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Anthropology 200


What should you have gained from reading Miller, pages 1-45?
I. Millers answer to question What is anthropology?
1. A general definition of anthropology Study of humanity , including its prehistoric origins and
contemporary human diversity.
2. A structural definition of anthropology as a four- or five-field division of labor -
3. Types of research (questions for investigation) conducted by each of the subfields
Bio Primatology, Paleo(fossils and evolution), contemp bi biological variety in contemp
Arch Prehist. Hist, underwater, industrial, contemp study of old
Ling study of human communication, orgins, history and contemp variation and change
Cult- study of living people and their cultures, var and change
4. Topical interests that further structure research within and across the subfields AppliedArch use of
anth knowledge to prevent/solve problems or to shape and achieve policy goals.

II. Millers view of the basic objectives of an anthropological approach to research that has motivated
anthropologists views of (and debates about) the analytic value of attention to:
1. Evolution as a theory of human biological development
2. the limits of biological variation in explanations of individual and group behavior among humans and
other primates functionalism culture is similar to organism, parts work for a whole
3. culture as a key concept for explaining how humans, and for primatologists, other primates, taken as
geographically distinct populations, produce and learn ways of behaving and understanding the worlds in
which they live
4. cultural relativism as an approach to cross cultural comparison among humans, past and present
culture understood in terms of the values of that specific culture.
5. recognizing a distinction between nature and culture in explanations of human and other primate
behavior Things that happen naturally( eating, sleeping, drinking) differ from culture to culture
6. promoting holism as attention to connections among the particular and the general for understanding
human behavior within and across units otherwise taken to be distinct cultures and social systems study
all aspects of a culture.
7. factors that produce globalization, and some positive and negative consequences the author contends
follow from globalization increased intl ties related to the spread of western capitalism affects all
world cultures. Clash alienation bc of the west, West homogeneous bc of west and fast food
culture, Hybrid mix of 2 cultures, Localization transformation of global cult by local into
something new.
8. relations between localization and globalization for the study of individual and group identities (for
example, ethnic, national, or tribal) as these relation challenge previous assumptions about cultural and
social systems distinct, bounded, sometimes thought to be isolated, units of human interaction

III. What are the following two concepts, one of which Miller coined to label a theory for which she
claims no name currently exists?
1. Definition of microcultures and why, in Millers view, attention to these cultures aid understanding the
complexity of individual identities as persons are seen to have different relation to factors (such as class,
and ways of reckoning status) and therefore have identities that are products of their relation to numerous
microcultures that make up the broader cultures within which they live Microculture a distinct
pattern of learned and shared behavior and thinking found within a larger culture, based on
gender, age, ethnicity. Indivisual can be made up of microcultures
2. Definition of structurism as a theory in accord with which human behavior is said to be influenced
(shaped) by relations among the structures of the political and economic systems of a society, even when
the individual is unaware of the ways the structure of these systems influence their behavior. Structism
large forces like economy, social and political org. shape what people do and think

IV. What should you know about the history of anthropology as a progression of theories?
1. The names of major theories Miller describes
2. Definitions for each theory and indicate, who according introduced the theory
3. The names of anthropologists (or members of other disciplines) credited with developing each theory
4. Reason Miller provides for demise early theories, and also influences the popularity of numerous
current theories
Funtionalism Malinowski culture is similar to an organism
Cultural Revitalism Boas Culture must be understood in terms of their own culture
French structuralism Levi-Strauss understand a culture by its myths and themes
Cultural Materialism Material aspects( nat resources, environment) affect other aspects(power
relations and ideology)
Interpretive anth study what people think about
Structurism Miller large forces shape people
Post modernism questions modernity, is it really progress.
V. How does Miller describe method in anthropology, and how differences among the subfields have
resulted in debates about relations between method and theory?
1. Define participant observation, fieldwork, and excavation
PO: involves living in a culture for a long time while gathering data
Fieldwork: Research in the field, which is any place where people and culture are found
2. Explain how participant observation is related to fieldwork, excavation, and laboratory methods
Po is related bc it is a form of gathering data which is a part of fieldwork, analyze data in a formal
3. What aspects of past methods encourage current attention to researcher-subject collaboration and
Noe bc of globalization, study large scale connections, multi site resaerch

V. What is the value of anthropology in general and as career?
1. According to Miller, how might anthropological training be beneficial even if one does not pursue
career in one of its subfields? Cross-cultural awreness and communication skills, changes the way you
2. What kinds of careers in anthropology might a BS/BA degree provide gateway qualification?

3. For what kinds of careers in anthropology are advance degree (Masters or doctorate) is required?

I. Class Discussion, Instructor Comments, and Film Segment
The following is summary of what you should have gained from classroom exchanges (objectives) does
not include the January 28 class.

What should you have gained from class discussion, the instructors comments, and the film segment
shown in class?

1. Many of the hallmark moral principles and assumptions about their ethical application to research
investigations have been devised with thoughts about normal or ordinary conditions of interactions
between the anthropologist and research subjects, and among research subjects. Although one can
justifiably argue, that with much of early anthropology developed during the period of intense
colonialism, such ideals conditions often did prevail during this period, and increasingly anthropological
research is conducted under conditions under which the extraordinary is the ordinary.

2. Your effort as a class to identify the distinctive features of a flower, first, revealed the difficulty and
necessity of arriving at agreed upon criteria for the meaning of flower. Your efforts drew on your varied
knowledge gained from everyday life in culture that recognizes flower as a type of object, despite
variations in the features of the objects identified as such. Unless questioned, the features you collectively
suggested would allow anyone already a member of the culture to accept the object as a flower, whereas
you efforts may have failed if presented to a person from a culture that did not recognize flower as type of

3. Matters became more complex, when the effort was to identify the features implied by the principle,
women and children first. The exercise should have suggested that despite the moral value of the
principle, it could only be applied under crisis conditions by devising and using criteria to sort the
population as more or less worthy of having the opportunity to survive. This process, though playfully
engaged, is often part of what is known as triage, (borrowed from French) when criteria must be devised
to sort a population for life-saving services. Less playful also was my suggestion that similar processes of
inclusion and exclusion daily take place as persons smuggling humans across national borders confront
conditions along the way, in response to which they make decisions that leave to fend for themselves
some those that have paid for the service; with women and children often being first among those left

4. In the past and today, anthropologist, as researchers and consultants to government and non-
government organizations, confront crisis situations, some of which are long-term, or other momentary,
and must make or participate in decisions about which members of a population receive life-sustaining
services. Triage has become a typical referent for decision making under such conditions. Although, the
doctor, as members of the organization known as Doctors Without Borders, was not an anthropologist,
the brief segment of the film shown moved us from the harmless effort to agree upon the features by
which to define a flower and the effort to devise criteria for implementing features of a moral principle
applied to a make-believe crisis (a sinking luxury liner) to an example of one many ongoing crisis
conditions existing during, and in the aftermath, of the many wars being waged across the globe. Hard
choices are daily for millions of humans confronting such conditions. The doctors three-dot system
illustrated how such conditions can be seen to fade the line between just and unjust criteria for
classification. Under ordinary conditions, the overlap (conflation) of the concepts (just and unjust) would
result in judging such outcomes unethical for any moral principle taken to have universal value for
humane interactions.

II. Future Class Discussions (building on what you should know, but not relevant for Quiz 1)

For future class discussions, you might consider how criteria for inclusion and exclusion also make the
application of moral principles under ordinary conditions only appear to make ethical outcomes less
difficult. For example, how might the concept of triage apply to criteria US government agencies devise
to grant or withhold life-sustaining public benefits, such as welfare, food stamps, or subsidized medical
insurance among impoverished Americans? Which moral principles, otherwise deemed to of universal
value might be implicated in such decisions? As we eventually read an ethnographic account of Nuer
refugee resettlement in the United States, we have cause to consider how, first, triage classification
political from economic refugees, and second, result in devising criteria to determine which political
refugees are worthy of asylum.