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Unit 2 Anthropology Terms


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A social unit made up of persons of approximately the same age; Groups in highly unilineal systems organized by age. Also, each generation has an identity and a bond from “hazing”. The older the generation, the more powerful
Age sets/Age grades
Farming using animal or mechanical labor and complex technologies
Everything has a soul
Any object consciously manufactured. Usually refers to human-made objects, but now includes those made by other primates
Giving with expectation of equivalent return; People will get supplies when they need them
Balanced reciprocity
Small autonomous groups, usually associated with foraging societies
A kinship system in which an individual is a member of both parentsÂ’ descent lines
The exchange of wealth from the groom to the bride’s family, i.e. cattle. Originally termed “bride price”, it was then noticed that marriages occurred even without this exchange and that even with the exchange the woman was free to leave the marriage
Bride wealth
A system of socioeconomic stratification in which strata are closed and a personÂ’s membership is determined by birth
A political organization made up of groups of interacting units, each of which has a chief or leader
Cultures with an agricultural surplus, social stratification, labor specialization, a formal governments, rule by power, monumental construction projects, and a system of record keeping
A system of socioeconomic stratification in which the strata are open and a person may move to a different stratum
To arrange systematically. To put into words
The children of your fatherÂ’s sisters or motherÂ’s brothers. Often preferred marriage partners because they are not part of your lineage, but come from a similar family.
Cross cousins
Anew; from nothing
Nuclear families that are connected over time
Descent line
When certain individuals within a society perform certain jobs. Usually refers to the different jobs of men and women
Division of labor
You inherit fatherÂ’s patrilineage and motherÂ’s matrilinage, but different trains from each lineage. For example, African culture may dictate that only men may inherit royalty, but royalty is inherited through the mother. Another example is that corpore
Double descent
BrideÂ’s family sends wealth to groom. They occur where location is overpopulated so that the process of marriage may be slowed down. Capitalist birth control.
An unmodified natural object used as a tool
The practice of not recognizing, and even eliminating, differences in social status and wealth
Process of learning a culture. Also known as socialization
Marry within kinship
Making value judgments about another culture from the perspective of oneÂ’s own cultural system
Marry outside of nuclear family
The nuclear family to which you belong as a child, consisting of your parents and siblings.
Family of orientation
The nuclear family to which you belong as an adult, consisting of your spouse and offspring
Family of procreation
Another name for hunting-and-gathering
Giving with no expectations of equivalent return
General reciprocity
Living in groups
Farming using human labor and simple tools
A subsistence pattern that relies on naturally occurring sources of food
When one state tries to take the land of another state
Sometimes recognized as a subsistence pattern characterized by a focus on mechanical sources of energy and food production by a small percentage of the population
The killing of infants
Hunting and gathering in an environment that provides a very wide range of food resources
Intensive foraging
Your membership in a family and your relationship to other members of that family. May refer to biological ties but in anthropology usually refers to cultural ties modeled on biological ones
You cannot increase production by intensifying labor in a certain area
By increasing (intensifying) labor in a certain area, you increase production
When certain jobs are performed by particular individuals
Labor specialization
Widow inheritance; the process through which a man inherits his brotherÂ’s widow. The man may also inherit his brotherÂ’s land and is allowed to sleep with the widow, but all children of this relationship belong to the descent line of the deceased brothe
A portion of the brain involved in emotions such as fear, rage, and care for the young
Limbic system
Where money is used for exchange in place of goods and services
Market System
A unilineal kinship system in which an individual is a member of the mother's descent line
A social unit made up of a societyÂ’s men. Common in highland New Guinea
MenÂ’s associations
A symbolic representation of wealth. Used for exchange in place of actual products or services
A marriage unit made up of only one husband and one wife
Refers to the religious system that recognizes a single supernatural being
A portion of the brain involved in conscious thought, spatial reasoning, and sensory perception
Referring to societies that move from place to place in search of resources or in response to seasonal fluctuations
Minimal human family unit; Temporary units including the family of orientation as a child, and the family of procreation as an adult
Nuclear family
Belief that “the seed contains the plant”, that the evolution is contained within the original. Under unilinear evolution, civilization was contained in foraging. “In the beginning is the outcome”
The children of your fatherÂ’s brothers or your motherÂ’s sisters. Under the Omaha kinship system, they are considered equivalent to siblings, and thus cannot be married under the incest taboo
Parallel cousins
The subsistence pattern characterized by an emphasis on herding animals
A unilineal kinship system in which an individual is a member of the fatherÂ’s descent line
The secular, nonkinship means of organizing the interactions within a society and between one society and others
Political organization
A marriage system with one wife and multiple husbands
A marriage system that allows multiple spouses
A marriage unit made up of one husband and multiple wives
Refers to a religious system that recognizes multiple supernatural beings, technically, multiple gods
The practice of prohibiting sex for a certain period of time after a woman gives birth for purposes of limiting the birthrate
Postpartum sex taboo
Technology developed to make food palatable and digestible by humans, i.e. a millstone
A behavior containing most but not all of the characteristics of a cultural behavior; A precursor to culture which can be seen in primate populations
A primitive portion of the brain involved in self-preservation behavior such as mating, aggressiveness, and territoriality
Refers to a society that strives for equal distribution of goods and services but that achieves this through the use of recognized, often temporary, status differences
Where surplus goods are collected centrally and then given out to those persons in need of them
They share everything according to needs and work according to their abilities. May be seen in foraging communities
Reciprocal economy
A human settlement pattern in which people largely stay in one place year-round, although some members of the population may still be mobile in the search for food and raw materials
The presence of acknowledged differences in social status, political influence, and wealth among the people within a society
Social stratification
Process of learning a culture. Also known as enculturation
System under which if a woman dies, her sister may replace her place in a marriage
A political organization with one central authority governing all the individual subunits
How a society acquires its food
Subsistence pattern
Something that stands for something else, with no necessary link between the symbol and its meaning
A political organization with no central leader but in which the subunits may make collective decisions about the entire group
Harvest resources from animals that do the work
Unearned Resource Use
A kinship system in which an individual is a member of only one parentÂ’s descent line
Idea that there exists a natural tendency of progression. This progression includes the succession of foragers -> agriculture -> civilization. It is also completely false
Unilinear evolution
The collective interpretation of and response to the natural and cultural environments in which a group of people lives. Their assumptions about these environments and values derived from those assumptions
Anthropologist who spent over 40 years studying a large population of chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream Reserve in Tanzania
Jane Goodall
Member of the National Institute of Mental Health that proposed the model for the triune (three-part) brain, consisting of the R-complex, limbic system, and neocortex
Paul MacLean
Author of American Anthropologist, in which he demonstrated how all cultures may be subjected to anthropological scrutiny.
Horace Miner
Soviet agronomist that proposed a method for growing plants not based on evolution and Mendelian genetics, but rather Lamarkian ideas about the inheritance of acquired characteristics. It was adopted by the communist regime and, because of this, the Sovi
Trofim D. Lysenko
Walked around and collected food similar to a hunter-gatherer. Averaged about 100-150 lbs of meat a day.
George Schaller
This society lives in a harsh environment which they cannot pretend to control. This leads to their worldview as being part of nature, not above it. This also contributes to their animistic spiritual beliefs, which can be seen in their begging forgivenes
American Arctic/Eskimo
About 10,000 years ago they discovered agriculture which gradually allowed them to have more control over the environment. As a result, they began to recognize a monotheistic god that has control over all natural phenomena, much like they have control.
Southwest Asia
Found in Angola, Namibia, and Botswana in South Africa, they had been a foraging society until very recently. Their name comes from the use of clicks in the language. They are regularly on the move, so nomadic. They live in small bands that average ten t
San (Bushmen)
Foragers with a large population and sedentary communities. Able to do this b/c of annual salmon runs. Held potlatches to try and get rid of everything to demonstrate how they didnÂ’t need it all.
Kwakiutl of British Columbia

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