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Anthropology Multiple Questions - Essay Example

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Anthropology Name: Institution Question 1: Cultural universals Cultural universals are traits or attributes found in all human societies all over the world. Such traits and attributes include language, belief in the supernatural and familial structures (Kottack, 2005)…
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Download file to see previous pages A good example of a cultural universal is art. In music, one is more likely to listen to classical music and dance ballet if they are exposed to it. Another person may favor hip hop and rap music because they have been exposed to it. In the argument of nature versus nurture, the environment in which one grows up contributes more to how an individual turns out, as opposed to biology. This is because the environment exposes one to certain things that he or she will adopt (Nowak & Laird, 2010). Question 2: Ethnography and Ethnology An ethnographic survey is a detailed study of a group’s culture. This involves the anthropologist going out into the field, living with the subjects and recording the observations made about the group. Ethnology is the cross-comparative study of different societies to identify and explain similarities and differences. It uses data from ethnographic surveys and compares it with same data from different societies (Nowak & Laird, 2010). When conducting a study of a different culture, the method I would use would be participant observation. Becoming immersed in the culture to be studied would reduce ethnocentric tendencies from my own enculturation. It would also aid in faster integration and acceptance by the subjects, and they would be more open to sharing information. Methods of gathering data include; open-ended questionnaires, interviews, tape and video recordings and field notes. Problems that may arise include; refusal to participate, observer bias and language barriers. These problems can be countered by immersing oneself fully to gain the participants trust and get them used to outsider presence, making use of an interpreter and eventually learning some of the language. Question 3: Role of women in Foraging and Horticultural based societies Women in foraging societies were responsible for collecting wild plants while the men hunted (Nowak & Laird, 2010). Women produced up to eighty percent of the group’s nutritional needs. Foragers were fairly egalitarian as both sexes participated equally in food procurement. Women took part in decision making alongside men. Horticulturalists practiced small-scale farming on plots of land. Women did most of the cultivation and they held positions and statuses in horticultural societies, being the main food producers. As the role of women in food production diminishes, so does their power and status. The egalitarian nature of foraging and horticultural societies was because women were important in food production. This was not replicated in agrarian and industrialized societies where men controlled more resources. Though American women on average earn less than men, their status is higher than in the past and they can now make decisions. The American woman can be considered at par with the woman in foraging and horticultural societies. Question 4: Reciprocity in Foraging and Horticultural societies Reciprocity is a type of economic exchange where goods or services are given in expectation that the receiver will return the favor. Reciprocation may be generalized, where the giver trusts that the receiver will reciprocate in kind. The amount and date of reciprocation is not specified; it is an arrangement based on trust and cooperation. Foraging societies, for example, practice generalized reciprocation where a hunter shares his catch with the whole village (Mauss, 2000). The gatherers also divide out the catch amongst themselves so that every family gets something. Balanced reciprocity is practiced with the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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