Chapter 1: Anthropology & Human Diversity

Anomie
A situation where social or moral norms are confused or entirely absent; often caused by rapid social change.
Anthropology
The comparative study of human societies and cultures
Applied anthropology
The application of anthropology to the solution of human problems
Archaeology
The sub discipline of anthropology that focuses on the reconstruction of past cultures based on their material remains
Artifact
Any object made or modified by human beings. Generally used to refer to objects made by past cultures.
Biological (physical) anthropology
The sub discipline of anthropology that studies people from a biological perspective, focusing primarily on aspects of humankind that are genetically inherited. It includes osteology, nutrition, demography, epidemiology, and primatology.
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Biophysical equality
The notion that all human groups have the same biological and mental capabilities
Cultural anthropology
The study of human thought, meaning, and behavior that is learned rather than genetically transmitted, and that is typical of groups of people
Cultural relativism
The notion that cultures should be analyzed with reference to their own histories and values, in terms of the cultural whole, rather than according to the values of another culture
Cultural resource management (CRM)
The protection and management of archaeological, archival, and architectural resources
Culture
The learned behaviors and symbols that allow people to live in groups. The primary means by which humans adapt to their environments. The way of life characteristic of a particular human society.
Emic (perspective)
Examining society using concepts, categories, and distinctions that are meaningful to members of that culture
Ethnocentrism
Judging other cultures from the perspective of one’s own culture. The notion that one’s own culture is more beautiful, rational, and nearer to perfection than any other.
Ethnography
A description of society or culture
Ethnohistory
Description of the cultural past based on written records, interviews, and archaeology
Ethnology
The attempt to find general principles or laws that govern cultural phenomena
Etic (perspective)
Examining society using concepts, categories, and rules derived from science; an outsider’s perspective, which produces analyses that members of the society being studied may not find meaningful.
Forensic anthropology
The application of biological anthropology to the identification of skeletalized or badly decomposed human remains
Historical linguists
Study relationships among languages to better understand the histories and migrations of those who speak them
Holistic/holism
In anthropology an approach that considers culture, history, language, and biology essential to complete understanding of human society
Human variation
The sub discipline of anthropology concerned with mapping and explaining physical differences among modern human groups
Indigenous peoples
Societies that have occupied a region for a long time and are recognized by other groups as its original (or very ancient) inhabitants
Linguistic anthropology
A branch of linguistics concerned with understanding language and its relation to culture
Medical anthropology
A subfield of cultural anthropology concerned with the ways in which disease is understood and treated in different cultures
Paleoanthropology
The sub discipline of anthropology concerned with tracing the evolution of humankind in the fossil record
Prehistoric
Societies for which we have no usable written records
Primate
A member of a biological order of mammals that includes human beings, apes, and monkeys as well as prosimians (lemurs, tarsiers, and others).
Racism
The belief that some human populations are superior to others because of inherited, genetically transmitted characteristics
Society
A group of people who depend on one another for survival or well-being as well as the relationships among such people, including their status and roles
Urban archaeology
The archaeological investigation of towns and cities as well as the process of urbanization