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SOAN101 F14 Lecture 1

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Julie Jenkins

on 16 September 2014

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Transcript of SOAN101 F14 Lecture 1

What is Anthropology?
Objectives:
What is anthropology?
What perspectives are unique to anthropology?
'the study of human-beings'
4 Sub-fields of Anthropology
Biological/ Physical
--Origins and evolution of Homo-Sapiens
--Physical variations of human populations
--Non-human primate behavior

Archaeology
-How did people live in the past?

Excavation & analysis of historical human cultures
Cultural/Social
Differences & similarities in contemporary and historical cultures
What is universal, what is particular?
“the study of the beliefs and practices of social actors within society…in which societies and social groups are treated as open ended systems…”
Linguistics
Relationship between language and culture

Role of language and speaking in social life

How language shapes thought processes
Application of Anthropological knowledge & methods to real world problems

Health, education, development
Perspectives of Anthropology
Holistic
Comparative
Relativistic
As opposed to 'ethnocentrism'
--attitude that one's own culture is the best/superior
--used to judge others
When I say Anthropology, what comes to your mind?
What do we mean the 'holistic' perspective?
- Look for internal logic to cultural systems
- Evaluate each culture on its own terms, without bias
How do we avoid being ethnocentric?
-Restrain Judgement
-Reconsider your own cultural background
-Ask...'Why does this bother me?'
Greek- "Anthropos"
Archaeology
--What do people do, think and why??
--How do people experience & create the world around them?
-What are our values and norms and how are these created, transmitted, and contested?

"no single aspect of a human community can be understood without exploring its relation to other aspects of the community’s total way of life”
What are your reactions? Why?
Is Miner giving a balanced account or is he biased? If he is biased what elements of the essay make you feel that way?
-What makes humans different from other animals?
-How and why do human groups differ biologically?
-What style of speech should one use in specific social contexts?
-How does our language reflect how we view the world?
Moral Relativism vs Methodological Relativism
Full transcript