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The First World War dealt a profound shock to European society at its outbreak and The First World War dealt a profound shock to European society at its outbreak and in the succeeding years of conflict. In this original and stimulating book, historian Frank Field looks at the experiences of France and Britain as revealed Cultural Anthropology for writers: A worldbuilding guide. CAFW is a writing book for worldbuilding.
This conworlding handbook teaches writers how to avoid This conworlding handbook teaches writers how to avoid some of the biggest mistakes that writers, screenwriters and playwrights make in fiction, not giving the readers enough culture in their work. This easy-to-use book This book is about the ways that traditional cultural practices either change or persist in This book is about the ways that traditional cultural practices either change or persist in the face of social and economic development, whether the latter proceeds primarily from internal or external forces.
Cultural Geography. They provided a wealth of details used to attack the theory of a single evolutionary process.
Kroeber and Sapir's focus on Native American languages helped establish linguistics as a truly general science and free it from its historical focus on Indo-European languages. The publication of Alfred Kroeber 's textbook Anthropology marked a turning point in American anthropology.
After three decades of amassing material, Boasians felt a growing urge to generalize.
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This was most obvious in the 'Culture and Personality' studies carried out by younger Boasians such as Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict. Influenced by psychoanalytic psychologists including Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung , these authors sought to understand the way that individual personalities were shaped by the wider cultural and social forces in which they grew up. Though such works as Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa and Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword remain popular with the American public, Mead and Benedict never had the impact on the discipline of anthropology that some expected.
Boas had planned for Ruth Benedict to succeed him as chair of Columbia's anthropology department, but she was sidelined by Ralph Linton , and Mead was limited to her offices at the AMNH. In the s and mids anthropology tended increasingly to model itself after the natural sciences. Some anthropologists, such as Lloyd Fallers and Clifford Geertz , focused on processes of modernization by which newly independent states could develop.
Others, such as Julian Steward and Leslie White , focused on how societies evolve and fit their ecological niche—an approach popularized by Marvin Harris. Economic anthropology as influenced by Karl Polanyi and practiced by Marshall Sahlins and George Dalton challenged standard neoclassical economics to take account of cultural and social factors, and employed Marxian analysis into anthropological study.
Structuralism also influenced a number of developments in s and s, including cognitive anthropology and componential analysis.
In keeping with the times, much of anthropology became politicized through the Algerian War of Independence and opposition to the Vietnam War ;  Marxism became an increasingly popular theoretical approach in the discipline. Since the s issues of power, such as those examined in Eric Wolf 's Europe and the People Without History , have been central to the discipline. In the s books like Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter pondered anthropology's ties to colonial inequality, while the immense popularity of theorists such as Antonio Gramsci and Michel Foucault moved issues of power and hegemony into the spotlight.
Jean and John Comaroff produced a whole generation of anthropologists at the University of Chicago that focused on these themes. Also influential in these issues were Nietzsche , Heidegger , the critical theory of the Frankfurt School , Derrida and Lacan. Many anthropologists reacted against the renewed emphasis on materialism and scientific modelling derived from Marx by emphasizing the importance of the concept of culture. Authors such as David Schneider , Clifford Geertz , and Marshall Sahlins developed a more fleshed-out concept of culture as a web of meaning or signification, which proved very popular within and beyond the discipline.
Geertz was to state:. Believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning.
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Geertz's interpretive method involved what he called " thick description. The interpretation of those symbols must be re-framed for their anthropological audience, i. These interpretations must then be reflected back to its originators, and its adequacy as a translation fine-tuned in a repeated way, a process called the hermeneutic circle. Geertz applied his method in a number of areas, creating programs of study that were very productive. His analysis of "religion as a cultural system" was particularly influential outside of anthropology. David Schnieder's cultural analysis of American kinship has proven equally influential.
In the late s and s authors such as James Clifford pondered ethnographic authority, in particular how and why anthropological knowledge was possible and authoritative.
They were reflecting trends in research and discourse initiated by feminists in the academy, although they excused themselves from commenting specifically on those pioneering critics. This was part of a more general trend of postmodernism that was popular contemporaneously. Modern cultural anthropology has its origins in, and developed in reaction to, 19th century ethnology , which involves the organized comparison of human societies.
Scholars like E. Tylor and J. Frazer in England worked mostly with materials collected by others — usually missionaries, traders, explorers, or colonial officials — earning them the moniker of "arm-chair anthropologists". Participant observation is one of the principle research methods of cultural anthropology. It relies on the assumption that the best way to understand a group of people is to interact with them closely over a long period of time.
Historically, the group of people being studied was a small, non-Western society. However, today it may be a specific corporation, a church group, a sports team, or a small town. This allows the anthropologist to develop trusting relationships with the subjects of study and receive an inside perspective on the culture, which helps him or her to give a richer description when writing about the culture later.
Observable details like daily time allotment and more hidden details like taboo behavior are more easily observed and interpreted over a longer period of time, and researchers can discover discrepancies between what participants say—and often believe—should happen the formal system and what actually does happen, or between different aspects of the formal system; in contrast, a one-time survey of people's answers to a set of questions might be quite consistent, but is less likely to show conflicts between different aspects of the social system or between conscious representations and behavior.
Interactions between an ethnographer and a cultural informant must go both ways. To establish connections that will eventually lead to a better understanding of the cultural context of a situation, an anthropologist must be open to becoming part of the group, and willing to develop meaningful relationships with its members. Before participant observation can begin, an anthropologist must choose both a location and a focus of study.
It can also be helpful to know what previous research has been conducted in one's chosen location or on similar topics, and if the participant observation takes place in a location where the spoken language is not one the anthropologist is familiar with, he or she will usually also learn that language. This allows the anthropologist to become better established in the community. The lack of need for a translator makes communication more direct, and allows the anthropologist to give a richer, more contextualized representation of what they witness.
In addition, participant observation often requires permits from governments and research institutions in the area of study, and always needs some form of funding. The majority of participant observation is based on conversation. This can take the form of casual, friendly dialogue, or can also be a series of more structured interviews.
A combination of the two is often used, sometimes along with photography, mapping, artifact collection, and various other methods. This helps to standardize the method of study when ethnographic data is being compared across several groups or is needed to fulfill a specific purpose, such as research for a governmental policy decision. One common criticism of participant observation is its lack of objectivity. Who the ethnographer is has a lot to do with what he or she will eventually write about a culture, because each researcher is influenced by his or her own perspective.
However, these approaches have not generally been successful, and modern ethnographers often choose to include their personal experiences and possible biases in their writing instead. Participant observation has also raised ethical questions, since an anthropologist is in control of what he or she reports about a culture. In terms of representation, an anthropologist has greater power than his or her subjects of study, and this has drawn criticism of participant observation in general.
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Simply by being present, a researcher causes changes in a culture, and anthropologists continue to question whether or not it is appropriate to influence the cultures they study, or possible to avoid having influence. In the 20th century, most cultural and social anthropologists turned to the crafting of ethnographies. An ethnography is a piece of writing about a people, at a particular place and time. Typically, the anthropologist lives among people in another society for a period of time, simultaneously participating in and observing the social and cultural life of the group.
Numerous other ethnographic techniques have resulted in ethnographic writing or details being preserved, as cultural anthropologists also curate materials, spend long hours in libraries, churches and schools poring over records, investigate graveyards, and decipher ancient scripts. A typical ethnography will also include information about physical geography, climate and habitat. It is meant to be a holistic piece of writing about the people in question, and today often includes the longest possible timeline of past events that the ethnographer can obtain through primary and secondary research.
Boas' students such as Alfred L.
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Kroeber , Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead drew on his conception of culture and cultural relativism to develop cultural anthropology in the United States. Simultaneously, Malinowski and A. Whereas cultural anthropology focused on symbols and values, social anthropology focused on social groups and institutions. Today socio-cultural anthropologists attend to all these elements.
In the early 20th century, socio-cultural anthropology developed in different forms in Europe and in the United States. European "social anthropologists" focused on observed social behaviors and on "social structure", that is, on relationships among social roles for example, husband and wife, or parent and child and social institutions for example, religion , economy , and politics.