January 9, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Anthropology
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Oldowan tools

Oldowan tools

•Possible Australopithecine use •Certain Homo use •2.6-1.7mya •1.7mya: Acheulean took over

Major Concepts in Sociocultural Anthropology • • • • • •

Maps Concept of ethnocentrism Concept of social constructionism Concept of cultural relativism “right and wrong”? Other major aspects of sociocultural anthropology


All humans study, make, and use maps (a human universal)

Maps • A map is a visual representation of an area—a symbolic depiction highlighting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, regions, ethnic groups, nations, etc. • Cartography, or map-making is the study and practice of crafting representations of the Earth upon a flat surface. • Many maps are 2-dimensional representations of 3dimensional space. • Several factors can cause maps to be very different from one another such as orientation, scaling, and ethnocentrism?…

Maps: Orientation “North” and “South” poles inverted

Maps: Orientation

Maps: Scaling (Mercator) Greenland

Antarctica is really smaller than Asia, Africa, N. and S. Americas

Maps: Robinson Projection is a Compromise

Ethnocentrism • Looking at the world’s other cultures from the perspective of one’s own culture • Often associated with a preference for one’s own culture’s practices

Social Constructivism • The idea that what one believes/thinks/knows is determined by one’s our society • Knowledge is learned socially from other members of our cultures; (it is “constructed socially”)

Cultural Relativism • The principle that an one’s beliefs and activities should be understood in terms of one’s own culture • In anthropology, one must suspend judgment on other peoples’ practices in order to understand them in their own cultural terms – Not always possible – Not always easy…

Cultural Relativism • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Eating bugs? Eating hot dogs? Eating dogs? Gender roles? Rodeos? Birth control? Bullfighting? Burkas? Infanticide? Abortion? Nazis? Female genital mutilation? Drug use in subcultures in the US? Polygynous marriage in Chechnya? Utah? Yanomamo?

Who is right? • That is irrelevant in anthropology • Practicing cultural relativism is NOT about trying to say that a particular practice in a culture is RIGHT or WRONG • What we’re trying to do in anthropology UNDERSTAND HUMANS • (hopefully…)

Other major aspects of sociocultural anthropology

Sociocultural Anthropology Definitions Society + Culture • Haviland et al. 2007—a best-selling, introductory sociocultural anthropology text • Society: an organized group or groups of interdependent people who generally share a common territory, language, and culture and who act together for collective survival and well-being • Culture: A society’s shared and socially-transmitted ideas, values, and perceptions, which are used to make sense of experience and generate behavior and that are reflected in that behavior

Other Ideas on Society and Culture…

Behavioral Ecology on Society & Culture – Behavioral Ecology: the study of animal behavior that emphasizes evolutionary and ecological principles – Animals form groups; are these “societies”? – Is “culture” limited to humans?

Animal aggregations, societies, or something else? •

“Herd” implies that the group tends to act together (for example, all moving in the same direction at a given time), but that this does not occur as a result of planning or coordination. Rather, each individual is choosing behavior that corresponds to that of the majority of other members, possibly through imitation or possibly because all are responding to the same external circumstances. A herd can be contrasted with a coordinated group where individuals have distinct roles. Is a society more than a herd?

Many primates: Clear societies according to behavioral ecologists • Society: exists in many species, not just people; also, unlike a mere association of individuals in that it involves relationships and interactions within and between a society, at the level of the individual, group, subgroup, etc.

Behavioral Ecology on Culture • •

“Culture” is not limited to humans Boesch and Tomasello: culture is the nongenetic transfer of information among members of social groups • Stuff one learns from others • Example: potato washing in Japanese macaques (“snow monkeys”), though questioned because perhaps it is just trial-and error-learning • Example: foraging culture in chimpanzees…video • E.g., numerous primate – Research by C. Boesch and M. Tomasello of Leipzig’s Max Planck Institution for Evolutionary Anthropology: experimental and field data showing that chimps have culture •


Chimpanzee Culture (Foraging only)

“+” means behavior was observed “-” means it was not observed “(-)” means the materials relevant to the behavior were absent and thus unobservable

Culture Definitions by Sociocultural Anthropologists •

• •

Sir Edward Burnett Tylor offered the first definition in 1871: “[culture is] that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” Kroeber and Kluckhorn collected over 100 definitions that had been generated between Tylor’s time and the 1950s More recent definitions separate actual behavior from the shared ideals, values, and beliefs that people use to interpret, experience and generate behavior Culture as defined by many biological anthropologists: stuff you learn from others

Anthropology’s History (in a few slides) • Anthropology is a product of Western civilization • Started in Europe (specifically, social anthropology at the London School of Economics) • Also greatly relevant to issues of colonialism: Europeans happened to have power associated with various technologies, and they used them to colonize lands occupied by indigenous peoples who often lacked these technologies due to arbitrary historical factors

Man’s ‘Natural State in Nature’ Rousseau and Hobbes commented on man’s ‘natural’ state in nature, i.e., outside of ‘civilization; Hobbes said we’re naturally bad and civilization makes us good; Rousseau, the opposite

Colonialism • Colonialism is the extension of a nation's sovereignty over territory beyond its borders by the establishment of either settler or exploitation colonies in which indigenous populations are directly ruled, displaced, or exterminated. • Colonizing nations generally dominate the resources, labor, and markets of the colonial territory, and may also impose sociocultural, religious, and linguistic structures on the indigenous population. • The term colonialism may also be used to refer to an ideology or a set of beliefs used to legitimize or promote this system. Colonialism was often based on the ethnocentric belief that the morals and values of the colonizer were superior to those of the colonized; some observers link such beliefs to racism and pseudo-scientific theories dating from the 18th to the 19th centuries.

Social vs. Cultural Anthro History • British social anthropologists were interested in documenting aspects of different cultures using somewhat standardized measures: kinship systems, social structure, matrilocality vs. patrilocality, etc. • American cultural anthropologists (starting with Franz Boas who studied indigenous NW Americans), was more interested in understanding the beliefs and particular ways of life of other cultures—and less interested in documenting their properties in a Western vocabulary • Fuse these traditions together: sociocultural anthropology

Terms • Ethnography: the systematic description of a culture based on firsthand observation • Ethnographer: an anthropologist who does this • Not all anthropologists are ethnographers • Indigenous: the people who lived in a region before a region was colonized (by, usually) Europeans

Participant Observation • Definition: In ethnography, the technique of learning a people’s culture through direct participation in their everyday life • Examples – Hewletts: Aka of Central Africa – Chagnon: Yanomamö of South America – WSU’s Wilkinson-Weber: Bollywood – Hess: Delta Nus of Southern California

Subculture • A culture within a culture • A distinctive set of standards and behavior patterns by which a group within a larger society operate • Many in the US are studied by anthropologists (e.g., hip-hop culture; culture of the elite; KoreanAmerican culture in Los Angeles) • Note culture and subculture are not always perfectly cleanly-divided, and one can be a member of multiple subcultures • Other examples of US subcultures?

Ways of Categorizing Cultures… The nature of groups, their members, internal relationships, and other factors

Subsistence: getting food • Foraging (hunting and gathering): usually wild foods, associated with nomadism; includes net-hunting, bow-and-arrow hunting, gathering insects and plant foods, etc.) • Horticulture: smaller-scale farming, often slash-and-burn; plants are domesticated; does not preclude foraging as well • Agriculture: large-scale farming of domesticated plants; often includes technicological advances like irrigation • Pastoralism: herding domesticated animals (e.g., cattle), and interacting with the animals as food, as money, etc. • Industrialism: large scale, technically-advanced production of processed foods that are bought and sold in a market • Note: from foraging to industrialism you get increased sedentism, increased surplus, and thus increasing population density

Kinship • A system of social ties deriving from the recognition of genealogical relations • Universally recognized • Universally accorded social importance

Types of Kin • Consanguineals: relatives by birth/genetics (“blood” relatives) • Affinals: relatives by marriage (one’s spouse and inlaws) • Conspecific: members of the same species • Fictive kin: a person who is not kin that gives a kin title to, and often treats them as they do actual kin with that title • Lineal relatives: ancestors and descendents (my mom’s mom; my daughter) • Collaterals: relatives descended from a common ancestor but from a different line (I.e., related through siblingship; cousins)

Kinship Diagrams • • • • • •

Triangle male Circle female = married — sibling I descent Ego self

Descent Terms • Unilineal – Matrilineal: descent is traced through the mother’s line – Patrilineal:descent through the father’s line

• Ambilineal: descent through either line • Bilateral: descent traced through both lines

Descent Groups • Recognize descent from a real or mythical ancestor • Assign people to social categories and roles on the basis of inherited status • Determine parenthood • Identify ancestry • Assign status • Regulate relations with other groups • Obligations and roles keep the group together • Sometimes involve totems: the belief that people are related to particular animals, plants, or natural objects by virtue of descent from common ancestral spirits • Endure beyond individual members • Confer political and religious power • Share resources (property, organized labor, etc.)

Kinship Terminology and Kinship Groups • • • • •

• •

Ways of categorizing kin vary across cultures. In the US, we call our fathers “father” and our father’s brother “uncle”--not so everywhere in the world In the Yanomamo, one refers to her father and his brother both as “father”--”fictive kinship” (at least from OUR perspective) Unlike English, many languages distinguish between a mother’s sister and a father’s sister; we lump them as “aunt” These names impact the quality of relationships individuals have within a group Anthropologists have discovered that there are 8 ways in which cultures categorize relatives. The names of each of the 8 systems are those of the cultures in which a pattern of categorization was first or best documented by an anthropologist: Eskimo, Hawaiian, Iroquois, Crow, Omaha, Sudanese, Kariera, and Aranda We will only look at the first 3, as they are the most common

Eskimo System • What European and European-derived cultures use, though rare among all the world’s other cultures • Many foragers use it (including Inuit and other Eskimos, hence the name) • Emphasizes the nuclear family • Also called lineal system • IDs mother, father, brother, sister specifically • Lumps all other relatives into aunt, uncle, and cousin; note this does not emphasize which side of the family an “aunt” is on--mom’s or dad’s

Hawaiian System • In Hawaii and many other South Pacific societies • Least complex system with fewest kinship terms • All relatives of the same generation and sex are referred to by the same term • Father and father’s brother use the same term • First cousins are equated with brothers and sisters (rules them out under an incest taboo) • Reflects an absence of unilineal descent

Iroquois System • Father and his brother are referred to by a single term • Mother and her sister by a single term • But father’s sister and mother’s brother are given separate names • Found in societies with unilineal descent groups • Parallel cousins are classified with brothers and sisters • Cross cousins are classified separately, but not equated with relatives of another generation

Cross vs. Parallel cousin • Parallel cousin: child of a father’s brother or a mother’s sister; occurs more in societies that are very hierarchical and have large amounts of property to inherit (inheritance through one line) • Cross cousin: child of a father’s sister or a mother’s brother; more common in foragers • Cousins of particular categories are one’s optimal mate in several cultures • In Yanomamo culture, cross-cousin marriages are preferred as marriage partners, parallel are avoided

Kinship Centered Political Organization

Structures of Descent • Lineages (patri/matri/ambi/bilateral): common ancestry • Clan: several lineages common ancestor, usually large groups that are associated with mythical ancestors • Phratry: descent group composed of a number of supposedly related clans • Moieties: means half, when an entire society is divided into 2 and only 2 descent groups • Many societies have 2 or more types of descent groups in various combinations (e.g., some have lineages & clans, others may have clans & phratries but no lineages)

Family Groupings • Nuclear family = mother, father, and their child(ren) and stepchild(ren) • Extended family = multiple nuclear families and/or more than 2 generations; clustered together domestically on a day to day basis

Mating/Marriage • Mating: lots of meanings (sex, temporary bonds, long-term romantic exclusivity, humans do it, plants do it, etc.) • Marriage (A): A transaction and resulting contract in which a woman and a man are recognized by society as having a continuing claim to the right of sexual access to one another, and in which the woman involved is eligible to have children • Marriage (B): a culturally-sanctioned union between two or more people that establishes certain rights and obligations between the people, between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws. Such marriage rights and obligations most often include, but are not limited to, sex, labor, property, child rearing, exchange, and status.

(A) Haviland 1996

(B) Haviland 2008

Exogamy & Endogamy • Endogamy – marriage (or mating) within a particular group or category to which one belongs • Exogamy – marriage (or mating) outside one’s group – Remember this when we talk about nonhuman primates in the biological anthropology portion of this class

• *Can be exogamous at one level of grouping and endogamous at others--e.g., you marry someone from a different city, but not a different state • Male exogamy/female exogamy in humans and other animals: at least one sex usually leaves--why? • Incest taboo: the prohibition of sexual relations between specific individuals (usually parent-child and siblings, at a minimum) • Inbreeding avoidance across species (us too)

Marriage Systems • Monogamy: two people only • Polygamy: more than two people – Polygyny: 1 man, multiple women (quite common) – Polyandry: 1 woman, multiple men (very rare)

• Serial Monogamy: a person is partnered with a succession of individual partners over time (e.g., divorce and remarriage) • Promiscuity: multiple partners of any sex configuration • Most Americans use “polygamy” when they are referring to “polygyny”

Some marriage practices • Levirate: a custom by which widow marries the brother of her dead husband • Sororate: a custom by which a widower marries his dead wife’s sister

Marriage Economics • Dowry: when the wife’s family gives her her inheritance at the time of her marriage (women sometimes ‘compete’ for desirable, e.g., wealthy, husbands with this) • Brideprice: when the groom and his family give goods to the bride’s family in exchange for the right to marry her; often in female-exogamous societies (her family loses the economic contribution she had been making) • Brideservice: when, prior to marriage, the groom lives with and works for the bride’s family for a given period of time (years)

Arranged Marriages • In many cultures, the families of the betrothed choose one’s spouse. • Even in the US, families “steer” their children to the “right” family or category of person, e.g., restrictive private schools and carefully-orchestrated social gatherings. • Marriages create alliances among families (e.g., transfers of rights and property), so families have a lot at stake

Marriage and Locality (Residence Patterns) •

Patrilocal: a married couple lives in the husband’s father’s place of residence; occurs where men play a dominant role in subsistence, particularly if they own property that can be accumulated, if they are polygynous, if warfare is common, and if men weild great social authority compared to women; associated with bride-price Matrilocal: a married couple lives in the wife’s mother’s house; occurs where women are dominant in subsistence (often in horticulture cultures where the women own the land and the harvest), where political organization is relatively uncentralized, and where cooperation among women is important Ambilocal: choose either husband’s father’s or wife’s mothers; occurs where resources are limited, but where the labor of more than one nuclear family is required to acquire the scarce resources--the couple goes to whichever household will bring about the most efficient productivity Neolocal: reside in a location apart from either the husband’s or the wife’s relatives; occurs where most economic activity occurs outside the house and individuals must be able to move to where the jobs are; associated with industrialism (us)

Example • USA (on average): neolocal, cousin marriage very rare, bilateral descent, emphasis on nuclear families, lots of nonkin grouping by age (school), industrial subsistence (mostly), sodalities--sometimes one’s high school class (often they unite with a mascot, for example), etc. • The “patris” don’t always go together; for example, a culture can be matrilineal (trace descent through matrilines) and patrilocal (live at the residence of the husband’s father)

Methods • Participant observation: in ethnography, the technique of learning a people’s culture through social participation and personal observation within the community being studied, as well as interviews and discussion with individual members of a group over an extended period of time.

Participant Observation • Exactly what Chagnon does--this is utterly clear if you read his book! • Exactly what Barry and Bonnie Hewlett do— they live with the Aka for long amounts of time in order to understand their culture • Me too (though I am not a sociocultural anthropologist, and I was not initiated as a Delta Nu)…

College Sororities (3-year ethnography emphasizing “Rush” and cooperation/conflict among housemembers)

Yanomamö • • • • • • • • • • •

Patrilineal descent Patrilocal marriage Cross-cousin marriage Name taboos Warfare Feasts Peacemaking Alliances Child betrothal Wife capture Polygyny

Shabono; Flooding

Yanomamö village Cejal in Summer 1998 (note differences from Chagnon’s ethnography; here they’ve had years of extensive interaction with missionaries, Venezuelan government, mainstream economy, etc.)



Slash and Burn Horticulture


River trade

Yanomamö • Cesar Demanawa

Headman (César Dimanawa)

Preparing for a feast

Infectious disease and Grooming

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