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UVM Intro to Anthro.: human cultures.


The discipline devoted to study of all aspects of human cultures.


Analysis as a whole, without separation.

Physical Anthropology

the branch of anthropology dealing with the genetics and variation of human beings


Roots- oral, written and material histories

Cultural Anthropology

The study of humans as social beings

Linguistic Anthropology

the study of language, its structure, function, and evolution


Learned patterns of behavior, belief and actions shared by a society or group


the process of learning ones culture

Cultural Relativism

belief that all cultures are equally valid based on their internal structure


firsthand recovery of data in the field


people who provide information on how/why their culture does what they do


an account of an anthropologists research with a particular group


comparative study of ethnoographic information in order to better understand human societies in a comparative framework.

Applied Anthropology

The use of anthropological knowledge and methods to solve practical problems, often for a specific client.

Research Problem

what is it you want to know about the culture you are studying


the trend towards increased cultural and economic connections


personal neutrality in conducting research


judgement that is affected by personal prejudices or emotions

Emic Perspectives

local knowledge-insiders perspective on why things are done

Etic Perspectives

an outsiders view on why people do what they do


belief that one's own culture is superior to all others


fear of strange cultures/people


the use of body movements as a means of communication; also called body language


the study of spatial distances between individuals in different cultures and situations


social roles/status people are socialized into based on cultural concepts about sex

Biological Sex

biological distinctions between people (physical, hormonal and chromosomal differences)


a person's view of himself or herself as a male or female


who or what a person is

Gender Roles

tasks/activities each culture assigns to each culturally identified gender

Gender Stratification

division of society into unequal segments based on gender

Gender Stereotypes

strongly held beliefs about characteristics of males/females


a form of social organization in which a male is the family head and title is traced through the male line


a form of social organization in which a female is the family head and title is traced through the female line

Sexual Orientation

a persons habitual sexual attraction to others


a member of the "third gender" in south asia usually biologically male

"Two-Spirits" (Berdache)

a third gender among american native tribes usually transgendered

Division of labor

division of tasks by age, gender, race or group


situation that arises when the norms of society are unclear or are no longer applicable

Culture Shock

overwhelming feeling when immersed in a new culture to you

Incest Taboo

socially defined ban on sexual relations between certain individuals in a society

Social Sanctions

rewards and punishments for behaviors


the process of giving birth or being born

Rites of Passage

rituals that mark culturally significant transitions through life (separation transition incorporation)

Genital Mutilation

culturally prescribed acts designed to alter sexual organs for social expectations


the feeling that we let ourselves down


the feeling that we let others down

Social Death

the complete social isolation and exclusion of a person

Social Role

expected behavior for people of certain status

Customary Law

expressions of law that develop in communities and are adapted as social customs


a native tribe from papua new guinea


a native tribe from the phillippines


signs of masculinity - violence, power and dominance

Iroquoian Matrilineality

iriquois society was matrilineal meaning heritage was traced through the mother

Supernumerary Genders

genders recognized in addition to two biological sexes

Cultural Norms

a cultures social expectations for behavior


a sexual attraction to (or sexual relations with) persons of the opposite sex


a sexual attraction to (or sexual relations with) persons of the same sex


sexual activity with both men and women


A lack of sexual attraction to people of either sex


an area where everything is visible


self control


the act of noticing or paying attention

Michel Foucault


Dominance Heirarchies

pecking order in a group

Sexual Dimorphism

a special case of polymorphism based on the distiction between the secondary sex characteristics of males and females

Structural Violence

intentional use of power or position against an individual or entity


The period of devolopment from fertilized egg to birth.

Secondary Altricial

humans take a long time to fully develop and learn their culture

Birthing Rituals

a cultures process for child delivery


death of an infant due to purposeful neglect

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