Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology

Chapter 1

1. In what ways would you, as an anthropologist, explain the concern over globalization today? In what ways is culture change related to globalization?

Cultures change because they represent the learned behavior. It is possible to unlearn cultural beliefs especially if no efforts are being made to pass them along. Globalization has changed the way people view the world and the way they live. It has changed their perspectives and beliefs. Globalization has led to a situation whereby people have become more exposed to foreign ways. They adopt these ways if they see them positive and beneficial to their lives. The concern over globalization is that it is leading to cultural erosion and transformation.

2. When anthropologists conduct research, what are some of the goals they want to accomplish?

Anthropologists aim to understand human beings. They aim to describe and analyze their culture as well as the similarities and differences that exist between cultures. They also aim to identify and describe the changes and developments that have taken place in particular cultures. In addition, they aim to use their knowledge to determine how people have changed today as compared to past times. Anthropologists aim to find out how human beings have evolved biologically as well as determining how they are biologically different.

3. When studying cultures, why should an ethnocentric view be left at home? Why is it better to use the cultural relativistic view instead?

Anthropologists who tend to be ethnocentric have the mentality and belief that their cultures are superior to others. Having this perception will prevent the anthropologist from learning about the people he aims to study. He will be blinded by his cultural ways and he will judge other people instead of finding out more about them. On the other hand, cultural relativism is different. It enables the anthropologist to consider all aspects of a person’s culture. They become more willing to see and understand the way people do things instead of applying their own cultural lenses to the situation. By doing this, they are able to get more information, apply objective thinking, and avoid bias in all situations.

Chapter 3

1. Would you agree/disagree with this statement: “Franz Boas & Bronislay Malinowski’s research had a strong influence towards developing the discipline of anthropology?” Support your answer

I agree with the statement. I believe that Boas and Malinowski had a great influence in the development of anthropology. Their contribution in the area of research as it pertains to the anthropology was instrumental to the changes realized in the field. They both insisted on the importance of conducting thorough research and collecting as much data as possible. The contributions of Malinowski ensured credibility and reliability in research through the elimination of bias and insistence on objectivity. He emphasized the importance of fieldwork as a way of getting information. This has remained one of the most distinguishing features of anthropology. It has led to a greater understanding of the subjects being studied. Boas emphasized the importance of learning history and using it to learn more about the present. He emphasized the importance of conducting thorough research before formulating theories thereby giving anthropology credible standing among the sciences

2. In anthropologic research, two perspectives are used, emic, and etic. Describe the differences

An emic perspective is considered the insider’s view whereby one studies a culture from within. An anthropologist uses the people of a particular culture as his main source of information. This means that he has to be part of the culture that he is studying. The researcher will use interviews and observations instead of depending on secondary sources of information. An etic perspective is seen as the outsider’s view whereby an anthropologist does not consider himself part of the culture he is studying. The researcher uses the information that he has already obtained from other sources as a way of studying a particular culture. A researcher using this perspective can determine if an existing theory applies to a culture of interest. Most researchers apply this approach. They already have preexisting ideas of the cultures they will study even before they embark on their research. Therefore, it becomes hard for them to apply an emic perspective.


Bonvillain, N. (2009). Cultural anthropology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson

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