Anthropology Exam 1

Anthropology
The study of humanity.
Anthropological Perspective
The approach to anthropology that compares human societies throughout the world– contemporary and historical, industrial and tribal.
Human Universal
Characteristics that are found in all human societies.
Holism
The study of human societies as systematic sums of their parts, as integrated wholes.
Participant Observation
A research method whereby the anthropologist lives in a community and participates in the lives of the people under study while at the same time making objective observations.
Ethnography
The descriptive study of human societies.
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Ethnographic Present
Speaking or writing about cultures in the present tense although what is described might no longer exist.
Culture Areas
A geographical area in which societies share many cultural traits.
Ethnocentrism
Using one’s own culture as the basis for interpreting and judging other cultures.
Cultural Relativism
Attempting to analyze and understanding cultures other than one’s own without judging them in terms of one’s own culture.
Etic
An analysis/study of a society using concepts that were developed outside of the culture.
Emic
An analysis/study of a society though the eyes of the people being studied.
Postmodernism
An emphasis on subjectivity over objectivity and a tendency toward reflexivity, or self consciousness; all knowledge is seen as being a human construction that scholars must seek to discontent.
Culture
Human beliefs and behaviors of a society that are learned, transmitted from one generation to the next, and shared by a group of people.
Symbols
A shared understanding about the meaning of certain words, attributes or objects; something that stands for something else.
Functional Definition
A definition that is based on the functioning or role that religion plays in a society.
Essentialist Definition
A definition that looks at the essential nature of religion.
Sacred
An attitude wherein the subject or object is set apart from the normal, everyday world and is entitled to reverence and respect.
Supernatural
Entities and actions that transcend the natural world of cause and effect.
Evolutionary Approach
An approach that focuses on the questions of then and how religion began and how it developed through time.
Animatism
The belief in spirit beings.
Marxist Approach
Idea that religion is a construction of those in power, designed to divert peoples attention from the miseries of their lives; a way of getting people to go along with capitalist culture.
Functional Approach
An approach that is based on the function or role that religion plays in a society.
Collective Conscious
A set of beliefs shared by members of a social group that functions to limit the natural selfishness of individuals and promote social cooperation.
Reification
Treating something as if it were human alive when it is not. (Treating something abstract as if it were concrete and alive.)
Interpretive Approach
The idea that cultural systems are understood by studying meaning; religion is a cluster of symbols that provides a charter for a culture’s ideas, values, and a way of life.
Psychosocial Approach
An approach to the study of religion that is concerned with the relationship between culture and psychology and between society and individual.
Agnosticism
The idea that the nature of the supernatural is unknowable, that it is as impossible to prove the nonresistance of the supernatural as it is to prove its existence.
Myth
A sacred story that provides the basis for religious beliefs and practices.
Legends
A traditional story about past events that is considered to be true; usually contains an element of reality– a known character, event, or place.
Urban Legends
Contemporary story about people and events that never occurred, but are presented as real.
Social Charter
A story that establishes the proper organization and rules of behavior of a society.
Worldview
The way a society perceives and interprets its reality.
Structural Analysis
Focuses on the underlying structure of myth, more towards the structure, not content, of religious narratives.
Collective Unconscious
Inborn elements of the unconscious that are manifested in dreams and myths.
Archetypes
The main character of the collective unconscious.
Origin Myth
Address the most basic questions of identity, both personal and communal.
Flood Myth
Being related to dreams that happen when the person has a full bladder.
Trickster Myth
Provides an explanation of why things are the way they are, or how people should and should not behave.
Hero Myth
Another origin myth, centralized though upon the ventures of one hero.
Monomyth
A theme common to many myths that tells of the adventures of a culture hero.
Displacement
The ability to use symbols to refer to things and activities that are remote from the user.
Openness
A feature of symbols; the ability to create new symbols.
Arbitrary
A feature of symbols, in which the symbol is not related to the thing it symbolizes.
Acrostic
A word that is derived from the first letter of a series of words.
Psychoduct
A pipe or tube that connects a tomb to a temple through which the spirit of the deceased may travel into the temple.
Periodic Ritual
A ritual that is performed on a regular basis as a part of a religious calendar.
Totem
A symbol or emblem that stands for a social unit.
Syncretism
A fusing of traits in two cultures to form something new and yet permitting the retention of the old by subsuming the old into a new form.
Kiva
A ceremonial chamber, often built underground, that is found among Native American societies in the American Southwest.