Anthropology V02 - Spring 2012
Study Questions Weeks 5-11
Weeks 5 & 6
What is it that enables humans to adapt to a much wider variety of environments than other animals? List 3 examples of this kind of adaptation.
What is the difference between cash cropping and subsistence farming? Describe 2 ways in which the imposition of cash cropping affects indigenous farmers. How does globalization affect this situation?
The 5 major subsistence strategies are foraging, horticulture, pastoralism, agriculture, and industrialism. Define each of these.
Up until about 10,000-12,000 years ago, the subsistence strategy of all humans was ___________________.
What is meant by 'carrying capacity'? What enables humans to increase carrying capacity? Describe a change from one subsistence strategy to another that illustrates this.
Describe 4 characteristics of foraging societies.
Compare and contrast foraging and industrial strategies in terms of production, division of labor, consumption, social organization, property relations, resource use, sustainability, work and leisure.
With regard to property relations, what is the difference between use rights and ownership? Name two subsistence strategies associated with each. Describe an ethnographic example of how these two conceptions of property can cause conflict between groups with different subsistence strategies.
Where do the Ju/'hoansi live? What is their subsistence strategy?
Sharing and mobility are the two characteristics of traditional Ju/'hoansi lifestyle that Lee describes as crucial to their survival. In terms of cultural ecology (relation to their environment and subsistence strategy), why is this so (how are these two behaviors adaptive)? In other words explain how these two characteristics ensure survival.
According to Lee, why did the !Kung demean the Christmas ox? [See Lee, Appendix A/"Eating Christmas in the Kalahari" pp 207-212]
What is meant by "leveling mechanism?" Describe two leveling mechanisms that the Ju/'hoansi employ.
What is the "camp" among the Ju/'hoansi?
What did Lee discover about the headman in Ju/'hoansi society? What was the explanation given to him by one Ju/'hoansi informant?
Why have foragers been described as the original affluent society? Does Lee's data on the Ju/'hoansi support this? Explain. Is this characteristic universal among foraging societies? Explain.
What is meant by aggregation and dispersal with regard to foraging societies? Describe this pattern among the Ju/'hoansi. What is the primary resource that determines when these movements occur?
Why do circumpolar foragers (e.g. Inuit) work more hours than foragers in temperate climates (e.g. Ju/'hoansi)? How and why is their gender division of labor different?
What is the "Man the Hunter" model of human evolution? How and why did anthropologists revise this model of prehistoric and contemporary foragers? Explain how Lee's data from the Ju/'hoansi support this revision.
What was the Neolithic revolution? Where did it first occur? Describe the consequences and processes that were set in motion.
Describe 3 differences between horticulture and intensive agriculture.
What is swidden horticulture? Is it sustainable? Why or why not?
What is fallowing? Why do some formerly sustainable horticultural systems reduce fallowing time, and what is the consequence?
According to lecture, women's status relative to men's was high among the Iroquois and lower among the Yanomamö. What was the explanation given for this difference?
Describe the difference between transhumance and nomadism. To which subsistence strategy do these terms refer?
What is meant by an "extensive strategy" with regard to subsistence strategies? Name two subsistence strategies to which it applies. What is "intensive strategy?" To what type of subsistence strategy does it apply? Which strategy increases the carrying capacity of the land?
Traditional pastoralism existed for thousands of years as a sustainable subsistence strategy. Why are there very few or no 'pure' pastoralist societies remaining in the world today? How does the struggle of the Maasai of East Africa exemplify this situation?
Why does the development of agriculture lead to greater social complexity?
Describe 3 differences between peasant (family) farming and industrial agriculture. Name one country where peasant farming predominates, and one where industrial agriculture predominates. What are 3 consequences of industrial agriculture?
In terms of energy expended per calorie of food produced, which is the LEAST efficient form of subsistence? In terms of environmental degradation, which is the least sustainable?
What are the two universal divisions of labor? What are 2 kinds of societies in terms of subsistence strategies in which these two are the ONLY divisions of labor? What additional division of labor do you find in societies such as the U.S. ?
How does child labor in the global capitalist economy differ from child labor in traditional societies such as those that practice horticulture or family farming? Give one example.
Emile Durkheim described two ways in which different kinds of societies are held together. He called these mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity. Define each and name one ethnographic example for each. [Note: whenever the question asks for an 'ethnographic example' it means name a particular group/culture]
How do acephalous societies deal with conflict? How does forced sedentarization, as seen in the film, N!ai, the Portrait of a !Kung Woman, affect conflict situations?
From the film, N!ai, the Portrait of a !Kung Woman, describe 3 ways in which forced sedentarization and relocation changed !Kung traditional culture and society.
In the film, N!ai, the Portrait of a !Kung Woman, in what ways are the !Kung being integrated into the larger, national society? Is this a good thing? Why or why not?
Use the idea of holism or the organic analogy to explain what happened to the !Kung in the film, N!ai, the Story of a !Kung Woman.
Give one example of ethnocentrism among people in the film, N!ai, the Portrait of a !Kung Woman.
Weeks 7 & 8
What are two subsistence systems in which you find larger families and why?
What are 4 subsistence systems in which families are the basic units of production?
The 3 types of exchange delineated by Polanyi are reciprocity, redistribution, and market exchange. Give examples of each type as practiced in the U.S.
In what kinds of societies does reciprocity predominate? Give two ethnographic examples (name 2 societies).
The 3 types of reciprocity are generalized, balanced, and negative. Give one example of each.
What is the kula ring? Where does it take place? What kind of exchange system does it represent?
What makes the items in the kula ring valuable? What is one of the 'practical functions' of the kula ring?
Describe the Kwakiutl potlatch. How does Marvin Harris explain the apparently irrational behavior of the Kwakiutl potlatch? What is the explanation from an emic perspective? What is its function from Harris's etic perspective? How did the potlatch change with European and American contact?
Compare the Kwakiutl chief and his potlatch with the Kaoka or Kawelka big man and his feast. According to Harris, what is the difference between how a Kwakiutl chief and a Kaoka big man gather and distribute the wealth of a potlatch or feast? What kind of exchange system do these both exemplify?
What explanation does Harris give for why reciprocity prevails in band-level, foraging societies? What does he argue makes the development of competitive feasting and redistribution possible? Describe the process by which stratification develops according to Harris. What theoretical approach does Harris use in his analysis (hint: how is it similar to his explanation of Hindu vegetarianism)?
How does Harris compare the big-man system to Western European capitalism?
What is the purpose or social benefit of delay in reciprocal exchange systems? In other words why don't people just exchange equally on the spot, rather than waiting for return?
The U.S. economic system falls under which of Polanyi's three categories of economic exchange? What happens to land and labor in this type of exchange system compared with other systems? What are some social consequences of this? According to Polanyi, what other form of exchange must be used in this system to prevent social problems? In what form do we find this remedy in the U.S.?
What is a moral economy? What kind of exchange systems fall under the category of ‘moral economies’? How do they differ from market exchange? Give one example.
What are 2 major transformations that have taken place as a result of capitalist expansion into non-capitalist settings?
Has globalization led to greater prosperity? Explain.
Describe trading among the Yanomamö and the function that it serves. What do you call this type of exchange?
Compare the purpose of feasts among the Yanomamö vs. the purpose of feasts among big-man societies (e.g. the Kaoka or Kawelka) or potlatch among the Kwakiutl.
In the film, Ongka's Big Moka, what subsistence strategy does Ongka's group, the Kawelka, use? Where do they live?
In the film, Ongka's Big Moka, why are pigs important to the Kawelka ? What are they used for?
What is a 'moka' ? Why does Ongka give one? What is the objective of mokas? From a cultural ecology perspective, what is the 'practical' aspect of this practice?
Using the numbers in the above chart, identify each of the following:
[Examples: ego’s brother and sister: 15, 16; ego’s nephew: 25]
ego's maternal grandparents
ego’s parallel cousins
ego's cross cousins
ego's matrilineal relatives
ego's patrilateral relatives
Using English terms, what would you call each of the persons in ego’s generation and ego’s parents’ generation according to the Eskimo system?
Using English terms, what would you call the people in ego's generation and ego's parent's generation according to the Hawaiian system? What does the Hawaiian terminology system imply about the nuclear family compared with the Eskimo system?
In the Ju/'hoansi system, which generations would have similar names (you don't have to give the numbers, just indicate which generations in relation to ego, e.g. ego's, ego's parents', ego's children's, grandparents', etc.). How is this naming system related to the Ju/’hoansi kinship terminology system and to their joking and avoidance system?
Give one example of an affine. Give one example of a consanguineal kin. Give one example of fictive kinship.
Why are anthropologists like Lee, who study small-scale societies usually given a kinship designation?
In terms of subsistence strategies, in what 2 kinds of societies do you mainly find unilineal descent?
In terms of subsistence strategies, in what 2 kinds of societies do you find mainly bilateral descent?
How does Iroquois kinship terminology reflect preferential cross-cousin marriage?
What is the difference between a lineage and a clan? Define each.
Which type of descent do both the Ju/'hoansi and Americans use? How is this kind of descent system advantageous for the Ju/'hoansi?
Of the six kinship terminology/classification systems (Sudanese, Hawaiian, Eskimo, Iroquois, Omaha, Crow), which one do the Ju/'hoansi use? Which one do Americans use?
Why do you find an emphasis on the nuclear family in both Ju/'hoansi and U.S. culture?
Describe the namesake system among the Ju/'hoansi. What function does it serve? What problem is created by this system and how does the custom of Wi solve it?
Why are marriage alliances and an extensive kinship system important for Ju/'hoansi survival?
What is the difference between matriarchy and matrilineal decent?
What percentage of the world's societies are matriarchal?
Americans think of kinship in biologically based ways, but anthropologists point to the variety of kinship structures around the world to show that kinship is inherently cultural. Give one ethnographic example (a particular culture that we have looked at in the course) that demonstrates that kinship categorizations or definitions (e.g. marriage, parenthood, gender roles, kinship categories/terminology, etc.) are culturally constructed. In other words, describe some aspect of kinship in another specific culture that is different from how Americans think about kinship categories, definitions, roles, or relationships.
The incest taboo is universal, but varies from one culture to the next. Describe how it is conceived differently in two different societies. In other words, provide examples of two societies in which what is considered incest differs.
According to lecture, what is one advantage of patrilateral parallel cousin marriage preferred by many Islamic groups in Middle-eastern and North African cultures?
There are several reasons and ways in which women in matrilineal and bilateral societies generally enjoy a better position than women in patrilineal societies. Compare the situation of women in these two systems and describe 3 advantages for women in matrilineal and bilateral systems compared with patrilineal systems.
Both the Na of China and the traditional Nayar of India have different arrangements when it comes to marriage and family. Describe this system, including their type of descent, who lives in the household, and who has responsibility for raising the children.
Societies in many parts of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa are structured on the basis of hierarchically organized corporate descent groups such as lineages, clans, or castes. Why are men and women in these cultures usually not free to choose their own marriage partners? Compare the focus and purpose of marriage in these kinds of cultures with those in cultures with bilateral decent systems. Name one example of each of these two kinds of societies.
What is fraternal polyandry? In which society does Goldstein describe this practice? What reason do her informants give for this practice? Why does it occur less frequently among the poor?
What is bridewealth? What is dowry? What effect does a high bridewealth or dowry have on the divorce rate? Why does it have this effect?
Define exogamy and endogamy. Provide an example of each. In other words, entities to which these terms apply: ____________________ exogamy, _____________________ endogamy.
What is an extended family? In what kinds of societies, in terms of subsistence, do extended families predominate and why?
In southern India the preferred marriage is that of cross cousins. This is generally not the case in northern India, where village exogamy is practiced. A) How are these differences reflected in their respective terminology systems? B) Describe how these two different marriage practices create a different kind of kinship network in southern vs. northern India.
What are the three forms of heterosexual marriage according to the number of spouses? Which is found in the greatest number of societies worldwide? Name one society in which you find each of these 3 forms (in other words, name 3 societies, one for each form).
The 5 different residence rules/patterns (where people live after marriage) are: patrilocal, matrilocal, avunculocal, ambilocal, and neolocal. Which one of these is the traditional pattern that Indians practice? Which one(s) do the Ju/'hoansi traditionally practice? Which one do Americans practice?
Although 70% of the world's societies practice polygyny, few people in these societies actually practice it. Why? What is one advantage of polygyny, and what circumstances make it a more likely choice?
Why would a polygynous arrangement be more likely to occur in some horticultural or pastoral societies than with an Inuit forager?
Why might women not object to a polygynous marriage?
Using appropriate kinship terminology, describe the marriage system among the Ju/'hoansi including the following: By what criteria are grooms chosen? How much say does the woman have? With whom do they live initially and why? What kind of economic exchange occurs with marriage?
Describe the dowry system as it is practiced in India. What was the original purpose? How and why has it changed in recent decades? What are two of its effects on women and girls?
Why are there 37 million fewer females than males in India? In other words, describe the ramifications of the dowry system. How is modern technology implicated?
Compare divorce in the U.S. with divorce in India. Compare three cultural elements that account for the difference. Why are women in India reluctant to seek divorce even when they are unhappy with their marriage?
Compare 3 aspects of typical Indian vs. American marriage.
In the film, Dadi's Family, where does this family live, and how do they make a living? Who lives in the household? What do you call this family type? What type of descent, and post-marital residence do they practice? Who is the head of the family?
In the film, Dadi's Family, what is the difference in how daughters and daughters-in-law are regarded in Dadi's village? How is this related to village exogamy?
Dadi expresses ambivalence with regard to educating women. Explain why she might feel this way.
Compare the differences among the 3 sons and daughters-in-law in Dadi's family with regard to advantages and disadvantages of the extended family .
How do Dadi and her daughters-in-law compare women's lives now with previous generations in terms of the dynamics of the relationship between the men, their wives, and the mother-in-law?
What threatens the coherence of Dadi's extended household?
According to the narrator in Dadi's Family, upon what does a woman's security depend? How does this cause tension between the mother-in-law and her daughters-in-law with regard to the son/husband? In terms of descent and residence patterns, in what type of societies do you find this kind of conflict?
Dadi's third son, Rajinder, has a different kind of marriage than his brothers. How is it different?
What is the difference between 'sex' and 'gender'?
What is a Hijra?
From a materialist perspective, contribution to subsistence is a necessary, but not sufficient factor with regard to women's status. According to Friedl, control of distribution and exchange outside of the household is an important factor is determining the status of women. Describe the role of women in a particular culture and how it illustrates this point about women's status relative to men. For example, women's roles in production and distribution and their relatively low or high status among the Ju/'hoansi, or the Yanomamo, or the Iroquois, or the Inuit, the Tlingit, the Kawelka, the American housewife, Indian women, etc.
Explain how and why European influence in the form of colonialism or development may negatively affect women's status.
What is meant by "honor killing?" Why is it done? In societies with what kind of descent system do honor killings mostly occur?
Some cultures explicitly allow for more than two strictly defined genders. Describe one example of these 'third genders.'
Describe how a woman's status changes as she grows older in a patrilineal, patrilocal situation.
Glossary of Kin Terms
affinal - related through marriage.
agnatic - see patrilineal
ambilineal - involving claims to group membership, property, and status through only one parent, although the choice between the paternal or maternal bond is open to choice.
ambilocal - a residential arrangement in which a married couple can choose to live with either set of parents.
avunculocal - Upon adulthood, a man moves to his mother's brother's household. A newly married couple establishes their home near or in the groom's maternal uncle's house.
bifurcate merging - a terminological system which distinguishes relatives on the father's and mother's side of the family and lumps (merges) each group into a single category. Typical of Iroquois, Omaha , and Crow terminologies.
bilateral - related through relatives of either sex.
bride wealth - an payment from the groom to the bride's family as a requirement of the marriage agreement. Also known as bride price.
clan - a unilineal descent group whose members do not trace genealogical links to a known founding ancestor.
cognatic - related through linking relatives of any sex, non- unilineal .
collateral relatives - kin other than the direct ancestors or descendants of a particular Ego.
consanguineal - related through birth/blood.
corporate group - a group which stands as a legal entity in itself and is assigned collective rights on behalf of its members and their estates.
cross cousins - children of opposite sexed siblings (of a brother and sister).
Crow terminology - a system of kin terms which groups relatives together on the basis of matrilineal descent.
dowry - a quantity of wealth allocated to a bride (and her husband and children) from her natal family.
dual or double descent - an arrangement whereby ego is a member of two separate and distinct groups- a matrilineal group through his mother and patrilineal group through is father.
Ego - the individual who forms the central reference point in a kinship diagram.
Egocentric - a network defined by the relationship of participants to a single individual at its center.
endogamy - inmarriage , marriage to an individual within a defined social group, category, or range.
Eskimo terminology - a system of kin terms which groups relatives together on the basis of collateral degree; a collateral merging system.
exogamy - outmarriage , marriage to an individual outside of a defined social group, category, or range.
fictive kinship -the assignment of kinship status to someone who is not related by descent or marriage.
Hawaiian terminology - a system of kin terms which groups relatives together on the sole basis of generation; a generational system.
Iroquois terminology - a system of kin terms which groups relatives together on the basis of relation through the mother or father; a bifurcate merging system.
kin term - a category the groups together a set of unique kinship relationships, or kin types.
kin type - a unique, uncategorized kinship relationship.
kindred - an individual's extended bilateral network of relatives traced through both parents and their kin of either sex.
kinship - principle of organizing individuals into social groups, roles, and categories based on parentage and marriage.
levirate - a rule requiring the marriage between a man's widow and his surviving brother.
lineage - a unilineal descent group whose members trace their descent from a common ancestor through an acknowledged sequence of known linking antecedents.
lineal relatives - either the direct ancestors or descendants of a particular Ego.
matrifocal - a residential arrangement in which a woman lives with and her children and sometimes her daughter's children, without coresident husbands or other adult men.
matrilateral - related through a mother, mother's side.
matrilineal (uterine) - related by tracing common descent exclusively through females from a founding female ancestor.
matrilocal - residence form determined by a rule that, upon marriage a woman remains in her mother's household while her husband leaves his family to move in with her.
moiety - a descent group which is part of a system of paired units.
neolocal - residence form determined by a rule that each spouse leaves his or her family of origin and jointly forms a new household.
nuclear family - a family consisting of two parents and their unmarried children.
Omaha terminology - a system of kin terms which groups relatives together on the basis of patrilineal descent.
parallel cousins - children of same sexed siblings (of two brothers or two sisters).
patrilateral - related through a father, father's side.
patrilineal (agnatic) - related by tracing common descent exclusively through males from a founding male ancestor.
patrilocal - residence form determined by a rule that, upon marriage, a man remains in his father's household while his wife leaves her family to move in with him.
polyandry - marriage of a woman to more than one man.
polygamy - marriage of a person to more than one spouse.
polygyny - marriage of a man to more than one woman.
primogeniture - a system of inheritance in which a persons property passes exclusively to the eldest (or otherwise most senior) son.
segmentation- the division of a descent group or household into two or more independent units.
social structure - the system of formal rules, societal roles, and behavioral norms that constitutes an essential aspect of social organization.
social organization - the regularly anticipated and repeated patterns of behavior that are widely observable in social interactions.
Sudanese terminology - a system of kin terms which assigns a unique category to each kin type; a bifurcate collateral system.
unilineal - related exclusively through relatives of one sex, beginning with a father or mother.
uxorilocal - residence rule that, upon marriage a man moves to his his wife's household.
virilocal - residence rule that, upon marriage a women moves to her husband's household.
Study Questions Weeks 1-4
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