Fields of Social Sciences: Sociology, Psychology, Criminology, History, Economics, Political Science
Humanities: Language, Philosophy, Religious Studies
Both areas are captured in anthropology, which can be considered the broadest area
Anthropology is: 1. Broad in scope
2. Holistic- looking at all aspects through biology and culture, and looking at all internal aspects and how they are linked or related to each other. Everything is absolutely interrelated and can’t really be separated-more historical.
3. Cross culture comparison- Anthropologists want to see the difference throughout each culture.
4. Fieldwork- Studying how a culture lives by immersing into the different cultural setting. A requirement to anthropology.
5. Focus on the “other”- A “nonwestern” focus. Traditionally people look at non-industrial groups of people. Looking at people through their own perspectives.
Ethnography is a written down account of the cultures by an anthropologist (fieldwork)
Participant observation (fieldwork)- a research method in which the anthropologist participates in the culture but also observes.
There are 4 subfields in anthropology: 1. Physical anthropology/biological- studying bones and looking at humans as biological beings, primatology (apes or primates closely related to humans). Mostly primate rather than the study of bones, interested in evolution.
2. Archaeology- studying artifacts such as old buildings or pots or old fireplaces. Archaeologists are more interested in the study of material objects- “stuff of people”
3. Linguistics- studying how the language affects society. A language like Maya would be a language that linguistic anthropologists are interested in. Regular linguistics- actual languages of people, living languages, dialects- cultural anthropologists.
4. Cultural Anthropology- a lot of applied work. The study of the similarities and differences between contemporary peoples. Temporary cultures and analysis.
Basic vs. Applied
Basic is finding things out but not solving anything, applied deals with solving problems with the things you find out.
All areas of anthropology can be applied
Focusing on the “other”
Emic vs. Etic- Anthropological perspectives
Emic- insider perspective. Looking at a culture as if you personally were in that culture and understanding the world the way they do.
Etic- how anthropologists talk about cultures when using the emic perspective. Polygyny is an anthropological term to describe a man having more than one wife, which would be an anthropologist’s use to describe a man with multiple wives (an etic view).
Anthropologists must switch back and forth between the emic and etic perspectives.
Carlos Castaneda- hippie, “went native”, did peyote with natives and never switched from the emic to the etic. Lost in the culture he was supposed to be studying.
Ethnocentrism- Viewing cultures in comparison to yours, but the idea that your culture is superior. All cultures are ethnocentric. Using your own cultural lens to understand other cultures. People are generally raised to believe their culture is the absolute norm (right way) Ethnocentrism normally leads to inaccuracy Cultural relativism helps squash ethnocentrism. Different degrees of ethnocentrism Cultural relativism avoids ethnocentrism and views other cultures through their own lens.
People looking down on the Mormon polygynous relationships are biased and are participating in ethnocentrism.
Anthropologists shouldn’t pick a field of research in which they are extremely emotionally invested in (must maintain scientific detachment)
FGM- Female Genital Mutilation is something socially accepted in cultures and must be respected. We cannot argue that it’s wrong just because it’s not our own culture.
Genocide is a routine in a society (normalized)- Some of the certain things that can be judged and looked down upon.
We want to avoid extreme cultural relativism, commonalities should be seen between cultures,