CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY-THE HUMAN CHALLENGE

1. If you were invited to “study up,” on which cultural group would you
focus? How would you go about getting access to that group for participant
observation and which two of the obstacles listed in your text would give you
the most trouble? (Make sure you ready about “studying up” in the
textbook.)

2. What cultural (not biological) adaptations allowed Homo
erectus
to migrate out of Africa into Europe and Asia 780,000 years ago?

3. Is the “English only”
movement in the United States ethnocentric? What effect has it had in states
that have passed it? Can adults learn a language by simply living in a place
that speaks that language?

4. Every society faces the challenge of humanizing its children, teaching
them the values and social codes that will enable them to be functioning and
contributing members in the community. What child rearing practices did you
experience that embody the values and social codes of your society?

5.. Consider the ideas of
change and progress in light of the agricultural development described in the
Anthropology Applied box attached below. Come up with your own definition of
progress that goes beyond the standard idea of technological and material
advancement.

6. Imagine that you are an powerful official in the government of India.
Upon visiting a poor village, you find children as young as six weaving rugs 8
to 10 hours a day in the village’s only factory. You want to enforce the law
against child labor, but you find out that these children are supporting their
entire families because only children’s fingers can do the delicate work. You
have no government funds to spend on the village, and it is your duty to shut
down the factory. What do you do?

7. Pastor Rick Warren said that for “five thousand years” marriage in every
part of the world has been defined as being between one woman and one man. Is
he correct? Why or why not?

8. People growing up in modern industrial and post industrial societies
generally treasure ideas of personal freedom, individuality, and privacy. Considering
the social function of kinship relations in traditional non-state societies,
why do you think such ideas may be considered unsociable and even dangerously
selfish?

9. According to your text,
members of an upper class or caste in a socially stratified system have a
greater vested interest in the idea of law and order than those forced to exist
on the bottom of such societies? Do you agree?

10. Which nationalities or ethnic groups do you know that are dominant and
which can you identify that are in a minority position or are repressed? What
is the basis for this inequality according to your text? Do you agree?

11. Do the basic dynamics of the shamanic complex also apply to preachers
or priests in modern churches and medical doctors working in modern hospitals?
What are some similarities among the shaman, preacher/priest, and medical
doctor?

12. Because kinship relations are important in small-scale traditional
societies, these relationships are often represented in artistic designs and
motifs. What are some of the major concerns in our society, and are these
concerns reflected in any of our culture’s art forms?

13. Brazil leads the world
in the use of ethanol. However, in order to grow enough sugar cane to produce
the ethanol, the government has allowed farmers and ranchers to cut down more
of the Amazon forest. This destroys the habitat of many rare plants and animals
and has led to fights with the indigenous people who call the forest home.
Should Brazil continue to produce ethanol from sugar cane? What will happen to
the Amazon forest and all that live in it?

 

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