Anthropology of an American Girl (3rd Edition)

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Presented to Marion Berghahn "for her decades of courageous, risk-taking publishing work, remaining independent and without a safety net at a time of upheaval and consolidation in the publishing world. Small presses like Berghahn Books are absolutely essential to scholarly communication in the field of Anthropology.

This blog will highlight the research of authors published in AJEC by giving them space to reflect on different aspects of their research and include photos and stories not included in their scholarly journal […]. The day was established to recognize the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations held in Geneva in World Breastfeeding Week is held yearly from 1st to 7th of August in more than countries.

Some will simply call it cultural ignorance. Those who have not experienced other cultures in depth can be said to be ethnocentric if they feel that their lives are the most natural way of living. Some cultures may be similar or overlap in ideas or concepts. However, some people are in a sense, shocked to experience differences with individuals culturally different than themselves. In extreme cases, a group of individuals may see another culture's way of life and consider it wrong, because of this, the group may try to convert the other group to their own ways of living.

Fearful war and genocide could be the devastating result if a group is unwilling to change their ways of living.

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Ethnocentrism is seen in parts of Asia , where they use chopsticks with every meal. These people may find it unnecessary to find that people in other societies, such as the American society, eat using forks, spoons, knives, etc. Since these countries use chopsticks to eat every meal, they find it foolish for other cultures to not use utensils similar to chopsticks; however, they do accept the fact that they use different utensils for eating. This example is not something extreme that could lead to genocide or war, but it is a large enough gap between these cultures for people to see their way of eating as the natural or best way to typically eat their food.

Another example of ethnocentrism is colonialism. Colonialism can be defined as cultural domination with enforced social change. Colonialism refers to the social system in which the political conquests by one society of another leads to "cultural domination with enforced social change". A good example to look at when examining colonialism is the British overtake of India.

The British had little understanding of the culture in India which created a lot of problems an unrest during their rule. Ethnocentrism may not, in some circumstances, be avoidable. We often have instinctual reactions toward another person or culture's practices or beliefs.

But these reactions do not have to result in horrible events such as genocide or war. In order to avoid conflict over culture practices and beliefs, we must all try to be more culturally relative. Ethnocentrism is one solution to the tension between one cultural self and another cultural self. Affect on Anthropology: In many instances Anthropologist have allowed ethnocentrism to determine research and influence analyses. For example Ajami is a language created centuries ago by Islamic teachers and used throughout Sub Saharan Africa that combines Arabic script and another language such as Swahili, Wolof, Hausa or Berber.

Many African historical documents are in Ajami. However, there are some historians and anthropologist who have refused to acknowledge African history due to ethnocentric views and do not value the information those historical documents may reveal. This is just one of the many examples where personal views have interfered with the understanding of other cultures and societies.

The Cross-Cultural Relationship is the idea that people from different cultures can have relationships that acknowledge, respect and begin to understand each others' diverse lives. People with different backgrounds can help each other see possibilities that they never thought were there because of limitations, or cultural proscriptions, posed by their own traditions.

How the Science Wars Ruined the Mother of Anthropology - Quillette

Traditional practices in certain cultures can restrict opportunity because they are "wrong" according to one specific culture. Becoming aware of these new possibilities will ultimately change the people that are exposed to the new ideas. This cross-cultural relationship provides hope that new opportunities will be discovered, but at the same time it is threatening. The threat is that once the relationship occurs, one can no longer claim that any single culture is the absolute truth.

Cultural relativism is the ability to understand a culture on its own terms and not to make judgments using the standards of one's own culture. The goal of this is promote understanding of cultural practices that are not typically part of one's own culture.

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Using the perspective of cultural relativism leads to the view that no one culture is superior than another culture when compared to systems of morality, law, politics, etc. This is also based on the idea that there is no absolute standard of good or evil; therefore, every decision and judgment of what is right and wrong is individually decided in each society. The concept of cultural relativism also means that any opinion on ethics is subject to the perspective of each person within their particular culture.

Overall, there is no right or wrong ethical system.

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In a holistic understanding of the term cultural relativism, it tries to counter ethnocentrism by promoting the understanding of cultural practices that are unfamiliar to other cultures such as eating insects, genocides or genital cutting. Absolute cultural relativism is displayed in many cultures, especially Africa, that practice female genital cutting. By allowing this procedure to happen, females are considered women and then are able to be married.

FGC is practiced mainly because of culture, religion and tradition.


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Outside cultures such as the United States look down upon FGC as inhumane, but are unable to stop this practice from happening because it is protected by its culture. Cultural relativism can also be seen with the Chinese culture and their process of feet binding. Foot binding was to stop the growth of the foot and make them smaller. The process often began between four and seven years old.

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A ten foot bandage would be wrapped around the foot forcing the toes to go under the foot. It caused the big toe to be closer to the heel causing the foot to bow. Because men only wanted women with small feet, even after this practice was banned in , women still continued to do it.

To Western cultures the idea of feet binding might seem like torture, but for the Chinese culture it is symbol of beauty that has been ingrained in the culture for hundreds of years. The idea of beauty differs from culture to culture. The Qualitative Method is an anthropological research method designed to map out detailed descriptions of social activities within a culture.

The observation s may include social norms, activities, religious rituals, cultural ideology and etc. The reasons behind the observation can vary depending on the intention of the anthropologist.

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Anthropologists might also apply the qualitative method to create improvements in a social environment. This can take a variety of forms; such as fighting poverty, improving medical care, building new estates and so on. Curious anthropologists often take advantage of the qualitative method. While some might actually use the method to resolve social issues, others might use to learn more about a certain society or group. If someone wanted to learn more about a culture, he or she can observe the lifestyle and find out the opinions of the people to retrieve more information.

The word Ethnography comes from these two Greek words:"Ethnos," meaning people and "Graphein," meaning writing.

Ethnography is often referred to as "culture writing," and is a type of documentation often employed by Anthropologists in their field work. This genre of writing uses detailed first-hand written descriptions of a culture based on the researcher's immersion in the field. Ethnographies often reflect the anthropological desire for holism , the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. In the case of ethnography, holism refers to the fact that a culture can be best understood through the understanding of as many aspects of the cultural context as possible.

jordants.org/components/films/mom-knows-best-a-book-of-reliable-remedies.php Cultural anthropologists who write ethnographies are called ethnographers and they often use a research method known as participant-observation. Participant Observation is a technique of field research used in anthropology by which an anthropologist studies the life of a group by sharing and participating in its activities. Ethnographic information can take many different forms.

Articles, journals, recordings, statistical data, and documentaries are just a few of the many forms that ethnographic information can be conveyed. A very common form is a book written by the person participating in the research or observation. A great example of a book would be "Waiting For An Ordinary Day" by Farnaz Fassihi because as a journalist traveling to Iraq during the Iraq war, she participates in Iraqi daily life and documents her description of it. Although Fassihi may not consider herself an anthropologist, because of her methods and style of writing, her book Waiting for an Ordinary Day is ethnographic.

Eventually, she turns all of her journalistic notes into a book which describes certain events that help her define the Iraqi culture. She uses the participant-observation method and also uses the concept of holism to explain the whole of Iraqi culture, rather than just small aspects of it. Anthropologists, scientists, philosophers, historians and most social scientists have been reexamining assumptions about what science is and how it works. They have challenged the traditional distinction between hard sciences such as physics, chemistry, and biology and soft sciences psychology, sociology, and anthropology.

They think they have more in common than previously believed.

How Cultural Anthropology Differs From Sociology

Anthropologists aid in the effort to study and reconsider what science is all about through gathering information about diverse cultural views on the process of explanation gained during participant-observation-based fieldwork. Ethnology is the comparative study of two or more cultures and often compares and contrasts various cultures. It utilizes the data taken from ethnographic research and applies it to a single, cross-cultural topic. The Ethnology approach can be used to identify and attempt to explain cross-cultural variation in elements such as marriage, religion, subsistence practices, political organization, and parenting.

Anthropologists who focus on one culture are often called ethnographers while those who focus on several cultures are often called ethnologists. The concept of race was produced long ago by the process of racialization in order to separate humans from different areas on the globe to justify enslaving and belittling certain groups. Since its creation, there has been a slow but steady attempt to deconstruct it. Of course, there have been many speed bumps along the way. Deconstructing the social concept of race has been a major interest of Cultural Anthropology at least since Franz Boas's work on race and immigration in the early 's.

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