to understand the origins and predecessors of the present human species.


The study of living and fossil primates

Human Growth

Biological mechanisms of growth, impact of the environment on growth process.

Human Adaptation

capacity of humans to adapt to their material environment- biologically & culturally.

Forensic Anthropology

Field of applied physical anthropology that specializes in the identification of human skeletal remains for legal purposes

Culture Shock

A condition of disorientation affecting someone who is suddenly exposed to an unfamiliar culture or way of life or set of attitudes


Through________, a society's culture is passed on from one generation to the next and individuals become members of their society. Humans learn socially appropriate ways of satisfying the basic biologically determined needs of all humans.


An organized group of people who share a territory, language, and culture.


A sound, gesture, mark or other sign that is arbitrarily linked to something else and represents it in a meaningful way.

Applied Anthropology

The use of anthropological knowledge and methods to solve practical problems, often for a specific client.

Laura Nader

Playing a leading role in the development of the anthropology of law, _____ has taken on specialists in the fields of law, children's issues, nuclear energy, and science, critically questioning the basic assumptions under which these experts operate

Participant Observation

In ethnography, the technique of learning a people's culture through social participation and personal observation within the community being studied, as well as interviews and discussion with individual members of the group over an extended period of tim

Eliciting Devices

activities and objects used to draw out individuals and encourage them to recall and share information

Formal Interview

A structured question/answer session carefully notated as it occurs and based on prepared questions.

Informal Interview

an unstructured, open-ended conversation in everyday life

Multi-sited ethnography

The investigation and documentation of peoples and cultures embedded in the larger structures of a globalizing world, utilizing a range of methods in various locations of time and space.

Key Consultants

members of the society being studied who provide information that helps the researchers understand the meaning of what they observe

Idealist Perspective

A theoretical approach stressing the primacy of superstructure in cultural research and analysis.

Materialistic Perspective

a theoretical approach stressing the primacy of infrastructure in cultural research and analysis


A group of organisms that are closely related and can mate to produce fertile offspring


All the DNA in one cell of an organism

Gregor Mendel

Augustinian monk and botanist whose experiments in breeding garden peas led to his eventual recognition as founder of the science of genetics (1822-1884)

Natural Selection

Charles Darwin's theory that the features of an organism that help it survive and reproduce are more likely than other features to be passed on to subsequent generations.


Changes in the genetic makeup of a population over generations.


The species name for modern humans


Study of cultures through recovery and analysis of material remains and environmental data

Descriptive Linguistic

The scientific study of a spoken language, including its phonology, morphology, lexicon, grammar and syntax.

Historical Linguistic

The study of how languages change over time.


The subgroup of mammals that includes lemurs, lorises, tarsiers, monkeys, apes, and humans.

Social & Cultural Linguistic

Relationship between culture and language. Including gender, age, class and ethnicity.


study of how various cultures use plants


The study of animal remains from archaeological sites. The remains consist primarily of the hard parts of the body such as bones, teeth, and shells.


A desert in southwestern Africa - largely Botswana


Based on observations of the world rather than on intuition or faith.

Cultural Relativism

Principle that people's beliefs and activities should be interpreted in terms of their own culture

Cultural Adaptation

a complex of ideas, activities, and technologies that enables people to survive and even thrive in their environment

Advocacy Anthropology

Research that is community based and politically involved.

Digital ethnography

the use of digital technologies (audio and visual) for the collection, analysis, and representation of ethnographic data.

Qualitative Data

Data associated with a more humanistic approach to geography, often collected through interviews, empirical observations, or the interpretation of texts, artwork, old maps, and other archives.

Quantitative Data

Data associated with mathematical models and statistical techniques used to analyze spatial location and association.

Real Culture

What people actually do

Indigenous intellectual property rights include the notion that:

A) Indigenous groups should control who may know and use their collective knowledge and its applications.
B) Cultures are free to raise children as they see fit.
C) Human rights are inalienable.
D) There is a realm of justice and morality beyond countries


Culture is always adaptive


The notion of American individualism makes it more difficult for enculturation to take place.


Traditional cultural knowledge often has real monetary value.

Franz Boas

Anthropologist who challenged scientific racism and evolutionary constructions of racial hierarchy

Which is not an example of applied anthropology?

a. sociolinguistics
b. forensics
c. medical anthropology
answer; A

Psychological Anthropology

relates human psychology to social and cultural variation

Margaret mead

if gender is based on biological differences b/w men and women, people everywhere should define 'feminine' and 'masculine' in the same way." Concluded that culture is key to gender distinctions