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Introduction to Anthropology

Critical Thinking Questions

Introduction to AnthropologyCritical Thinking Questions

1 .
Have you ever taken a course in one of the other social disciplines, such as economics, political science, history, or religion? How would anthropology study the same subject matter in a different way?
2 .
Which other social issues might benefit from a four-field approach? Propose one issue, and consider how each of the four fields might contribute to our understanding of that issue.
3 .
Have you ever thought or said something ethnocentric? What is an appropriate response if someone else says something ethnocentric in a conversation? How can people learn to recognize and rethink ethnocentric notions?
4 .
As mentioned in this chapter, one very dominant way of evaluating the sophistication of different societies is by measuring the amount of wealth generated by each one. Can you think of an alternative way of evaluating progress or development? Would that way reorder the global hierarchy? How might it change your way of thinking about your own society?
5 .
Identify a contemporary problem in your own society. How would you pursue a holistic analysis of that problem? What are the various realms of culture that directly or indirectly relate to that problem?
6 .
Is it really possible to set aside your own personal values when studying something you consider morally troubling or simply wrong? Identify a controversial topic in your own or another culture, ideally one that is personally meaningful to you. How would you practice cultural relativism when studying this topic? How would relativism change the way you interact with people in the course of your research? How would it change the kinds of questions you would ask in interviews?
7 .
Make a list of possible ways you could collaborate with someone from another social or cultural group in an effort to represent the perspectives of cultural insiders.
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