Glossary - Cengage Learning

adaptation Process by which organisms develop physical and behavioral characteristics allowing them to survive and
reproduce in their habitats.
aesthetic Qualities that make objects, actions, or language more beautiful or pleasurable, according to culturally relative and
variable standards.
affines In-laws, or people related by marriage.
agriculture Adaptation based primarily on the planting, tending, and harvesting of domesticated plants (crops).
ancestral cults A type of communal cult centered around rituals performed to worship or please a kin group’s
animism Belief in spiritual beings.
anthropological linguistics Subfield that focuses on the interrelationships between language and other aspects of
a people’s culture.
anthropology The study of humankind (Homo sapiens) from a broad perspective, especially focusing on the biological and
cultural differences and similarities between populations and societies, of both the past and the present.
applied anthropology Subfield whose practitioners use anthropological methods, theories, and concepts to solve practical
real-world problems; practitioners often are employed by a government agency or private organization.
archaeology The investigation of past cultures through excavation of material remains.
art Any human action that modifies the utilitarian nature of something for the primary purpose of enhancing its aesthetic
pleasure or symbolic communication.
authority The recognized right of an individual to command another to act in a particular way; legitimate power.
balanced reciprocity The exchange of goods considered
to have roughly equal value; social purposes usually motivate the exchange.
band A small foraging group with flexible composition that migrates seasonally.
big men Political leaders who do not occupy formal offices and whose leadership is based on influence, not authority.
bilateral kinship Kinship system in which individuals trace their kinship relations equally through both parents.
bilocal residence Postmarital residence is with either the wife’s or the husband’s parents, according to choice.
body arts Artificial artistic enhancement or beautification of the human body by painting, tattooing, scarification, or other
bound morpheme A morpheme attached to a free morpheme to alter its meaning.
brideservice Custom in which a man spends a period of time working for the family of his wife.
bridewealth Custom in which a prospective groom and his relatives are required to transfer goods to the relatives of the bride
to validate the marriage.
caste Stratification system in which membership in a stratum is in theory hereditary, strata are endogamous, and contact or
relations between members of different strata are governed by explicit laws, norms, or prohibitions.
chiefdoms Centralized political systems with authority vested in formal, usually hereditary, offices or titles; exchange in such
systems is often organized by redistribution.
civilization A form of complex society in which many people live in cities.
clan A named unilineal descent group, some of whose members are unable to trace how they are related, but who still believe
themselves to be kinfolk.
class System of stratification in which membership in a stratum can theoretically be altered and intermarriage between strata
is allowed.
classification of reality Ways in which the members of a culture divide up the natural and social world into named categories.
cognatic descent Form of descent in which relationships may be traced through both females and males.
cognatic descent group A group of relatives created by the tracing of relationships through both females and males.
communal cults Cults in which the members of a group cooperate in the performance of rituals intended to benefit all.
comparative perspective The insistence by anthropologists that valid hypotheses and theories about humanity be tested with
data from a wide range of cultures.
composite bands Autonomous (independent) political units consisting of several extended families that live together for most
or all of the year.
consanguines “Blood” relatives, or people related by birth.
consultant (informant) A member of a society who provides information to a fieldworker, often through formal interviews or
court legal systems Systems in which authority for settling disputes and punishing crimes is formally vested in a single
individual or group.
courts of mediation Court systems in which sanctions imposed are designed more to restore harmonious relations between
parties than to punish.
courts of regulation Court systems that use codified laws, with formally prescribed rights, duties, and sanctions.
Crow kinship terms Associated with matrilineal descent; in this system paternal cross cousins are called father or father’s
sister, while maternal cross cousins are called son or daughter if ego is a male, and niece or nephew if ego
is a female.
cult Organized practices and beliefs pertaining to interactions with and control over specific supernatural powers.
cultivation See agriculture.
cultural anthropology (ethnology) The subfield that studied the way of life of contemporary and historically recent human
cultural construction of gender The idea that the characteristics a people attribute to males and females is culturally, not
biologically, determined.
cultural identity The cultural tradition a group of people recognize as their own; the shared customs and beliefs that define
how a group sees itself as distinctive.
cultural knowledge Information, skills, attitudes, conceptions, beliefs, values, and other mental components of culture that
people socially learn during enculturation.
cultural relativism The notion that one should not judge the behavior of other peoples using the standards of one’s own
culture (as used in this text) Shared, socially transmitted knowledge and behavior.
culture shock The feeling of uncertainty and anxiety an individual experiences when placed in a strange cultural setting.
demographic change Any change in population, increases and decreases in numbers, as well as shifts in the relative gender,
age, and settlement patterns.
descent The tracing of kinship relationships back to previous generations.
descent group A group whose members believe themselves to be descended from a common ancestor.
dialect A regional or subcultural variant of languages.
domestication The process by which people control the distribution, abundance, and biological features of certain plants and
animals, in order to increase their usefulness to humans.
domestic group Individuals, usually relatives, who reside together in a single household.
dowry Custom in which the family of a woman transfers property or wealth to her upon her marriage.
ecclesiastical cults Highly organized cults in which a full-time priesthood performs rituals believed to benefit believers or the
whole society; occur in complex societies.
egalitarian society Form of society in which there is little inequality in access to culturally valued rewards.
enculturation/socialization The transmission of culture to succeeding generations by means of social learning.
endogamous rules Marriage rules requiring individuals to marry some member of their own social group or category.
Eskimo kinship terms In this system mother’s and father’s siblings are called aunt and uncle, while their children are called
cousins. English kinship terminology is of the Eskimo type.
ethnic boundary markers Any overt characteristics that can be used to indicate ethnic group membership.
ethnic cleansing The deliberate and systematic attempt by the dominant ethnic group to eliminate or remove a rival ethnic
group or groups from a geographical region.
ethnic group A named social group based on perceptions of shared ancestry, cultural traditions, and common history that
culturally distinguish that group from other groups.
ethnocentrism The attitude or opinion that the morals, values, and customs of one’s own culture are superior to those of other
ethnography A written description of the way of life of some human population.
ethnology The study of human cultures from a comparative perspective; often used as a synonym for cultural anthropology.
exchange Transfer of goods (or rights to goods) between individuals or groups.
exogamous rules Marriage rules prohibiting individuals to marry a member of their own social group or category.
entended family A group of related nuclear families.
extended household A group of related nuclear families that live together in a single household.
fieldwork Ethnographic research that involves observing and interviewing the members of a culture to describe their
contemporary way of life.
foraging See hunting and gathering.
forensic anthropologists Physical anthropologists who identify and analyze human skeletal remains.
form of descent How a people trace their descent from previous generations.
free morpheme A morpheme that can be used alone.
functionalism Theoretical orientation that analyzes cultural elements in terms of their useful effects to individuals or to the
persistence of the whole society.
gender crossing The adoption of social roles and behaviors normatively appropriate for the opposite biological sex from one’s
gender stratification The degree of inequality between males and females based on culturally defined differences between
the sexes. May be based on social status (rank, prestige) and/or on access to resources, wealth, power, or influence.
generalized reciprocity The giving of goods without expectation of a return of equal value at any definite future time.
genocide The deliberate and systematic attempt to physically destroy an unwanted ethnic population.
global economy A worldwide integrated system of buying and selling of goods, materials, labor, and services in the global
grammar Total system of linguistic knowledge that allows the speakers of a language to send meaningful messages and
hearers to understand them.
group marriage Several women and several men are married to one another simultaneously.
Hawaiian kinship terms In this system mother’s and father’s siblings are called mother and father, while their children are
called brother and sister.
herding Adaptation based on control and breeding of domesticated livestock, which are taken to naturally occurring
historical particularism The theoretical orientation emphasizing that each culture is the unique product of all the influences to
which it was subjected in its past, making cross-cultural generalizations questionable.
historic archaeology Field that investigates the past of literate peoples through excavation of sites and analysis of artifacts
and other material remains.
holistic perspective The assumption that any aspect of a culture is integrated with other aspects, so that no dimension of
culture can be understood in isolation.
homeland A geographical region over which a particular ethnic group feels it has exclusive rights.
horticulture A method of cultivation in which hand tools powered by human muscles are used.
human variation Refers to physical differences between human populations; an interest of physical anthropologists.
hunting and gathering Adaptation based on harvest of only wild (undomesticated) plants and animals.
idealism A contemporary theoretical orientation holding that cultural knowledge and behavior patterns are largely independent
of the material conditions of life; claims that each culture must be analyzed separately, on its own terms, and mistrusts crosscultural comparisons.
incest taboo Prohibition against sexual intercourse between certain kinds of relatives.
indigenous peoples Culturally distinct peoples who have occupied a region longer than peoples who have colonized or
immigrated to the region.
individualistic cults Cults based on personal relations between specific individuals and specific supernatural powers.
inequality Degree to which individuals, groups, and categories differ in their access to rewards.
influence The ability to convince people they should act
as you suggest.
initiation rite A rite held to mark the sexual maturity of
an individual or a group of individuals of the same sex.
intellectual/cognitive functions of religion The notion that religious beliefs provide explanations for puzzling things and
intensive agriculture A system of cultivation in which plots are planted annually or semiannually; usually uses irrigation,
natural fertilizers, and (in the Old World) plows powered by animals.
interviews Collection of cultural data by systematic questioning; may be structured (using questionnaires) or unstructured
Iroquois kinship terms In this system father’s brother is called father, and mother’s sister is called mother, while their children
are called brother and sister. Father’s sister is called aunt and mother’s brother is called uncle, while their children are called
key consultant (informal) A member of a society who is especially knowledgeable about some subject, and who supplies
information to a fieldworker.
kindred All the bilateral relatives of an individual.
kin group A group of people who culturally conceive themselves to be relatives, cooperate in certain activities, and share a
sense of identity as kinfolk.
kinship terminology The way a people classify their relatives into labeled categories, or into “kinds of relatives.”
kin terms The words (labels) that an individual uses to refer to his or her relatives of various kinds.
law A kind of social control characterized by the presence of authority, intention of universal application, obligation, and
levirate Custom whereby a widow marries a male relative (usually a brother) of her deceased husband.
lexicon All the words that exist in a single language.
limited-purpose money Money that may be used to purchase only a few kinds of goods.
lineage A unilineal descent group larger than an extended family whose members can actually trace how they are related.
market Exchange by means of buying and selling, using money.
marketplace Location where buyers and sellers meet for the purpose of acquiring goods and making money.
marriage alliances The relationships created between families or kin groups by intermarriage.
materialism The theoretical orientation holding that the main influence on human ways of life is how people produce and
distribute resources from their environment.
matrilineal descent Form of descent in which individuals trace their primary kinship relationships through their mothers.
matrilocal residence Couple live with or near the wife’s parents.
mechanized agriculture Cultivation system in which machinery powered by oil, gasoline, electricity, and other inanimate
energy sources provides the major energy inputs to farms.
monogamy Each individual is allowed to have only one spouse at a time.
morpheme A combination of phonemes that conveys a standardized meaning.
morphology The study of the units of meaning in language.
multiple gender identities The recognition, present in some cultures, of more than two sexes, with the third and fourth
identities often called by terms such as man-woman and woman-man.
multipurpose money A money that can be used to purchase a very broad range of goods and services.
nationality An ethnic group that claims a right to a
discrete homeland and to political autonomy and self-determination.
negative reciprocity Exchange motivated by the desire to obtain goods, in which the parties try to gain all the material goods
they can.
neolocal residence Couples establish a separate household apart from both the husband’s and wife’s parents.
nomadism Seasonal mobility, often involving migration
to high-altitude areas during the hottest and driest parts
of the year.
norm Shared ideas and/or expectations about how certain people ought to act in given situations.
nuclear family A family unit consisting of only parents and children.
Omaha kinship terms Associated with patrilineal descent; in this system matrilineal cross cousins are called mother and
mother’s brother, while patrilineal cross cousins are called son and daughter if ego is a female and niece and nephew if ego is
a male.
origin myth The collective history of an ethnic group that defines which subgroups are part of it and its relationship to other
ethnic groups.
paleoanthropologists Physical anthropologists who specialize in the investigation of the biological evolution of the human
participant observation The main technique used in conducting ethnographic fieldwork, involving living among a people and
participating in their daily activities.
pastoralism See herding.
patrilineal descent Form of descent in which individuals trace their most important kinship relationships through their fathers.
patrilocal residence Couples live with or near the husband’s parents.
patterns of behavior The behavior that most people perform when they are in certain culturally defined situations.
peasants Rural people who are integrated into a larger society politically and economically.
performance arts Forms of art such as music, percussion, song, dance, and theater/drama that involve sound and/or stylized
body movements.
phoneme The smallest unit of sound that speakers unconsciously recognize as distinctive from other sounds; when one
phoneme is substituted for another in a morpheme,
the meaning of the morpheme alters.
phonology The study of the sound system of language.
physical (biological) anthropology The subfield that studies the biological aspects of humankind.
polyandry One woman is allowed to have multiple husbands.
polygamy Multiple spouses.
polygyny One man is allowed to have multiple wives.
postmarital residence pattern Where a newly married couple go to live after their marriage.
prehistoric archaeology Field that uses excavation of sites and analysis of material remains to investigate cultures that
existed before the development of writing.
priest A kind of religious specialist, often full-time, who officiates at rituals.
primatologists Those who study primates, including monkeys and apes.
prophet A person who claims to have dreams or visions
in which he or she received a message from a supernatural power.
psychological functions of religion The emotional satisfaction people derive from religion.
puberty (initiation) A religious ceremony that symbolically transforms the individual from a child to an adult.
ranked society Society in which there are a fixed number of statuses (e.g., titles, offices) that carry prestige, and only certain
individuals are eligible to attain these statuses.
reciprocity The transfer of goods for goods between two or more individuals or groups.
redistribution The collection of goods or money from a group, followed by a reallocation to the group by a central authority.
relocation The forced resettlement of an unwanted ethnic group to a new geographical location.
rite of passage A public ceremony or ritual recognizing and marking a transition from one group or status to another.
ritual Organized and stereotyped symbolic behaviors intended to influence supernatural powers.
role A social position in a group, with its associated and reciprocal rights (privileges) and duties (obligations).
self-help legal systems Informal legal systems in societies without centralized political systems, in which authorities who
settle disputes are defined by circumstances of the case.
semantic domain A class of things or properties that are perceived as alike in some fundamental respect; hierarchically
sexual division of labor The kinds of productive activities (tasks) that are assigned to women versus men in a culture.
shaman (medicine man) Part-time religious specialist who uses his special relation to supernatural powers for curing
members of his group and harming members of other groups.
shamanistic cults Cults in which special individuals (shamans) have relationships with supernatural powers that ordinary
people lack.
simple bands Autonomous or independent political units, often consisting of little more than an extended family, with informal
leadership vested in one of the older family members.
social control Mechanisms by which behavior is constrained and directed into acceptable channels, thus maintaining
social distance The degree to which cultural norms specify that two individuals or groups should be helpful to, intimate with,
or emotionally attached to one another.
social functions of religion The effects of religion on maintaining the institutions of society as a whole.
social learning The process of learning by means of imitating or communicating with others.
society A territorially distinct and largely self-perpetuating group whose members have a sense of collective identity and who
share a common language and culture.
sociocide The deliberate and systematic attempt to destroy the ethnic identity of a people for the purpose of assimilating them
into the dominant society.
sociolinguistics Specialty within cultural anthropology that studies how language is related to culture and the social uses of
sodalities Formal institutions that cross-cut communities and serve to unite geographically scattered groups; may
be based on kin groups (clans or lineages) or on nonkin-based groups (age grades or warrior societies).
sorcery The performance of rites and spells for the purpose of causing harm to others by supernatural means.
sororate Custom whereby a widower marries a female relative of his deceased wife.
state A centralized, multilevel political unit characterized by the presence of a bureaucracy that acts on behalf of the ruling
stereotypes Preconceived mental images of a group that biases the way they are perceived and how their behavior is
stratified society Society with marked and usually heritable differences in access to wealth, power, and prestige; inequality is
based mainly on unequal access to productive and valued resources.
subnationalities A subgroup within a larger nationality, which lacks the concept of a separate homeland and makes no claim
to any inherent right to political autonomy and self-determination.
surplus The amount of food (or other goods) a worker produces in excess of the consumption of herself or himself and his or
her dependents.
surveys Methods used by fieldworkers to gather information from a lot of individuals or families very quickly. Common survey
instruments include censuses and formal questionnaires.
symbols Objects, behaviors, and so forth whose culturally defined meanings have no necessary relation to their inherent
physical qualities.
tone languages Languages in which changing voice pitch within a word alters the entire meaning of the word.
totemism A form of communal cult in which all members of a kin group have mystical relations with one or more natural
objects from which they believe they are descended.
tribe Autonomous political unit encompassing a number of distinct, geographically dispersed communities that are held
together by sodalities.
tribute The rendering of goods (typically including food) to an authority such as a chief.
unilineal descent Descent through “one line,” including patrilineal and matrilineal descent.
unilineal descent group A group of relatives all of whom are related through only one sex.
unilineal evolution The nineteenth-century theoretical orientation that held that all human ways of life pass through a similar
sequence of stages in their development.
values Shared ideas or standards about the worthwhileness of goals and lifestyles.
vision quest The attempt to enlist the aid of supernatural powers by intentionally seeking a dream or vision.
visual arts Arts that are produced in a material or tangible form, including basketry, pottery, textiles, paintings, drawings,
sculptures, masks, carvings, and the like.
Whorf-Sapir hypothesis The idea that language profoundly shapes the perceptions and world view of its speakers.
witchcraft The use of psychic powers to harm others by supernatural means.
world view The way a people interrupt reality and events, including how they see themselves as relating to the world around