Anthropolgy: Chapter One

anthropology
The study of human nature, human society, and the
human past.

holism
A characteristic of the anthropological perspective that
describes, at the highest and most inclusive level, how anthropology tries to integrate all that is known about human beings and their activities.

comparison
A characteristic of the anthropological perspective that requires anthropologists to consider similarities and differences in as wide a range of human societies as possible before generalizing about human nature, human society, or the human past.

evolution
A characteristic of the anthropological perspective that
requires anthropologists to place their observations about human nature, human society, or the human past in a temporal framework that takes into consideration change over time.

culture
Sets of learned behavior and ideas that human beings acquire as members of society. Human beings use culture to adapt to and to transform the world in which they live.

biocultural organisms
Organisms (in this case, human beings) whose
defi ning features are codetermined by biological and cultural factors.

races Social groupings that allegedly refl ect biological differences.
racism The systematic oppression of one or more socially defi ned
“races” by another socially defi ned “race” that is justifi ed in terms of the
supposed inherent biological superiority of the rulers and the supposed
inherent biological inferiority of those they rule.

biological anthropology (or physical anthropology) The
specialty of anthropology that looks at human beings as biological
organisms and tries to discover what characteristics make them different
from other organisms and what characteristics they share.
primatology The study of nonhuman primates, the closest living
relatives of human beings.
paleoanthropology The search for fossilized remains of humanity’s
earliest ancestors.

cultural anthropology The specialty of anthropology that shows how
variation in the beliefs and behaviors of members of different human
groups is shaped by sets of learned behaviors and ideas that human
beings acquire as members of society—that is, by culture.
sex Observable physical characteristics that distinguish two kinds of
humans, females and males, needed for biological reproduction.
gender The cultural construction of beliefs and behaviors considered
appropriate for each sex.

fi eldwork An extended period of close involvement with the people
in whose language or way of life anthropologists are interested, during
which anthropologists ordinarily collect most of their data.
informants People in a particular culture who work with
anthropologists and provide them with insights about their way of life.
Also called respondents, teachers, or friends.

ethnography An anthropologist’s written or fi lmed description of a
particular culture.

ethnology The comparative study of two or more cultures.
language The system of arbitrary vocal symbols used to encode one’s
experience of the world and of others.
linguistic anthropology The specialty of anthropology concerned
with the study of human languages.

archaeology A cultural anthropology of the human past involving the
analysis of material remains left behind by earlier societies.
applied anthropologists Specialists who use information gathered
from the other anthropological specialties to solve practical cross-
cultural problems.

medical anthropology The specialty of anthropology that concerns
itself with human health—the factors that contribute to disease or
illness and the ways that human populations deal with disease or illness.

For Review
1. What is anthropology, as defi ned in the text?
2. What are the four distinctive approaches anthro-
pologists take to the study of human life?
3. How do anthropologists defi ne culture?
4. What makes anthropology a cross-disciplinary
discipline?
5. Describe the main subfi elds of modern
anthropology.
6. What are some of the main topics of interest in bio-
logical anthropology? 7. What are some of the main topics of interest in cul-
tural anthropology?
8. Summarize the difference between ethnography
and ethnology.
9. What do linguistic anthropologists try to learn
about human languages?
10. What are some of the things archaeologists study?
11. How is applied anthropology connected to the
other branches of anthropology?
12. What is critical medical anthropology?

Module One
myths Stories that recount how various aspects of the world came
to be the way they are. The power of myths comes from their ability
to make life meaningful for those who accept them. The truth of
myths seems self-evident because they effectively integrate personal
experiences with a wider set of assumptions about the way society, or
the world in general, must operate.
science The invention of explanations about what things are, how they
work, and how they came to be that can be tested against evidence in
the world itself.
assumptions Basic, unquestioned understandings about the way the
world works.
evidence What is seen when a particular part of the world is examined
with great care. Scientists use two different kinds of evidence: material
and inferred.

hypotheses Statements that assert a particular connection between
fact and interpretation.
testability The ability of scientifi c hypotheses to be matched against
nature to see whether they are confi rmed or refuted.

scientifi c theory A coherently organized series of testable hypotheses
used to explain a body of material evidence.

1 . According to the text, what is science?
2. How does science differ from myth?
3. Why must scientists be particularly concerned about
the assumptions they bring to their observations of
the natural world?
4. Explain the difference between material and inferred
evidence.

Why does a hypothesis need to be testable in order to
be considered scientifi c?
6. What are scientifi c theories, and why are they taken
seriously even when their hypotheses remain open to
testing?
7. What is objectivity?
8. Summarize the discussion in the text about scientifi c
communities.

An anthropologist who studies how environmental features affect human well-being would probably be called a
Select one:
a. Archaeologist
b. Linguistic anthropologist
c. Medical anthropologist Correct
d. Primatologist
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The correct answer is: Medical anthropologist
Question 2
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Paleoanthropologists study
Select one:
a. Modern apes
b. Biological variation in living human populations
c. Fossilized bones and teeth Correct
d. Nutrition and physical development
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The correct answer is: Fossilized bones and teeth
Question 3
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To cultural anthropologists, informants are people who
Select one:
a. Are willing to share secrets about the lives of others in their community
b. Read the books and articles that cultural anthropologists write
c. Share information about their culture and language with anthropologists Correct
d. Serve as research subjects
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The correct answer is: Share information about their culture and language with anthropologists
Question 4
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An extended period of close involvement by anthropologists with the people whose life is of interest to them is called
Select one:
a. Fieldwork Correct
b. Surveying
c. Interviewing
d. Information gathering
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The correct answer is: Fieldwork
Question 5
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A contemporary cultural anthropologist is likely to study
Select one:
a. Political institutions in a village in another country
b. Kinship systems in an urban setting
c. Patterns of material life in his or her own society
d. Any of the above Correct
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The correct answer is: Any of the above
Question 6
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A comparative study of many cultures is called
Select one:
a. Ethnohistory
b. Ethnography Incorrect
c. Ethnology
d. Ethnographer
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The correct answer is: Ethnology
Question 7
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Linking questions of human health and illness in local settings to social, economic, and political processes operating on a global level is characteristic of
Select one:
a. The “new” biological anthropology
b. Applied ethnology
c. Critical medical anthropology Correct
d. Science studies
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The correct answer is: Critical medical anthropology
Question 8
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To claim that members of a particular social group do not typically eat insects because they have learned to label insects as inedible is to use an explanation based on
Select one:
a. Culture Correct
b. Biology
c. Ethnocentrism
d. Genetic programming
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The correct answer is: Culture
Question 9
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The system of arbitrary vocal symbols we use to encode out experience of the world and of one another is called
Select one:
a. Culture
b. Language Correct
c. Linguistics
d. Symbolism
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The correct answer is: Language
Question 10
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A contemporary biological anthropologist is likely to study
Select one:
a. The relationship of nutrition and physical development
b. Nonhuman primates
c. Human origins
d. Any of the above Correct
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The correct answer is: Any of the above
When anthropologists say that human beings are biocultural organisms, they mean that
Select one:
a. The goal of their research is to identify the genes cause human cultural behavior
b. Human biology and culture both contribute to human behavior Correct
c. Culture has replaced biology in human evolution
d. Human biology precedes culture in understanding human behavior
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The correct answer is: Human biology and culture both contribute to human behavior
Question 2
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An anthropologist is sitting in the town square in a Bolivian village watching a group of women who are chatting. One wanders over and asks the anthropologist if she would like to join them in shopping for thread for their looms and then help to string the looms. She agrees, and they go off together. This form of research is called
Select one:
a. Participant-observation
b. Working with informants Incorrect
c. Cultural sharing
d. Reciprocal research
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The correct answer is: Participant-observation
Question 3
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Which of the following is true about the rapidly growing field of medical anthropology?
Select one:
a. Medical anthropologists support the proposition that humans are biocultural organisms. Correct
b. Medical anthropologists are often employed to provide market research for pharmaceutical companies.
c. Medical anthropologists avoid taking a critical stand on issues of social inequality in health care.
d. It focuses exclusively on non-Western medical practices.
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The correct answer is: Medical anthropologists support the proposition that humans are biocultural organisms.
Question 4
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Paleoanthropologists study
Select one:
a. Modern apes
b. Biological variation in living human populations
c. Fossilized bones and teeth Correct
d. Nutrition and physical development
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The correct answer is: Fossilized bones and teeth
Question 5
Correct
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Question text
A contemporary cultural anthropologist is likely to study
Select one:
a. Political institutions in a village in another country
b. Kinship systems in an urban setting
c. Patterns of material life in his or her own society
d. Any of the above Correct
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The correct answer is: Any of the above
Question 6
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To say that anthropology is a field-based discipline means that
Select one:
a. Information about particular social groups comes through direct contact with them
b. Anthropology is based on experience with other ways of life
c. The experience of being in the field is central to modern anthropology
d. All of the above are true Correct
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The correct answer is: All of the above are true
Question 7
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Which of the following is NOT an element of the anthropological perspective?
Select one:
a. Holism
b. Comparison
c. An evolutionary approach
d. Learning dependency Correct
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The correct answer is: Learning dependency
Question 8
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The people of society X believe that the people of society Y are inherently inferior to them biologically and prevent them from gaining access to a high level of education and other resources. According to the text, this is an example of
Select one:
a. Racism Correct
b. Ethnocentrism
c. Labeling
d. Holism
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The correct answer is: Racism
Question 9
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Holism in anthropology is defined in the text as
Select one:
a. Trying to study everything possible about a people during the course of a research trip
b. Integrating what is known about human beings and their activities at an inclusive level Correct
c. Studying human biology and culture at the same time
d. Fitting together economics, political science, religious studies and biology
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The correct answer is: Integrating what is known about human beings and their activities at an inclusive level
Question 10
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Question text
The major specialty within anthropology that involves the analysis of the material remains of the human past is
Select one:
a. Applied anthropology
b. Archaeology Correct
c. Biologicalanthropology
d. Culturalanthropology
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The correct answer is: Archaeology

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