2 Anthropology & TheoryAs anthropologists began to accumulate data on different cultures during the mid-nineteenth century, they needed to be able to explain the cultural differences and similarities they foundThe desire to account for the vast cultural variation that had been observed gave rise to anthropological theory.
3 Anthropology & TheoryAnthropological theories attempt to answer questions such as “Why do people behave as they do?” and “How do we account for human diversity”?
4 evolutionismIn an attempt to account for the diversity of human cultures, the first anthropologists, writing during the last half of the 19th century suggested the theory of cultural evolutionism.
5 evolutionismAll societies pass through a series of distinct evolutionary stages. We find differences in contemporary cultures because they are at different evolutionary stages of development.
7 EvolutionismEuro-American cultures were at the top of the evolutionary ladder and ‘less-developed’ cultures on the lower rungs.The evolutionary process was thought to progress from simpler (lower) forms to increasingly more complex (higher) forms of culture.
8 Evolutionism: Lewis Henry Morgan *Hired to represent the Iroquois in a land grant dispute >began a study of the Seneca culminating in the book “Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity”(1871) >wrote “Ancient Society” (1877) and developed a system of classifying cultures to determine their evolutionary niche
9 Lewis Henry MorganMorgan used the categories , savagery, barbarism and civilization according to the presence or absence of certain technological features.Lower savagery-from earliest forms of humanity subsisting on fruits and nutsMiddle savagery-began with the discovery of fishing technology and the use of fireUpper savagery-began with invention of bow and arrow
10 Lewis Henry MorganLower barbarism-began with the advent of pottery makingMiddle barbarism-began with the domestication of plants and animals in the Old World and irrigation cultivation in the New WorldUpper barbarism-began with the smelting of iron and use of iron toolsCivilization-began with the invention of the phonetic alphabet and writing.
11 Criticisms of Evolutionism EthnocentrismArmchair speculators*Both Morgan and Tylor were trying to establish secular evolutionary rationales rather than relying on the supernatural
12 DiffusionismDuring the late 19th and early 20th centuries, diffusionists addressed the question of cultural differences in the world by determining that humans were essentially uninventiveCertain cultural features developed in one or several parts of the world and then spread, through the process of diffusion, to other cultures.
13 diffusionistsAll societies change as a result of cultural borrowing from one anotherA deductive approach is used, with the general theory of diffusion being applied to explain specific cases of cultural diversityDiffusionism overemphasized the essentially valid idea of diffusion
14 American HistoricismA reaction to the deductive approach and headed by Franz Boas, this school of anthropological thought was prominent in the first part of the 20th century and insisted upon the collection of ethnographic data through direct fieldwork prior to making cross-cultural generalizations
15 American HistoricismEthnographic facts must precede the development of cultural theories (induction)Any culture is partially composed of traits diffused from other culturesDirect fieldwork is absolutely essentialEach culture is, to some degree uniqueEthnographers should try to get the view of those being studied (emic) not their own view (etic)
16 FunctionalismTheory of social stratification holding that social stratification exists because it contributes to the overall well-being of a societyNo matter how bizarre a cultural tem might at first appear, it had a meaning and performed some useful function the well-being of the individual or the society; the job of the researcher is to become sufficiently immersed in the culture and language to be able to identify these functions
17 Functionalism-Bronislaw Malinowski Like Boas, Malinowski was a strong advocate of fieldwork, but he had no interest in asking how a cultural item got to be the way it is. Focused on how contemporary cultures operated or functionedEx: the kula among the Trobriand Islanders
18 Funtionalism-Alfred Reginald Radcliffe-Brown Like Malinowski, Radcliffe-Brown held that the various aspects of a society should be studied in terms of the functions they perform.Whereas Malinowski viewed functions mostly as meeting the needs of the individual, Radcliffe-Brown saw them in terms of contributions to the well-being of the society
19 A.R. Radcliffe-BrownBecause of the emphasis on social functions rather than individual functions, Radcliffe-Brown’s theory has taken the name STRUCTURAL FUNCTIONALISM
20 functionalismThe functionalist approach is based on two fundamental principles:Universal Functions-every part of a culture has a functionFunctional Unity-a culture is an integrated whole composed of a number of interrelated parts; a change in one part of the culture is likely to produce change in other parts
21 Psychological Anthropology Looks at the relationships among cultures and such psychological phenomena as personality, cognition and emotionsAs early as the 1920s American Anthropologists became interested in the relationship between culture and the individual
22 Psychological Anthropology Some of Boas’s students began asking questions about what role personality played in human behavior, should personality be viewed as a part of the cultural system or if personality variables are part of culture, how are they causally related to the rest of the system
23 Edward SapirIndividuals learn their cultural patterns unconsciously in the same way that they learn languageCulture can be found within the interaction of individuals
24 Margaret Mead Early interest in adolescence in the U.S. Coming of age in Samoa (1928)Research on Gender*Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935)
25 Psychological Anthropology Anthropologists need to explore the relationships between psychological and cultural variablesPersonality is largely the result of cultural learningUniversal temperaments associated with males and females do not exist
26 NeoevolutionismSchool of thought that attempted to refine the earlier evolutionary theories of Tylor and MorganBoas and others were extremely critical of 19th century evolutionists, in part because they made sweeping generalizations based on inadequate data. Yet no one was able to demonstrate that cultures do not develop or evolve in certain ways over time
27 Leslie White Resurrected the theories of the evolutionists Felt their major shortcoming was an absence of data“Culture evolves as the amount of energy harnessed per capita per year increases or as the efficiency of the means of putting energy to work is increased”*C=E x T
28 Julian StewardMore interested in developing propositions about specific cultures or groups of cultures*unilinear evolution-an attempt to place particular cultures into specific evolutionary phases
29 Julian Steward*multilinear evolution-suggestion that specific cultures can evolve independently of all others even if they follow the same evolutionary process*cultural ecology-assumption that people who reside in similar environments are likely to develop similar technologies, social structures, and political institutions
30 NeoevolutionismCultures evolve in direct proportion to their capacity to harness energyCulture is shaped by environmental conditionsThrough culture, human populations continuously adapt to technical-environmental conditionsBecause technological and environmental factors shape culture, individual factors are de-emphasized
31 French StructuralismTheoretical orientation holding that cultures are the product of unconscious processes of the human mindClaude Levi-Strauss
32 French StructuralismHuman cultures are shaped by certain preprogrammed codes of the human mindTheory focuses on the underlying principles that generate behavior rather than the observable empirical behavior itselfEmphasizes repetitive structures rather than sociocultural change
33 French StructuralismRather than examining attitudes, values and beliefs, structuralists concentrate on what happens at the unconscious levelThe human mind categorizes phenomena in terms of binary oppositions.
34 EthnoscienceTheoretical school popular in the 1950s and 60s that tries to understand a culture from the point of view of the people being studied
35 EthnoscienceAttempts to make ethnographic description more accurate and replicableDescribes a culture by using the categories of the people under study rather than by imposing categories from the ethnographers cultureBecause it is time-consuming, ethnoscience has been confined to describing very small segments of a cultureDifficult to compare data collected by ethnoscientists
36 Feminist Anthropology Seeks to describe and explain cultural life from the perspective of women
37 Feminist Anthropology All aspects of culture have a gender dimension that must be considered in any balanced ethnographic descriptionTheory represents a long overdue corrective to male bias in traditional ethnographiesMore subjective and collaborative than objective and scientificLargely critical of a value-free orientation
38 Cultural MaterialismCultural systems are most influenced by such material things as natural resources and technology*Marvin Harris
39 Cultural MaterialismMaterial conditions determine human thoughts and behaviorTheorists assume the viewpoint of the anthropologist, not the native informantAnthropology is seen as scientific, empirical and capable of generating causal explanationsDe-emphasizes the role of ideas and values in determining the conditions of social life
40 PostmodernismHuman behavior stems from the way people perceive and classify the world around themInterpretive Anthropology: the critical aspects of cultural systems are subjective factors such as values, ideas and worldviews*Clifford Geertz
41 PostmodernismCalls on anthropologists to switch from cultural generalization and laws to description, interpretation and the search for meaningEthnographies should be written from several voices-that of the anthropologist along with those of the people under analysisInvolves a return to cultural relativism