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Cultural Anthropology 102
Fall 2007
Notes & Assignments Packet
Professor K. Markley
Where Do We Come From?
What Are We?
Where Are We Going?
Table of Contents
Reading Packet
Article Reviews
Text Study Guide Exam 1
Key Terms and Concepts in Cultural Anthropology
Cultural Orientations- Collectivist & Individualist Chart
Anthropological Fieldwork
American Mainstream Culture
Aspects of Mainstream United States Culture
Collapse: How Societies Chose to Fail or Succeed” Lecture by Jared Diamond 1/22/06
Horatio Alger- The Oprah Society
America’s Role in the World
Brief History of Anthropology and Theoretical Orientations
Theories in Cultural Anthropology
Two Case Studies in Anthropological FieldworkMargaret Mead, Samoa, Derek Freeman & Napoleon Chagnon and the Yanomamo
Anthropological Theory: Should the study of Humans be scientific or humanistic?
Case Example: The Prohibition on eating of beef in India
What is Race?
Biological Determinism
10 Things Everyone Should Know About Race- Questions/ Answers
How to Be an American-The Elephant in the Room- To See or Not to See
37 Text Study Guide Exam 2
39 Section Two Introduction- Food Getting Strategies, Economics, and Political Systems
Five Basic Means of Subsistence or Food Getting Strategies
43 Economics
Richard Robbins: Global Problems & the Culture of Capitalism
45 Egalitarian & Stratified Societies- Role of History
Class systems- USA as an example Caste systems- India as an example
Shadowy Lines that Still Divide- article
Theories on stratification
Diamond Exercise- China & USA comparison
Living on $1 Dollar a Day
57 Enculturation
58 Sex, Gender, Sexual Behavior/Orientations
60 Marriage
American Anthropological Association (AAA) Statement on Marriage
52 Kinship
Kinship Symbols, Kinship Classification in the USA & Northern India
66 Text Study Guide Exam 3
69 Anthropology of Religion- Anthropology of the Supernatural
Social Evolutionary Theory
What is a Shaman, Spirits and Souls, Layers of the Cosmos, The Amazonian Cosmos
71 Anthropological Linguistics
Language and Culture
73 State of the World
Richard Robbins “Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism
The State of the Nation
AAA Statement on Human Rights
AAA Statement on 9/11, Terrorism
85 An Anthropological Perspective of War: Is it Inevitable or Manufactured
The Price of Valor, Inside Falluja: One Family’s Diary of Terror
89 Applied Anthropology
Career Advice for Undergraduates
90 Assignments
Positionality Assignment
Race Fieldwork
Race the Power of an Illusion- Film Questions
Closet Assignment
94-95 Economics Assignment
96-97 A Poor Man Shames Us All- Film Questions
Ascribed & Achieved Statuses
NOW Video Questions on Stratification in the USA
100 Gender & Sex Fieldwork
101 Globalization and Women- NOW Video Questions
Become a Citizen Activist
Hominid Fossil Record Overview- Hominid Fossil Tree
Primate Relatedness Taxonomy
Domestic Selection- How Evolution Touches You
Advice to Undergrads
Notes and Assignments Packet: This packet contains; lecture notes, text and exam study
guides, and assignments. Bring this Notes Packet to class every day.
SYLLABUS: Read your syllabus!!! If you have a question more often than not the answer will be
in your syllabus or in this Notes Packet.
CLASS SCHEDULE: Your class schedule has three columns; the date, readings and topics, and
assignments due. Refer to your class schedule EVERY week to keep up to date on reading
assignments and homework assignments. The dates for when your assignments are due is listed
in your class schedule but may also be announced in class (any changes will be announced in
class- make sure that you either attend class every day or have a fellow student to get notes from).
Attendance: Success in this class (success= passing this class with a C or better) will require that
you attend class regularly. It is likely that you will miss at least one class at some point during the
semester, either due to an illness or some other serious problem. If you miss class it is your
responsibility to get the information that you missed. I DO NOT GIVE OUT NOTES FROM A
MISSED LECTURE. I advise you to get to know a couple of other students in the class and
exchange email and/or phone numbers (if you feel comfortable doing this) so that you can find out
what you missed if you are absent. Make sure that you hook up with a student who is reliable note
Read your textbook articles before class lecture. Check your class schedule and note the
topics/readings for the day’s lecture. It is a good idea to first skim over the material to get an idea
as to what the reading is about, where it is going and what you should look for. Then read the
material before class lecture. Familiarize yourself with the terminology used. Make sure that you
have a dictionary to look up unfamiliar words (words are often in the back of the text).
Class lecture & Note taking: Use this notes packet and be an active note taker during lectures.
Overheads are used to highlight important concepts and are useful for test reviews.
 One of my old professors gave students the following recommendations to do well in
college classes; read your text at least 3 times (first just read it, then underline/highlight
key points, lastly take notes on key parts and terms), read class notes at least 3 times
(similar strategy as above), then write up your notes and review them at least 6 times.
 When I was in school I always made 3 x 5 cards for important concepts and terms. I found
this very helpful in learning the material.
Exam essay questions: Essay questions will be given to you at least one week ahead of time. To
do well on an essay question you will generally need to outline your answer ahead of time and
study your answer ahead of time. Make an outline of your essay on a 3 x 5 card and use it to study
for the exam. Notes cannot be used while taking the exam, notes are for study purposes only.
ASK QUESTIONS, if you are in doubt or unsure about something ask! If you are having difficulty
in class take action EARLY. Make sure you are spending the appropriate amount of time studying
(estimated to be 2 hours outside of class for every hour in class), make an appointment with the
instructor, go to the skills center or writing center for assistance. Regular attendance is CRUCIAL
to do well.
Be an ACTIVE learner: Keep in mind that learning is an ACTIVE endeavor. At the college level if
you are passively listening or passively reading classroom material you will not gain the type of
understanding that is needed to be successful. To pass your exams you will need to know the
definitions for concepts and terms but this is only the start, you will need to know how to recognize
and apply what you are learning as well. If you can explain what you are learning to someone else
that is generally a good test as to how well you know the material. Make sure you can put
concepts into your own words (although make sure the words mean the same thing!). Ultimately to
be successful you will need to be engaged in class lecture and discussion. Being an active learner
includes; raising your hand and asking questions, making observations and comments on the
material presented.
How to figure out your grade: It is important for you to keep track of your grades over the
semester. This allows you to monitor how well you are doing in the class. I will pass back all of
your assignments and exams so that you can keep track of how you are doing. To calculate your
grade you will need to determine how many points you have earned in relationship to how many
points are possible.
Sample: If you want to figure out your grade after the first exam you can see from the
grading page in your syllabus that the maximum points you can have earned is 120 points
Maximum Points Possible
Points that you earned
Exam 1 - 100 pts.
72 pts
Quiz 1 - 10 pts.
6 pts
Quiz 2 - 10 pts.
9 pts
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------120 pts. possible
84 points earned
Take the 84 points you have earned and divide it into the 120 points that were possible and you will
get .70 this means that you are getting a C at this point (70% = C, 80%= B, etc.). Although if you
have read your syllabus you will see that you get to drop one quiz so if you do well on your future
quizzes you will likely want to drop quiz 1.
Your syllabus contains a list of all the assignments and the points they are worth. I advise you to
keep a list of the scores on each assignment in your syllabus. I also recommend that you keep all
of your graded assignments until you receive your grade at the end of the semester.
Extra Credit: Students have the option of turning in two extra credit assignments worth up to 20
points total. Extra credit work can be turned in at anytime during the semester just so long as it is
before the deadline listed in your class schedule. You may only complete each option ONCE.
Option One: Take advantage of one of the services offered on campus; skills center,
library orientation, transfer center, campus activity, etc. Then write a ½ to 1 page
description of what you did and what you learned. This option is worth up to 5 points.
Option Two: Attend a museum, view a film, or read a book or article pertaining to physical
anthropology. This option gives you a chance to further your knowledge of physical
anthropology and it is worth up to 15 points. Write a three page, typed, double-spaced
paper, with three subheadings:
(1) What you read or observed, be specific as well as descriptive. Where did you
go, what did you read, etc. Make sure to identify your source(s).
(2) Incorporate three concepts or terms learned in class. This should be the bulk
of your paper. Discuss what you did in relationship to what you have learned
in this class this semester. You will earn the highest amount of points for the
way in which relate what you did with terms and concepts from class.
(3) Give your personal analyses and reaction to the event/reading/film. Prior
verbal approval of the instructor is recommended for the Option Two extra
credit assignment
Cultural Anthropology Museum Options: Bowers Museum (in Santa Ana), San Diego
Museum of Man, Museum of Tolerance (in LA), and the UCLA Fowler Museum.
Depending on their exhibits there are other museums that might work for extra credit (such
as the Fullerton Museum or The Getty). The key is that the exhibit must cover material
covered in this class.
The class schedule lists the articles that you are assigned to read each week. It is expected that
you will read the article and be able to discuss the author’s main thesis, answer the questions and
define the terms listed in the Text Study Guide on the date that the article is assigned (do not
answer the terms and questions in the text, define the terms and questions in the “Text
Study Guide” located IN this reading packet).
MIR’s require that you type the main idea(s) of the article. These assignments must be TYPED
and should contain; your full name, your class day and time and the article title. MIR’s will
generally only be a few sentences long. If you have two MIR’s due on the same day please put
them on the same sheet of paper.
 Hints for MIR assignments: The main idea is the key point or points that the author is
trying to get across, along with the data and or reasoning that the author uses to support the
main idea. The main idea will often be stated in the introduction and/or at the end of the
article. You may have to read the article a couple of times before you are able to discern the
main idea(s). The MIR is not a description of the article. MIR assignments do not require that
you answer the questions in the Text Study Guide but you should be prepared to discuss the
terms and questions in class. The questions and terms in the Text Study Guide will also be
likely exam and quiz questions.
 MIR’s will not be graded. MIR’s are a part of your Class Credit points and are basically
credit/no credit. For the most part I will not grade your MIR’s I will just check that you have
completed the assignment. We will go over most all of the articles assigned in class.
Other Miscellaneous Assignments
Your Notes Packet contains a variety of other assignments that are due throughout the semester.
These assignments are located at the end of the Notes Packet. Each assignment contains
individual instructions.
NO LATE PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED. All assignments must be handed in IN CLASS on the
due date. I will NOT accept any papers outside of class (do turn in papers to my office). There
are extra credit options to make up for lost points of missing assignments. Keep in mind that
handwritten papers will not be accepted, all MIR’s must be typed.
*** Text Study Guide & Article Review Questions EXAM 1 ***
These are the terms, and questions that you need to be able to answer as you read the articles.
For the exam you are also expected to read the Notes Packet material and take notes during class
lecture, discussions and video.
Introduction: Understanding Humans and Human Problems
4 fields of anthropology
culture concept
cultural relativity
comparative approach
ethnographic method
26 Our Babies, Ourselves: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
1. What cultural norms and values are American parents trying to teach when they; put babies in
their own cribs, feed them on schedules, and “let them cry it out”? Are these norms and values
important to peoples all over the world?
2. Do you think that the different way in which a culture gets its food (i.e. foraging, agriculture or
industrialization) impact infant rearing?
3. What is the main point of the section entitled “Doctors Orders”? Was there any part of the
reading that shocked you?
4. What is different about the way in which !Kung babies cry compared to infants in our society?
(“The Crying Game”)
5. (“Bedtime Story”) How can sleeping habits impact infant mortality rates?
11 Chinese Table Manners: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: cultural values, cultural norms, symbol
1. What are the judgments that we make about people in regards to their table manners?
2. Are the expectations for table manners a value or a norm? What is the difference between a
value and a norm?
3. Can table manners give insight into what culture and/or subculture(s) an individual comes from?
2 Slumbers Unexplored Landscape: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
1. How does culture impact what is seen as “normal” in regards to sleep? In answering this
question make sure to note the following as regards the norms for human sleeping patterns; the
times at which people go to sleep, the length of the sleep cycle, do people engage in single or
multiple periods of sleep, do people sleep alone or with others (who are those others), what is the
norm as regards sounds in the sleeping environment, what is insomnia (is it culturally defined)?
2. Which of the four fields of anthropology can be used to understand “what it means to sleep
3. List at least two key concept(s) in anthropology are useful in understanding “what it means to
sleep normally?”
6 Shakespeare in the Bush: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
1. Do humans the world over have the same human nature? What data and/or rationale were
used in your answer?
2. In your opinion are there “universal human stories,” stories that can be understood by humans
the world over? Is Hamlet one of those stories? Why or why not?
3. What was the author’s original belief about the universality of classics such as Hamlet? What
was her final conclusion as to the universality of classics like Hamlet? What changed her mind?
3. List two specific aspects of culture that were different between the Tiv and the author’s culture
that led to the different interpretations of Hamlet?
3 Tricking & Tripping: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: demography, key respondent, sample
1. How did Sterk’s “status” (who she is, the subcultures she belongs to) impact her ability to do
research in this study? Based on your status is it likely you would be able to engage in participantobservation with prostitutes? Why or why not?
2. Are prostitutes “victims of circumstance”? Include at least two micro factors (individual, family,
peer group) and two macro factors (economic system, political system) to answer this question.
3. Which of the six themes described in the end of this article to you think is the most important in
understanding the culture of prostitution?
1 Body Ritual Among the Nacirema: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: ritual, magic
1. What is the function of ritual and magic in the Nacirema society (what purpose does ritual and
magic serve for the Nacirema)?
2. Is a reliance on magic and ritual normal for humans in most cultures?
3. Do the Nacirema rely on magic and ritual for their psychological and/or physical survival? Or is
the Nacirema’s use of magic and ritual just a harmless habit?
17 Official Statement on “Race”: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: ethnicity, race, reify
1. To understand the race concept what historical knowledge is important?
2. How did science, economics, and politics converge to formulate and impact our current
understanding of race?
2. How does the race concept distort and prejudice our ideas about human differences and human
behavior? Hint: if you accept race as a valid means to classify humans how does this impact your
perception of human groups?
10 Ancient Bodies: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: diseases of civilization, evolutionary medicine, food foragers
1. What mainstream American cultural norms and values impact infant rearing in the USA? How
do these values impact the way in which we rear our infants?
2. What is the impact of our “old genes” on our “new lifestyles”?
3. What are the advantages to both the baby and the mother of breast-feeding?
4. Do you think you should always listen to medical experts on how to care for infants?
18 White Privilege: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, meritocracy, privilege
1. Do you think that stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination against specific groups (ethnic,
gender, socioeconomic class, nationality, religious, sexual orientation) is a significant problem in
the United States today? Give a yes or no answer and then back up your answer with data and/or
a rationale.
2. Do you think individuals from one group can see the world through the eyes of individuals from
another group? (i.e. groups such as gender, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious). Give a
yes or no answer and then back it up with either data and/or a rationale.
3. Do you agree with the author in her contention that white’s have an “invisible knapsack”?
(provide reasoning and data to back up your answer). If you agree that Whites do have this
knapsack do you think that most whites are aware of this knapsack or is it truly invisible to them (is
their knowledge conscious or unconscious)? List at least one other group in the United States that
you think has an invisible knapsack.
4. McIntosh wrote this article in 1988. Do you think her list of invisible privileges has changed over
the last two decades? What items would you take off the list and what items would you add to the
5. It is not uncommon for students to react strongly to this article, either in full agreement with
McIntosh or in adamant disagreement with her contentions. What is your reaction? What is your
“status” in American Mainstream society? How do you think your status in our society has
impacted your reaction (either positive or negative)?
12 Culture & the Evolution of Obesity: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: obesity (hint: this is not a simple definition), ideology
1. The author notes that at least a quarter of a century ago an explanation for rising obesity rates
was that “thrifty phenotypes were rendered detrimental by progress.” Why type of explanation was
this for obesity, a cultural or physical explanation? How does it work to explain rising obesity
2. Why do you think the author advocates an anthropological model of culture to generate
hypotheses to explain behavioral causes of obesity (instead of an undifferentiated concept of
3. What is the difference between a proximate explanation and an ultimate explanation in
explaining obesity?
4. What is the most common emic explanation people in America give to explain obesity?
5. What are the four facts about the social distribution of obesity? (include at least a sentence or
two to explain or describe each of these facts).
6. List the three levels in the cultural materialist model (see your notes on cultural materialism and
theory in this reading packet) and include at least a sentence or two to explain each level in the
cultural materialist model.
Key Terms and Concepts in Cultural Anthropology
Anthropology: Holistic study of humans
Holistic Discipline: “wholelistic”, look at the whole picture. Use the comparative approach.
Examine how the micro level (individual, family, small group) interrelates with the macro level
(institutional level-economic, political, societal level). Draw connections as to the nature of humans
and human activities from all four fields of anthropology (cultural anthropology, linguistic
anthropology, physical or biological anthropology and archeology).
Comparative Approach: compare and contrast humans in cultures around the world and in
various cultures over time, gain insight into human universals (things all human groups do or have,
marriage for example) and how these cultural universals vary among societies
Ethnocentrism: all human groups view other groups thru their own “cultural lens” and judge their
own culture as normal, rational and natural. Other cultures are perceived (consciously and
unconsciously) as “less than” your culture (less normal, less rational, less reasonable, etc.)
Cultural Relativism: anthropological guiding principle, when studying and interacting with other
cultures you should work to view these other cultures from their “cultural lens”, you should suspend
judgment. All cultures are seen as being equally valid expressions of the human essence. This is
not moral relativism, it doesn’t require your approval of other’s cultural values & norms.
Subjective Aspects of Culture: Values (what is right and true), Norms (how things “ought” to be),
Worldview (basic way in which you perceive, and experience the world)
Objective Aspects of Culture: arts, political, economic systems
Mainstream/macro culture (“national” or “nation-state” cultures)
Sub or micro cultures (ethnic, class, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, region, etc.)
Cultural Orientations
Cultural orientations are the key aspects of the worldview of peoples in cultures around the world.
We all learn basic cultural orientations from the culture in which we’re raised. Below are listed a
few basic cultural orientations that vary in cultures around the world. We will be referencing these
throughout the semester.
The unit of measure; Individualistic or Group Oriented: cultures tend to emphasize rights and
responsibilities as existing at the individual or group level.
 Individualistic: independence, self-reliance, “I” as the focus
Group: collectivist, interdependence, “we” as the focus
Power Orientation: attitudes and behaviors in relationship to power, wealth and prestige
 Equality, Achieved Status, Competition
Hierarchy, Ascribed Status, Cooperation
Time Orientations: orientations in regards to time
 Monochronic: schedules/agendas, time is a commodity, linear, one thing at a time
Polychronic: people-centered, multi-task, time is experienced, context is important
Cautions for Cultural Orientations: the above orientations are just a small sample of the
different ways in which culture impacts peoples worldview, we will go over many more aspects of
culture throughout the semester. It is important to keep in mind that we all use stereotypes to
make sense of the complicated world around us but we should always be aware of the diversity
both between and within cultures. Keep in mind the following cautions when learning the cultural
orientations of different cultures.
 Cultural orientations operate on a continuum (from more to less) you aren’t just one
orientation or another (i.e. individualistic or group oriented). Orientations aren’t mutually
exclusive, you can be oriented in a variety of ways depending on your mainstream culture and
the sub cultures you belong to.
Always assume complexity, everyone is an individual impacted by their various subcultures.
Keep in mind the ideal versus the real. The “ideal” is what people say they do and value.
The “real” is what people actually do (their actions). Both individuals and cultures often have a
disconnect between what they say they value and what their actions are. This doesn’t
necessarily mean that the person or culture is lying about their values (although they may be)
but that there is a gap between what they say and what they do. Disparities between the ideal
and real exist for a variety of reasons.
Anthropological Fieldwork
Participant-observation is the hallmark of anthropological fieldwork. Anthropologists emphasize
qualitative methods(open-ended interviews) to study humans rather than quantitative (surveys,
questionnaires). Anthropological fieldwork involves:
o Participant-observation- the cornerstone of anthropological fieldwork, it involves
observing, living and participating in the culture of study
o Key informants: are individuals who are fully integrated into the culture of study and
are willing to work with an anthropologist to give them insight into the culture of study.
o Ethnography: is the written report of the fieldwork
Emic: insider perspective, work to gain “uncritical representations of reality shared by members of
a given culture,” how do “they” see their culture in their own words
Etic: outsider perspective, after gathering emic perspectives step back and work to objectify what
has been learned and observed about the culture, utilizing concepts and terms from the scientific
Utilize a couple of different contexts (body odor, kinship systems, education) and describe the
differences between the emic and the etic perspectives.
Anthropological Fieldwork
While conducting fieldwork: researchers must set aside ethnocentrism and be reflexive (selfquestioning and with an explicit understanding of their “positionality” or status within their culture)
 Positionality: your position within your culture and within the world based on the mainstream
culture you were raised in as well as the various sub cultures you belong to, and your status (your
status is both ascribed and achieved)
 Tacit (unconscious) & Explicit (conscious) knowledge: there is knowledge that people
know explicitly and consciously and understandings that reside below the surface (tacit)
 Ideal and Real: Participant observation is very helpful to get behind the “Ideal” (what people
say they do) and to ascertain the “Real” (what people actually do)
Ethical Issues: The American Anthropology Code of Ethics includes; being responsible to protect
their research subjects from risk and getting informed consent from those under study.
Epistemology: is the study of and theory of knowledge. Epistemological questions include; what
can we know (what kinds of knowledge are possible), how can we know it (what sources can we
use to gain knowledge), and the degree to which we can be certain of what we know.
With the rise of science in the West, humans became the subject of scientific study.
Science is ideally an objective means by which to gain knowledge about the world. It was
formulated that scientists were objective observers working to understand the nature of humans. If
scientists engaged in a systematic study of a humans and human culture they could write an
ethnography that accurately and completely described a culture. It was thought that absolute
understandings could be gained about humans and human cultures. This can be said to be a
modernist perspective of knowledge and epistemology.
In the 1960’s a new perspective developed called “postmodernism.” Questions were
asked about what scientists could really learn about humans and human culture through their
observations. Postmodernists critiqued scientists and stated that they were not objective,
observers of reality, they were subjective observers. They stated that all research is impacted by
the status and position a scientist has within their own culture. The researcher’s status (i.e. sex,
gender, age, class, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, etc.) impacted how they conducted
their research and how they interpreted their data. Postmodernists worked to “deconstruct” the
knowledge that was accepted as absolute. See your theory sheet for more details.
Note: The debate over what knowledge we can have about humans and how we can get this
knowledge is an ongoing debate in anthropology, philosophy, psychology, biology, sociology, etc.
There are extremists on both sides of this debate, those who say we can gain absolute, objective
knowledge and others who state we can know nothing and all understandings are subjective.
American Mainstream Culture
Key points to know for this section include: What are the core values and norms of American
mainstream culture? Where do the values and norms in American mainstream culture come from?
How do Americans view themselves in relationship to other cultures (their values, norms, economic
system, political system, etc.)? How do people in other cultures view Americans?
 Before you read the following take a moment and close your eyes and then imagine what is a
“typical American”? What image came to mind? What was the person’s gender, skin color,
ethnicity, etc.?
Feagin and Feagin: state that “our American culture, our speech, our laws are basically AngloSaxon in origin...If there is anything in American life which can be described as an overall
American culture which serves as a reference point for immigrants and their children it can best be the middle-class cultural patterns of largely, white, Protestant, Anglo-Saxon origins”
(Feagin and Feagin 1993:62). They note that White, middle-class, protestant, males do not
comprise a numerical majority in the United States but their cultural values form the basis of
American mainstream culture because of their political and economic power to shape American
Francis L.K. Hsu, a Chinese anthropologist states that “self-reliance” is mainstream America’s
core value. The value of self-reliance stems from the value of individualism. In American
mainstream culture every individual is judged on their ability to operate alone, to be their own
master. Everyone is expected to move up or down the ladder of success according to their own
efforts. Individuals in American culture are judged as worthy or unworthy depending on their ability
to be self-sufficient
Habits of the Heart, by Robert Bellah et al. This book focuses on how the American value for
individualism has impacted our personal lives, communities and our nation:
 American individualism demands personal effort and stimulates ambition but does not promote
caring or nurturance, the extremes to which individualism has been taken have negatively
affected our sense of community and public relationships
 Americans think in terms of the individual (micro) and we do not take into account how our
economic and industrial structures (macro) affect us and our lives
 Americans compartmentalize and de-contextualize situations and circumstances and they
generally do not draw linkages and inferences as to the nature of interplay between micro and
macro factors (the focus is on the individual and their choices and efforts not the group or
institutions). Americans are suffering from “real-wage” reductions but instead of looking to
economic, corporate, and political structures the individual is blamed for not achieving and
succeeding. Americans blame “welfare queens and illegal immigrants” for structural and
economic woes, instead of looking at corporate welfare and other macro issues.
 There is a profound lack of micro/macro coherence in American thoughts and analysis, we
place an inordinate amount of emphasis on the individual and do not think in terms of the
institutional structures and how they impact our lives and our choices
Aspects of Mainstream United States Culture: Dr. Mikel Hogan, CSUF
From her research in the United States Dr. Mikel Hogan has stated she has found three key
themes of American mainstream culture include. Her five themes include the following:
1) Americans don’t have a culture; “other” peoples have culture, “we’re” just normal and
natural, those “other” people have “culture”
2) If it is different, it is wrong- “we” should all be “American”, we should look like American’s
and act like Americans, from colonial times “nativism” prevails (anti-foreign)
3) Don’t talk about cultural diversity- if you talk about it you will cause prejudice, racism
(just like the idea that if you talk to kids about sex they’ll go out and have sex)
4) Never admit to personal prejudice- no “good” American is prejudiced
5) The system is fair (meritocracy)- everybody gets ahead in life based on their “merit,” all
of our statuses are “achieved”
What is your opinion of her research into American culture? Do you agree or disagree with the
themes she has found? Would you add or delete some of these themes?
Dr. Hogan also has found the following mainstream cultural value orientations in American culture.
If you are interested in this topic I highly recommend her book The Four Skills of Cultural Diversity
Patriarchal family structure
Genders are considered “opposite”
Emphasize “doing”, getting things done, be busy (being is not valued)
Emphasis on measurable and visible accomplishments
Emphasis on individual choice, responsibility and achievement, self-reliance, self-motivation
Emphasize newness, change is viewed as progress
Things do not just happen, emphasize casual agents
Dualistic thinking, either/or thinking
Value equality, informality, fair play along w/discrimination at micro & macro social levels
Value competition
Value being liked and value ideal of friendships but de-emphasize social obligations
Emphasize the control of nature, nature should serve humans
Value material goods, machines, technology
In his book, American Myth American Reality, James Oliver Robertson discusses American
history and culture. In his book he writes of five prevalent myths that he sees in American
mainstream culture. Each of these myths, according to Robertson pervades American thinking.
He says that we learn these myths in school, on TV, in movies and books. As you read through his
list state whether or not you agree or disagree with him
1. America is a democracy: Not only do we believe we’re a democracy (actually we’re a
republic) but we tend to see ourselves as the “best” democracy.
To what degree do individuals actually have a voice in our society? How would we
measure this? Whose “voices” are the most powerful in the governing of this nation?
Whose views are taken into account in the formulation of political, economic, and societal
2. America is a New World: The myth that America was “found” and it was a wide open,
empty land ready to be used. It was “our” “destiny” to utilize this land “appropriately.”
To what degree is this accurate? What do you know of the America’s before Columbus’s
“discovery”? Have you ever heard the statements “manifest destiny” or “white man’s
3. America has a special and important destiny in the world: The belief that America
is a new land, untainted by the past. America is filling a special role in world to benefit the
people of the world. We are a unique, different, better breed than has ever existed.
What is your opinion of America as a nation compared to other nations? How do other
peoples see America as a nation? Europeans? Mexicans? Middle Easterners? Chinese?
4. America is uniquely influential in the world. America works to influence and
impact the world. We bring good to a world that is beset by evil. America is above
the fray and out to make sure everyone is treated equally and justly. We use our power for
good and we know what is best for people around the world.
To what degree do you believe this is accurate? To what degree do people in the rest of
the world believe this to be true?
5. America is some kind of paradise: that is why we’re so attractive to immigrants, our
economic system, and our value system, is special and different.
What is the standard of living in the United States as compared to other developed
nations? What about developing nations? What type of social, political, and economic
indicators could be used to evaluate this question?
“Collapse: How Societies Chose to Fail or Succeed”
Lecture by Jared Diamond 1/22/06
Jared Diamond lectured for the Skeptics Society on his book “Collapse: How Societies Chose to
Fail or Succeed.” He discussed three core values that comprise American lifestyle. His
perspective is that we are in the midst of a crisis in regards to these three values.
The three core values that Diamond focused on were: Consumption, individualism, and
isolationism. He states that all three of these values are under siege today.
Consumption: The United States consumes some 25% of the world’s resources and we
are only some 6% of the world’s population. The production and consumption of goods
and services is seen as crucial to our way of life and our economy.
Individualism: The United States is one of the most individualistic nations on earth. We
judge everyone in relationship to their ability to be self-reliant and to handle things on their
own. Our value for individualism is affecting our ability to develop and utilize social
programs such as health care.
Isolationism: The United States is the world’s only superpower and we feel empowered
to make our own decisions without reference to other nations or global bodies (i.e. United
Nations). Our refusals to sign onto treaties such as Kyoto Treaty on climate change, the
International Criminal Court, and the International Land Mine Treaty put us in the minority
and sets us apart from nations that we consider our allies. The pre-emptive strike against
Iraq, in large part without the endorsement of other nations, is also an aspect of our
What is your opinion? Do you agree with Diamond that these three values are core to American
culture? Do you believe these values are in crisis, or precipitating a crisis? What are the pros and
cons of these values for American’s and American society?
Diamond began reflecting on American cultural values after he heard Vice-President
Cheney in a speech state “The American way of life is non-negotiable.” Diamond reflected on what
comprises our way of life and consider what it means if these values are non-negotiable. Do you
think our way of life is negotiable?
Diamond’s research into past societies has revealed to him that there are many examples
in the past of societies that were unwilling to recognize that they were in crisis. Or if they did
recognize their impending doom they were unwilling to make the changes necessary to survive.
The Norse in Greenland, the inhabitants of Easter Island, and the Maya are just three examples he
looked at in which the people died out because they were either unwilling to change their values
and ways of life or they were unaware they needed to. In all three of these situations the
environment was changing and there were steps that could have been taken to save them from
environmental collapse. Diamond also found cultures in which they were able to change their
values and survive catastrophic events. Japan after WWII is an example of a nation which had to
dramatically change their values and economic focus after they surrendered and were under
American control.
Diamond has researched how people and societies respond to a crisis. Crisis counselors have
found that what is crucial for individuals is to have the ability and willingness to reappraise their
values. To re-appraise their ideas of what is necessary for their self-identity and their ability to
enact changes that will work for them. Individuals who are dealing with divorce, death, illness, job
loss, etc. will often enter a crisis and their ability to recover in large part depends on the above
stated critical variables. Societies face threats that threaten their survival such as environmental
problems, civil unrest, famine, outside threats, etc.
Do you think there are things we can we learn from societies that either collapsed or changed
when faced with the aforementioned threats?
Horatio Alger: Horatio Alger was an author from the mid-1800’s who wrote books about
“underprivileged youths who achieve fame and wealth by practicing virtues such as honesty,
diligence & perseverance.” Below is the definition for “Horatio Alger.”
Horatio Alger (huh-RAY-shee-oh, ho- AL-juhr) adjective: Of, or characteristic of the
novels of Horatio Alger, Jr. which depicted an impoverished youth who achieved success
and great wealth through hard work, honesty, and virtue.
Horatio Alger Myth
The belief that anyone can make it big (become rich, or even become the President of the United
States) solely through their own efforts and abilities is strong in the United States. We value the
ideal of achieved status as the way to make it and we minimize the effect of any ascribed statuses.
The Horatio Alger Myth puts forth the idea that it is the actions of the individual which determines
whether or not they will be successful. This myth states that it is not the social status that an
individual is born into that is the key to their success (their ascribed status), it is their individual
effort (their achieved status) that is key to their success in life. It is believed that anyone can be a
success (get a good job, become wealthy) if they follow the rules (i.e. get an education) and work
“The Death of Horatio Alger”
In the Jan. 5th 2004 edition of the Nation magazine Paul Krugman wrote an article about the “death
of Horatio Alger.” His article was in response to anther article written in Business Week called
“Waking up from the American Dream. Both of these articles contained data documenting the fact
that upward social mobility is diminishing in the United States (i.e. people are not able to move up
the social ladder as they did in the past). Here is key data from each article:
 “social mobility in the USA has declined considerably” the poor are staying poor (no matter
how hard they work), and data shows that your future social status is most closely linked to your
fathers social status (i.e. the best predictor of your future status is the status of your father/parents)
 the middle class is diminishing in the U.S.- a strong middle class requires strong unions, taxes
on inherited wealth, taxes on corporate profits and taxes on high incomes. In the U.S. today unions
are being dismantled, we are not taxing inherited wealth nor are corporations paying taxes
 1973 versus 2000: average real income of the bottom 90% of American taxpayers fell 7%, and
income for the top 1% rose by 148%, the income of the top .01% rose by 599%
 post-WWII upward social mobility was the norm for many Americans; 23% of adult men whose
father’s were in the bottom 25% of the population made it to the top 25% - today only 10% of these
individuals make this leap
 “Wal-Martization” of the economy: there’s a proliferation of dead-end, low-wage jobs, and the
disappearance of jobs that provide entry to the middle class
The Oprah Society by Beth Shulman April 12, 2005. Beth Shulman is the author of The Betrayal of
Work: How Low-Wage Jobs Fail 30 Million Americans (The New Press, 2003) and works with the Russell
Sage Foundation’s The Future of Work and Social Inequality projects
It’s inspiring to watch someone beat the odds. If you see the deck is stacked, their triumph is especially
sweet. Day after day, in our made-for-TV society, that’s what we’re shown: inspiring exceptions—women
and men who, by some miracle, overcome insurmountable barriers. They often weep as we do when we
hear their tales of woe. Indeed, whether it’s addiction or affliction, layoffs or payoffs, their stories are meant
to convince us “Hey, they made it, why can’t we?”
From yesterday’s daytime gabfests to today’s reality shows, somehow in America, the insurmountable
became the inevitable. We went from counting on a family-sustaining job to expecting a pink slip. We’ve
seen whole towns rust and millions lose decent jobs. We've seen still others trapped in jobs that fail to
provide the basics of a decent life. Meanwhile, there aren’t enough reality show makeovers to transform
whole blocks—let alone entire towns—or get us all college diplomas or decent jobs. So a few are chosen,
and the rest of us are made to feel like we failed. If only we had tried harder, worked smarter, learned more,
invested better, we’d be on TV for all to envy. It’s one thing to admire those who beat the odds, quite
another to create a society which makes the odds nearly impossible to overcome.
Whatever happened to the Land of Opportunity? To the melting pot that pulled millions from every corner of
the world? Drawn by the American Dream, we were told that if you just worked hard, you could support
yourself and raise a family, send your children to college, take family vacations, build a nest egg and retire?
Today, one in four workers—30 million Americans—hold jobs that pay below $9.00 an hour, putting them
and their families below the federal poverty line. The work is often grueling, dangerous or humiliating. Most
low-wage jobs lack health care, vacation pay, sick leave or pension plans. They provide little flexibility or
training. These jobs sentence child caregivers, janitors and pharmacy techs to a lifetime of poverty, and
mock those who work in nursing homes, clean our hotel rooms and offices and process our food. Most of
these workers are adults with at least a high school education who have families to take care of just like the
rest of us. More and more middle-class jobs are taking on the characteristics of low-wage jobs, with little job
security, stagnant wages and decreasing health and retirement benefits. In 1987, employers provided health
coverage to 70 percent of workers, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, yet today that
number has declined by 10 percent. At the same time, employees are picking up more and more of their
health premium costs. Fewer than one-fifth of large and medium-sized companies now pay the full cost of
employees’ health premiums. A similar shift has occurred with pensions. Nearly half of full-time workers
were covered by traditional pensions 30 years ago. Today, that number has plummeted to below 20
percent. Then there's job security: the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that today a middle-aged man is
likely to be in his job for 71/2 years, down from 11 years just 25 years ago.
These conditions are not an act of nature. We can make different choices. We could offer quality child care
to give all our kids a fair start. We could insist our jobs provide at least a week of paid sick leave. We could
raise the federal minimum wage—as a start to $7.25 an hour, an option our Congress just turned down last
month. We could insist every American have affordable health care. We could ensure that every qualified
young man and woman can afford to attend college and graduate without mortgaging their future. And at the
end of one’s work life, we could make sure that all Americans have enough to support themselves.
So what will it be? Will we remain content with a society that rewards the few and continues to erect
roadblocks for most Americans, or are we going to live up to the ideals of the American Dream—that if you
work hard, you will be able to take care of yourself and your family? The choice is ours.
America’s Role in the World
An important learning goal in this class is for you to gain insight and understanding into how
America is viewed by other cultures and countries around the world. What is it to be an American?
What is the role of America in the world? How do Americans view themselves and how do those
outside of American view us? In January 2001 Colin Powell took office as the Secretary of State
and he made a number of speeches in which he laid forth both his and the current administrations
view of America and America’s role in the world. Powell stated that “Other systems do not work.
We are going to show a vision to the world of the value system of America.” This policy has been
described as revolving around two key themes, exceptionalism and unilateralism.
Exceptionalism: is when a country believes it plays such a unique role in the world that they
should not be subject to the same rules or laws that govern everyone else. The United States has
claimed that we play such a special, important role in the world that we should not be held to the
same standards as everyone else. For instance we should not have to adhere to; the International
Criminal Court, the Kyoto Environmental Treaty, the ban on the testing of nuclear missiles or the
generalized prohibition against “pre-emptive” war. In other words “nuclear testing by the United
States is good, but if India tries, it’s bad.”
Unilateralism: is a policy of “going it alone.” Increasingly American policy is based on the belief
that American interests are not tied to the interests of others around the world. Unilateralism is the
belief and policy that American interests are best served by “going it alone.” Part of going it alone
means that we do not feel the need to take the rest of the world’s needs or opinions into account in
our actions.
Your reaction and perspective. What is your reaction and perspective in regards to the
American policies above? Do you think they are accurate or inaccurate in reference to America
and American policy? Do you think these policies are workable? Another term that has been used
to describe American policies and practices is hegemony.
Hegemony: is when one group has dominance over other groups. This dominance includes a wide
variety of arenas; economic systems, political systems, ideologies, values and norms. Hegemony
is when one groups cultural beliefs, values, and practices are held as superior and better than
other groups cultural beliefs, values, and practices. For instance the idea that capitalism and
democracy are the best economic and political systems and everyone should have these systems.
America’s view that other countries should either adopt these systems voluntarily (because they
are the best) or involuntarily (being forced through violence, war, treaties, embargos, etc.).
Hegemony is enacted in a variety of ways, through economic power, social power and military
Brief History of Anthropology and Major Theoretical Orientations
Anthropology as a discipline started off with the study of “far off, exotic peoples” who live in
traditional cultures (foraging, hunting or practicing horticulture for subsistence). It was considered
a rite of passage for an anthropologist to engage in participant-observation of a culture for at least
one to two years (in some universities this is still the case). Over time the focus of anthropology
has expanded to the study of modern, industrial and post-industrial cultures. Anthropologists
realized that to engage in the study of “humans” they needed to study humans in all the various
settings that humans live. Below are some of the key issues, dynamics and theoretical orientations
in anthropology.
The “self”and ”other” dynamic in anthropological fieldwork studies
Initially anthropologists studied peoples who were very different from themselves. The earliest
anthropologists were Western European, upper class, White, males who went to “far off” places
like New Guinea, Africa, India, China, South America, etc. The people that they studied were
physically and culturally very different from them. Utilizing the comparative approach these early
anthropologists compared and contrasted these peoples with themselves and their cultures. This
led to a dynamic in anthropology in which the people under study were gradually formulated as the
“other.” These process wasn’t necessarily explicit, it developed over a period of time. These
“other” people were typecast as being very different from the anthropologists doing the fieldwork.
These “other” peoples were often stereotyped as being less rational, and less normal, as primitive
and often as less intelligent. Many of the anthropologists in the early years of anthropology were
very ethnocentric, often to the point of racism. There were, however, a number of anthropologists
who saw these “other” peoples as just as rational, reasonable and intelligent as they were. Over
time more and more anthropologists have engaged in the study of the “self.” Instead of just
objectifying those “others” we are working to objectify “our” culture. To utilize the comparative
approach we need to look at ALL human cultures. The “self - other” dynamic continues to impact
anthropological studies to this day. Today most anthropologists are much more aware of their own
ethnocentrism. Currently anthropologists live in countries and cultures all over the world. Many
anthropologists specialize in studying modern day cultures, not just those traditional, far off
Nature/Nurture Debate
The nature/nurture debate is big in anthropology (also in psychology, sociology and philosophy).
Those that advocate the “nature” position maintain that for the most part human behaviors stem
from our genetic make-up (see natural selection, sociobiology and evolutionary psychology in the
theory section). Those that advocate the “nurture” position maintain that for the most part human
behaviors stem from the environment or culture that we are raised in. This debate gets really
intense especially when we look at behaviors such as violence and aggression. If these behaviors
stem from our “nature” (our genes) then the only way to deal with them is to either try to circumvent
our biology or to engage in a eugenics movement (improve the species through selective
breeding). If these behaviors stem from our environment or culture then we need to work to
change our culture or society (often focusing on such things as stratification and poverty). The
nature/nurture debate has far reaching implications, both personally and politically (social policies).
The nature/nurture debate is also very intense in the arena of sex and gender differences as well
as sexuality.
Theories in Cultural Anthropology:
In the social sciences a theory is a framework used to explain and predict human
behaviors, beliefs and artifacts. There are often multiple, competing theories used to explain
human behaviors. For instance there are those that emphasize nature or biology as key to the
basis of human actions and those that emphasize nurture or culture. These two perspectives are
often at odds with each other.
Humans are complex creatures living in complex societies and it is very difficult to
eliminate enough of the variables to definitively test social science theories. Theories gain
acceptance if they can reliably explain human behaviors and beliefs and predict human behaviors
and beliefs in a given set of circumstances. Theories are paradigms and as such they influence
how we perceive and interpret the world.
Theories in the natural sciences are different. If something has risen to the level of a
theory in the natural sciences it is akin to a law. There are not competing theories in the natural
sciences (although there can definitely be competing hypotheses). The Law of Gravity, or the Law
of Thermodynamics, are the only explanations for the observed phenomena. Natural Selection,
discussed below is a theory that works to explain the change of populations of organisms over time
(along with the other processes of evolution; mutation, gene drift, and gene flow).
Natural Selection: Darwin developed the Theory of Natural Selection to account for the change
he observed in organisms over time, and to explain the differences and similarities he observed in
animals in different environments around the world (i.e. white & brown bears). Natural selection is
the theory which underlies modern biology. It is a natural science theory which means it is akin to
a natural law.
Natural selection states the following:
 there is variation in individuals within species-individuals vary in size, color, speed, etc.
 there is always competition among individuals within populations to get scarce resources
and to survive, those individuals who have the “best” variation for a particular environment will
live longer and produce more offspring
 individuals who live the longest and produce the most offspring are the most “fit” and they
will pass on their traits to their offspring (inheritance)
 fitness in natural selection is defined as “differential reproductive success” – those
individuals who produce the most offspring within the population are the most fit
 natural selection states that environments change over time so the traits that are the
“best” will change over time and place. Natural selection does not lead to more perfect
organisms, it only works to keep a species in an adaptive relationship with its environment.
Natural selection can be observed on a daily basis in the world around us (i.e. drug resistant forms
of diseases that develop over time). Natural selection and evolutionary theory form the foundation
of biology as a discipline.
Sociobiology (generally associated with non-human primates) & Evolutionary Psychology
(sociobiology applied to humans): Sociobiollgy takes natural selection one step further. It
states that “nature” not only selects physical traits which increase fitness but nature selects for
behaviors that increase fitness. So, behaviors which increase an individual’s “fitness” (reproductive
success) will be selected for. Reproductive fitness involves different strategies and behaviors for
females and males. Females and males must engage in different behaviors to reproduce, and so
they have different “reproductive strategies.”
Male reproductive strategies: For males to pass their genes onto the next generation,
they (theoretically) just have to impregnate a female and can then walk away. So the best
behaviors for males involve out-competing other males for access to females and working to
impregnate as many females as possible (to be “undiscriminating maters”).
Female reproductive strategies: For females to pass their genes onto the next
generation they need to engage in different reproductive strategies. Females need to; get
pregnant, carry the offspring to term, nurse the offspring, and teach the offspring what it needs to
survive. Females must invest a lot of time and energy to reproduce offspring. Females best
reproductive strategy is to distance themselves form other females and to select males that will
stick by them and help them care for their offspring.
Social Evolutionary Theory: This theory was influential in the mid 1800’s. As anthropologists,
and others, traveled around the world and saw different types of cultures and societies they
compared these cultures to their own. They believed that their society was the best and the most
advanced. They saw Western, European culture as having achieved “civilization” while the other
groups they observed, such as the Australian Aborigines, as being stuck in “savagery. Social
Evolutionary Theory was used to explain the differences they saw in cultures around the world.
Basically it says this:
1. All societies will progress through a series of stages from savagery, to barbarism, to
civilization. Societies progress at different speeds (some cultures are still stuck in savagery,
others have attained civilization).
2. The stage a society is at is determined by; their level of technology, subsistence means, belief
system, mating rules, descent system, economic system, political system, etc
 savagery- gathering of food, mating promiscuous (brother/sister mating prohibited), basic unit
of society small, nomadic “horde”, possessions ownded communally, bow & arrow used,
descent reckoned through females
 barbarism- pottery invented, farming begun, incest prohibitions extended to include all
females in clan, development of metallurgy, descent reckoned through male line, practiced
polygny, concept of private property appeared
 civilization- invention of writing, civil/state governments, monogamous family formation
Social Evolutionary Theory has been abandoned in anthropology as being ethnocentric,
racist and inaccurate.
Historical Particularism: Franz Boas originated this perspective. He felt that the social
evolutionary perspective was ethnocentric and biased. Historical particularism states that to
understand a culture you must gain insight into the history and material conditions under which a
culture developed (anthropologists must do fieldwork to gain this information). Boas stated that
anthropologists need to be culturally relative in their investigations.
Functionalism: There are various types of functionalist theory but in general functionalism works
to explain the “function” of the customs and institutions that are prevalent in human societies. The
idea is that if an institution like marriage exists in all human groups then it must perform some
function for humans (or else why would it exist in all cultures). Functionalists tend to focus at the
individual level or the social level. For instance the institution of marriage “functions” to serve the
individual (to help fulfill individuals biological and psychological welfare) and it also “functions” to
serve the society (to help keep the society running smoothly, to minimize conflicts).
Postmodernism: Postmodernism is a perspective that exists across multiple disciplines as well as
anthropology. Postmodernism is a reaction to earlier positivist perspectives which state that
humans can be objective observers and there is an objective reality to be discerned.
Postmodernists would state that there are not objective observers and there is no one objective
reality to be found. In anthropology postmodernism grew out of insights from feminist and ethnic
minority anthropologists who were highly critical of many of the ethnographies that they read about
different cultural groups. They saw these ethnographies as one-dimensional perspectives of the
cultures being presented. Most of the early anthropological fieldwork (like research in other fields)
was done by white, upper socioeconomic class, western, males. Postmodernists noted that the
researchers were influenced by their positionality and their status in their own culture (i.e. their key
informants were males of a similar status and they didn’t talk to females or those who were of lower
status). Early ethnographies were seen as one-dimensional perspectives of the cultures being
studied. Postmodernists worked to “deconstruct” existing literature, ideas and ethnographies.
Postmodernists see societies as being engaged in a constant battle over opposing interpretations,
interpretations that vary based on a persons gender, class, and ethnicity. Issues such as who has
power and voice in a culture (who has a voice in society) are critical to postmodern scholars.
Postmodernism states that we cannot accurately describe any culture completely because we will
always be limited by our subjective perspectives and the perspectives of the informants that we
use. They assert that there is always variation in representations of “reality” based on a persons
status. Postmodernists state that there is no one way of presenting history, that a variety of
historical interpretations are valid, depending on your position and your perspective. An individuals
status in a society is critical in impacting their perspective of a society and its “reality” (i.e. what is
their status).
Two Case Studies in Anthropological Fieldwork
For these two case studies these are the key issues to think about: 1) what is the primary
influencer of our behavior- culture or genes (this is the classic “nature/nurture” argument, 2) what
are the theoretical orientations that each researcher adhers to, 3) what can we learn from fieldwork
studies, and 4) how do anthropologists impact the cultures they are studying.
Margaret Mead, Samoa and Derek Freeman
In 1925 Mead went to American Samoa to study adolescents. Mead’s research set out to answer
the question “Is the rocky transition from adolescence to adulthood due to biology or culture?” She
observed that in the USA we see adolescence as being a time of rebellion, strife and
experimentation (sex, drugs, etc.) . If biology (surging hormones) was the basis of the strife of
adolescence then adolescents all over the world should go through this rocky stage. If culture is
the answer then not all adolescents will go through this rocky stage.
Mead’s research in Samoa revealed that adolescents in Samoa did not have a turbulent transition
to adulthood. The transition from childhood to adulthood in Samoa was fairly easy as compared to
what occurred among adolescents in the USA. Mead concluded that the rocky transition of teens
in the USA was due to culture (nurture) and not due to biology (nature). Mead thought that the
different attitudes about sexuality in each culture impacted the way in which adolescents
experienced adolescence. Mead saw the USA as being fairly repressive as regards sexuality. She
noted that the Samoans had fairly permissive sexual attitudes. Margaret Mead put forth culture as
the primary determinant of human behavior. Mead was trained by Franz Boas who emphasized
culture as the primary influencer of human behavior.
In the 1960’s Derek Freeman went to Western Samoa and after he had conducted his research he
claimed that Mead’s work was flawed and inaccurate. He said that the Samoan’s had puritanical
sexual attitudes and that Mead had been lied to and fooled by her Samoan informants. Freeman
was an anthropologist who adhered to the belief that biology is a primary influence in behavior.
Based on what you’ve read above what do you think about Mead’s and Freeman’s claims?
What additional data would you want to gain insight as to the “truth” about Samoa and the
nature of adolescence?
Napoleon Chagnon & the Yanomamo
Starting in the 1960’s Chagnon conducted a classic, long-term study of the Yanomamo, an
indigenous people in Brazil and Venezuela. The Yanomamo live in a tropical rain-forest
environment and they subsist by gathering and hunting as well as planting gardens (horticulture).
They have an informal political leadership. Reciprocity is their main economic distribution system
and kinship relations are key to the structure of their society.
Chagnon’s observations led to him stating that the Yanamomo were a very “fierce” people. The
Yanomamo were a very violent and aggressive culture and much of their conflicts centered around
men fighting other men over access to women. Chagnon stated that the most violent, aggressive
men had the highest number of wives and the most offspring. These men passed their “violent
genes” on to their offspring and this kept the culture violent. The Yanomamo, per Chagnon reflect
humans basic nature, untouched by “civilization.” And, the basic nature of humans is violent and
Chagnon is a sociobiologist (see theory sheet). Sociobiologists believe human behaviors stem
largely from our nature (genes) and not from culture (our environment, nurture). Chagnon sees
violence and aggression as traits that enhance humans ability to survive and pass on their genes.
The Yanomamo/Chagnon Controversy- Part One: Napoleon Chagnon put forth the view that
the Yanamomo were more violent that other cultures and that this violence was largely due to their
nature. Chagnon stated that the Yanomomo were a good study to answer the nature/nurture
question because they were living in a “natural state” before civilization. Other anthropologists
disagree with Chagnon. Some anthropologists have stated that the Yanomomo are not naturally
more violent than other groups but that the impact of missionaries, colonists, traders, etc. led to
their being more violent and aggressive than they were in the past. With contact from Europeans
the Yanomomo suffered large decreases in their populations (due to disease, enslavement,
violence), the loss of much of their land for hunting and gardening, the introduction of guns and
steel axes and other types of disruption to their traditional ways of life (missionaries working to
convert them). Other anthropologists have disputed the claim that the Yanomomo are more violent
than other groups.
The Yanomamo/Chagnon Controversy- Part Two: In October 2000, Patrick Tierney wrote a
book “Darkness in El Dorado” in which he suggested that Napoleon Chagnon had harmed the
Yanomomo during his three decades of participant-observation. Tierney stated Chagnon had a
pre-determined view as to the nature of humans (that we are violent and it is genetic) and that he
both consciously and unconsciously worked to make the Yanomomo fit his ideas. Tierney accused
Chagnon of causing aggression and violence between Yanomomo groups. These accusations
caused a huge uproar in the anthropological community and led to an investigation by the
American Anthropology Association (AAA). The conclusion of the investigation was that Chagnon
had not deliberately worked to harm the Yanomomo nor had he acted in an unethical manner,
although they did note that he made some poor decisions on occasion. The AAA investigation also
noted that the standards for ethical behavior have changed in the last 30-40 years.
Anthropological Theory: Should the study of Humans be scientific or humanistic?
This is an ongoing debate in the anthropology. Cultural materialism is a theoretical orientation that
focuses on a scientific approach to the study of humans and human institutions while symbolic
anthropology focuses on a humanistic approach. Make sure to know the key aspects of each
theoretical orientation.
Cultural Materialism: Formulated by Marvin Harris. Harris stated that humans can and should be
studied scientifically (etic perspective). He states that human beliefs and practices can be
explained by looking at the material (environmental and historical) conditions under which beliefs
and practices arose. The environment constrains and shapes the ways humans work to fulfill basic
needs. All customs and beliefs, no matter how exotic, can be explained rationally by looking at the
material conditions under which they arose. Harris states that the emic perspective is not very
helpful in gaining insights into human beliefs and behaviors because he sees most humans
everyday consciousness as being filled with “ignorance, fear and conflict.” He does not see most
humans as being capable of discerning why they believe and act the way in which they do.
Cultural Materialism: Scientific approach, Etic perspective
 Goal is to find the cause and effect explanations for differences and similarities in beliefs and
practices in cultural groups around the world.
 This theory sees the material and environmental constraints (conditions & constraints imposed
by environment & technology) as leading to differences in beliefs & practices (beliefs are shaped
by material conditions).
 Human believes and behaviors have developed from a material history that can explain what
may seem to be irrational beliefs and behaviors but which in fact have a rational basis.
A materialist model of culture include three layers:
1) material foundation-economic mode of production, technology, population size
2) system of social organization, kinship patterns, marriage and family practices, politics, status
3) ideology or belief system, ideas, beliefs, values (both secular and sacred)
 See your article on “Culture and the Evolution of Obesity” for an example of how this theory is
Symbolic: Symbolic anthropologists are fundamentally concerned with the ways in which people
formulate their reality. The goal for symbolic anthropologists is to gain insight into the meanings
relevant to the members of a culture. Symbolic anthropologists utilize a humanistic approach to
gaining insights into human beings and cultures. They study peoples symbols, their literature, and
their games. The emic perspective is highly valued in symbolic and humanistic anthropology.
What people say about their cultural values and norms is considered very important.
Symbolic Anthropology: Humanistic, Emic perspective
 Goal is cultural interpretation, look to symbols, literature, games to gain insight into meanings
& experiences of a culture
 What does it mean to be a human in a particular culture, get at the “essence of being human”
Case Example: The Prohibition on eating of beef in India
In the United States in the 1970’s economists were analyzing issues of poverty and hunger in
India. It was observed that in India, where the majority of the people are Hindu, there is a religious
prohibition on the eating of beef. In America beef is a major source of protein. Some analysts
stated that if Indians would just give up this irrational food taboo that they would be able to alleviate
their hunger problems. In other words, they were going hungry because of an irrational religious
belief. It was observed that there was a surplus of cows in India and these cows could easily work
to feed the people of India. Below is an analysis by cultural materialists and symbolic
anthropologists into this issue.
Cultural Materialists: Marvin Harris looked into this issue and came to the conclusion that the
prohibition on the eating and killing of cows is rational. Harris stated that you must look at the
material conditions under which people live for explanations of food taboo’s. Remember Harris
emphasizes the idea that humans are rational, and there are almost always rational explanations
for the beliefs and practices that we have. He is most concerned with an etic analysis.
Harris stated that a prohibition on the eating of cows in India evolved over time because;
1) cows were essential as plow animals, if they were eaten in lean times, the people would
starve eventually because they would have no means to plow their fields
2) cows were needed for reproduction, to produce more animals for the future
3) cows were needed for their dung; dung is used as a fertilizer, it is burned in cow patties as
a source of heat and a means to cook food, and dung is mixed with water and made into a
paste for flooring.
Symbolic Anthropologists: Are concerned with looking into the meaning that a symbol holds for
a culture, they are concerned with the emic. Symbolic anthropologists note that the cow
symbolizes life to Hindu’s. Cows “represents our soul, our obstinate intellect, and our unruly
emotions, however the cow also supercedes us because it gives so much and yet takes nothing
beyond grass and grain.” Ghandi “stated that cows made agriculture possible” and agriculture
made life possible. Cows are viewed as a virtual sustainer of life for humans. Indians state that “if
no other source of food existed humans could still survive on the cream, butter, milk provided by
this animal.”
What is Race? Does the term race imply a categorization of humans using physical or cultural
criteria? The key difference is that physical traits are inherited and culture attributes are learned.
Human Physical Variation: It is clear from looking around this classroom, this campus and the
world that physical differences exist between human populations around the world. What is the
significance of these differences? Do humans exist in discrete, separate, biological categories or
do the differences between human groups exist on a scale of gradations from more to less.
Biologists know the following about human variation within and between groups:
 Some variation between groups evolved as an adaptive response in relationship to the
environment and in response to different adaptive strategies. Natural selection is the process of
evolution responsible for these differences. Examples include; skin color, body shape and size,
lactose tolerance.
 Some variation between groups evolved in relationship to sexual selection, where males
compete with each other over access to females and females choice between the males that are
 Some variation between human groups has come about due to random processes of evolution
(gene drift, gene flow, mutation). Examples include; ear wax, blood type, tongue rolling.
American Anthropology Association has stated that human groups cannot be classified into
discrete biological categories. The problems with a biological classification of human
groups into separate “races” includes all of the following:
 There has been no agreement by scientists as to the number of races or the division of human
“races” after some 200 plus years of trying
 The methods used to classify humans into “races” haven’t worked to categorize humans into
generally supposed racial groups:
o Continuous traits cannot be used to discretely divide humans into races (i.e. skin color)
o Discrete traits cannot be used to discretely divide humans into races (i.e.ABO blood
o There is no correspondence of traits that can be used to divide humans into races (i.e.
the traits used for racial classification aren’t inherited together, for instance facial
features and skin color are not genetically linked)
 There is more genetic variation within populations of humans than between them. The majority
of differences between humans exists within groups, not between them. The recent
information gained from the Human Genome Project confirms this.
Biological Determinism: is a concept that came out of the race concept. Biological determinism
states that there is a connection between physical, temperamental, and intellectual characteristics
in groups of people. For instance certain physical traits (skin color, facial features, etc.) are seen
as “marking” a group as having a certain temperament (impulsive and childlike or rational and
thoughtful) or average intellectual ability. Biological determinists not only link physical traits with
temperaments and intellectual ability but they see some groups as inferior and some groups as
superior. Biological determinism was generally accepted by western scientists from the mid 1800’s
to the mid 1900’s. Acceptance of this concept assumes: socioeconomic class differences
among groups of people reflects biological differences among these groups (both “race” & sex as
criteria). Eugenics: the improvement of a species through selective breeding (biological
improvement of species) came out of the acceptance of biological determinism
Intelligence Tests: have historically been used to “prove” differences in average ability between
groups of people. What is IQ? What do IQ tests measure?
 Measure certain, select, verbal, mathematical, and cognitive skills
 Measures performance on one event (does not measure overall ability)
 Most social scientists acknowledge IQ tests are culturally biased
 Measures some of the tools an individual needs for academic & “life” success
 Many scientists would state that human intelligence (or cognitive abilities) is something that
has been inappropriately reified
American Anthropological Association: has come out with a statement noting that the race
concept, which historically has implied discrete biological differences between groups of humans,
is invalid. Race is a cultural construct which has been used to explain an justify social, economic,
and political inequalities (without reference to history).
Power of an Illusion). Our eyes tell us that people look different. No one has trouble distinguishing a Czech
from a Chinese. But what do those differences mean? Are they biological? Has race always been with us?
How does race affect people today? Where did the race concept originate? Go through the following
statements and agree or disagree with each statement and write down your data and or reasoning that
backs up your answer. Once you are done go to the next page and see the correct answers. How did you
1. Race is a modern idea.
2. Race has no genetic basis.
3. Human subspecies (races) don't exist.
4. Skin color really is only skin deep.
5. Most variation is within, not between, "races."
6. Slavery predates race.
7. Race and freedom evolved together.
8. Race justified social inequalities as natural..
9. Race isn't biological, but racism is still real.
10. Colorblindness will not end racism.
Answers to 10 Things everyone should know about race.
1. Race is a modern idea. True. Ancient societies, like the Greeks, did not divide people according to
physical distinctions, but according to religion, status, class, even language. The English language didn't
even have the word 'race' until it turns up in 1508 in a poem by William Dunbar referring to a line of kings.
2. Race has no genetic basis. True. Not one characteristic, trait or even gene distinguishes all the
members of one so-called race from all the members of another so-called race.
3. Human subspecies (races) don't exist. True. Unlike many animals, modern humans simply haven't
been around long enough or isolated enough to evolve into separate subspecies or races. Despite surface
appearances, we are one of the most similar of all species.
4. Skin color really is only skin deep. True. Most traits are inherited independently from one another. The
genes influencing skin color have nothing to do with the genes influencing hair form, eye shape, blood type,
musical talent, athletic ability or forms of intelligence. Knowing someone's skin color doesn't necessarily tell
you anything else about him or her.
5. Most variation is within, not between, "races." True. 85% of all human variation exists within any local
population, be they Italians, Kurds, Koreans or Cherokees. About 94% of human variation can be found
within any continent. That means two random Koreans may be as genetically different as a Korean and an
6. Slavery predates race. True. Throughout much of human history, societies have enslaved others, often
as a result of conquest or war, even debt, but not because of physical characteristics or a belief in natural
inferiority. Due to a unique set of historical circumstances, ours was the first slave system where all the
slaves shared similar physical characteristics.
7. Race and freedom evolved together. True. The U.S. was founded on the radical new principle that "All
men are created equal." But our early economy was based largely on slavery. How could this anomaly be
rationalized? The new idea of race helped explain why some people could be denied the rights and
freedoms that others took for granted. Some people were labeled biologically different and inferior and
therefore not deserving of freedom.
8. Race justified social inequalities as natural. True. As the race idea evolved, white superiority became
"common sense" in America. It justified not only slavery but also the extermination of Indians, exclusion of
Asian immigrants, and the taking of Mexican lands by a nation that professed a belief in democracy. Racial
practices were institutionalized within American government, laws, and society.
9. Race isn't biological, but racism is still real. True. Race is a powerful social idea that gives people
different access to opportunities and resources. Our government and social institutions have created
advantages that disproportionately channel wealth, power, and resources to white people. This affects
everyone, whether we are aware of it or not.
10. Colorblindness will not end racism. True. Pretending race doesn't exist is not the same as creating
equality. Race is more than stereotypes and individual prejudice. To combat racism, we need to identify and
remedy social policies and institutional practices that advantage some groups at the expense of others
How to Be an American
source: "The
Melting Pot" by
Israel Zangwill
America is God’s Crucible, the great Melting Pot where all the races of Europe are
melting and reforming! German and Frenchman, Irishman, and Englishman, Jew and
Russian – into the crucible with you all!
Eduardo Bonilla- The idea of the melting pot has a long history in the American tradition, but it really was
Silva sociologist a notion that was extended exclusively to white immigrants. That pot never included
people of color: Blacks, Chinese, Puerto Ricans, etc., could not melt into the pot. They
could be used as wood to produce the fire for the pot, but they could not be used as
material to be melted into the pot.
street interview
So much of what happens to us is based on the race that we are, you just can’t get
away from it. And I think for white people, you can kind of blend in.
Mae Ngai
The notion that Asians are unassimilable, as non-Americans, enabled many Americans
to see them (Japanese Americans) as the enemy, and to strip them totally of their civil
liberties and put them into internment camps during World War II. Even those who are
third or fourth generation Asian Americans are still perceived as foreigners.
street interview
Once when I was coming back from a ski trip and we were at a gas station, the gas
station attendant paused and spoke to my boyfriend, who was Caucasian, and looked at
me and said, "Does she speak English?"
john a. powell
legal scholar
Race has been so important in terms of constructing identity that to be an American
early on, really meant to be white.
Pilar Ossorio
In order to be a naturalized citizen in this country, you had to be categorized as white or
Black. The court had to make decisions about who was white and who was not.
street interview
White people tend to lose their sense of culture and race: "I’m American. That’s all I
am." They don’t really know their heritage.
Tim Wise
There's no cultural history to whiteness. We voluntarily gave it up in order to have
street interview
What is American? My hope for America is that, whether I'm white, Black, Spanish,
whatever, it shouldn't matter. That's my hope. It may not be the real – it may not be
what's going on, but that's my hope.
James Baldwin
No one was white before he/she came to America. It took generations and a vast
amount of coercion, before this became a white country.
The Elephant in the Room
john a. powell
legal scholar
Supreme Court Justice O'Connor made the observation that, of
course, this is a white country. So, if this is a white country, what does
it mean if you're not white? What is your place?
Tim Wise
We know what has happened in this country; we know that slavery,
that conquest, colonization has taken place. But at a very deep level,
we don't understand what that means for us today.
john a. powell
legal scholar
And a lot of white people say, well, you know, I don't want to hear
about slavery. You know, I had nothing to do with that, and my parents
came much later.
street interview
White people are in the power position in our culture, and whether they
like to admit that to themselves or not, there are just certain things that
go their way more easily with being white.
Tim Wise
Even though people of color are the primary victims of racism,
obviously in this culture, whites also are damaged by it. We adopt
these sort of guilt feelings, instead of realizing that, in fact, guilt isn’t
the best emotion to feel here. The best emotion to feel, the most
productive one, is a sense of righteous anger that this inequality has
been cemented in our culture - not only robbing the victims of it - but
even really robbing the beneficiaries of having the sense of community
with others.
street interview
As much as I can try to put myself in someone else's shoes, I'm still a
white guy.
street interview
I mean, I've got a lot of privileges as a white person. I'm not sure I
want to give up my privileges. It's a frightening thing. It would be very
frightening, you know?
john a. powell
legal scholar
Why after 50 years of civil rights, are our schools still segregated?
Why is our housing market still segregated? Why are our jobs still
segregated? I think that most people – white, Black, Latino, and
otherwise – would like to see something different.
street interview
You've got to put yourself in a place to be able to dialogue first,
instead of just wanting to ignore it, and run from it. We have to be
proactive to set ourselves in a place where we can feel a little
uncomfortable, and really start talking.
john a. powell
legal scholar
As long as each group stays comfortably in their space, there’s no
struggle. It doesn’t mean there’s equality, it doesn’t mean there’s
justice, but there’s just no struggle. It's the boundaries where we see
those struggles occur.
James Baldwin
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be
changed until it is faced.
To See or Not to See
Dalton Conley sociologist
On the one hand, Civil Rights era officially ended inequality of
opportunity. At the same time, those Civil Rights times did nothing
to address the underlying economic and social inequalities that had
already been in place because of hundreds of years of inequality.
Sources: United for a Fair
Economy, 1999; Dalton Conley,
Being Black, Living in the Red (UC
Press, 1999)
In 1995, the average white family had over 8 times the wealth of the
average nonwhite family. Even at the same income levels, whites
had twice as much wealth as nonwhites.
Melvin Oliver sociologist
Assets really divide America more than income. People are still
quite unequal, even when they have similar achievements in life.
Micaela DiLeonardo anthropologist Why is there such a big differential? Histories of segregated
housing, histories of mortgage denials, histories of credit denial,
histories of employment denial.
Dalton Conley sociologist
As individuals, we like to think that our property is a result of our
talent, hard work or even luck.
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva sociologist
No one wants to believe that he or she is at the top of any kind of
social structure, based on an unfair situation.
Dalton Conley sociologist
Wealth is passed down in many ways. 50-80% of one's lifetime
wealth depends on opportunities created by past generations - gifts,
informal loans, a good education, and job connections.
Dalton Conley sociologist
The rewards, the house, the Lexus, the big bank account, those are
not only the rewards, the pot of gold at the end of the game. They
are also the starting position for the next generation.
Nancy DiTomaso sociologist
Whites in general in the U.S. articulate a value system that says
that color blindness is a good thing, that noticing race, mentioning
race, calling attention to race is a bad thing.
john a. powell
legal scholar
You have to notice the difference in order to address it. Racism and
white supremacy are embedded in institutional structures of society.
Dalton Conley sociologist
We are stuck with this sort of paradoxical idea of a colorblind
society in a society that is totally unequal by color.
*** Text Study Guide & Article Review Questions EXAM 2 ***
20 Eating Christmas in the Kalahari: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: hunter-gatherers, egalitarian, reciprocity
1. What is an economy? What type of economy do the !Kung have? What type of economy do
we have in the USA? State at least two key differences between these two types of economies?
2. List at least two rules that govern the giving of gifts among the !Kung.
3. In your own words explain what Lee means when he says “There are no totally generous acts”
Do you agree or disagree with Lee? Give an example and/or rationale to support your answer.
21 Strings Attached: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
1. What is the role of gifts in social relations? What is Marcel Mauss’s view of gift giving?
2. What key misunderstandings led to the term “Indian giver” What does this term mean?
3. Why do Mukogodo mothers take the candy, given as a gift to their children, from their children’s
mouth? Do you think this a positive child-rearing practice?
4. Why do Americans devalue a gift that has obvious strings attached? In general do gifts have
strings attached?
5. Give an example of how gift giving can be used to demonstrate social power and prestige
between individuals and between nations.
4 Crack in Spanish Harlem: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
1. Bourgois offers up his fieldnotes as a glimpse into the lives of the day to day struggle for
existence and_________________ in the lives of the crack dealers.
2. The “culture of poverty” has been given as an explanation for poverty. Do you think that most
people are poor because of their personal choices (micro factors) or are people poor because of
the structure of a stratified society (a macro factor, for instance you cannot have wealthy
individuals without poor individuals) Be clear in your answer and your reasoning.
3. Does Bourgois see residents of the inner city as passive victims of historic and economic
changes? What does he base this perspective on?
4. List at least two causes and two results of the culture of resistance.
5. What is the difference between the legal jobs and the illegal jobs in terms of meaning, money
and feelings of self-worth?
6. What is the “culture of terror”?
7. Why do we have an illegal economy? Who benefits from an illegal economy? Who suffers from
an illegal economy?
41 Price of Progress Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
1. Give one specific example of an unexpected consequence of economic development
2. How do you measure the “standard of living”? What is the relationship between the “standard of
living” and the “quality of life”? Why is Goldschmidt’s criteria seen as more useful in the evaluation
of cultures?
3. Give one example of a “disease of development.”
4. What are the circumstances under which “tribal peoples feel deprivation”?
5. What is your definition of progress? What is progress at an individual level and at a societal
13 The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race: Author’s main idea for the article
terms: agriculture, domestication of plants & animals, social stratification
1. What is the fundamental difference between the progressivist interpretation of history and the
revisionist interpretation of history?
2. Diamond states that “forced to choose between limiting population or trying to increase food
production, we chose the latter and ended up with starvation, warfare, and tyranny.” What data
does he provide to back up his contention (be specific)?
3. Do you think the majority of Americans have a progress perspective of history or a revisionist
perspective? What ideology do you think influences American’s perspective?
4. Did the adoption of agriculture have a positive or negative effect on most human’s health?
5. How did the development of agriculture affect social equality, including gender equality?
6. What is a “sacred cow”? What is Diamond’s example of a sacred cow?
7. We live in a world in which the majority of people are poor, the “have nots,” and there is a
minority of wealthy people, “the haves.” What are the costs and consequences (emotional,
physical, political, economic, and societal) of living in a world with such gross inequalities? Come
up with at least two specific examples.
25 Society & Sex Roles: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: egalitarian society, human universal, sex roles, gender
1. Looking at the historical record how frequently do we find gender equality?
2. What is the source of male power in hunter-gatherer societies?
28 Doing Gender, Doing Surgery: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: social construction, essentialist, same sex policing
1. Give another example where there is dissonance (a lack of harmony) between the social
context (employment arena) and gender expectations (for either females or males) in American
society. Briefly discuss the dissonance between the gender expectations and the job in your
2. List two expectations from the article for appropriate female behavior and/or male behavior that
is held by patients, chiefs of surgery, colleagues, and/or nurses.
3. Do you think that women “do deference” so men can “do dominance”? Use a social context
(employment arena) and then agree or disagree with this statement using data from the article
and/or your life and include your rationale.
4. Give an example of male “same sex policing” from American mainstream culture
5. To what degree do you think our culture works to enforce expected gender behaviors (a little,
somewhat, a lot)? To what degree does our cultures enforcement of expected gender behaviors
impact men’s ability to get power, wealth and prestige? To what degree does our cultures
enforcement of expected gender behaviors impact women’s ability to get power, wealth and
6. What is your reaction to this article?
29 When Brothers Share a Wife: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: fraternal polyandry, nuclear family
1. Give two reasons as to why fraternal polyandry (a rare form of marriage) is common in Tibet?
2. Give two examples of both the pros and cons of monogamy in Tibet?
30 African Polygny Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: extended family, polygamy, polygyny, serial monogamy
1. In picking a mate which functions of marriage would you most take into account? Give at least
one example of how you would work to assess your potential mates appropriateness or
compatibility in this area?
2. Is the American system of monogamous marriage with a high divorce rate or the traditional
African system of polygny with a low rate of divorce better for children? List two pros and two cons
relating to emotional support, economic support, etc.
Section Two Introduction: In this section we will be looking at what it is like to live in a foraging,
hunting/gathering culture versus an agricultural culture versus an industrialized culture. How does
the way in which your culture gets it food, its economic system and its political system impact your
life? Your values and norms? Keep the following questions in mind as we study the food getting
strategies, economic systems and political systems in various cultures:
 To what degree does the economic system, political system and food getting
strategy affect cultural values, norms and ideologies of a group a people?
 To what degree do these different means of adaptation impact societal values and
norms including your own personal values and norms?
 After millions of years of adaptation as generalists-hunters and gatherers, why did
humans chose to specialize by relying on farming?
 After millions of years of considerable mobility, throughout the yearly cycle, why
did humans begin to reside permanently in villages?
 After millions of years of consensual leadership, why have humans come to submit
to authoritarian patterns?
The Cultural Materialist Model breaks human societies and cultures into three basic levels;
1) economic mode of production, technology, population size
2) system of social organization, kinship patterns, marriage and family practices, politics, status
3) ideology or belief system, ideas, beliefs, values
Marvin Harris saw the bottom layer, the economic mode of production, technology and population
size as dictating and framing the other two levels. He saw the economic system and environment
as leading to certain social organizations, kinship patterns, marriage and family practices, political
systems and then to various ideology’s and belief systems.
As we go through this section think about the degree to which you as an individual, within a given
society have “agency”? Agency is the ability that you have to make the best choices for you in
your given society. To what degree do you have the knowledge and ability to make choices in your
life that benefit you. Humans are agents who are constantly faced with choices. The choices that
we make determine how our lives will play out (will we be poor, wealthy, happy, powerful, etc.).
Anthropologists ask the question “how much agency do humans have in each society”? How does
your status in society (whether it is ascribed or achieved) impact your agency? Another way to
look at this question is to ask what are your “life’s chances” to acquire power, wealth and
prestige? American mainstream culture has an ideology that says we live in a meritocracy, that
everyone makes their way based on their merit. The belief in a meritocracy leads us to believe that
we live in a culture in which we achieve our status (our status is not ascribed). How valid is this
Food getting strategies, economic & political systems
All human groups have to work to survive, but humans are unique as a species in that we rely in
large part on culture as the means by which we adapt and survive in the world. Other animals are
primarily dependent on their biology for their survival. How human groups have worked to survive
has changed over time and it is always interrelated with the environment, the population size and
technology available as well as subjective aspects of culture.
There are five basic ways in which humans have worked to get food from their environment;
1) foraging or hunting/gathering
2) pastoralism
3) horticulture
4) agriculture
5) industrialization
There are three basic economic systems in which humans have worked to produce and
distribute goods and services;
1) reciprocity, 2) redistribution and 3) market exchange
Politically societies are divided into two basic types; egalitarian societies and stratified societies.
Keep in mind that these categories often overlap. A group may get food both through foraging
and with horticulture. A society may primarily rely on a market economy to exchange goods and
services but also utilize reciprocity.
The Pattern of Human Adaptation to Earth
For the majority of human’s existence (99% of the time) human’s survived as foragers and hunters.
Since humans began producing food some 6,000-10,000 yrs ago the lives of humans have
changed dramatically. In general human adaptation has been a pattern of increasing:
 population density & population growth, exploitation of environment,
use & reliance on tools & the use of more complex tools, social controls,
social integration, and social stratification
Five Basic Means of Subsistence or Food Getting Strategies:
Foraging or Hunter/Gatherers: gather plants and animals that occur naturally in the environment.
Their lifestyle includes the following aspects; nomadic (roam within a territory), limited tool use,
extensive environmental knowledge, high yield on labor (little work for high return), little
specialization of labor, division of labor by age & sex (activities are dictated by age and sex),
everyone in the community is involved in obtaining food for survival, live in small bands of 20-50
people, egalitarian (everyone has basically equal access to resources, no one is denied access to
resources), social organization is kinship based, with informal political leaders
 99% of humans existence involved forager as the means to get food: there are a number
of myths that exist regarding the lifestyle of foragers. First of all they have been portrayed as living
a “short, brutish and nasty life.” Foragers tend to work less than those in agriculture (on average
only some 15-20 hours per week) and are healthier because of their varied diet. Secondly the
hunting aspect of this subsistence means has been exaggerated. Gathering, primarily done by
females, is generally responsible for 60-85% of the food eaten by the group.
Domestication of plants & animals: this was a profound step in humans adaptation to the earth.
For the first time in human history humans took active steps to control the availability of plants and
animals. Humans bred plants to produce specific crops and bred animals to be used for food and
Horticulture/Extensive Cultivation: human energy is used to clear, plant, and harvest crops.
Non-mechanized tools are used (no use of plow & draft animals). The land is used for 1-5 years
and then when the soil is depleted the land lies fallow or unused for 6-30 yrs. There is “semipermanent” use of the land. Slash and burn methods are used to clear the land. People are
mostly sedentary, they will move around when the land is no longer fertile. They work a bit harder
than foragers (longer hours for subsistence & harder labor). Labor is still relatively unspecialized
and is divided by sex & age. Everyone is involved in the gathering and production of food. Live in
small villages and are mostly egalitarian. Political leadership is a bit more formal (big men or
chiefs) but the leaders generally don’t have more goods than those they oversee.
Agriculture/Intensive Cultivation: human and animal energy are used to clear, plant and harvest
crops. Plow & draft animals are used, irrigation systems set up, natural fertilizers used to replenish
the soil, and the use more complex tools. For the first time there is permanent use of the land and
property ownership is an issue. Labor is very intensive, agriculturalists work much harder and
produce more food than horticulturalists. They will intensify their efforts if they need to produce
more food where horticulturalists will expand the amount of land used. Excess food is produced
(they engage in intensive production of food and rotate crops throughout the year). For the first
time in human history not all individuals within the community are engaged in the collection or
production of food. People live in large, permanent settlements (cities and states). There are
formal political leaders whose standard of living is better than the rest of the population. Private
property becomes an issue for the first time as people invest large amounts of labor into the land
and desire to pass this investment onto their kin.
 A two class system develops: the majority of the population is still engaged in the production
of food but for the first time there is a small, minority of the population that is not involved in food
production. There is an elite class of people who specialize in specific tasks and labor is by
specialized by more than age and gender for the first time. There are full-time political leaders,
religious leaders, soldiers (with standing armies) and full-time artisans.
 Societies are now stratified by power, wealth, and prestige. Power is the individual’s
ability to control their own lives and the lives of others. Wealth is having capital (money, property,
things of value) or the means to produce capital (factories, businesses). Prestige is social honor.
In stratified societies there is variation in individuals and groups ability to have access to resources.
Industrialized societies: mechanization (tractors, gasoline, etc.) is used to grow crops on smaller
plots of land that are farmed intensively by a small percentage of the population. The focus is on
production of large amounts of food and goods and on the consumption of these foods and goods.
Focus is on increasing material standards of living. Extensive use of technology and limited
knowledge of the environment. Labor demands are high and the return on the labor is high (lots of
work for lots of goods/food). Most individuals labor is specialized and not associated with food
production. Labor is divided by sex, age, class, education, and status. Population size increases
dramatically and populations are sedentary. There is extensive social organization with formal
rulers. Societies are highly stratified with some members possessing an abundance of goods and
others not being able to feed themselves. Large bureaucracies develop. Kinship is deemphasized as a means of social organization. Emphasis on the nuclear family.
Economics: studies the ways individuals & societies make choices in their use of resources to
produce goods & services. Resources are defined as labor, land, and the materials used to make
tools. The ways in which resources are used affect and interact with all other material and nonmaterial aspects of culture (i.e. economic systems affect our values and norms)
Economic behavior: study the choices people & societies make in the production and distribution
of their goods & services. What choices are made with their labor, land, and capital. Generally
assume that humans will engage in economizing behavior. Economizing behavior says that
people will make choices which provide them with greatest benefit.
Western economists see economizing behavior requiring that people will make choices which
provide them with greatest material benefit. They see humans as having unlimited material wants,
but the means to acquire these “wants” is limited. People have to make choices with their limited
resources (mostly time and labor) to get the most amount of material goods they can.
Anthropological economists use a holistic approach and recognize that economizing behavior
depends on the culture that people live in. In traditional cultures acquisition of material goods may
not be the primary focus or the greatest the benefit.
Economic Systems: way in which goods & services are produced and distributed
Reciprocity: mutual give & take of goods/services, 3 types of reciprocity which vary by degree of
social distance between individuals & general intent of the trade (how close the individuals are and
what do they want to get out of the exchange of goods). Relationships are generally fostered and
strengthened through systems of reciprocity.
 Generalized: exchange of goods in which there is no accounting of what is given and there is
no immediate expectation of a return of goods, conducted among close kin or close group
 Balanced: when goods are given there is a clear obligation of a return within a specified time
limit, requires a return of goods of an equal value. This type of exchange is conducted among
close friends and members of a group who have good relations. The assumption is that each
side will try to be fair in their giving & taking of goods
 Negative: exchange or trade of goods with the intent of gaining a material advantage, trying to
“get something for nothing.” Generally conducted with those outside the group
Redistribution: groups (generally kin groups) produce their own goods and fulfill their own needs,
periodically an informal leader will collect a portion of these goods and then redistribute them
throughout the community or to other groups. The leaders (big men or chiefs ) don’t have more
wealth than the rest of the people in the community but they do have more prestige (gained
through their redistribution of goods).
Market Exchange: most people sell their labor for money, goods & services are bought & sold at
price measured by money. The focus is on production and consumption of goods and services.
Money is the medium of exchange and it can generally buy anything (anything and everything is for
sale). The price at which goods are exchanged for money is ideally set by the impersonal forces of
supply and demand. Distribution of goods and services is impersonal.
Richard Robbins: Global Problems & the Culture of Capitalism
Capitalism and consumerism affects all areas of our lives. It has reshaped our values and dictated
the direction of every institution in our society. Robbins documents the evolution of capitalism in
the United States as well as the rise of our consumer culture. Robbins states that to understand
the significance of these economic forces in our lives we need;
1) a historical perspective
2) an understanding that we are located within a world system with developed &
un/under-developed nations
3) we need to objectify what capitalism is and the costs & benefits of this economic and
political system.
Capitalism: capitalist’s goal to accumulate profits, laborer’s goal to sell labor at highest return,
consumer’s goal to purchase ever-increasing amounts of goods & services. Within this system we
all have our specific role and the accompanying pros and cons.
Prior to 1900’s: American’s did not engage in massive consumption as a way of life.
History: consumption & goal of perpetual economic growth began in early 1900’s
 “ a new society has come to America…not clear in 1904…noticeable in 1914….patent in 1919”
“a philosophy of life that committed human beings to the production of more and more things-more
this year than last year…that emphasized the standard of living above all other values”
 “It is obvious that Americans have come to consider their standard of living as a somewhat
sacred acquisition, which they will defend at any price…they will be ready to make many an
intellectual or even moral consideration in order to maintain that standard…”
Money & material goods have not always been the primary focus
 “in other times and places, not everyone has wanted money above all else…however…now
the outward expenditure of mankind’s energy now takes place in and through money…therefore if
one wished to understand life, one must understand money in this present phase of history and
 “money defines relationships among peoples, not just between customer & merchant in the
marketplace or employer & laborer in the workplace…money defines relationships between parent
& child, among friends, between politicians & constituents, among neighbors & between clergy &
The construction of the consumer: people are not naturally driven to accumulate wealth,
capitalism drives people to behave according to a set of learned rules (1870- 53% of population
lived on farms consuming what they produced)
1) marketing & advertising: “arousal of free-floating desire”, commodities have power to
transform consumer into more desirable person, stir up anxiety, restlessness over need to
posses, conform, to be accepted (1880 $30 million on advertising--1910 $600 million on
advertising--1998 $437 billion spent worldwide on ads)
2) transformation of institutions: education, museums, government (Dept. of Commerce goal
is to “break down barriers between consumers & commodities”)
3) Transformation of Spiritual & Intellectual Values: change values from thrift, frugality,
moderation, modesty, self-denial to spending, ostentatious displays, value leisure, individual
fulfillment. Products give you a “richer, fuller life”
Egalitarian & Stratified Societies: Cultures range on a continuum from egalitarian to stratified.
Societies are measured as egalitarian or stratified based on the differential access and distribution
of power, wealth and prestige to individuals and groups within the society. All peoples today are
incorporated into nation-states which are stratified. With the adoption of agriculture as a means of
food production humans began living in stratified societies. In general stratification is either based
on a class system (where social mobility is possible, with achieved statuses) or caste system
(where social mobility is not possible, with ascribed statuses). To get people to accept a stratified
society (where there are gross differences between the “have and have nots”) both ideologies and
physical means (police, army) are used.
Ideologies are used to justify & explain inequalities: each society has different ideologies that
explain, justify, and rationalize stratification. The ideologies that are used vary over time and place.
What are the ways we in the United States work to explain inequality? Think of emic statements
that you have heard from friends, relatives, in school and in the media to explain why there is
wealthy and poor people. What type of data and what type of rationales are used to explain
inequality? Ideologies are learned and taught (both explicitly and tacitly) in your home, church,
school, media, TV, and movies.
History plays a huge role in explaining “our” place in the world and “others” place in the world (i.e.
we are good they are bad, we have material goods and are dominant because we are the “chosen,
the best, the hardest workers”, etc.). The history that we learn depends on the place and time we
live in (i.e. the history you learn is different depending on when and where you live). History is not
simple or objective. For almost every event that has occurred there are conflicting interpretations
as to; what occurred, who was responsible, and was the event positive or negative.
Do we in the United States work to explain inequality at the individual level (micro level) or at the
institutional or societal level (macro level)? For instance are people poor because they make bad
choices (they don’t get the proper education or they don’t work hard enough) or are they poor
because there are not enough jobs that pay a living wage (and/or housing is too expensive,
medical care is too expensive, etc.)?
Are there differences in power, wealth and prestige in relationship to group membership? For
instance do certain groups have the ability to get power, wealth and prestige and other groups
have less ability to get power, wealth and prestige? Different groups include; socioeconomic class,
gender, and ethnicity.
Role of History
History we’re taught tells us who we are, why we’re where we are, how we came to be here- alsotells us who those others are, how they got to where they are
 Progressive view of human history: human history, successive steps towards a better life for
most people, human lives are better than in the past
o We’re on the right track, don’t question things going well, don’t evaluate pros/
o Agriculture to industrialization to post-industrialization; all material conditions
leading to a better life for most people
 Revisionist view of human history: choices made in past, result is humans divided into a
minority of healthy elite and a majority of disease ridden masses, few better off, majority worse off
o We’ve made choices, should question examine pros and cons of our decisions
o Agriculture to industrialization to post-industrialization; better life for a small
minority, now have stratification, tyranny, starvation, high population densities,
Progress perspective says don’t question what we’re doing, revisionist perspective says examine
choices, look at consequences, make informed decisions
 Consequences of a world divided into the haves & have-nots: Diamond- disease ridden
masses may well rise up and spread to engulf us…
 What other choices can we make?
1965- California: A History
Indians helped the settlers, and the settlers helped the Indians. The Indians had better food and
clothing than they had ever had. They were more comfortable than they had ever been.
Once in a while a mission Indian had to be punished for something he had done. Sometimes such
Indians ran away. Some of them took guns with them. Sometimes they took horses with them,
too. The runaway Indians taught the wild Indians how to steal animals and other things from the
missions. Once in a while soldiers had to protect the missions from an Indian raid. The Indians at
the missions ate more regularly than they had when they were wild. The padres took care of them
in many ways…They learned to do many things as the Spaniards did. They learned many new
1991- Oh, California
Although some Indians were content on the missions, many others were unhappy with this new
way of life. By living at the missions the Indians gave up their own culture, the way of life they had
known in their tribal villages. They could only leave the mission grounds with permission from the
padres. They were not free to hunt or to pick berries. Mission Indians were not allowed to return to
their tribes once they agreed to take part in mission life. Some ran away. But soldiers usually
brought them back and sometimes whipped them. Others wanted to revolt. They wanted to rise
up against their leaders, the Spanish padres and soldiers at the mission communities. Sometimes
Indians revolted violently. Six years after its founding, San Diego Mission was attacked by Indians.
They set the mission on fire and killed one of the padres. Many Indians died of diseases brought
by the Spanish. When crops failed, Indians didn’t have enough to eat. Some became sick from
the change in their diet on the missions. By the end of the mission period, the California Indian
population was half the size that it had been when Father Serra raised his first cross at San Diego
Class Systems: are political and economic systems that are “ideally” open. An “open system” is
where individuals can gain or lose status (i.e. power, wealth, and prestige) based on their efforts
(achieved status). Social mobility is said to be possible in an “open system.”
USA: is generally put forth as a classic example of a Class System: In the USA the common
wisdom is that everyone earns their place in society (achieved status) and we can move up or
down in our status based on our individual efforts. A strong mainstream cultural belief in the USA
is in the “power of the individual.” The individual is seen as having virtually complete control over
their status and the amount of power, wealth and prestige that they have. Everyone’s position is
seen as something that they earn (or don’t earn) through their efforts. Although today the main
ideology that is used to explain differential possession of power, wealth and prestige is the “power
of the individual” in the past many different ideologies existed. Historically in the USA ideologies
that have been used to explain differential status include religious ideologies (Calvinists), and
biological ideologies (biological determinism).
Life’s Chances: your life’s chances are the opportunity or lack of opportunity that you have to fulfill
or fail to fulfill your potential. Generally, an analysis of “life’s chances” looks at ascribed status as
impacting your opportunities to fulfill or not fulfill your potential. For instance, an individual may be
limited helped in their ability to achieve their potential by group membership in; a certain
socioeconomic class, their gender, their ethnicity, their ableness, their sexuality, their religion, their
nationality, etc. The reality of life’s chances mitigates the idea of a “class” system because it
shows that our status is not wholly attained through our achievements. In the USA there are
intense, ongoing debates as to how much of a class system we truly are. On one side are those
who say we are a class system with our status coming primarily through our achievement and on
the other side are those who say that we are minimally a class system and individual’s status is
dramatically impacted by ascribed roles.
Do you think the USA is a society in which status is primarily dependent on your achievements or
is your status largely impacted by your ascribed status’s? What is the data and your rationale for
your opinion?
Caste Systems- are systems of stratification that are “ideally” said to be closed. A caste system is
a system in which social mobility is said to not be possible and an individual’s status is based on
their position at birth (ascribed status). An individuals ascribed status is based on their group
membership in any of the following categories; socioeconomic class, royalty or commoner, gender,
religious group, etc. There are generally prohibitions as to contact between members of different
India: is generally put forth as a classic example of a Caste System. In India it is a religious
ideology that works to explain the differences in status between individuals and groups. Individuals
are born into certain groups, in the west we call them “castes.” Depending on what caste you are
born into you are ascribed a status that ideally cannot change throughout your lifetime.
The Hindu belief system states that not all people are spiritually equal, the gods established a
hierarchy of groups. The hierarchy consists of four varnas (grades of being) and the four varnas
corrospond to the physical parts of Manu, who gave rise to the human race through
 Head became Brahmans – priests
 Arms the kshatriyas- warriers
 Thighs- vaishyas, merchants & craftsman
 Feet- shudras- menial workers
Each varna has appropriate rules of behavior or path of duty (dharma), this is basis of all hindu
morality. With the death of the body, the soul meets it’s fate in the form of transmigration into
higher or lower being. Those who follow their dharma are rewarded with a higher point on Manu’s
body during their next life (karma). Deviation from dharma will result in reincarnation in body of an
outcaste or lower animal.
To follow one’s dharma involves the practicing of certain taboos regarding marriage, eating and
physical proximity to members from other varna’s and jati’s. Jati’s are the breakdown of the
varna’s into more detailed categories, generally determined by occupation. The foods eaten
distinguish different jatis, foods have ritual significance. There are rules as to who can accept food
from whom and who can eat with each other. All jatis are ranked from the most polluted to most
May 15, 2005 Shadowy Lines That Still Divide By JANNY SCOTT and DAVID LEONHARDT
New York Times
There was a time when Americans thought they understood class. The upper crust vacationed in
Europe and worshiped an Episcopal God. The middle class drove Ford Fairlanes, settled the San
Fernando Valley and enlisted as company men. The working class belonged to the A.F.L.-C.I.O.,
voted Democratic and did not take cruises to the Caribbean. Today, the country has gone a long
way toward an appearance of classlessness. Americans of all sorts are awash in luxuries that
would have dazzled their grandparents. Social diversity has erased many of the old markers. It has
become harder to read people's status in the clothes they wear, the cars they drive, the votes they
cast, the god they worship, the color of their skin. The contours of class have blurred; some say
they have disappeared.
But class is still a powerful force in American life. Over the past three decades, it has come to play
a greater, not lesser, role in important ways. At a time when education matters more than ever,
success in school remains linked tightly to class. At a time when the country is increasingly
integrated racially, the rich are isolating themselves more and more. At a time of extraordinary
advances in medicine, class differences in health and lifespan are wide and appear to be widening.
And new research on mobility, the movement of families up and down the economic ladder, shows
there is far less of it than economists once thought and less than most people believe. [Click here
for more information on income mobility.] In fact, mobility, which once buoyed the working lives of
Americans as it rose in the decades after World War II, has lately flattened out or possibly even
declined, many researchers say.
Mobility is the promise that lies at the heart of the American dream. It is supposed to take the sting
out of the widening gulf between the have-mores and the have-nots. There are poor and rich in the
United States, of course, the argument goes; but as long as one can become the other, as long as
there is something close to equality of opportunity, the differences between them do not add up to
class barriers. Over the next three weeks, The Times will publish a series of articles on class in
America, a dimension of the national experience that tends to go unexamined, if acknowledged at
all. With class now seeming more elusive than ever, the articles take stock of its influence in the
lives of individuals: a lawyer who rose out of an impoverished Kentucky hollow; an unemployed
metal worker in Spokane, Wash., regretting his decision to skip college; a multimillionaire in
Nantucket, Mass., musing over the cachet of his 200-foot yacht.
The series does not purport to be all-inclusive or the last word on class. It offers no nifty formulas
for pigeonholing people or decoding folkways and manners. Instead, it represents an inquiry into
class as Americans encounter it: indistinct, ambiguous, the half-seen hand that upon closer
examination holds some Americans down while giving others a boost. The trends are broad and
seemingly contradictory: the blurring of the landscape of class and the simultaneous hardening of
certain class lines; the rise in standards of living while most people remain moored in their relative
places. Even as mobility seems to have stagnated, the ranks of the elite are opening. Today,
anyone may have a shot at becoming a United States Supreme Court justice or a C.E.O., and
there are more and more self-made billionaires. Only 37 members of last year's Forbes 400, a list
of the richest Americans, inherited their wealth, down from almost 200 in the mid-1980's.
So it appears that while it is easier for a few high achievers to scale the summits of wealth, for
many others it has become harder to move up from one economic class to another. Americans are
arguably more likely than they were 30 years ago to end up in the class into which they were born.
A paradox lies at the heart of this new American meritocracy. Merit has replaced the old system of
inherited privilege, in which parents to the manner born handed down the manor to their children.
But merit, it turns out, is at least partly class-based. Parents with money, education and
connections cultivate in their children the habits that the meritocracy rewards. When their children
then succeed, their success is seen as earned. The scramble to scoop up a house in the best
school district, channel a child into the right preschool program or land the best medical specialist
are all part of a quiet contest among social groups that the affluent and educated are winning in a
rout. "The old system of hereditary barriers and clubby barriers has pretty much vanished," said
Eric Wanner, president of the Russell Sage Foundation, a social science research group in New
York City that recently published a series of studies on the social effects of economic inequality.
In place of the old system, Dr. Wanner said, have arisen "new ways of transmitting advantage that
are beginning to assert themselves."
Faith in the System Most Americans remain upbeat about their prospects for getting ahead. A
recent New York Times poll on class found that 40 percent of Americans believed that the chance
of moving up from one class to another had risen over the last 30 years, a period in which the new
research shows that it has not. Thirty-five percent said it had not changed, and only 23 percent
said it had dropped. More Americans than 20 years ago believe it possible to start out poor, work
hard and become rich. They say hard work and a good education are more important to getting
ahead than connections or a wealthy background. "I think the system is as fair as you can make
it," Ernie Frazier, a 65-year-old real estate investor in Houston, said in an interview after
participating in the poll. "I don't think life is necessarily fair. But if you persevere, you can overcome
adversity. It has to do with a person's willingness to work hard, and I think it's always been that
Most say their standard of living is better than their parents' and imagine that their children will do
better still. Even families making less than $30,000 a year subscribe to the American dream; more
than half say they have achieved it or will do so. But most do not see a level playing field. They
say the very rich have too much power, and they favor the idea of class-based affirmative action to
help those at the bottom. Even so, most say they oppose the government's taxing the assets a
person leaves at death. "They call it the land of opportunity, and I don't think that's changed
much," said Diana Lackey, a 60-year-old homemaker and wife of a retired contractor in Fulton,
N.Y., near Syracuse. "Times are much, much harder with all the downsizing, but we're still a
wonderful country."
The Attributes of Class One difficulty in talking about class is that the word means different
things to different people. Class is rank, it is tribe, it is culture and taste. It is attitudes and
assumptions, a source of identity, a system of exclusion. To some, it is just money. It is an accident
of birth that can influence the outcome of a life. Some Americans barely notice it; others feel its
weight in powerful ways. At its most basic, class is one way societies sort themselves out. Even
societies built on the idea of eliminating class have had stark differences in rank. Classes are
groups of people of similar economic and social position; people who, for that reason, may share
political attitudes, lifestyles, consumption patterns, cultural interests and opportunities to get ahead.
Put 10 people in a room and a pecking order soon emerges.
When societies were simpler, the class landscape was easier to read. Marx divided 19th-century
societies into just two classes; Max Weber added a few more. As societies grew increasingly
complex, the old classes became more heterogeneous. As some sociologists and marketing
consultants see it, the commonly accepted big three - the upper, middle and working classes have broken down into dozens of microclasses, defined by occupations or lifestyles. A few
sociologists go so far as to say that social complexity has made the concept of class meaningless.
Conventional big classes have become so diverse - in income, lifestyle, political views - that they
have ceased to be classes at all, said Paul W. Kingston, a professor of sociology at the University
of Virginia. To him, American society is a "ladder with lots and lots of rungs." "There is not one
decisive break saying that the people below this all have this common experience," Professor
Kingston said. "Each step is equal-sized. Sure, for the people higher up this ladder, their kids are
more apt to get more education, better health insurance. But that doesn't mean there are classes."
Many other researchers disagree. "Class awareness and the class language is receding at the very
moment that class has reorganized American society," said Michael Hout, a professor of sociology
at the University of California, Berkeley. "I find these 'end of class' discussions naïve and ironic,
because we are at a time of booming inequality and this massive reorganization of where we live
and how we feel, even in the dynamics of our politics. Yet people say, 'Well, the era of class is
over.' " One way to think of a person's position in society is to imagine a hand of cards. Everyone
is dealt four cards, one from each suit: education, income, occupation and wealth, the four
commonly used criteria for gauging class. Face cards in a few categories may land a player in the
upper middle class. At first, a person's class is his parents' class. Later, he may pick up a new
hand of his own; it is likely to resemble that of his parents, but not always. Bill Clinton traded in a
hand of low cards with the help of a college education and a Rhodes scholarship and emerged
decades later with four face cards. Bill Gates, who started off squarely in the upper middle class,
made a fortune without finishing college, drawing three aces. Many Americans say that they too
have moved up the nation's class ladder. In the Times poll, 45 percent of respondents said they
were in a higher class than when they grew up, while just 16 percent said they were in a lower one.
Over all, 1 percent described themselves as upper class, 15 percent as upper middle class, 42
percent as middle, 35 percent as working and 7 percent as lower. "I grew up very poor and so did
my husband," said Wanda Brown, the 58-year-old wife of a retired planner for the Puget Sound
Naval Shipyard who lives in Puyallup, Wash., near Tacoma. "We're not rich but we are comfortable
and we are middle class and our son is better off than we are."
The American Ideal The original exemplar of American social mobility was almost certainly
Benjamin Franklin, one of 17 children of a candle maker. About 20 years ago, when researchers
first began to study mobility in a rigorous way, Franklin seemed representative of a truly fluid
society, in which the rags-to-riches trajectory was the readily achievable ideal, just as the nation's
self-image promised. In a 1987 speech, Gary S. Becker, a University of Chicago economist who
would later win a Nobel Prize, summed up the research by saying that mobility in the United States
was so high that very little advantage was passed down from one generation to the next. In fact,
researchers seemed to agree that the grandchildren of privilege and of poverty would be on nearly
equal footing.
If that had been the case, the rise in income inequality beginning in the mid-1970's should not have
been all that worrisome. The wealthy might have looked as if they were pulling way ahead, but if
families were moving in and out of poverty and prosperity all the time, how much did the gap
between the top and bottom matter? But the initial mobility studies were flawed, economists now
say. Some studies relied on children's fuzzy recollections of their parents' income. Others
compared single years of income, which fluctuate considerably. Still others misread the normal
progress people make as they advance in their careers, like from young lawyer to senior partner,
as social mobility.
The new studies of mobility, which methodically track peoples' earnings over decades, have found
far less movement. The economic advantage once believed to last only two or three generations is
now believed to last closer to five. Mobility happens, just not as rapidly as was once thought. "We
all know stories of poor families in which the next generation did much better," said Gary Solon, a
University of Michigan economist who is a leading mobility researcher. "It isn't that poor families
have no chance." But in the past, Professor Solon added, "people would say, 'Don't worry about
inequality. The offspring of the poor have chances as good as the chances of the offspring of the
rich.' Well, that's not true. It's not respectable in scholarly circles anymore to make that argument."
One study, by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, found that fewer families moved from one
quintile, or fifth, of the income ladder to another during the 1980's than during the 1970's and that
still fewer moved in the 90's than in the 80's. A study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics also found
that mobility declined from the 80's to the 90's. The incomes of brothers born around 1960 have
followed a more similar path than the incomes of brothers born in the late 1940's, researchers at
the Chicago Federal Reserve and the University of California, Berkeley, have found. Whatever
children inherit from their parents - habits, skills, genes, contacts, money - seems to matter more
today. Studies on mobility over generations are notoriously difficult, because they require
researchers to match the earnings records of parents with those of their children. Some
economists consider the findings of the new studies murky; it cannot be definitively shown that
mobility has fallen during the last generation, they say, only that it has not risen. The data will
probably not be conclusive for years. Nor do people agree on the implications. Liberals say the
findings are evidence of the need for better early-education and antipoverty programs to try to
redress an imbalance in opportunities. Conservatives tend to assert that mobility remains quite
high, even if it has tailed off a little.
But there is broad consensus about what an optimal range of mobility is. It should be high enough
for fluid movement between economic levels but not so high that success is barely tied to
achievement and seemingly random, economists on both the right and left say. As Phillip Swagel,
a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, put it, "We want to give people all the
opportunities they want. We want to remove the barriers to upward mobility."
Yet there should remain an incentive for parents to cultivate their children. "Most people are
working very hard to transmit their advantages to their children," said David I. Levine, a Berkeley
economist and mobility researcher. "And that's quite a good thing." One surprising finding about
mobility is that it is not higher in the United States than in Britain or France. It is lower here than in
Canada and some Scandinavian countries but not as low as in developing countries like Brazil,
where escape from poverty is so difficult that the lower class is all but frozen in place.
Those comparisons may seem hard to believe. Britain and France had hereditary nobilities; Britain
still has a queen. The founding document of the United States proclaims all men to be created
equal. The American economy has also grown more quickly than Europe's in recent decades,
leaving an impression of boundless opportunity. But the United States differs from Europe in ways
that can gum up the mobility machine. Because income inequality is greater here, there is a wider
disparity between what rich and poor parents can invest in their children. Perhaps as a result, a
child's economic background is a better predictor of school performance in the United States than
in Denmark, the Netherlands or France, one recent study found.
"Being born in the elite in the U.S. gives you a constellation of privileges that very few people in the
world have ever experienced," Professor Levine said. "Being born poor in the U.S. gives you
disadvantages unlike anything in Western Europe and Japan and Canada."
Blurring the Landscape Why does it appear that class is fading as a force in American life? For
one thing, it is harder to read position in possessions. Factories in China and elsewhere churn out
picture-taking cellphones and other luxuries that are now affordable to almost everyone. Federal
deregulation has done the same for plane tickets and long-distance phone calls. Banks, more
confident about measuring risk, now extend credit to low-income families, so that owning a home
or driving a new car is no longer evidence that someone is middle class.
The economic changes making material goods cheaper have forced businesses to seek out new
opportunities so that they now market to groups they once ignored. Cruise ships, years ago a
symbol of the high life, have become the ocean-going equivalent of the Jersey Shore. BMW
produces a cheaper model with the same insignia. Martha Stewart sells chenille jacquard drapery
and scallop-embossed ceramic dinnerware at Kmart. "The level of material comfort in this country
is numbing," said Paul Bellew, executive director for market and industry analysis at General
Motors. "You can make a case that the upper half lives as well as the upper 5 percent did 50 years
Like consumption patterns, class alignments in politics have become jumbled. In the 1950's,
professionals were reliably Republican; today they lean Democratic. Meanwhile, skilled labor has
gone from being heavily Democratic to almost evenly split. People in both parties have attributed
the shift to the rise of social issues, like gun control and same-sex marriage, which have tilted
many working-class voters rightward and upper income voters toward the left. But increasing
affluence plays an important role, too. When there is not only a chicken, but an organic, free-range
chicken, in every pot, the traditional economic appeal to the working class can sound off key.
Religious affiliation, too, is no longer the reliable class marker it once was. The growing economic
power of the South has helped lift evangelical Christians into the middle and upper middle classes,
just as earlier generations of Roman Catholics moved up in the mid-20th century. It is no longer
necessary to switch one's church membership to Episcopal or Presbyterian as proof that one has
arrived. "You go to Charlotte, N.C., and the Baptists are the establishment," said Mark A. Chaves,
a sociologist at the University of Arizona. "To imagine that for reasons of respectability, if you lived
in North Carolina, you would want to be a Presbyterian rather than a Baptist doesn't play anymore."
The once tight connection between race and class has weakened, too, as many African-Americans
have moved into the middle and upper middle classes. Diversity of all sorts - racial, ethnic and
gender - has complicated the class picture. And high rates of immigration and immigrant success
stories seem to hammer home the point: The rules of advancement have changed. The American
elite, too, is more diverse than it was. The number of corporate chief executives who went to Ivy
League colleges has dropped over the past 15 years. There are many more Catholics, Jews and
Mormons in the Senate than there were a generation or two ago. Because of the economic
earthquakes of the last few decades, a small but growing number of people have shot to the top.
"Anything that creates turbulence creates the opportunity for people to get rich," said Christopher
S. Jencks, a professor of social policy at Harvard. "But that isn't necessarily a big influence on the
99 percent of people who are not entrepreneurs." These success stories reinforce perceptions of
mobility, as does cultural myth-making in the form of television programs like "American Idol" and
"The Apprentice."
But beneath all that murkiness and flux, some of the same forces have deepened the hidden
divisions of class. Globalization and technological change have shuttered factories, killing jobs that
were once stepping-stones to the middle class. Now that manual labor can be done in developing
countries for $2 a day, skills and education have become more essential than ever. This has
helped produce the extraordinary jump in income inequality. The after-tax income of the top 1
percent of American households jumped 139 percent, to more than $700,000, from 1979 to 2001,
according to the Congressional Budget Office, which adjusted its numbers to account for inflation.
The income of the middle fifth rose by just 17 percent, to $43,700, and the income of the poorest
fifth rose only 9 percent.
For most workers, the only time in the last three decades when the rise in hourly pay beat inflation
was during the speculative bubble of the 90's. Reduced pensions have made retirement less
secure. Clearly, a degree from a four-year college makes even more difference than it once did.
More people are getting those degrees than did a generation ago, but class still plays a big role in
determining who does or does not. At 250 of the most selective colleges in the country, the
proportion of students from upper-income families has grown, not shrunk. Some colleges, worried
about the trend, are adopting programs to enroll more lower-income students. One is Amherst,
whose president, Anthony W. Marx, explained: "If economic mobility continues to shut down, not
only will we be losing the talent and leadership we need, but we will face a risk of a society of
alienation and unhappiness. Even the most privileged among us will suffer the consequences of
people not believing in the American dream."
Class differences in health, too, are widening, recent research shows. Life expectancy has
increased over all; but upper-middle-class Americans live longer and in better health than middleclass Americans, who live longer and in better health than those at the bottom. Class plays an
increased role, too, in determining where and with whom affluent Americans live. More than in the
past, they tend to live apart from everyone else, cocooned in their exurban chateaus. Researchers
who have studied data from the 1980, 1990 and 2000 censuses say the isolation of the affluent has
Family structure, too, differs increasingly along class lines. The educated and affluent are more
likely than others to have their children while married. They have fewer children and have them
later, when their earning power is high. On average, according to one study, college-educated
women have their first child at 30, up from 25 in the early 1970's. The average age among women
who have never gone to college has stayed at about 22. Those widening differences have left the
educated and affluent in a superior position when it comes to investing in their children. "There is
no reason to doubt the old saw that the most important decision you make is choosing your
parents," said Professor Levine, the Berkeley economist and mobility researcher. "While it's always
been important, it's probably a little more important now."
The benefits of the new meritocracy do come at a price. It once seemed that people worked hard
and got rich in order to relax, but a new class marker in upper-income families is having at least
one parent who works extremely long hours (and often boasts about it). In 1973, one study found,
the highest-paid tenth of the country worked fewer hours than the bottom tenth. Today, those at the
top work more.
In downtown Manhattan, black cars line up outside Goldman Sachs's headquarters every
weeknight around 9. Employees who work that late get a free ride home, and there are plenty of
them. Until 1976, a limousine waited at 4:30 p.m. to ferry partners to Grand Central Terminal. But a
new management team eliminated the late-afternoon limo to send a message: 4:30 is the middle of
the workday, not the end.
A Rags-to-Riches Faith Will the trends that have reinforced class lines while papering over the
distinctions persist? The economic forces that caused jobs to migrate to low-wage countries are
still active. The gaps in pay, education and health have not become a major political issue. The
slicing of society's pie is more unequal than it used to be, but most Americans have a bigger piece
than they or their parents once did. They appear to accept the tradeoffs.
Faith in mobility, after all, has been consciously woven into the national self-image. Horatio Alger's
books have made his name synonymous with rags-to-riches success, but that was not his personal
story. He was a second-generation Harvard man, who became a writer only after losing his
Unitarian ministry because of allegations of sexual misconduct. Ben Franklin's autobiography was
punched up after his death to underscore his rise from obscurity.
The idea of fixed class positions, on the other hand, rubs many the wrong way. Americans have
never been comfortable with the notion of a pecking order based on anything other than talent and
hard work. Class contradicts their assumptions about the American dream, equal opportunity and
the reasons for their own successes and even failures. Americans, constitutionally optimistic, are
disinclined to see themselves as stuck.
Blind optimism has its pitfalls. If opportunity is taken for granted, as something that will be there no
matter what, then the country is less likely to do the hard work to make it happen. But defiant
optimism has its strengths. Without confidence in the possibility of moving up, there would almost
certainly be fewer success stories
Theories to explain the existence of social stratification within nation-states
There are a large variety of theories used to explain social stratification with nation-states. Below I
have put together the two major perspectives in regards to stratification.
Functionalist/Order Theory: this theory states that it is the natural order of society to be without
great conflicts. Inequality is seen as necessary and natural for the proper functioning of society.
Stratification exists because there are some jobs that are more important and require more training
than others. If someone does a job that is really important (like a physician) and this job takes a lot
of education and effort to achieve then it makes sense that this person should earn more money.
Functional/order theorists state that the “best” rise to the top. The most qualified and committed
people rise to the top and get the most power, wealth and prestige.
Criticisms: of functionalist/order theory include the observation that differential rewards are not
always based on differential efforts. There are jobs in which people do not work very hard(or
achieve very much) and they achieve a great deal of money. It is also pointed out that rewards are
not always based on the importance of the job. Lastly it is said that the functionalist/order
perspective does not take into account the ascription of life’s chances.
Can you come up with examples that validate the functional/order perspective? Can you
come up with examples that refute the functionalist/order perspective?
Conflict/Critical Theory: states that the natural order of society is to be in conflict. Stratification is
seen as existing only to serve the elite. Therefore there is constant conflict within society over
differential power, wealth and prestige. Conflict/critical theorists see stratification as existing only
to serve the elites and that the elites consistently work to exploit the lower socieo-economic
classes in the society. Conflict/critical proponents see the elites in society as using their power,
wealth, and prestige to dominate and control the lower classes. They see ideologies as being used
to control the “masses.” Ideologies are used to rationalize why there is inequality. Ideologies used
include; religious ideologies, the belief in a meritocracy, etc.
Criticisms: of the conflict/critical include the understanding that there is always stratification once a
society reaches a certain level of specialization. With agriculture a class system always develops
and therefore it is the norm. To try and dismantle the stratified system is unrealistic. Another
criticism is that whenever there has been a successful overthrow of elites in a society, it doesn’t
eliminate inequality it just rearranges who has the power.
Can you come up with examples that support the conflict/critical perspective? Can you
come up with examples that refute the conflict/critical perspective?
Diamond Exercise
“If everyone…lived like Americans, then you’d need three planet Earths…to sustain that level of
Persons per sq. mile
Carbon dioxide emissions per
Energy consumption per person
Tobacco use
Meat consumption per person
Paper consumption per person
Avg. # of persons per room
Water use per person
(agricultural, industrial, personal)
TV sets per 1,000 persons
Vehicles per 1,000 persons
3,705,820 sq. miles
2.5 metric tons
3,717,796 sq. miles
19.8 metric tons
880 kilograms oil equivalent
35.6 %
104 pounds
73 pounds
116,000 gallons
7,960 kilograms oil equivalent
269 pounds
730 pounds
484,500 gallons
National Geographic March 2004
Enculturation: the ways in which children learn to be adult members of their culture. Homo
sapiens have the longest period of dependency and are the most dependent at birth. Learning is
imperative for our survival and to learn what it is to be a member of our cultural group.
Life’s Stages: humans are seen as going through a series of “life’s stages,” such as infancy,
childhood, adolescence, etc. In general these life’s stages are seen as being biologically set but
anthropologists see them as culturally patterned. Life’s stages are seen as culturally patterned
because expectations for each stage varies across time and between cultures
Nature/Nurture Debate: A huge question that dominates much anthropological (and sociological,
and psychological) debate is to what degree are our behaviors determined by nature (biology) or
nurture (culture)? Most anthropologists see feedback loop as existing between biology and culture
to shape human and cause us to act the way that we do. This debate will explored in this class
using evolutionary psychology for the nature argument and Margaret Mead’s work on “sex &
temperament” in New Guinea & United States for the nurture argument. There will not be a
definitive conclusion to this debate (at least not this semester).
Evolutionary Psychology (see notes on sociobiology)
Evolutionary psychologists see nature or biology as shaping our behaviors (and especially the
differences between females and males). They see nature as “selecting” both physical and
behavioral traits which increase “fitness” (reproductive success). The basic nature of humans was
“selected” while we were foragers/hunters. Different behaviors have been “selected” for in females
and males because there are different reproductive strategies for each.
o Males undiscriminating maters, compete w/other males for females & “goods”
o Females discriminating maters, select males which will provide & care for them
Sex & Temperament: Margaret Mead
Mead conducted fieldwork in the USA and in three tribes in New Guinea. The context of her
studies was the nature/nurture debate, asking the question to what degree are we the product of
our nature/genes or the product of nurture/culture. Mead’s text on “sex & temperament” looked at
the expectations that cultures have for the basic temperament (natural disposition) of individuals in
their culture. She noted that in the USA we label females and males as being of the “opposite sex”
and we assign a different temperament to females and males based on their sex. We raise
females and males with different expectations for their basic temperament and most females and
males conform to the expectations for their sexes temperament. Mead conducted fieldwork in New
Guinea and found two cultures in which males and females were seen as having the same basic
temperament and both females and males were enculturated in that way. The Arapesh believed
the basic nature of all humans is to be passive, nurturing and caring. The Mundugamor see the
basic nature of humans to be aggressive and violent. The Araphesh and the Mundugamor
enculturate both females and males with the same basic temperament and most females and
males display this temperament. A third culture she studied, the Tchambuli believed that there
were different basic temperaments for females and males. However their idea of the typical female
and the typical male are the opposite from what we have in the USA. From her data collection and
analysis Mead concluded that the temperament and behaviors of humans was for the most part
dictated by culture or nurture.
Sex, Gender, Sexual Behavior/Orientations: The “human mind, not nature categorizes”
Read through the following notes on sex, gender and sexual orientation. The data for these pages
came from multiple sources. Anything that is in quotation marks came from an article entitled “Sex,
Sexuality, Gender, and Gender Variance” by Sue-Ellen Jacobs & Christine Roberts. As you read
through this section think about your assumptions in regards to sex, gender and sexual orientation.
Where did those assumptions come from? What is meant by the statement “the human mind, not
nature categorizes.”
Sex: a biological category based on; external genitalia, reproductive organs, secondary sex traits,
 If we ask “how many sexes are there?” a common answer in the United States would be that
there are two sexes, male and female. But social scientists would note that “sex is culturally and
socially constructed in the presence of perceived biological realities.” What does this statement
mean? What data can be used to support this statement? Most cultural groups acknowledge at
least 3 sexes.
Gender: is a cultural category, superimposed onto the biological categorization of sex. Gender
includes expectations for female and male; appearance, behavior, interests, temperament,
occupations, etc.
 If we ask “how many genders are there?” a common answer in the United States would be that
there are two genders, women and men. But social scientists would note that in many cultures
they acknowledge and accept that there are multiple gender roles. For instance the Mohave have
linguistic terms for four genders; women, men, men who are like women, and women who are like
 Cross-culturally and historically gender is not perceived as “discrete binary opposites, but it is
often seen as a continuum.” One researcher states that “we need to open our categories of sex
and gender to reflect the diversity that is reported both cross-culturally, historically and currently…”
 Two Spirits: is the term given to describe Native American females who take on a male role
and males who take on a female role. Native American groups often allowed for multiple gender
roles and these roles have historically been misunderstood and persecuted by Western culture.
When colonists first encountered individuals who took on an alternative gender role they confused
the differences between sex, gender, and sexual orientation. The males that were observed taking
on a female role were thought to be homosexuals.
 As with many people today, if someone takes on an alternative gender role (females in a male
role or males in a female role) they were often believed to be homosexual. It can be that
individuals who take on alternative gender roles may engage in homosexual sexual relations.
However it is just as commonly the case that individuals taking on alternative gender roles will
engage in heterosexual sexual relations.
 Detailed studies have shown that in cultures that allowed for alternative gender roles, sexual
activities were not the key aspect to taking on an alternative gender role. In order of importance
the key aspects of two-spirit roles is outlined below.
1. Occupational role: two spirits are defined by the labor role that they take on. If a
female takes on a male labor role then she will be labeled a two spirit (or vice versa).
2. Supernatural sanction: two spirits are often seen as having a special relationship with
the supernatural realm. Two spirits often take on the role of shaman (part-time spiritual
leader in traditional communities). Shamans are the ones who interact with the
supernatural (gods, goddesses, spirits) for their community. They are also the healers in
their community
3. Gender variation: two spirits may or may not take on alternative gender roles in
regards to clothing, behavior and mannerisms.
4. Sexual behavior: two spirits may take on heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual
sexual behaviors. This is considered the least important aspect of being a two spirit.
Sexual Orientation: involves a cultural categorization based on a variety of achieved and ascribed
arenas. Individuals may self-identify as being of a particular sexual orientation or individuals may
be ascribed a certain sexual orientation based on stereotypes, thoughts and/or actions.
 It has been noted by many social scientists that the USA tends towards a “false dichotomy” in
regards to sexual orientation. Individuals are labeled either “homosexual or heterosexual.”
However it has been observed that the reality is more problematic. Data from the Kinsey Institute
and other sources reveals that “little evidence exists for belief that strict heterosexuality and
homosexuality are essential and fundamental attributes of human nature…reflected in lifelong
patterns of sexual behavior .“ In other words people may claim to be strictly homosexual or
heterosexual but looking at their history of thoughts and deeds paints a much more complicated
 Sexual behavior, as with gender is often strictly controlled within societies. Roberts and
Jacobs note “each culture works to regulate sexual & gender expression with various measures.”
“Sexual behavior may become both liberating and enslaving. Sexual choices, although deeply
personal, may also be of far-reaching political consequences”
What do you think is meant by the above statement? How do sexual choices (generally carried out
in a private arena) have far-reaching political consequences?
Why do we have such strong taboos regarding gender behaviors? Why do we have such strong
taboos regarding sexual behaviors? Where did these taboo’s come from?
The author’s conclude by noting that in America it is generally taboo to talk about sex and sexual
matters and that this taboo has impacted research into this realm dramatically. However we have
many social issues and problems in relationship to sex and sexual behavior and we would do well
to engage in extensive studies in this realm.
Marriage: is a human universal in that all societies studied by anthropologists have an institution
that can be defined as marriage but it is very diverse and culturally specific in practice and form.
The way in which marriage is structured and families are formed is inter-related to the means of
subsistence, economic system and even the political system.
Rules for marriage include the following:
o Number of spouses: how many spouses are you allowed to have at any one time
 Monogamy: one spouse at a time
 Polygyny: one male with two or more females
 Polyandry: one female and two or more males
o Who you are “supposed”to marry: “preferential marriage rules”
 Exogamy: you must marry someone outside of your group, however that group is
defined, a kin group
 Endogamy: you must marry someone within your group however that group is
defined, a “religious” group
 Residence rules: rules about where you are expected to live, or establish your residence after
o Patrilocal: couple establishes their residence with the husband’s family or near them
o Matrilocal: couple establishes their residence with the wife’s family or near them
o Neolocal: couple establishes their own residence after marriage
The functions of marriage that define marriage as a human universal: even though marriage
varies dramatically in it’s form and practice there are certain features or functions that allow
anthropologists to state that all cultures have an institution that can be defined as marriage.
o Marriage includes rules that work to regulate sexual access between marriage
partners, who can sleep with whom.
o Marriage includes an economic exchange (an exchange of labor and wealth)
between individuals and often between families.
o Marriage sets forth the rights and responsibilities for children and childcare.
Romantic Love: is a culturally specific function of marriage. Romantic love, as a component of
marriage, is only important in some cultures and only in more current times. The “emotional
satisfaction of spouses” as a function of marriage is a fairly recent phenomena. Historically
romantic love was seen as subversive and dangerous, and it was seen as foolish to combine love
with marriage. Marriage was inter-related to economic and political issues and negotiations. It was
understood that humans experienced romantic love but it was not appropriate in marriages.
Romantic love was to be experienced in affairs or relations outside of marriage. One aspect of
globalization is that romantic love, as a “critical” component of marriage is becoming more popular
and important in diverse cultures around the world.
American Anthropological Association: Statement on Marriage - Arlington, Virginia; The
Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association, the world's largest organization of
anthropologists, the people who study culture, releases the following statement in response to
President Bush's call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage as a threat to
"The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households,
kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support
whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon
marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research
supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon
same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies. The Executive
Board of the American Anthropological Association strongly opposes a constitutional
amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples."
THE EXAMINED LIFE Multicultural marriage By Joshua Glenn, Globe Staff, 2/29/2004
ON WEDNESDAY, the day after President Bush claimed that "ages of experience" support a ban
on same-sex marriage, the world's largest organization of anthropologists -- "the people who study
culture," as they put it -- responded by challenging the president's support for a constitutional
amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. According to a statement from the
executive board of the 11,000-member American Anthropological Association, more than a century
of cross-cultural anthropological research provides "no support whatsoever for the view that either
civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution."
Instead, anthropologists have concluded that "a vast array of family types, including families built
upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies." Reached at her
office at Albion College, in Michigan, AAA president Elizabeth M. Brumfiel cited the "widespread"
Native American berdache tradition (in which males assumed female roles and married other
males) and the existence of "sociological males" (women who assume male roles) among the Nuer
of Sudan as examples of ways that societies have condoned same-sex marriage without
collapsing. "People tend to rank their own culture as best, but anthropologists try to take a broader
view," said Brumfiel.
U.S. Marriage Model Is Not Universal Norm BY NANCY HAUGHT May 3, 2004
As the debate over same-sex unions rages, particularly in Oregon and Massachusetts, some
central questions about the meaning and manner of marriage swirl through the air like a thrown
handful of rice. Here's what anthropologists, sociologists, legal scholars, historians and religious
leaders have to say.
Q: Is there a single definition of marriage?
A: No. "In the big sweep of human history and broad cross-cultural comparison, monogamous,
heterosexual marriage, voluntarily entered into, is a pretty rare form of marriage," says Roger N.
Lancaster, a professor of anthropology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Lancaster is the
designated spokesman for the American Anthropological Association, the world's largest group of
cultural experts, and the author of "The Trouble With Nature: Sex in Science and Popular Culture."
Anthropologists study a wide range of marriage practices, Lancaster says, including cultures where
one man marries a group of women or one woman marries a group of men or, rarely, groups of
men marry groups of women. Same-sex unions are also in evidence, as are marriages that take
place outside the realm of religion. "A wide swath of cultures have allowed or encouraged or
celebrated same-sex unions," Lancaster says. "The results of more than a century of
anthropological research on households, kinship relationships and families, across cultures and
through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social
orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution," his group says in a
prepared statement. In North America, Lancaster points to Native American cultures that allowed
men to marry other men, if one partner underwent a ritual that assigned him a woman's
responsibilities. In the 1800s, Lancaster says, two women could live together and be spoken of as
a "Boston marriage." Two examples from elsewhere in the world are the Nuer people of Sudan in
Africa, who allowed women to marry other women, and the samurai warriors of Japan, who
sometimes married other men, he says. For much of the world's population, marriage is not
connected to a religious ritual, Lancaster says. "In much of Latin America, in large parts of Africa
and of Asia, even in modern societies, the bulk of the population doesn't get married. Instead, they
live in what Americans might call `common law marriages."'
Q: What would a biblical marriage look like?
A: The Bible does not include any passages about same-sex marriage. It includes a handful of
passages about heterosexual marriage, which may or may not add up to a simple picture. Often
marriage becomes a metaphor that describes the relationship between the faithful and their God (in
the book of Hosea, for example) or one that is defined by their relationship with Jesus Christ
(Ephesians 5). Other passages directly address heterosexual marriage. In the Old Testament, or
Hebrew Bible, for example, marriage is the reason a man leaves his father and mother and clings
to his wife (Genesis 2). A man may have more than one wife (Genesis 29), or have sex with his
wife's maidservant (Genesis 16). A man is allowed to divorce his wife (Deuteronomy 24). Adultery
was forbidden (Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5) and punishable by death (Exodus 20). The New
Testament, some scholars say, is less clear in what it says about marriage. Jesus quotes the Old
Testament, that a man and a woman shall become one flesh and that "what God has joined
together, let no one separate" (Mark 10). He also said that remarriage, after a divorce, may make
either a man or a woman an adulterer (Mark 10). But the apostle Paul argues that marriage may
distract one "from the affairs of the Lord" and does not recommend it to everyone (I Corinthians 7).
Q: How feasible would it be to legally adopt a biblical definition of marriage?
A: The problem of settling on a biblical view of marriage is choosing which biblical verses to
include, according to Bernadette J. Brooten, professor of Christian studies at Brandeis University.
American culture has already moved beyond many biblical ideals by not allowing polygamy, by
assuming that men and women have equal rights in relationships and by asserting that adultery is
not punishable by death, she says. "Today, many politicians refer to marriage as a sacrament,"
she says, "as if that were an ancient way of thinking about marriage. It is not." In biblical times,
marriage was not so much a contract between two people as it was a matter of "private law," she
says. "Christians didn't change that for quite some time," she says. Christians didn't intervene in
the private law understanding of marriage from the first century until about 1,400 years later. In the
16th century, the Catholic Church declared once and for all that marriage was one of seven
sacraments, which Augustine defined as signs "of a sacred reality." But, historically, not all
Protestant churches, Jews and Muslims have agreed that marriage is a sacrament, Brooten says.
Q: Are all religious leaders opposed to same-sex marriage?
A: No, they are not. Almost 50 ministers from 13 different religious groups issued a statement in
support of same-sex marriage the week that Multnomah County, Ore., began issuing marriage
licenses to same-sex couples. It read in part, "As people of faith, we believe that God has created
all of us in the divine image. We hereby assert that equality in marriage is a justice issue and
strongly encourage equity that crosses all barriers, including sexual orientation." Signers included
ministers from the United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (USA),
Episcopal Church in the United States, Unitarian Universalist Association, Reform and
Reconstructionist Judaism, Metropolitan Community Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church of
America, Quakers, the Koinonia Catholic Community, peace churches and the Community of
Welcoming Congregations. "As a denomination, we take the Bible very seriously, but not literally,"
says the Rev. Patricia S. Ross, senior minister of First Congregational United Church of Christ in
Portland. Scripture's prohibitions on homosexual behavior were important when they were written,
she says, but modern believers have an obligation to bring sociology, modern theology and other
disciplines to bear.
Some of the Old Testament prohibitions are tucked into a list of laws in Leviticus that includes not
eating shellfish or pork, not wearing blended fabrics, stoning women for adultery and putting
disrespectful children to death, she says. Leviticus 20:9, in the New King James Version, reads,
"Everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death." In 20:13, Leviticus
reads: "If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an
abomination. They shall surely be put to death." "Not every rule that applied 5,000 years ago,"
Ross says, "needs to apply today." As a denomination, the United Church of Christ voted in 1985
to become an "open and affirming church" that accepts and affirms gay, lesbian and bisexual
people. Ross' congregation adopted that stand in 1992 and recently extended it to transgender
people. "The strongest message is an inclusive message," says the Rev. W.J. Mark Knutson,
senior pastor of Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland. Knutson's congregation is part of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which will consider gay rights at its summer 2005 national
assembly. Members are not all in agreement, he says. "But you have to go where your conscience
calls you," he says of his position. "We worship Christ, not the Bible." He says that the Bible is "the
story of God's continuing, saving acts" and contains more than a few contradictions. "Moses OK'd
divorce," he says, "and Jesus, a Jewish man, condemned it."
Q: How old is the idea of a civil marriage?
A: In the United States, it goes back to the Pilgrims. As they settled near Plymouth Rock, they
borrowed the Dutch custom of civil marriage, which they'd learned about during their sojourn in the
Netherlands. They opposed the English system of church marriages as being unscriptural, wrote
Peter J. Gomes, a professor of Christian morals at Harvard University, in The Boston Globe. "The
first marriage in New England, that of Edward Winslow to the widow Susannah White, was
performed on May 12, 1621, in Plymouth by Gov. William Bradford, in exercise of his office as
magistrate," says Gomes, an ordained Baptist pastor and minister of Harvard University's Memorial
Church. The first Christian clergyman, the Rev. Ralph Smith, wouldn't arrive in Plymouth until
1629, but marriage would continue as a civil affair until 1692, after the colony was merged with
Massachusetts Bay and clergy were authorized to solemnize marriages, Gomes says.
Q: Why doesn't the state require a civil marriage, as other countries do, and leave a
religious ceremony an option?
A: "Because we never fought a civil war over religion," says Broyde. "We never had a fight between
church and state in the United States. We separate them and they get along." State laws allow
civil authorities or religious ones to preside over marriages and allow couples to decide who should
marry them. Religious leaders have the right to decline to marry a couple, and most ministers ask
couples to submit to some counseling.
Q: What does the future of marriage hold?
A: No one can be sure. Some advocates of traditional marriages support the idea of covenant
marriages, which are legal now in three states, says Rebecca L. Warner, professor and chair of
sociology at Oregon State University and author of a textbook, "Marriages and Families:
Relationships in Social Context." Arizona, Arkansas and Louisiana allow covenant marriages,
which limit grounds for divorce to abuse, adultery, addiction, felony imprisonment or separation for
two years, and require counseling if problems arise, Warner says. But only about 1 percent of
eligible couples choose a covenant marriage, she adds. Covenant marriages, and now same-sex
marriages, are two new ways of looking at marriage in a country whose attitudes toward marriage
have always been in flux, Warner says. In the 18th century, Americans, especially on the East
Coast, "lived in tally," or without having their marriages solemnized, and the courts recognized their
relationships, she says. "Early on, marriages were instrumental, alliances made between families in
order to maintain society. Now marriage is compassionate, individual alliances created out of love."
American attitudes toward marriage have changed over time, she says. There have been "pockets
of differences" that have included polygamy among early religious communities. Attitudes have
also changed about women's status in marriages, in terms of property and income, Warner says.
Based on the above descriptions and discussions of marriage what do you think is “normal” in
relationship to marriage? What surprised you? Shocked you? Encouraged you?
Kinship relations are connections and relations through blood and marriage. Kinship works to link
people in a web of rights and responsibilities. In traditional cultures kinship was key in determining
your place in society, who you were expected to marry (or not marry), your job, inheritance, rights
to land, and where you lived . In American mainstream culture kinship is de-emphasized and
minimized, except for the nuclear family when rearing children. However in many cultures around
the world kinship relations are still very important.
Kinship systems are universal- all societies have some form of kinship structure, but kinship
systems, ties, rights, and responsibilities vary a great deal. Kinship systems are culturally
constructed (although they often rest on perceived biological realities), and vary a great deal
between different cultures.
Why study kinship today? In group oriented cultures, where extended families are the norm,
kinship relations are still very important in determining people’s position and status. The USA is
unusual in its extreme emphasis on the individual and the nuclear family.
Important factors in gaining insight into kinship systems
 Descent system: there are unilateral descent systems and bilateral descent systems
o unilateral descent systems: this includes patrilineal and matrilineal systems. In
unilateral descent systems you are considered a part of either your mother’s or your
father’s family. You are not a part of both families kinship group. Patrilineal kinship
systems are the most common worldwide.
o Bilateral descent systems: this type of descent system is the norm in mainstream
American culture. In a bilateral descent system you are considered a part of both your
mother’s and your father’s family or kinship group.
 Terminology used: studying the kinship terms of a culture gives a great deal of insight into
their kinship system, some of the key variables among kinship systems are listed below:
 generation- terms based on generational relations (grandmother)
 collateral- kin related through a linking relative (aunt, uncle, cousins)
 sex or gender- different terms applied to individuals based on their sex, although not
always (aunt, grandfather, sister, cousin)
 affinal (marriage) & consanguineal (blood)- terms vary depending on whether or not the
kin relation is through blood or marriage (son-in-law, son)
 relative age- different terms depending on the relative age of the kin relation (older or
younger brother)
 sex of the connecting relative- different terms depending on what side of the family the
kinship relationship is from
A comparison of the kinship systems and terminology between North America and Northern India
gives an example of the differences in kinship systems around the world. In American mainstream
culture there are some 22 basic kinship terms while in Northern India there are some 45 basic
kinship terms. In American mainstream culture kinship is traced bilaterally and the emphasis is on
the nuclear family, the individual and equality. In Northern India kinship is patrilineal, they have
extended families, the emphasis is on the group, and there is an acceptance of hierarchies.
35 Power of Islam: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: pluralism, modernism, fundamentalism
1. How are the Kahistan’s (including the Thull) viewed by the surrounding Islamic communities? How do
these perspectives impact the actions of the Thull (give 2 specific examples)?
2. What are the minimal obligations for Muslims? What are the five pillars of Islam?
3. Are there minimal obligations for Christians? If so what are they?
3. Are the Thull pluralistic or fundamentalist? What criteria did you use to make your determination?
4. Who are the “Community of Preachers”? What is their goal?
9 Suite for Ebony & Phonics: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms:, dialect, language, linguistic relativity, eurocentric
1. Give an example of how speech patterns are seen as reflecting social class in our society
2. Do you think it would be easier for children who regularly speak a dialect at home to learn Standard
English if the differences between Standard English and the dialect (such as Black English) were made
explicit? Give two specific reasons or rationales as to why or why not?
3. What is code switching? List at least one context in which you code switch during the day.
4. Give an example of how your speech works to reflect your social identity?
5. Why do linguists state that both Standard English and Ebonics are dialects of English? List two more
dialects of English. What English is the “real” English?
38 Circumcision, Pluralism, Dilemmas of Cultural Relativism: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: human rights, politicized, pluralism
1. How is the debate over female circumcision or FGM “politicized”? In your example reference one of the
following areas; colonialism, feminism, or immigration issues.
2. Why was circumcision practiced on females in Europe and America historically?
3. What is the emic rationale as to why males routinely circumcised in the United States. Is there an etic
explanation that contradicts this emic rationale?
4. List at least two body altering surgeries that females and/or males undergo in the United States for purely
aesthetic reasons.
5. Review the variety of terms that have been used to describe the practice discussed in this article. Which
term do you prefer? Which term is the most accurate as regards the practice(s) described? Which term is
the most political? Which term is the least political? Terms: female circumcision, female genital mutilation,
female genital modification, and genital cutting.
6. Use one of the following arenas to discuss the issues involved in the topic of female circumcision; 1) as a
human rights issue, 2) as an issue of self-determination (address either individual and group rights), 3) as
an issue of health and sexuality.
7. How difficult has it been to read this article and work to maintain cultural relativity? Do you see cultures
that practice female circumcision or FGM as “the other”?
39 Advertising and Global Culture: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: transnational
1. List two changes Noreen Janus sees that are occurring on a global scale. Are these changes planned
and deliberate or unplanned and random (give your reasoning for your answer)?
2. Are 3rd world countries benefiting from global changes or suffering from global change? (i.e. are the
effects of globalization overall positive or negative for the peoples of 3rd world countries?). Make sure to use
specific examples from your text.
3. What are the underlying values and norms of transnational advertisers? List specific values and norms.
Do you think these values are overall positive or negative (do they cause more harm or good)?
4. Do you think transnational advertisers have an inalienable right to advertise, or should restrictions be
imposed on them? Explain your answer.
5. What is the biggest benefit that you see and the biggest problem that you see with transnational
advertisers? Address at least one of the following areas in your answer; TV viewing, political issues, food
issues, aging issues, whiteness, globalization, children, violence, alcohol use, tobacco use
34 Contemporary Warfare in the New Guinea Highlands: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
terms: hypothesis, falsify
1. How is cultural materialism used to understand tribal warfare? Address infrastructure (production),
structure (trade relations), and superstructure (web of kin ties).
2. How did the changes in marriage practices lead ultimately to an increase in tribal warfare?
3. Give at least two reasons as to why tribes engage in “warfare”?
4. In your emic perspective why do modern nation-states engage in warfare?
36 Hallucinogenic Plants & Their Use in Traditional Societies: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
1. Is drug use a significant problem in traditional cultures? What is the goal of drug use in traditional
2. Is drug use a significant problem in contemporary cultures? What is the goal of drug use in
contemporary cultures?
3. What does the comparative approach encompass in anthropology? In what ways can the comparative
approach be useful in evaluating our current societal problems with drug use and our war on drugs?
3. What is “set and setting”?
33 The Kpelle Moot: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
1. What is the difference in the context of conflict resolution in traditional cultures and contemporary
2. List three key differences between formal courtroom hearings and Kpelle moots.
3. What is the difference between a judge and a mediator (in process, intent, outcome)?
4. How does a moot work to maintain harmony and reconciliation? Give a couple specific examples. What
is the goal of our modern day courtroom procedures?
40 How Sushi Went Global: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
1. What are the two different processes of culture change that are discussed under the term “globalization”?
2. Do you think cultural diversity is diminishing because of the processes of globalization? Do you see this
as a problem?
5 Corporate Anthropologists: Author’s main idea or thesis for the article
Terms: corporate culture, origin myth
1. In what ways is business anthropology like all other types of anthropology? What do business
anthropologists do? (give two examples)
2. What does the author mean by “compartmentalization of thinking”? Is compartmentalized
thinking a problem in today’s workplace? Why or why not?
Anthropology of Religion- Anthropology of the Supernatural
Beliefs in the supernatural are a human universal: All cultures studied by anthropologists have
been found to have a belief system that focuses on the supernatural. The term “supernatural” is
used because it refers to things that are not of the natural world. Things that are of the natural
world can be subject to scientific study. But all cultures have beliefs about supernatural beings,
forces, spirits, and goddesses/gods. Although, within each culture, there may be individuals who
do not adhere to the cultural beliefs. Like the variety of different forms and practices in marriage
around the world, religion is difficult to define and study because of the wide diversity of ways in
which supernatural beliefs play out in cultures.
Holistic study of the Supernatural: The anthropological study of the supernatural is conducted
from many different perspectives and angles. Depending on the researcher many different
questions are asked and many different types of insights are formulated. In general an
anthropological study of the supernatural includes;
 Emic and Etic perspectives
 Comparative approach
 historical approach
 the context in which the belief system operates
 functionalist approach
 culturally relative
Because beliefs regarding the supernatural encompass an individual’s worldview it can be a
difficult realm of study. It can often be very difficult to be culturally relative, especially if you hold
strong views in this realm.
Beliefs about the supernatural include all the following beliefs about supernatural being(s) or
 beliefs about the powers of these supernatural beings or forces
 the teachings and traditions surrounding the supernatural (generally teachings are
believed to have been dictated by the supernatural being(s) or force)
 the rituals conducted in relationship to the supernatural being or force (often rituals
conducted to influence the supernatural being(s) or forces).
Individuals who believe in the supernatural have a worldview which includes a:
o picture of reality based on a set of shared assumptions
o a belief that the universe is populated by a powerful force(s)
o forces that oversee and interact with humans, but are generally unseen in this world
o a worldview which gives individuals a guideline as to the proper relationship between
individuals and groups (relationship between females and males, between insider’s
and outsiders
o a worldview which gives individuals a guideline as to the proper relationship between
individuals/groups and nature (the environment, and life on earth)
Social Evolutionary Theory: The early years of anthropology were dominated by Social
Evolutionary Theory, in which it was believed that societies progressed through various stages,
eventually culminating in “civilization.” A number of thinkers (including anthropologists,
philosophers, psychologists) saw humans as moving through a series of stages in regards to
beliefs of the supernatural. Animism and polytheism were seen as “primitive” belief’s. Monotheism
was seen as a more advanced type of belief system. Some saw beliefs in the supernatural as
something that humans would “leave behind” as our knowledge of science became more
advanced. Humans would give up beliefs in the supernatural as they evolved emotionally and
intellectually. Currently many thinkers (including many anthropologists) see humans as “meaning
seeking creatures” and beliefs in the supernatural are seen as a human norm.
Functionalist theories look the way in which beliefs, actions, or institutions work to serve
the basic needs of human individuals and human societies (see your theory sheet). Below are
three basic functions that have been proposed by anthropologists in regards to beliefs in the
 Intellectual & Cognitive Function: Gives humans order & meaning to their world, helps
answer questions such as; what is the nature of the world? Of existence? How and/or why does
the world and its inhabitants operate in the way that it does?
o This function of supernatural beliefs has led (at least in the West) to the conflict
between religion & science. Ask yourself what is the difference between a “literal and
a figurative” interpretations of a belief system?
 Psychological Function: works to reduce anxiety & increase sense of control. Beliefs in the
supernatural helps us cope with life’s difficulties and gives us reasons and mechanisms to connect
with the supernatural to alleviate stress and minimize the unknown. It helps us answer questions
like; Why do we die? Get sick? Mechanisms to connect with the supernatural include; prayer,
ritual, magic, and sacrifice
 Social Function: works to maintain social order, beliefs in the supernatural include a set of
values and norms, ideas of what is right & wrong, these beliefs work to keep people in line with the
threat of supernatural punishment for violations.
Terminology and the Supernatural: In the next section we will be looking at the relationship
between language and culture. Note the anthropological definitions for the terms listed below.
Think about how you would define the terms below, before you had taken a cultural anthropology
class. How would you define the word “cult?”
 Prayer: conversation w/god(es,s) imploring, pleading to produce desired effects
 Magic: use rituals & mechanistic (material) means to bring about a desired effect (with no
proven cause & effect relationship)
 Sacrifice: offerings to increase efficacy of requests to supernatural
 Witchcraft: individuals have psychic power to produce desired effects
 Sorcery: use magic to bring about desired end (often portrayed as a negative desire)
Anthropological Linguistics
Linguistics is one of the four fields in anthropology. Anthropological linguistics covers a broad
range of topics including; comparative linguistics, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, language
and culture, etc. Questions asked in anthropological linguistics include;
 how is language different from communication
 how do children acquire language
 how do languages change
 are some languages superior to others
 what is the relationship between language and culture.
Language is seen by many to be the only truly unique capacity that humans have in comparison to
other animals. All animals communicate, using a variety of means including vocalizations, body
language, smell, etc. Communication is distinctly different from language in that it is limited in its
ability to communicate meaning, it is generally involuntary and it is general.
Language as a means to communicate is unique in that;
 unlimited meanings can be imparted (it is productive)
 language is voluntary
 language has displacement (the ability to communicate about the past, the future and
about abstractions)
Human language is made up of three systems;
 phonemes: units of sound that signal a difference in meaning
 morphemes units of meaning
 syntax or grammar: rules to combine units of meaning into sentences and phrases
Sociolinguistics: is the study of speech performance. Sociolinguists listen to the speech of
individuals from different groups or subcultures in society to gain insights into the variation in
speech patterns depending on the group the individual is from, and the social context or situation in
which the speaker is operating. The article “Ebony and Phonics” and gives insight into the
understandings of sociolinguists.
Language & Culture: is the study of the relationship between language and culture. Ruth Nanda
Anshem states
“language is an energy, and activity, not only of communication and selfexpression but of orientation in the universe.”
Language is the means by which humans describe and categorizes the world but no language is
an exact representation of world. All languages have categories but the categories are different in
each language. For instance there are differences in color and kinship terms and categories
depending on the culture and the language. These differences in the categories in language shape
individuals perceptions and experiences in the world around them.
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: this hypothesis states
 “language determines how we experience and perceive space, time and reality.”
Whorf conducted research into different languages and he concluded that the labels or categories
available in a language determined people’s perceptions and actions. Today most anthropologists
would agree that language influences how we experience and perceive the world around us but it
does not determine the way we experience space, time and reality.
Nature of Language: It is the nature of language to change or evolve over time. One aspect of
language change is that dialects form with geographic and social isolation. If groups are separated
for long enough the dialects can diverge into different languages.
 Dialects are speech patterns that are mutually intelligible, with some differences in
vocabulary and grammar.
 Languages are speech patterns that are mutually unintelligible.
The designation of a speech pattern as a dialect or a language often rests more on social and
political power and factors than on linguistic understandings. The group that holds power
traditionally designates their form of speech as “standard” or “normal” and other speech patterns
are labeled as either slang, incorrect speech or a dialect.
Linguistic Relativity: is a stance held by anthropological linguists. It states that, all dialects,
languages, and speech patterns which are used to communicate are equally valid. That is, no one
speech pattern is linguistically superior to any other speech pattern. However linguists realize that
in stratified societies the speech pattern of an individual can dramatically impact their ability to gain
power, wealth, and status. Speech patterns are said to both reveal an individuals status and
reinforce their status in society.
State of the World: How has it come about that some peoples have quite high standards of living
(i.e. permanent housing, cars, clean water, electricity, abundance of food, education, etc.) and
others strive to subsist on dollars a day (i.e. they don’t have access to clean water, electricity, food,
standard housing, etc.). How did such extreme stratification come about? Various answers are
given to this question. In general there are three broad answers given for the unequal distribution
of wealth in the world; environment, history and culture. These answers aren’t the only ones but
they generally encompass the range of analysis offered.
Environment: Until some 10,000 years ago all peoples were foragers, living similar lives. The
environment that people live in has played a big role in determining their means of subsistence.
The available resources (i.e. land suitable for growing crops, water, etc.) impact the choices that
peoples have.
Maori & Moriori: were originally one group of Polynesian farmers who landed in New Zealand
aound 1000ad. The Maori stayed in New Zealand, grew their traditional crops, and formed
agricultural communities. They expanded their population base, utilized technology, had full-time
leaders and soldiers. The Moriori left for the Chatham Islands (500 miles away), they found an
environment that did not support the growing of crops and reverted to foraging. The Moriori
population stayed small, they were technologically simple, and all of their people were engaged in
getting food subsistence. In 1835 the Maori invaded the Chatham Islands and within fairly short
order killed all the Moriori.
 To what degree did the environment influence these original Polynesians
farmers? Does the environment determine or influence cultures?
History: The history of humanity is long and we can look at ancient history and more recent
history. A significant factor in the state of the world today is the European colonialism of the last
few centuries. Europeans expanded beyond their borders for a number of reasons; they valued
the acquisition of wealth and power, the missionary aspect of their religion pushed them to
perpetuate their belief system. Lastly the different countries of Europe (and individuals) were
competing with each other over the acquisition of wealth and power. China for instance in the
1400’s was more technologically advanced than the Europeans but their value system didn’t call
for them to expand beyond their borders. Colonialism impacted many countries around the world.
It worked to destroy cultural patterns of production and exchange, it utilized agriculture as a means
to produce cash crops and actively worked to undermine local peoples ability to feed themselves.
Colonialism did not end in many areas around the world until after WWII. After WWII the
economies of Europe had been hard hit by WWII and the rebellion in the colonies was making
them unmanageable
 To what degree is the colonialism of the past still impacting peoples today? For
instance how many former colonial countries are developed and wealthy? What is
Culture: Some theorists attribute the lack of development in countries to their cultural values and
norms. Modernization theory (outlined below) offers both an explanation for un/under-development
and a “cure” for this situation. World systems theory however offers up history as a more valid
explanation for the differences in wealth in countries around the world.
Modernization Theory: culture is the explanation for the inequalities between nations and this
theory gives a prescription for how to develop under-developed countries. Modernization theorists
state that it is the culture of under-developed nations that is the reason for their lack of
development. They state under-developed countries values & norms are problematic, they need to
adopt “modern” values & norms, and need to value modern technology. These cultures need to
adopt machine technology, plant cash crops, adopt a market economy, de-emphasize kinship &
extended families, value nuclear family, value mono-chronic time orientation, value production &
consumption of goods.
 Criticisms of modernization theory: Include the observation that the theory doesn’t
take into account how most wealthy nations became wealthy, thru colonization.
World Systems Theory: looks at the recent historical events of colonization as the main reason
that there is such a division among nations. World Systems theorists state; wealthy nations gained
their wealth through exploiting and plundering other peoples and their lands. They state poorer
nations will never become wealthy in the way of developed nations because they don’t have
colonies to exploit.
o What evidence is there to support each theory?
o Which theory do you adhere to?
Globalism: Defining globalization is not easy. Depending on whom you ask there are a multitude
of answers that you will get, although they will generally have some overriding themes.
Globalization is both an informal and a formal process.
Informally: globalization involves the process by which we have become a “global village.” With
the rise of technology there have come about increasing means by which humans around the world
have become connected. With “planes, trains, boats, and automobiles” humans are moving
around the world in increasing numbers, for both pleasure and business. With communication
technology such as phones, the internet, and satellites humans can communicate and interact
globally. Through the worldwide distribution of movies, TV shows, and music people are able to
share cultural experiences on a scale that has never been available before. Another element is the
worldwide distribution of consumption goods, everything from McDonalds, to Levi’s.
Formally: globalization is a deliberate process though which specific organizations such as the,
the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO)
work to connect countries around the world economically. After WWII there was a meeting of
some 44 countries Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, the meeting was held to discuss the rebuilding
of the ravaged economies of many nations. As a result of this meeting the World Bank and the
IMF were formed. In 1995 the World Trade Organization (WTO) was formed to implement trade
policies developed through the “General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade” (GATT)
The World Bank: the stated goal is to make loans available for development projects and thereby
to reduce poverty in the world’s poorest countries.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF): the stated goal is to make funds available for countries
to meet short-term financial needs and to stabilize currency exchanges between countries.
The World Trade Organization (WTO): the WTO is the only global international organization
dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated
and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The stated
goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.
The WTO can dictate trade policy between nations, works to eliminate trade practices that give
businesses in particular countries unfair advantage.
1994 50th anniversary of Bretton Woods: Analysis of the successes and failures of the
organizations are mostly critical. Even the World Banks own reviews are highly critical of their
performance. The World Bank has lent some ¼ of a trillion to underdeveloped countries, with
some 1 billion people still desperately poor. The disparity between the wealthy and poor has
doubled in the last 30 years. The richest 20% of the world consume 150 times more goods than
the poorest 20% of the world’s population. The accumulation of debt in underdeveloped countries
is a huge issue. In many countries they have more of their income going to make debt payments
than to social needs within their countries (medicine, education, infrastructure, etc.)
The following are a variety of viewpoints offered about the positives and negatives of globalization
as it is enacted formally by the WTO, IMF and the World Bank. In the past few years there have
been increasing protests against these organizations and their policies. At the meetings of the
WTO in Cancun, Mexico in 2003 the developing countries walked out of the meetings. The
developing countries walked out in mass after the United States, the European Union and Japan
rejected their demands for trade policies that address the needs of the world's poor, rather than the
bottom lines of the multinational corporations.
Positive perspectives on Globalization
o "Globalisation is generating great wealth. This could be used to massively reduce poverty
worldwide and to reduce global inequality.... We must try to manage this new era, in a way
which...helps to lift millions of people out of poverty." Clare Short, UK Secretary of State for
International Development
o "Globalisation, then, is growth-promoting. Growth, in turn, reduces poverty.... the liberalisation
of international transactions is good for freedom and prosperity. The anti-liberal critique is
wrong: marginalisation is in large part caused by not enough rather than too much
globalisation." - Razeen Sally, London School of Economics
o Agreements like NAFTA and the WTO force nations to respect contracts, which encourages
responsible investment and, hence, economic growth. And, you see, economic growth creates
a middle class, and a middle class, eventually, demands democracy. That is the story of the
20th century and, God willing, it will be the story of the 21st." - Jonah Goldberg, National
Review Online
Negative perspectives on Globalization
o "The increasing globalization of U.S. corporations gives them the leverage to hold down wages
and resist unionization. Average real wages (corrected for inflation) have been falling since the
early 1970s. By 1992, average weekly earnings in the private, non-agricultural part of the U.S.
economy were 19 percent below their peak in the early 1970s. Nearly one-fourth of the U.S.
workforce now earns less in real terms than the 1968 minimum wage." Kevin Danaher,
"Globalization and the Downsizing of the American Dream"
o "While globalisation has led to benefits for some, it has not led to benefits for all. The benefits
appear to have gone to those who already have the most, while many of the poorest have
failed to benefit fully and some have even been made poorer." - Duncan Green & Claire
Melamed, A Human Development Approach to Globalisation
o "U.S.-style globalism not only attempts to suppress labor, but also seeks to suppress social
welfare systems and support for public expenditures that do not directly benefit the expansion
of capital. The social welfare system and other public services, such as schools, social
services in the North and food subsidies in the South, are supported through taxes, and taxes
reduce short-term benefits to capital." - John A. Powell and S.P. Udayakumar, University of
Minnesota Law School in "Poverty & Race"
From Richard Robbins “Global Problems & the Culture of Capitalism”
The following examples illustrate some of the issues of globalization:
WTO 1989- European countries attempted to ban the importation of USA beef which is injected with
bovine growth hormone. Europeans didn’t want beef on their markets that had been injected with this
hormone . The WTO ruled that a countries food, environment, or work laws constitute unfair barriers to
trade and penalized Europe for its attempted ban. The example shows the power of the WTO to set
aside a countries laws and preferences in regards to food safety, and environmental safety. The WTO
has consistently ruled that issues related to health, safety or the environment are not valid reasons to
try and stop trade, or the importation of goods.
Exporting Pollution: Pollution is a huge problem in the world today. No one wants to have polluted
materials or dumps in their community. In recent years developing countries have been the target to
unload pollution from developed countries. Developed countries, like the United States and European
countries, consume gross amounts of goods in comparison to developing, poorer countries. In 1991
Laurence Summers (then chief economist of the World Bank, currently he’s the president of the World
Bank), sent out a), sent out a memo that he later claimed was just to “generate discussion.” His memo
stated that it made sense for the USA to export its pollution and toxic waste to other countries. His
memo observed that developing countries are under-polluted and people and therefore can stand to
receive pollution from developed nations. He stated that the cost of illness from pollution is cheaper in
developing countries where the wages are lower and where the people have a lower life expectancy.
He said that pollutants that cause disease will have less of an economic impact on countries where the
people don’t live as long. As you would expect, when this memo came out in the public it generated a
great deal of controversy (later it was titled “Let Them Eat Pollution”). Sanders worked to deny that he
was seriously proposing what he had put forth in his memo.
Farm bills inside & outside the USA: In May 2002 the Bush administration pushed through a 10
billion aid package for poorer countries in Africa with the stated goal “to bring economic opportunity to
the people of Africa.” At same time the administration pushed thru a 190 billion aid package for farmers
in the USA. Government officials & independent analysts state that the big subsidies given to farmers
in the USA will dramatically impact African farmers. The 190 billion aid package in the USA will lead to
the overproduction of wheat, corn, cotton and other basic crops. This will drive down worldwide prices
for these commodities and lead to “millions of small farmers” in Africa being pushed out of work.
The State of the Nation: What can we say about where we stand and what can we do about it?
In the article “The Price of Progress” there was a discussion on how to evaluate the status of a
country. In general the GNP is used as the most important measure of “progress.” Read the
discussion below about the GNP, what it measures and some of the details about how it is
calculated. What do you think is a more important means to measure the status or “progress” that
a country is making?
Gross National Product (GNP): is the measure of the total money spent or invested in goods and
services by individuals, businesses, and governments. It is said to be the single most important
statistic in our country. Whenever money is exchanged it adds to the GNP. Progress is measured
in terms of how much money people spend. It includes money spent on marriage licenses and
divorce costs, money on food and diet programs. The following observation was made about the
GNP “By the curious standard of the GNP the nation’s economic hero is a terminal cancer patient
who is going through a costly divorce…the happiest event is an earthquake or hurricane….all add
to GNP because they cause money to change hands.”
Natural Capital: depletion and restoration
Natural capital is physical world around us, the environment where we get our food,
shelter, water, etc. Every product and service we consume has four sets of costs, although we
generally measure only one. The cost we generally measure is the costs manufacturers pay to get
something produced and distributed. These costs are reflected in price people pay at the store.
The other costs that are not measured include; environmental costs associated with
production of product, environmental costs of items use, and the environmental cost of products
disposal. At this point we are outstripping our ability to replenish what we are taking from the
environment. Robbins states that we need to lower our consumption so that we aren’t outstripping
the ability of the ecosystem to replenish itself. He also states that we need to take into account the
entire cost in the production of goods and services and move to giving more control to local and
national authorities, not global.
Political Capital: depletion and restoration
Political capital is measured by the extent to which each person has a voice by which they
can signal their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the state of things in their community, state
and/or country. In the various types of political systems people have more or less voice. In a
dictatorship there is only one or a couple of people that have voice in how things are governed, in a
democracy, ideally everyone has a voice in governance.
In the United States we state that we often state that we are a democracy, however we are
actually a republic. The terms “democracy and republic” are often used interchangeably but there
are some differences. The officials in a democracy more generally and directly reflect the known or
ascertained views of their constituents, sometimes subordinating their own judgment In a republic,
these officials are expected to act on their own best judgment of the needs and interests of the
country. Robbins notes that the voice of the people has been steadily eroded through rules that fail
to regulate campaign financing, and through participation in the WTO and GATT. The power of
corporations in the USA further erodes the political capital of individuals because corporations have
the power to accumulate wealth, and to influence (or buy) political power and voice. The CEO’s of
corporations can assign or withdraw the resources of a company at will. They can open or close
plants, lay off workers, etc.
The following are recommendations for the restoration of individual American’s political
capital and voice;
 measure and limit corporate power and influence
 exclude corporations from political participation
 implement serious political campaign reform to reduce the influence of money on politics
 eliminate corporate welfare
 implement mechanisms to regulate international corporations and finance
 encourage responsible spending and investing
 enable consumers and investors to assert some degree of power over what is produced and
the conditions under which it is produced.
Social Capital: depletion and restoration
Social capital allows people to get benefits through membership in social networks; to
resolve problems, make decisions, bonds people together in trust- generalized reciprocity benefits.
“social capital refers to connections among individuals- social networks and the norms of
reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them. In that sense, social capital is closely related
to that some have called “civic virtue”
 The author of Bowling Alone states that four basic factors have affected our loss of social
capital; 50% of decline due to slow, steady replacement of a long “civic generation” by their less
involved children & grandchildren, 25% is advent of electronic entertainment, TV, etc., rest of
decline is due to time and money pressures of the two career families and the increase of
suburban sprawl which creates communities w/no centers
 The increase in social inequality decreases social capital. Today the richest 2.7 million (top
1%) have as much after tax dollars to spend as bottom 100 million (ratio has doubled since 1977,
when top 1% had has much as bottom 49 million)
 Recommendations to rebuild social capital include: reduce gap between rich & poor thru a
maximum & minimum income limitation (executives shouldn’t earn more than 10 times the average
worker), create economic policies that allow for a household to subsist on one income, assure
women of equal rights & access to land and shelter, encourage political participation of women,
and sustain a community media system
Conclusion: “everyday we make choices that reduce, maintain or add to our natural,
political, or social capital.
Declaration on Anthropology and Human Rights Committee for Human Rights:
American Anthropological Association - Adopted by the AAA membership June 1999
This Declaration on Anthropology and Human Rights defines the basis for the involvement
of the American Anthropological Association, and, more generally, of the profession of
Anthropology in human rights.
Preamble: The capacity for culture is tantamount to the capacity for humanity. Culture is
the precondition for the realization of this capacity by individuals, and in turn depends on the
cooperative efforts of individuals for its creation and reproduction. Anthropology's cumulative
knowledge of human cultures, and of human mental and physical capacities across all populations,
types, and social groups, attests to the universality of the human capacity for culture. This
knowledge entails an ethical commitment to the equal opportunity of all cultures, societies, and
persons to realize this capacity in their cultural identities and social lives. However, the global
environment is fraught with violence which is perpetrated by states and their representatives,
corporations, and other actors. That violence limits the humanity of individuals and collectivites.
Anthropology as a profession is committed to the promotion and protection of the right of
people and peoples everywhere to the full realization of their humanity, which is to say their
capacity for culture. When any culture or society denies or permits the denial of such opportunity
to any of its own members or others, the American Anthropological Association has an ethical
responsibility to protest and oppose such deprivation. This implies starting from the base line of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and associated implementing international legislation, but
also expanding the definition of human rights to include areas not necessarily addressed by
international law. These areas include collective as well as individual rights, cultural, social, and
economic development, and a clean and safe environment.
The American Anthropological Association has developed a Declaration that we believe
has universal relevance:
People and groups have a generic right to realize their capacity for culture, and to produce,
reproduce and change the conditions and forms of their physical, personal and social existence, so
long as such activities do not diminish the same capacities of others. Anthropology as an academic
discipline studies the bases and the forms of human diversity and unity; anthropology as a practice
seeks to apply this knowledge to the solution of human problems. As a professional organization
of anthropologists, the AAA has long been, and should continue to be, concerned whenever human
difference is made the basis for a denial of basic human rights, where "human" is understood in its
full range of cultural, social, linguistic, psychological, and biological senses.
Thus, the AAA founds its approach on anthropological principles of respect for concrete human
differences, both collective and individual, rather than the abstract legal uniformity of Western
tradition. In practical terms, however, its working definition builds on the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights, and on Social,
Economic, and Cultural Rights, the Conventions on Torture, Genocide, and Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and other treaties which bring basic human rights within
the parameters of international written and customary law and practice. The AAA definition thus
reflects a commitment to human rights consistent with international principles but not limited by
them. Human rights is not a static concept. Our understanding of human rights is constantly
evolving as we come to know more about the human condition. It is therefore incumbent on
anthropologists to be involved in the debate on enlarging our understanding of human rights on the
basis of anthropological knowledge and research.
Statement of the AAA - Committee for Human Rights- concerning the tragedy and
aftermath of September 11, 2001
The American Anthropological Association Committee for Human Rights (CfHR) condemns the
brutal terrorist attacks upon the people of New York City, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania on
September 11. We sympathize most deeply with the families and friends of the thousands of
innocents who were murdered. We honor their memory as well as the memory of the hundreds of
rescue workers who lost their lives selflessly trying to save others.
Terrorism constitutes a gross violation of human rights. It is a crime against all of humanity for
which there can be no justification. Just as we condemn terrorism and those who are responsible
for it, we also denounce those in the U.S. and abroad who attack others solely because of their
ethnicity, race, or religion. These acts result from unwarranted xenophobia, ignorance and
intolerance. We urge all to respect and help others in this time of mourning.
Those responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11 should be brought to justice. However,
we urge all governments to respect human rights as they pursue suspects. Innocent men, women
and children should not be killed or harmed in the rush to retaliate. We support government efforts
to increase security at home, but we urge government not to unreasonably jeopardize civil liberty
and civil rights. As we devise plans and propose legislation to deter future terrorism, we must be
vigilant to protect our constitutional order and bill of rights. We must not abandon our cherished
rights, liberties and patriotic duties out of fear.
We urge our government and scholars to make every effort to learn the motives behind these
terrorist attacks. What drove these men to murder so many innocents and commit suicide in the
process? We cannot prevent future terrorism unless we learn the answer to this basic question.
We urge our government to increase its commitment to human rights, both at home and abroad. A
human rights-based foreign policy means supporting oppressed peoples rather than oppressive
governments. It means respecting the human rights of the poor, politically weak, dominated, and
suppressed as well as those of the powerful and rich. It means adhering to international human
rights and humanitarian law, including ensuring the well-being of refugees and other protected
peoples. And, it means taking action and seeking solutions that respect the rule of law.
We urge our government to seek solutions within the realm of the International Court of Justice and
other institutions that allow a just hearing of complaints in a rights-protective arena. And, we urge
our government to support the creation of the International Criminal Court so that those suspected
of committing future acts of terrorism, crimes against humanity and genocide can be brought to
justice before a recognized world body.
Finally, we, the members of the CfHR, recommit ourselves to the task of promoting universal
respect for human rights and peace in cooperation with fellow humans everywhere.
Terrorism: How can Anthropologists Respond? In these times of crisis our commitment to
democracy, civil liberties and human rights is tested. As the U.S. and other governments move to
discover and disrupt terrorism, there is the concern that hard won civil rights will be surrendered to
our fear and that organizations that are engaged in human rights works may be casualties as well.
If "homeland security" comes to mean scrutinizing dissident groups or labeling Basque, Irish, and
any Muslim group as potentially "terrorist," it will be our duty as intellectuals to articulate the
complexities. Internationally, there is a clear risk that organizations and movements that have
developed in response to human rights abuses, that speak with impassioned voices, may find their
phones tapped, their assets frozen, and their rights-protective actions interpreted as threats to
national security.
As the world struggles to come to terms with the new situation, anthropologists have a special role
to play in educating and challenging our leaders to consider the complex factors that structure
belief systems, generate oppressive conditions, and give rise to violent actions. The conditions that
allow terrorism to flourish may be ignored as a single target emerges. Yet if the conditions are not
changed-- if we cannot promote better listening by "the West" to the grievances of oppressed
peoples-- new leaders will inevitably arise. Anthropologists argue against ethnocentric
perspectives, appreciating the variety of cultural paths to human living, portraying the basic
goodness of "the other", but also understanding our species' potential for violence. We encourage
anthropologists to offer analysis of the human conditions that may lead people to be vulnerable to
the appeals of terrorist organizations, to find means to promote tolerance, and to voice concerns
and advocacy for the preservation of human rights. And, we encourage anthropologists to assist
the communities they work with in expressing their own concerns and views on terrorism: How do
indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups see themselves and others in this growing
global conflict?
The Committee for Human Rights offers the following practical suggestions for actions
anthropologists can take to contribute to our new world situation.
1. Educate yourself and your community. Identify and help promote resources that address human
rights and human wrongs, the rule of law, and the history and sociocultural conditions that
influence current realities.
2. Promote analysis and discussion in your classes, department, and college community.
Organizing a well-framed and well-moderated panel including several different analytical
perspectives can promote academic discussion and analysis of the tragedy, its aftermath, policy
implications, civil rights, etc. Choose speakers well, frame the panel with encouragement for
respect for diversity of perspectives, hold speakers to times so the audience can participate
actively, and seek help from media relations people for a well-timed press release to bring out the
media to share ideas with the public. We can all remember previous wars, when discussions and
debates became polarized and unproductive, when people felt silenced or voices became strident.
Can we offer sagacity?
3. Make yourself available to the media. Many of us probably have been called upon offer insights
into Islam, political movements, and key regions of the Middle East and South Asia. The media
relations people at our universities are receiving many calls for expertise. If you work in a
University setting, raise the issue in your department meeting, identify people who can provide
information to the media, and then take the initiative to call university media relations or journalists
themselves to offer expertise. If you don't have media training, consider getting a couple of quick
lessons from the media relations people at your university, if you work at one. Or participate in the
AAA-sponsored media workshops at the annual conference.
4. Assert your voice in broader community forums. If you have provocative ideas or important
insights, write about them. Submit your comments to the editors of your local newspapers and
magazines. Editorial columns and letters can be an excellent venue for promoting tolerance and
understanding of Muslims and Arab-Americans who may be experiencing backlash discrimination.
Community forums can also be an important venue to draw attention to alternative views.
Volunteer to be on a panel on terrorism or a multi-faith perspective on tolerance. Help organize
one. Help organizers write their press releases or offer to edit them.
The Advocacy Project < http://WWW.ADVOCACYNET.ORG/> The Advocacy Project was created
in the summer of 1998 by a group of individuals with a commitment to human rights and an interest
in information technology.
Amnesty International < > "Amnesty International is a worldwide
campaigning movement that works to promote all the human rights enshrined in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and other international standards." Press releases, briefing
documents, and resource links concerning the United States response to September 11, 2001
terrorist actions can be found on the USA webpage at
The Center for Nonproliferation Studies <> The Center
for Nonproliferation Studies chemical and biological warfare resource page. The Online Social Justice Network <>'s
mission is to empower the civil rights community to lead the fight for equality and social justice in
the emerging digital society through the establishment of an online social justice network. is a project of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, a coalition of 180
organizations working side by side in the fight for equality and justice. For information on the
human rights aspects of terrorist events and military response, see
Crimes of War Project <> This site contains analysis of key questions
relating to crimes of war, including questions involving terrorist acts of September 11, 2001 and
subsequent military response. Site further illustrates material contained in the 1999 book "Crimes
of War: What the Public Should Know" edited by Roy Gutman and David Rieff (W.W. Norton).
Education Development Center <>
Education Development Center curriculum called "Beyond Blame: A Reaction to the Terrorist
Attack" for grades 6-12, on justice, fairness, and inappropriate group blame.
The Electronic Resource Centre for Human Rights Education <> The Electronic
Resource Centre for Human Rights Education is supported by grants from the Dutch Foreign
Ministry and the Open Society Institute.
The Fellowship of Reconciliation <> The Fellowship of
Reconciliation (FOR) 911 Resource Packet, developed by an interfaith organization committed to
active nonviolence as a transforming way of life and as a means of radical change. FOR educates,
trains, builds coalitions, and engages in nonviolent and compassionate actions locally, nationally,
and globally.
Human Rights Watch < > Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the
human rights of people around the world. We stand with victims and activists to prevent
discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime,
and to bring offenders to justice. We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold
abusers accountable. We challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive
practices and respect international human rights law. We enlist the public and the international
community to support the cause of human rights for all."
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) <> The full texts of
international humanitarian law treaties and commentaries are available at the ICRC web site.
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights <> "Since 1978, the Lawyers Committee
for Human Rights has worked to protect and promote fundamental human rights. Its work is
impartial, holding all governments accountable to the standards affirmed in the International Bill of
Human Rights."
Physicians for Human Rights <> "Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)
mobilizes the health professions and enlists support from the general public to protect and promote
the human rights of all people."
Prevent Genocide International <> Prevent Genocide International
is a nonprofit educational organization established in 1998 with the purpose of bringing about the
elimination of the crime of genocide.
Southern Poverty Law Center <>
"Teaching Tolerance" curriculum and resources published by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
United Nations Human Rights Website <> Official site of the UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations International Law Website <> This site contains the tests of
international law treaties and information about the International Court of Justice, the International
Criminal Court, and the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda War Crimes tribunals.
U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention <> The
United States Government Center for Disease Control and Prevention bio-terrorism page.
An Anthropological Perspective of War: Is it Inevitable or Manufactured by Karen Markley
Anthropology: Holistic study of Humankind. Holistic Analysis: comparative approach, cross-cultural,
historical, and biological data on humans.
What do anthropologists know about war? Is it common? Is it rare? Has it changed in nature over time?
Why does warfare vary in frequency and type? What are the social and material contexts within which war
occurs? Is war inevitable or is it manufactured? Our questions about war go to the very heart of our
questions about human nature. Who and what are we as a species?
We have evidence of human violence as far back as 30,000 yrs. ago, skulls of Neandertals bashed in by
human tools…Violence, however, is different from war. Humans are clearly capable of violence, we engage
in it often enough…however we also have peaceful, cooperative relations. War is violent conflict between
nations or factions within a nation.
 Thomas Hobbes- Leviathan 1656: humans are naturally violent, life in primitive societies was
nasty, brutish and short, they lived a lifestyle devoted to a “war of all men against all men,” only a strong
state can coerce people to be peaceful
 Jean-Jacques Rousseau- Social Contract 1762: primitive societies were peaceful communities,
early peoples lived in harmony with each other and with nature, it is with the onset of civilization that warfare
and conflict afflict human societies
 The problem was that neither Hobbes nor Rousseau knew much about traditional societies…
From the origin of Homo sapiens, some 160,000 yrs ago until some 6,000-10,000 yrs ago humans
foraged and hunted for food in their environment. They lived in small nomadic groups, everyone was
involved in getting food, they made
their own tools, were egalitarian, had informal leaders, all members of the group lived a similar lifestyle, and
they were inter-dependent on each other for survival. The Question is…
Were the lives of people in traditional cultures dominated by peaceful or violent relations?
Heart of the Chagnon-Yanomami controversy
Chagnon researched the Yanomami for some 30 yrs. He stated they represent a society close to nature,
untouched by civilization. Yanomami have high rates of violence and tribal warfare due to human nature.
Human nature is dominated by the drive for survival and reproduction. Yanomami males fight over status,
prestige and women. Chagnon states violence is inherent in human nature and in human societies.
Brian Ferguson puts forth an alternative view. His research into Yanomami conflicts revealed the
following, the Yanomami:
o were impacted by traders, colonists, and missionaries prior to Chagnons presence
o were de-populated by disease, killing
o were impacted by the introduction of Western goods, steel axes/guns and group
competition over access to these goods
Ferguson states the high rates of Yanomami violence are due to disruption from outside groups.
The debate rages on…Are Humans naturally violent? Or is violence due to our environment and the
way we are nurtured? This is an age old question….clearly we are capable of violence, but we are also
capable of peaceful relations
Marvin Harris on “war as instinct” - collective violence cannot be explained by innate human drives
 even warlike societies only engage in war occasionally, some societies have little to no warfare
 warfare must be explained by the variable conditions of a society, what are the reasons that war breaks
out in particular times and places
 Harris focuses on material conditions and resources
Barbara Erenrich: War involves a great deal of preparation, training, manufacture of weapons, etc. There
is no instinct that compels a man to “leave home, cut his hair short, and drill for hours in tight formation”
On Killing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman: reveals some extraordinary data, he has found that one of the
most difficult things to teach a soldier is to point their gun at another human being…
 In WW II only 15-20% of combat infantry were willing to fire their rifles.
 in Korea firing rates rose to about 50%, in Vietnam the figure went to over 90%.
This data and analysis reveals that, at least in modern day wars, getting men to kill is not easy. A
biological basis for warfare seems unlikely.
What about nurture? The environment we live in and are raised in as the basis of warfare?
Ember and Ember: use the Human Relation Area Files to catalogue what anthropologists have learned:
 some societies are more violent than others;, violent child-rearing practices, an emphasis on males
being tough and aggressive, have warlike games, severe punishment for crimes, high murder rates, high
rates of family violence- these societies engage in war more often than other societies
o however this appears to be a consequence of war, not the cause of increased warfare
 Societies that teach their children to fear and mistrust others fuel a tendency to engage in conflict
Ember/Ember have analyzed war in traditional, non-agricultural societies
 Societies with frequent natural disasters have high rates of warfare. When a society experiences
high rates of unpredictable natural disasters that threaten their resources they go to war more often. Fear
is a motivator for war and resource exchange is a consequence. The victors in war take the resources of the
losing group. Note that: 3/4 of these societies fought wars on average every two years…so war is not
What about religious and ethnic differences as the basis for conflict and war?
The human brain has been described as an organ that has evolved as a categorization device par
excellance…A basic way in which humans work to categorize the world is by dividing it into “us versus
them” categories
Sudhir Kakar puts forth this psychological explanation for conflict between groups, she states it is the
nature of the human brain to categorize, and some categories are more significant than others Religious and ethnic categories to her are core and primordial to humans
 Kakar sees violence and conflict as inevitable because of these social divisions.
Frederick Barth offers an alternative perspective, he sees religions and ethnic categories as learned and
created in specific times and places, they are not innate or primordial in nature, they are invented
Case examples of “ethnic and religious” wars
The genocide in Rwanda, and the break-up of Yugoslavia, have both been studied extensively
In both cases politicians and people in general have explained the outbreak of violence as a result of
“ancient and deep hatreds over ethnic and religious differences that suddenly erupted…”
 Systematic researche has contradicted this myth. In both cases conflict did not just erupt, specific
steps were taken by specific individuals to create violence among the different ethnic and religious groups.
In both situations:
o there was upheaval in the society (economic turmoil, political turmoil)
o leaders systematically armed individuals from their group and used the media to spread
fear and mistrust “repetition is the single most effective technique of persuasion…it does
not matter how big the lie is, so long as it keeps being repeated”
o fear was created over resources, mistrust was propagated, and armed individuals were
pushed to engage in systematic killing sprees
In both cases the opposing groups had existed more or less peacefully for decades; inter-marrying, working
together, their children going to school together, etc.
Bruce Bower notes that examinations of war generally focus on one of the following three themes:
 Ultimate causation: what are the most important causes of war in a comprehensive analysis
 Proximate causation: what are the immediate causes of a specific conflict
 Consequences of war: what are the results of war; population decline, acquisition of resources,
increased power and prestige
The advent of agriculture changed human societies and lives in dramatic ways. With agriculture, the
intensive production of food, some individuals were freed from the obligation of getting food and they
became full-time political leaders, religious specialists, full-time artisans and full-time soldiers. With
agriculture came permanent use of the land, class divisions, and differences in wealth, prestige and power
between individuals and groups. War in pre-agricultural societies versus post-agricultural societies is
distinctly different.
Ember and Ember’s analysis of war in post-agricultural societies include the following:
 Military alliances increase the likelihood of war
 Trading of essential resources between groups lessons the likelihood of war
 Military equality between nations, particularly when preceded by a rapid military buildup seems to
increase the likelihood of war
Raymond Scupin: warfare has been an integral aspect of agricultural development, states often emerge as
a result of conflict and competition among groups. The ruling class focuses on accumulating more wealth
and power and warfare becomes a means of fulfilling this goal.
o Primary motivation for warfare in state systems is to gain political control over other
people, to increase the landholdings
o Wars are fought to establish economic and political hegemony over foreign peoples,
o wars and conflicts are fought over attempts to monopolize economic profits, markets, and
natural resources in other territories.
Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches, Marvin Harris
There are rational explanations for warfare but people seldom grasp the systematic causes and
consequences of warfare. We often attribute wars to “irrational and inscrutable” reasons such as
ancient hatreds that suddenly erupted or violent instincts that propel us. But he states we can find
the mundane and practical reasons for war if we look closely. Harris sees war in general as a struggle
for material benefits and resources
As citizens of the most powerful nation on earth what should we know about the United States and
War? What questions should we ask about our nation and its relationship to conflict and warfare?
The United States was founded with the Revolutionary War (conflict as a means of state
formation). We engaged in war on the indigenous peoples to gain material resources. We expanded
beyond our initial borders to increase our land and material resources.
We are different from many nations today in that we are fairly new, and we were founded on the
principles of democracy and freedom. Initially these rights were limited based on gender, ethnicity and class
but after many years of conflict these rights have been inclusive regardless of an individual’s group status.
Today we are the number one nation in;
 military spending, we spend more than--- the next top 15 spender’s COMBINED
 the number of wars engaged in since WWII
 the number of military bases outside of our borders (while we close bases at home)
 the amount of arms sold worldwide, 49% of the worlds arms come from the USA
 the percentage of our population that we imprison
Ivan Karp states “the Anthropological lens teaches us to question what we assume to be
Are we a violent nation? A violent people? Why have we engaged in so many wars? Americans comprise
some 6% of the world’s population and consume some 25% of the worlds resources…
Dwight D. Eisenhower, great military and political leader in his farewell address, Jan. 17, 1961 warned us
about undue influences in regards to military conflicts and wars- the rise of the military industrial complex.
The development of a large arms industry is new in the American experience… it is influencing us
economically, politically, even spiritually…we must guard against unwarranted influence…we must never let
the weight of this combination endanger our liberties…only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel
the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and
“The United States never lost a soldier or a foot of ground in my administration. We kept the peace. People
asked how it happened—by God, it didn’t just
happen, I’ll tell you that.”
The notion that the only alternatives to conflict are fight or flight are embedded in our culture, and
our educational institutions have done little to challenge it. The traditional American military policy
raises it to the level of a law of nature. Richard Heckler In Search of the Warrior Spirit.
Me against my brother
I and by brother against our cousins
I and my brother and my cousins against non-relatives
I and my brother and my cousins and friends against the enemies in our village
All of these and the whole village against another village
Old Bedouin Proverb
“A knowledge of anthropology enables us to look with greater freedom at the problems confronting
our civilization”
Franz Boas
Applied Anthropology
Methods, principles & theoretical knowledge used to deal with real-world problems
Roles of Applied Anthropologists
 Corporate World: improve working conditions, efficiency, marketing, inter-cultural
 Medical Anthropology: idea’s of health, sickness, treatments cultural mediated
 Cultural Broker: intercultural contacts
 Advocate: traditional cultures, disenfranchised groups
 Expert Witness: linguistics, religion, etc.
Public Policy: AIDS crisis, w/no vaccine, prevention is paramount, transmission thru sexual
activity & needles
 Holistic analysis: take into account - humans are sexual beings & humans universally to work
to alter consciousness (w/drugs & other means)
o Comparative: USA & worldwide
o Historical View: STD’s, Drug use
o Emic & Etic views: of transmission, prevention
Problems w/anthropological approach: ethnographic method, ethnocentrism, cultural relativity,
no quick fixes
Ethical issues: don’t harm people thru study, gain informed consent, respect privacy, etc.
“Identities are masks that we use to confront the world”
All identities are situational and shift according to circumstances”
Identity/Positionality Exercise
We all have a sense of self which has been profoundly shaped by the culture within which
we are raised. Our sense of identity is formed through interaction with our environment. The goal
of this exercise is to have you reflect on and make explicit the values and norms that have shaped
Depending on the country that you are born and raised in you have been enculturated into
the “mainstream” or “macro” culture of that country. You have learned the values and norms which
operate in the institutions of that country. American culture is no exception, there are values and
norms that we are taught because we live in this culture. Based on your experience in this culture
list three of the most important values and/or norms that we are “taught” about American culture
and stated where you think they came from (what brought them into being in this country).
Within all mainstream cultures there are various sub-cultures. Each of these subcultures has its
own dominate values and norms. The goal of this exercise is for you to make explicit your status in
each of the categories below. For each heading, state your status (i.e. for gender state whether
you are a man or a women) and list three values or norms for each category.
 Gender:
Socioeconomic Class:
Region of the country you were raised in (or the country you were raised in if you are not
Pick two additional sub-cultures which impact your social identity (interests, activities, work,
etc) and state your status and list three important values and norms:
Race Fieldwork: The purpose of this exercise is for you to explore what individuals within the United States know
about the concept of race. Interview ten people and ask them the questions below. You may interview friends, family
members, and fellow students (except students in this class). Keep in mind that people are often uncomfortable talking
about race and they will want you to give them the “right answer.” Do not help your respondents formulate their
answers, this will bias your fieldwork. Do not write down the names of your respondents.
How many
Define the term “race” (i.e. what does the
What criteria do you use to label
List three races that you
races are
term race mean, what type of
someone as coming from a particular
know of
categorization is it?)
racial or ethnic group?
Race: The Power of an Illusion- The House We Live In
1. From your readings and the video give at least two reasons as to why race is an illusion and not
a reality?
2. What do the markers of; skin color, hair texture, and facial features tell us about an individual?
3. What is meant by the statement “biology is destiny?”
4. At various times the courts in the USA defined who was White and who was not. State at least
one criteria that was used to define an individual as White. State at least one ramification of being
defined as non-White.
8. In the 1930’s the US government created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The FHA
worked to insure or provide the loans for average Americans purchasing a home. Prior to the FHA
individuals had to pay 50% of the sales price up front and pay off their loan within 5 years. With
the creation of the FHA individuals could put down as little as 0%-20% and had 30 years to pay off
their loan. What groups in the USA were able to take advantage of FHA loans? Are there any
ramifications of this policy that affect individuals today?
9. What is White flight? How and why does White flight happen? What are the results of White
10. In relationship to “life’s chances” what is more significant, income or net worth? Explain your
Economics Report
K. Markley
Economic behavior is the choices individuals & societies make regarding their scarce resources to produce
& distribute goods & services. It is assumed that people will make choices that provide them with the
greatest benefit. However what is considered the greatest benefit will vary from society to society. The goal
of this assignment is to determine the way in which you use your time & labor (your greatest resource), and
to outline the benefits that you attain. Use the following categories to examine the way you spend your time.
Production Time: Work time, school time, where goods and services are produced, either for further
production (capital goods) or for direct consumption (consumption goods). Includes all of the following:
work, school, maintenance of goods (house, car) cleaning, laundry, bathing, food preparation, child care.
Consumption Time: Time spent using consumption goods, eating, watching TV, visiting amusement
parks, computer games, driving, playing tennis, riding `bikes, church, political activities, travel, reading mass
media/newspapers, going to movies, etc.
Free Time: Time spent in neither production or consumption. It involves sheer idleness, resting, sleeping,
chatting with friends and/or family
 Fill out the chart on the reverse side, accounting for the way in which you use your time & labor in an
average week. Work to be as accurate as possible. Then answer the questions below.
1. For each of the three categories; 1) list the % of time you spend in each category, 2) briefly state a benefit
and cost to you (benefits & costs in relation to the time spent in the category, and 3) briefly state a benefit &
cost to society.
2. Which category do you value most? Value the least? Does the way you spend your time reflect your
values (in relationship to the categories and the percentages)? If not why doesn’t your use of time reflect
your values?
3. Agree or disagree with the following statement “Humans are economic beings, motivated by material
gain” and give a rationale for your answer (make sure to address what is meant by material gain).
4. One assumption in the study of economic behavior is that humans are rational actors, that is they make
rational choices to get the greatest benefit. Do you believe humans are generally rational actors? Why or
why not?
Total hours
Total hours
Total Hours
Free Time
 For each box insert a P, C, or F and then put your totals at the bottom.
 Total hours of P time ________ Total hours of C time ___________ Total hours of F time _________
 Percentage of P time _______ Percentage of C time _________ Percentage of F time _________
(To obtain the percentages for each category: total up all hours spent in each category (P,C, F) for the entire
week, then divide each category by the total hours in a week (168 hours). The three percentages must add
up to 100%. Example: P total hours for week = 60 divide by 168= 36%.)
 An activity may overlap between categories, for instance if you go to lunch with a friend, you can divide
that time between consumption time and free time.
Video- A Poor Man Shames Us All
What is the significance of living in a post-industrial, developed, wealthy nation? How have these
material conditions shaped your life? How does the economic system under which you live shape
your life, your values, your norms, your family structure, the way in which you work to survive?
We work in a society in which we sell our labor (our time and energy) for money. We use this
money to purchase the things we need and the things that we want. Traditional societies
(foraging/hunting and horticultural societies) use in reciprocity (gift exchange) as a means to get
the things that they want and need.
1. David Mayberry Lewis states that “in the marketplace things are valued over people” and in
traditional cultures “people are valued over things.” Do you agree or disagree with these
statements? What rationale and data are you using in your analysis?
2. We are said to live in a postmodern world in which we create our identity and we display our
identity through the things that we own (clothes, cars, homes, toys, possessions). Marketing
campaigns often work to sell us an image of ourselves in relationship to the things that we own and
consume. To what degree do you judge others in relationship to what they own and consume? In
relationship to who the person is, their values, beliefs, and behaviors?
3. What is your opinion of Joe, the garbage collectors life? Is he rich or poor? In what ways is he
rich and in what ways is he poor?
4. What type of society does the man from Indonesia live in? What type of economic system
would you guess that they have? Is the man who is building the monument to his father rich or
poor? In what ways is he rich and in what ways is he poor?
5. The Dutch colonized Indonesia and modernized the colony over time. Mayberry-Lewis states
that with modernization and a market economy the boardroom and the bank have become our
“churches” and the heart of this new religion is money. Do you agree or disagree with his
analysis? Why or why not?
6. Throughout the video there is a discussion of the marketplace and the role of advertising. One
school of thought is that advertising only presents the things that we want anyway, advertisers are
said to be following the marketplace and consumers. Another school of thought is that the
marketplace and advertisers create the desire for things that we never knew we wanted. What is
your perspective?
7. The story of the camel herder who has lost his herd ends with the statement “A poor man
shames us all.” This is the sentiment in a society which practices reciprocity and is group oriented.
Group oriented cultures recognize and value inter-dependence. Who does a poor man shame in a
society with a market economy and a society that values independence and self-reliance? Does
this analysis emphasis the micro (individual level) or the macro (institutional level)?
8. Mayberry-Lewis developed this film as a part of a series in which he states we can gain some
wisdom from tribal cultures. Some would see him as idealistic and impractical others see him as
putting forth a different value system and way of living that can be achieved through the choices
that we make. At the end of the video he states that we can go two ways in the coming centuries
“we can care for people, care for the environment over things or we can have things as more
important than people.” What do you think of his analysis? What choices can we make and what
choices should we make?
9. Mayberry-Lewis also states that at some point those without will come knocking on our doors,
possibly knocking down our doors. Do you think that we will see rebellions, revolutions, terrorism
and war over the unequal distribution of things? Are we having conflict in the world today over the
inequities between and within nations?
Ascribed & Achieved Statuses
K. Markley
We live in a stratified society where we all hold different statuses based a variety of criteria. Living in a
stratified society means that we are judged based on our status, we are judged in our personal and
professional lives. The goal of this exercise is to explore the different criteria we use in judging an
individual’s status, and to determine how much of our status is ascribed and how much is achieved.
Ascribed attributes are those we are born with, we can do little or nothing to change our ascribed status.
Achieved attributes are those we achieve through our efforts within our lifetime. Achieved attributes change
within our lifetime depending on the actions we take (education, work, marriage choices, etc).
 First review the list of attributes below. To the right of each attribute write either AS for ascribed
attribute or AC for achieved attribute.
 Second, go through the list of attributes and determine which attributes are the most important in
judging a person’s social status. Rank each attribute from 1 to 12, with 1 being the most important attribute
in judging status and 12 being the least important. No ties are allowed.
Ascribed or Achieved
Rank 1-12
Socioeconomic Status
Religion/ Philosophy
Personal Appearance
Athletic Ability
In Class Group Work: Compare your answers with the answers of others in your group and answer the
following questions.
 To what degree did you all agree as to whether or not attributes were ascribed or achieved? List the
attributes that you mostly agreed on and the attributes you disagreed on
 Look at your top 3 attributes in judging someone’s status and look at the bottom 3, how much
agreement do you have with your other group members? What attributes are the subject of the most
 Can you or any of your group members think of an important attribute that has been omitted from this
What do you think are the most important factors that contribute to the differences in opinion that you
have with your group members?
Anthropology 102- NOW Video on Stratification in the USA, in the World
1. What is a living wage and how does it relate to the “capability to function”?
2. Give at least two specific examples of the personal or micro ramifications of an individual, who
is working a full-time job, not earning a living wage.
3. Give at least two specific examples of the societal or macro ramifications of an individual, who is
working a full-time job, not earning a living wage for a full-time job.
4. Why are full-time jobs not paying people a living wage?
5. What is the general trend for wages in the USA? Where is this money going?
6. What are the three religions that Joseph Hough speaks of? Why does he see these three
religions as connected?
7. Would Joseph Hough be a functional/order theorist or a conflict/critical theorist?
8. What does Joseph Hough mean by an “act of refusal?” What does Hough see the future as
holding for the USA and the world?
Field Assignment: Gender & Sex
K. Markley
The purpose of this exercise is to get idea of how individuals within the United States view gender, sex and
sexuality. Are these roles assigned and immutable due to our biology or are they largely dictated by culture
and therefore changeable and flexible.
How do you
between males
and females
(what information
do you use)?
How many sexes
are there?
State at least
one difference
between men
and women.
How many
genders are
Do you think
males are more
aggressive than
females? If so,
is it due to
biology or culture
Do you think
females are
more nurturing or
caring than
males? If so, is
it due to biology
or culture?
Is sexual
dictated by
biology or
culture? How
many sexual
orientations are
Do we have the
freedom to
chose our sex,
gender and/or
our sexual
orientation or are
they assigned?
Cultural Anthropology
Name: ____________________
Closet Assignment
One aspect of globalization is the widespread flow of goods around the planet. To see how
connected we all are the global market place go into your closet and look at the labels on your
clothes. Where are you clothes made? Are your clothes made in developed, wealthy nations or
under developed poorer nations? Specifically what labor force(s) are making your clothes?
Step One: Find 10 items of clothing and note where they were made and approximately what you
paid for them.
Clothing item
country of origin
approx. cost
Step Two: Go online and using a search engine type in “sweatshop labor.” What websites come
up on your screen? Look over a couple of the websites and below list at least two bits of
information that surprised you, intrigued you and or shocked you.
Step Three: What does the statement “the personal is political” mean? Write out what you think it
Become a Citizen Activist: work to shape your future and your society and your world
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world,
indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead
Museum of Tolerance
The last time I visited the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles (I would highly recommend visiting this
museum if you haven’t made the trip yet) the guide discussed three major themes that they were
emphasizing at the museum. The first theme was the power of the individual to make a difference in their
community and world. The second theme was the personal responsibility that we all share for what is
happening in our community and in our world. The last theme discussed was the power of words to
influence individual’s thoughts and actions. The Museum of Tolerance addresses one of the greatest
examples of humans inhumanity, the genocide that Hitler and others worked to perpetuate against the Jews
and other groups (Gypsies, Homosexuals, etc.). The holocaust involved the systematic killing of millions of
individuals while much of the world stood by and did nothing. As I walked through the museum my thoughts
were not only on this past example of human’s capacity for killing and apathy but on events that are
happening today, in our communities and in our world. Today, at this point in time, there are ongoing acts of
genocide, killing, and apathy by humans around the world. I wondered what power I have to change things,
what personal responsibility I have to change things and lastly how words are being used to influence others
(to either take action or to stand by). A number of years ago I made the decision to become more educated
about events both in my community and in the world and to use my knowledge to make a difference. I invite
you to look around your community and world and start making a difference.
Become informed: If you get the majority of your news is from the TV you are NOT getting a true picture as
to what is really happening either in your community or the world. The goal of TV news is to sell you on the
news station. The news presented is hyped, often inaccurate, and incomplete. Multiple survey’s have
shown that individuals who get the majority of their news from the TV are ill-informed about both national
and world events. The first step in becoming a citizen activist is to become informed. Below are a variety of
sources that will help give you a broader understanding of what is happening in your nation and the world.
 Read a variety of papers and also foreign newspapers for a broader perspective, web sites include: , , ,
 Go to or any other search engine to get information on a topic that is important to you.
Pick a social issue or problem that is important to you, either because of personal experience or personal
interest. Read both sides of the issue or debate to get informed.
 Read alternative sources of information, some sites include:,,,,,, ,,,
 Listen to alternative sources of information: KPFK 90.7 FM, KPCC 89.3 FM, 1150 Air America
Register to Vote! You can’t make your voice heard if you don’t vote.
Make your voice heard: write, call or email your congressperson, senator, local news stations,
corporations, etc.: The front of your phone book white pages contains the phone numbers and addresses
of government officials (under “Government Officials”).
Ghandi’s Seven Deadly Social Sins: Politics without Principle, Wealth without Work, Commerce without
Morality, Pleasure without Conscience, Education without Character, Science without Humanity, Worship
without Sacrifice.
We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hominid Fossil Record Overview: The following is a general outline of the species and genus in the
hominid fossil record as it is known at this time. The information below is only a brief outline of key points.
You will still need to take notes from class lecture, read your texts and take notes from class video’s. The
species and genus underlined are those that you need to know for the final exam.
Sahelanthropus tchadensis “Toumai”: found 2002 in Chad (North, Central Africa), dated 6-7 mya, nearly
complete cranium, which has both “chimp-like” and “human-like” features. Some see Toumai as an early
ape, others as an early hominid. Key questions/points: 1) Do Toumai’s fossil remains reveal a skeletal
anatomy for quadropedalism or bipedalism? There is no definitive determination at this. 2) The location
and age of Toumai (North Africa) has been quite shocking to some because it implies that hominids may
have evolved in two locations (East and North Africa) and hominids may have evolved later than previously
Orrorin tugenesis: (“original man”) found 2001 in Ethiopia (East Africa) dated 6-7 mya, some 12 bones
including teeth, jaw, arm and femur bones were found. Key questions/points: Do Orrorin tugenesis fossil
remains reveal a skeletal anatomy for bipedalism or quadropedalism ? At this point there is no definitive
determination bit there is less evidence and more debate over Orrorin than “Toumai.” Orrorin tugenesis was
found in East Africa.
Ardipithecus ramidus: 4.4 mya, Ethiopia (East Africa), bipedal, “ape-like facial features,” foramen magnum
and arm bone shows bipedalism. Found in a forest/ woodland environment. Remains of some 50+
individuals found. Key questions/points: Ardipithecus ramidus is the oldest definitive hominid, what was
the environment they lived in? What role did the environment play in the selection for bipedalism?
Ardipithecus ramidus kadabba: found 2001 Ethiopia, dated 5.2-5.8mya. Key questions/points: Critics
state fossil data is too limited for subspecies designation, supporters state there enough data to support
kadabba subspecies designation (also large time frame difference from ramidus species).
Australopithecus: genus with multiple species, 4.2-2.3 mya, East & South Africa, “small-brained gracile
hominids w/mixed vegetable diet”, “bipedal apes”
Key questions/points: What was their lifestyle like, how similar were they to chimps in their adaptations?
How refined was the bipedalism of Australopithecus? Was Australopithecus solely terrestrial or were they
still partially arboreal? They had reduced canines, increased manual dexterity, and were sexually dimorphic
what type of mating patterns did they engage in and what was their social group formation like?
A. anamensis: 4.2-3.9 mya, Kenya, (East Africa) forest/woodland environment, 21 individuals
A. afarensis: 4-3 mya, Ethiopia, “Lucy,” 3’5”-5ft. 65-100lbs., 440cc average brain size, some adaptations for
arboreal lifestyle, long arms, short legs, prognathus face, sexually dimorphic, 300+ specimens.
A. africanus: 3-2.3mya, South Africa, few differences from afarensis, 1st find 1925.
A. garhi: found 1999, Ethipia (East Africa), 5 individuals. Key points: garhi found with animal remains
subject to stone scrape marks and bones crushed to get marrow, it was very surprising to find stone tool use
in a small brained Australopithecus.
A. bahrelghazalia: found 1995, Chad (North Africa), find initially subject to much debate because of age
and location, unusual to find Australopithecus in northern Africa. This find now has more validity with the
recent find of Sahelanthropus tchadensis in Northern Africa.
Paranthropus: genus with multiple species (about half the textbooks put the Paranthropus species under
the Australopithecus genus designation) 2.8-1mya, East & South Africa, “small-brained robust hominids
w/mixed grassland, vegetable diet.” “Robusticity” is in molars, chewing muscles, otherwise similar to
“gracile” hominids in overall physical size. Species: aethiopithecus, boisei, robustus.
Key points/ questions: 1) Paranthropus overlaps with Australopithecus and early Homo, what allowed it to
“out compete” Australopithecus? Why did it go extinct with the arrival of early Homo? Are the differences in
teeth and chewing muscles enough to put these species in a different genus from Australopithecus? Should
all of the Paranthropus species be included in the Australopithecus genus?
Kenyathropus platyops: announced find 2001, in Kenya (Eastern Africa), dated 3.5 mya. Features
include; fairly modern face, a “flat face”, small molars, near vertical cheekbones (all features associated with
later hominids). Key questions/points: Is K. platyops a more direct ancestor to the genus Homo than
Australopithecus? Do the morphological features of K. platyops warrant a new genus designation?
Homo: genus with multiple species “large brained, omnivorous, stone tool using hominids.” Homo has trend
towards larger brains, meat in diet, reduction of face & molars, making and using of stone tools.
“Early Homo” 2.3 –1.5 mya, East & South Africa (with some question about recent finds in the Republic of
Georgia- debate as to whether or not these finds are early or middle Homo)
Homo habilis & Homo rudolfensis: features include less prognathus facial features, bit less sloping
forehead, no sagittal crest, brain size 680 avg. (500-800). Body similar to Australopithecus, still longer arms
& shorter legs (4-5 feet, 70-115 lbs.). Oldewan Tool Tradition/Pebble Tools. Key questions/points
include: does habilis have a large enough brain to warrant inclusion in genus Homo? Did habilis process
meat at home bases? Did early Homo leave Africa with a “small” brain, short legs, and “primitive” tools
(Dmansi finds)?
Middle Homo: 1.8-100,000 (27,000?), Africa, Southeast Asia, China, Europe
Homo eragaster (generally seen as the “African” erectus) & Homo erectus. Features of middle Homo
include bigger brains, more complex behaviors, more complex stone tools, and living in a variety of
environments. Skull: heavy brow ridges, some prognathism, thick cranium, little forehead development,
wide cranium base. Brain size: 980 avg (800-1250). Body: modern looking neck-down, modern gait,
hairless?, 5-6 ft., 100lbs+. Auchulian Tools: flaked entire stone, controlled shape of core. Key questions/
points: Why did erectus leave Africa? When were hominids able to make and use fire? When did infants
become so helpless?
Archaic Homo sapiens : contested taxonomic classifications with a large number of fossils found on three
continents and over a large time-frame. Debates include whether or not species should be labeled as
various species in genus Homo or as subspecies of Homo sapiens.
Homo antecessor: Spain, 780,000-300,000 found with primitive tools 1mya,hunters? Cannibals?
Homo heidlbergensis: China, England, Africa, India; 500,000-100,000, more vertical foreheads, 1300cc
avg. brain size, Levallois Tool Tradition: “prepared core” careful preparation of core to produce desired
flake shape, more specialized purpose tools.
Homo neanderthalensis (Neandertals): 225,000-36,000 Europe, Croatia, Iraq, Israel (275+ individuals),
Skull: sloped forehead, back of skull broad, large discontinuous brow ridges, large face, slightly prognathus,
receding chin, large sinus cavities, Brain size: 1480 avg. (1200-1740), Body: robust, stocky, muscular, 5’3”5’6”, Mousterian Tool: elaboration of Levallois, careful retouching of flakes, up to 63 tool types (Butchering,
wood-working, some bone/ antler carving, cut animal hides, Haft stone points for spears). Key questions/
points: Neandertals are a “cold-adapted” species, did they interbreed with early modern Homo sapiens?
Did neandertals have modern language? How different were neandertals in behavior and abilities from
early modern Homo sapiens?
“Homo” floresiensis: 95,000-12,000, Indonesia, found 9/03, reported 10/27/04. “Hobbit” species, island
environment, small brain (chimp-sized), small stature (3 foot adult female almost complete skeleton & 7
other individuals), made small, sophisticated stone tools, co-existed with giant tortises, pony sized
elephants, dog sized rats, Komodo dragons. Hunted, cooked food, lived communally, language?
Early modern Homo sapiens- Upper Paleolithic peoples: Africa 200,000 (oldest sites), Europe, Asia,
Australia (40k-80k), Americas (17k-40k), Skull: flat/small face, small teeth, no heavy brow ridges, globular
skull, vertical forehead. Body: slender, taller, not as robust. Not visibly different from modern humans today.
 Upper Paleolithic Tools: long, bifacially flaked spear points, punch technique, tools decorated, use
bone, antler & ivory, Big Game Hunting: spears, bow & arrow, nets used in hunting, run game off cliffs,
Cultural “Revolution”: frequent burial of dead w/artifacts, music, personal adornment, Cave Art: 100+
sites in Europe, sites in Africa, Australia, purpose of cave art?
Homo Sapiens idaltu: found June 2003, dated at 160,000 (previously oldest fossils were 200,000), three
skulls (two adults, 1 child), living close to freshwater lake in Ethiopia, butchered remains of hippopotamuses,
fish remains, and 640 stone tools found, skulls subject to de-fleshing, mortuary purposes? Cannibalism?