Applied (or practical) anthropologists separate their work from

Applied (or practical) anthropologists separate their work from academic anthropology.
Why do you think they do this? Is the basis of their work really that different? How so… and
do they have to prepare differently before beginning their projects?
Applied anthropology studies how to solve practical problems in the world, whereas academic
anthropology serves to study and understand different cultures without a focus on solving problems
found in the culture(s) of study. Anyone of the sub-fields of anthropology can be dubbed applied if
the purpose of the study is practical instead of purely scholarly. Applied anthropologists are usually
employed by government, interest groups, businesses, and non-profits, while academic anthropology
is primarily funded and supported by Universities and Colleges.
Applied anthropologists use many of the same methods as all other types of anthropology including
participant observation and ethnography, but they also focus more on textual analysis and policy
research than traditional anthropology. Applied anthropologists also prepare differently than academic
anthropologists because applied studies start with research question(s) that dictate the scope of the
study. These research questions are specific and often dictated by the agency that is funding the
research. An example of a research question for applied anthropology is “How can public health
agencies in Haiti decrease the rate of HIV/AIDS infection?”
What is the ethnoscientific approach to fieldwork?
Ethnoscience is the way that a culture classifies its material and social universe. Ethnoscience became
popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and ethnoscientific research studies use methods including
participant observation, linguistics, terminological studies, and taxonomy to discover how a culture
places material into categories, and how the society classifies everything from color to plant life.
Now ethnoscientific fieldwork is considered a part of cognitive anthropology, which is the study of
what people know and how it affects the way people see and interact with the world. This type of
fieldwork relies heavily on techniques in the behavioral sciences and evolutionary biology.
How would an anthropologist use the emic/etic approaches when studying a culture?
The emic and etic approaches to anthropology research originally come from the terms “phonemic”
and “phonetic”, which were first described by the linguistic anthropologist Kenneth Pike in 1954. The
origins of emic and etic are found in the study of spoken and written language, which Pike believed
could be adapted to explain any human behavior not just language.
The emic approach is a description or an analysis of a behavior from the point of view of the culture.
An example of this can be seen when talking about tattoos in the Maori cultures as a cultural rite of
passage. On the other hand the etic approach is considered culturally neutral because it describes an
action or behavior from the point of view of an outsider. The etic approach is considered to be a more
scientific view than the emic approach, and it is used when comparing phenomena across cultures. An
example of this can be seen when comparing Maori tattoos to American tattoos. Both approaches are
integral to the study of anthropology
How do anthropologists conduct their research and what are the limits on such research?
Anthropologists study unfamiliar societies using a variety of methods, but the most common
qualitative method is participant observation. Participant observation is a set of research
strategies that aim to gain an understanding of a cultural group and their practices through direct
contact with the people in their native habitat. The method requires that an anthropologist
become immersed in a particular people’s way of life for extended period of time. This type of
field work should be done for longer than a year, and many times it can last for a couple of
year’s total.
Participant observation field work is a long, intense process, but it is rewarding because it allows
the anthropologist to observe seasonal activities, learn to use the language as a native, and it
allows anthropologists to blend in to the society, so that activities are not affected by the
presence of an outsider. Over time the anthropologist learns to balance observation and note
taking with participating in activities, which allows them to gain first hand understanding while
remaining unbiased enough to report on the society’s culture. This method is the primary
approach to cultural anthropology and is used as the basis of ethnographic works.
Because the anthropologist is an outsider, there is the possibility that informants will not tell the
truth and/or the culture will change rituals based on the presence of the researcher, which is why
anthropologists conduct this fieldwork for such a long period of time.
Explain how the process of adaptation to an arboreal existence enhanced primate, and
consequently human, evolution. Include the senses, skeleton, and brain in your answer.
Arboreal evolution of primates is one of three theories about the origins of primates, and it is
considered to be the predominant explanation. Arboreal means “relating to or resembling trees” and
in this case it means that primates evolved after its ancestors adapted to living in trees. This change
from a terrestrial lifestyle to one in the trees accounts for many of the physical and mental
adaptations that led to primate and later human evolution.
One such change occurred in the occipital region of the brain as primates evolved to have
stereoscopic vision, which allowed the primates to see a three-dimensional world, which is important
when you traveling through the complex world of tree branches and leaves. This along with other
adaptations led to the evolution of a larger brain and brain case, which is a precursor to Hominid
evolution. Primates also developed skeletal adaptations including grasping tails and hands, as well as
claws on their feet so as to be able to hang on to trees and swing from branches. The complexity and
danger associated with moving from the land to the trees caused increased evolutionary adaptation in
primates. Many of these adaptations made the human species possible.
After entering a new cultural situation an individual can often find himself/herself
undergoing very negative emotions. What is happening in this instance and how can an
individual prepare in advance to avoid this happening?
When a person enters a culture different from their own it can often cause culture shock, which causes
the person to be uncomfortable in their new situation. The reason for culture shock is that a person
has lived and learned their own culture for their entire lives, and he/she has been taught and
socialized that their cultural structure is the correct one. This is reinforced constantly through
community interaction, media, families, and friends, so when a person is forced into a new culture
that has a different set of rules, he/she will oftentimes not have a positive reaction.
Although culture shock is something that cannot be completely avoided, it is possible to prepare for a
new culture. A person can do research on the new customs and rituals of the place that they are
going to join or visit. Watching television or movies about the culture and reading newspapers and
books, a person can start to become familiar with the new culture. By learning about these
institutions, the person will not be surprised by the differences and this may make the transition
How do specialized vocabularies differ from dialects? Using your own experience, explain
how you use specialized vocabulary among your peers which you would not use in general
social settings. Explain how a dialect differs from a “standard” language use.
A specialized vocabulary is based on a particular field of study or skill set that imparts its own
terminology and word meanings. Specialized vocabularies are learned within context of a job or a class,
and the vocabulary is only understood when speaking to others that have the same specialized
vocabulary. On the other hand a dialect is a form of a language that is characteristic of a regional or
socioeconomic group within the same language. Dialects are learned from birth, and do not require
special skill set. A dialect is simply the way that a group of people speak that includes special phrases
and/or meanings of words that are not commonly used in other dialects. A person would use a dialect
when talking to a peer group regardless of skill or training, while a specialized vocabulary is only
appropriate when speaking to people that have the same training and understanding. Standard
language is a strict form of a dialect that has been given legal status, and it is usually seen as the correct
form of the language. Standard language is often used when teaching the language to non-speakers.
I have experienced the difference in use of specialized vocabulary and dialect when discussing
anthropology in this class. I can use terms like socialization and participant observation when speaking
to my classmates, and they will understand the specialized meaning of these terms, but I cannot do the
same when speaking with my family. This opposite of this can be seen when I use dialect when talking
to my family because I can then turn around and talk to my classmates using the same dialect and they
will understand most if not all of what I am saying.
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