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1.5: End of Chapter Discussion

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    Discussion Questions

    1. This chapter emphasizes how broad the discipline of anthropology is and how many different kinds of research questions anthropologists in the four subdisciplines pursue. What do you think are the strengths or unique opportunities of being such a broad discipline? What are some challenges or difficulties that could develop in a discipline that studies so many different things?
    2. Cultural anthropologists focus on the way beliefs, practices, and symbols bind groups of people together and shape their worldview and lifeways. Thinking about your own culture, what is an example of a belief, practice, or symbol that would be interesting to study anthropologically? What do you think could be learned by studying the example you have selected?
    3. Discuss the definition of culture proposed in this chapter. How is it similar or different from other ideas about culture that you have encountered in other classes or in everyday life?
    4. In this chapter, Anthony Kwame Harrison, Bob Myers, and Lynn Kwiatkowski describe how they first became interested in anthropology and how they have used their training in anthropology to conduct research in different parts of the world. Which of the research projects they described seemed the most interesting to you? How do you think the participant-observation fieldwork they described leads to information that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to learn?


    Applied anthropology: The application of the anthropological data, perspectives, theory, and methods to identify, assess, and solve contemporary social problems (Kottak, 2011, p.12).

    Archaeology: Reconstructs, describes, and interprets human behavior and cultural patterns through the recovery and analysis of material remains.

    Biological anthropology: The study of human origins, evolution, and variation.

    Cultural anthropology: The study of simlarities and differences among living societies and cultural groups.

    Holism: The study of the whole of the human condition: past, present, and future; biology, society, language, and culture (Kottak, 2011, p. 2).

    Hominin: Humans (Homo sapiens) and their close relatives and immediate ancestors.

    Paleoanthropologist: Biological anthropologists who study ancient human relatives.


    Kottak, Conrad P. Mirror for Humanity: A Concise Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011.

    Adapted From

    "Introduction to Anthropology" by Lara Braff, Grossmont College and Katie Nelson, Inver Hills Community College. In Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology, 2nd Edition, Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges, 2020, under CC BY-NC 4.0.

    1.5: End of Chapter Discussion is shared under a CC BY-NC license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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