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ANTHROPOLOGY IB - Key Concepts
Terms in this set (9)
Belief and knowledge
A set of convictions, values and viewpoints regarded as "the truth" and shared by members of a social group. These are underpinned and supported by known cultural experience.
The alteration or modification of cultural or social elements in a society. Change may be due to internal dynamics within a society, or the result of contact with another culture, or a consequence of globalization.
Culture refers to organized systems of symbols, ideas, explanations, beliefs and material production that humans create and manipulate in the course of their daily lives. Culture includes the customs by which humans organize their physical world and maintain their social structure. More recent approaches to culture recognize that cultures are not static, homogenous or bounded but dynamic and fluid. Culture refers to the shared social construction of meanings, but simultaneously culture is often also a site of contested meanings. These recent formulations of the concept recognize that culture may be the subject of disagreement and conflict within and among societies, and this disagreement may include the definition of culture itself.
Identity can refer either to the individual's private and personal view of the self—this is sometimes referred to as the "moi"—or the view of an individual in the eyes of the social group. Identity also refers to group identity, which may take the form of religious identity, ethnic identity, or national identity for example.
Objects, resources and belongings have cultural meaning, described by Arjun Appadurai as "the social life of things", and are embedded with all kinds of social relations and practices. Some anthropologists think that human experience can be understood through the study of material objects. For example, contemporary approaches focus on the materiality of the body.
Power is an essential part of social relations and can be considered as a person's or group's capacity to influence, manipulate or control others and resources. In its broadest sense, power can be understood as involving distinctions and inequalities between members of a social group. Some approaches to power focus on structural power or the capacity of power to produce subjectivities.
Any relationship between two or more individuals in a network of relationships. Social relations involve an element of individual agency as well as group expectations and form the basis of social organization and social structure. They pervade every aspect of human life and are extensive, complex, and diverse.
Society refers to the way in which humans organize themselves in groups and networks. Society is created and sustained by social relationships among persons and groups. The term "society" can also be used to refer to a human group that exhibits some internal coherence and distinguishes itself from other such groups.
Symbolism is the study of the significance that people attach to objects, actions, and processes creating networks of symbols through which they construct a culture's web of meaning.
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