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the study of humanity, from its evolutionary origins millions of years ago to its current worldwide diversity


subjunctive, based on insiders' view, as in explanations people have for their own cultural behavior./Objective, based on outsiders' view as an explanations of people's behavior by anthropologist or other observers


Aspect of cultural anthropology involved with building theories about cultural behaviors and forms


Aspect of cultural anthropology involved with observing and documenting peoples' ways of life


The learned values, beliefs, and rules of conduct shared to some extent by the members of a society that govern their behavior with one another


An alternative cultural model within a society that expresses different views about the way that society should be organized

Material culture

The tools people make and use, the clothing and ornaments they wear, the buildings they live in, and the household utensils they use


Culture-based, often ethnocentric, way that people see the world and other peoples


Process of learning one's culture through informal observation and formal instruction


Process by which a group adjusts to living within a dominant culture while at the same time maintaining its original cultural identity


Process by which a less numerous and less powerful cultural group changes its ways and cultural identity to changes its ways and cultural identity to blend in with the dominant culture

Cultural pluralism

Condition in a stratified society in which many diverse cultural groups ideally live together equally and harmoniously without losing their cultural identities and diversity


The widespread human tendency to perceive the ways of doing things in one's own culture as normal and natural and that of others as strange, inferior, and possibly even unnatural or inhuman

Cultural Evolution/Unilinear Evolutionary Anthropology/ Social Darwinism

Belief of early anthropologists that cultures evolve through various stages from a simpler and more primitive states to a complex and more culturally/Early belief that cultures compete for surviial of the fittest, as in the process of natural selection in biological evolution

Cultural Relativism

An approach in anthropology that stresses the importance of analyzing cultures in their own terms rather than in terms of the culture of the anthropologist


View that cultural traits have social functions that contribute to the smooth operations of the whole society


View that cultural differences can be explained by differences in forms or conceptual categories rather than in meanings

Cultural Materialism

Explanations of cultural differences as the results of cultural adaptations through economic production

Applied Anthropology

An area of anthropology that applies the techniques and theories of the field to problem solving outside of traditional academic settings

Ethical Relativism

The belief that all rights and wrong are relative to time, place, and culture, such that no moral judgments of behavior can be made

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