Quiz I Review

Anthropology 100
Dr. Jane Granskog
Review For Quiz I
Material Covered: Schultz & Lavenda, Ch. 1-6; Spradley & McCurdy Reader, articles #1-8,
true/false and multiple choice questions (22 questions) and two short answer questions (4
points each).
Introduction - The Nature Of Anthropology
Basic divisions in anthro: physical/biological - human evolution (paleoanthropology), human
variation, primatology,; cultural (topic and areal specializations, ethnology & ethnography study of a particular culture), linguistics (communication in context); archeology (historical
perspective); applied anthropology (critical medical anthro, developmental, urban issues
anthropology of practice). Five elements common to anthropology (source of unity) relativistic attitude, comparative method, concern w/ context, fieldwork & the unifying concept
of culture viewed from a holistic perspective. Current focus - geographical and theoretical
specializations w/ an emphasis on non-Western societies (microscopic studies) are still
important w/ increased focus on globalization processes & interest in segments of complex
society – use of applied anthropology to solve practical cross-cultural problems w/in recent
Major Concepts in Anthropology-Explaining Culture
Be able to define: culture (major attributes - learned, shared, adaptive, patterned &
symbolic/arbitrary, is NOT the same as behavior, importance of enculturation); difference
between macroculture and microcultures (based on class, ethnicity, race, gender, age, &
institutions and their impact upon status and choice); impact of globalization & localization
processes; ethnocentrism; cognicentrism (privileging one's own cognitive processes/way of
looking at and thinking about the nature of the world); cultural relativism (significance and
limitations—absolute vs relative approach); significance of dialectical holism. Be familiar w/
theoretical debates noted in class – biological determinism vs cultural constructionism;
interpretivism vs cultural materialism; individual agency vs structurism.
Major issues centering around fieldwork/participant observation: limitations of
positivist thinking & focus on objective knowledge; focus on inter-subjectivity inherent in
dialogue of fieldwork, significance of reflexivity; emergence of multisited research. Note
four aspects of fieldwork: preparation (problem orientation, type of training needed); data
collection (various methods employed and emphasized - P.O., cultural rapport w/ informants
and associated problems); adaptation to the field & impact of fieldwork - problem of cultural
shock - "social limbo" - significance of tacit/covert (assumed/habitual cultural patterns) vs
explicit/overt culture; analysis & interpretation of data (problem of observer bias, emphasis
on intersubjective/reflexive, dialectical approach; difference between emic & etic
approaches; significance of ethical issues - protection of informant privacy, recognition of
their contributions, info. for whom and for what purposes. Be able to illustrate issues via info
in text by Schultz & Lavenda & articles in S&M Reader (#1-3, 5).
Be familiar with the historical development of anthropology and the emergence of
major theoretical approaches - significance of effects of Western expansion upon early
theories as discussed in S&L. Evolutionary typologies - emphasis on material aspects of
culture, technology, origin and evolution of societal types - early versions (unilineal cultural
evolutionism) were ethnocentric w/ emphasis on idea that "progress is always good".
Emergence of Social Structural typologies with work in colonial settings (British) classification of political structures, emphasis on continuity principle of culture & on stability &
integration of society, static approach, emphasis on cultural persistence (structural
functionalism). More diverse approaches after WWII – 3 theoretical debates noted, w/ shift
from focus on various typologies to comparative study of cultural processes with attention to
current approaches that focus on practical applications of anthropology (applied anthro) to
issues of globalization & impact on indigenous cultures around the world as well as w/in the
Western world.
Language & Cognition - Symbolic Communication
Two primary means of communication: (1) through behavior, i.e., non-verbal, use of symbols
in many ways - proxemics & kinesics, a primary emphasis in study of semantics (study of
meaning); (2) verbal communication - language. Note design features of human language
distinguishing it from animal communication – openness/arbitrary, displacement, duality of
patterning, productivity, semanticity, prevarication; different approaches – historical
linguistics, impact of colonialization, globalization on changing languages (pidgins; creoles;
concept of heteroglossia, language decay & extinction).
Relation between language and cognition - linguistic competence and communicative
competence; significance of Sapir Whorf hypothesis/linguistic relativity principle. Component
systems of language: phonology - study of sounds, phonemes; morphology - combining
significant sounds, morphemes; syntax/grammar - rules for putting words together; semantics
- meaning of verbal symbols used, (denotation vs connotation), doublespeak.
Dialectic between Language & Culture: Significance of pragmatics & ethnopragmatics
- language in the contexts of use (e.g., significance of linguistic ethnocentrism/linguistic
inequality & impact on bilingualism, dialects; men vs women's speech, linguistic pluralism,
language codes). Significance of sociolinguistics focus on power dynamics manifest in
discourse – language ideology. Note concept of media anthropology—cross-cultural study of
communication via electronic media. Note significance of cultural impact on perception,
cognition, cultural construction of emotion (reasoning styles) – concept of schema,
prototypes. Be familiar with articles in S & M Reader (#4, 6, 7 & 8) and on Hall & Hall on
reserve in addition to Schultz & Lavenda Ch 5 & 6.
Possible Short Answer Questions
1. Define and describe ethnocentrism, cultural relativism, and the inter-subjective,
dialectical approach of anthropology. What is the significance of these terms to
anthropology? Are these terms at all related to one another? If they are, how so?
Illustrate your answer with examples where appropriate.
2. List and define the five unifying characteristics of anthropology. Also be able to discuss
how the characteristics might be related to one another.
3. How have the contacts between the West and the rest of the world affected the
development of anthropology?
4. Discuss the observational approach (and participant observation) in terms of its
significance within the discipline of anthropology. Also be able to discuss some of the
advantages of the observational approach, why the technique of participant observation
is an important research "tool" for anthropologists, and how our perspective on fieldwork
& the role of informants has changed.
5. What sorts of human and/or scientific problems might an anthropologist encounter while
conducting anthropological research "in the field" (e.g., culture shock)? Illustrate your
answer with examples where appropriate.
6. How did the Bushmen respond to the gift of an ox from the anthropologist? Why did the
anthropologist misinterpret their response?
7. What is culture? Given the diversity of economic, social, and cultural patterns across the
world, what do these patterns tell us about the nature of culture?
8. How do you think fieldwork achieves the personal transformations described by Gmelch
in the students he has sent to Barbados?
9. Language has been a central focus of anthropological interest for a number of reasons.
Discuss at least three reasons and why they are important.
10. What are some of the ways in which language affects our perception in America today?
How are they related to the discussion of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and the concept of
linguistic relativity?
11. Discuss the misunderstandings that occur because of differing interpretations of
communication between males and females as discussed by Tannen. Have you
experienced similar problems in your conversations with the opposite sex? Based on the
various readings and your own experience, how may issues of gender and culture
(differing patterns of cognition) affect the communication process?
12. The goal of cultural relativism is understanding. However, to understand does not mean
to condone. How would an anthropologist, from a relativistic point of view, explain a
cultural practice like genocide (for example, the Nazis’ attempt to exterminate the Jews)?
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