Chapter 2: The Characteristics of Culture Questions for Reflection 1. Anthropologists not only try to accurately describe different cultures all across the world, but also wrestle with explaining them in an unbiased fashion. Why do you think their work is so challenging? 2. Anthropological fieldwork is based on participant observation. Imagine a foreign anthropologist choosing your town or neighborhood for such research. Would you, your family, or your friends react differently to a female researcher than to a male? If so, how and why? And what if this male or female anthropologist came from Congo or Ireland? Which would play a more significant role in terms of acceptance and research finding—the researcher’s gender or his/her national origin? 3. Many large modern societies are pluralistic. Are you familiar with any subcultures in your own society? How different are these subcultures from one another? Could you make friends or even marry someone from another subculture? What kind of problems would you be likely to encounter? 4. Although all cultures across the world display some degree of ethnocentrism, some are more ethnocentric than others. In what ways is your own society ethnocentric? Considering the modern fact of globalization, do you think ethnocentrism poses more of a problem in today’s world than in the past? 5. The barrel model offers you a simple framework to imagine what a culture looks like from an analytical point of view. How would you apply that model to your own community? Key Terms Adaptation: A process by which organisms achieve a beneficial adjustment to an available environment; also the results of that process the characteristics of organisms that fit them to the particular set of conditions of the environment in which they are generally found. Cultural pluralism: Social and political interaction of people with different ways of living and thinking within the same society. Cultural relativism: The thesis that one must suspend judgement on other peoples' practices in order to understand them in their own cultural terms. Culture: The values, beliefs, and perceptions of the world shared by members of a society, that they use to interpret experience and generate behavior, and that are reflected in their behavior. Enculturation: The process by which a society's culture is passed from one generation to the next and individuals become members of their society. Ethnocentrism: The belief that the ways of one's own culture are the only proper ones. Ethnohistory: The study of cultures of the recent past through oral histories; accounts left by explorers, missionaries, and traders; and analysis of such records as land titles, birth and death records, and other archival materials. Ethnologist: An anthropologist who studies cultures from a comparative or historical point of view, utilizing ethnographic accounts. Ethnoscientists: Anthropologists who seek to understand the principles behind native idea systems and the ways those principles inform a people about their environment and help them survive. Gender: The elaborations and meanings assigned by cultures to the biological differentiation of the sexes. Pluralistic societies: Societies in which there exist a diversity of cultural patterns. Social structure: The rule-governed relationships of individuals and groups within a society that hold it together. Society: A group of interdependent people who share a common culture. Subculture: A distinctive set of standards and behavior patterns by which a group within a larger society operates. Symbols: Sounds or gestures that stand for meanings among a group of people.
Pages to are hidden for
"Chapter 2 The Characteristics of Culture"Please download to view full document