Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo

Menu
Table of contents
  1. Preface
  2. 1 What Is Anthropology?
    1. Introduction
    2. 1.1 The Study of Humanity, or "Anthropology Is Vast"
    3. 1.2 The Four-Field Approach: Four Approaches within the Guiding Narrative
    4. 1.3 Overcoming Ethnocentrism
    5. 1.4 Western Bias in Our Assumptions about Humanity
    6. 1.5 Holism, Anthropology’s Distinctive Approach
    7. 1.6 Cross-Cultural Comparison and Cultural Relativism
    8. 1.7 Reaching for an Insider’s Point of View
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary
    11. Critical Thinking Questions
    12. Bibliography
  3. 2 Methods: Cultural and Archaeological
    1. Introduction
    2. 2.1 Archaeological Research Methods
    3. 2.2 Conservation and Naturalism
    4. 2.3 Ethnography and Ethnology
    5. 2.4 Participant Observation and Interviewing
    6. 2.5 Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis
    7. 2.6 Collections
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
    11. Bibliography
  4. 3 Culture Concept Theory: Theories of Cultural Change
    1. Introduction
    2. 3.1 The Homeyness of Culture
    3. 3.2 The Winkiness of Culture
    4. 3.3 The Elements of Culture
    5. 3.4 The Aggregates of Culture
    6. 3.5 Modes of Cultural Analysis
    7. 3.6 The Paradoxes of Culture
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
    11. Bibliography
  5. 4 Biological Evolution and Early Human Evidence
    1. Introduction
    2. 4.1 What Is Biological Anthropology?
    3. 4.2 What’s in a Name? The Science of Taxonomy
    4. 4.3 It’s All in the Genes! The Foundation of Evolution
    5. 4.4 Evolution in Action: Past and Present
    6. 4.5 What Is a Primate?
    7. 4.6 Origin of and Classification of Primates
    8. 4.7 Our Ancient Past: The Earliest Hominins
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary
    11. Critical Thinking Questions
    12. Bibliography
  6. 5 The Genus Homo and the Emergence of Us
    1. Introduction
    2. 5.1 Defining the Genus Homo
    3. 5.2 Tools and Brains: Homo habilis, Homo ergaster, and Homo erectus
    4. 5.3 The Emergence of Us: The Archaic Homo
    5. 5.4 Tracking Genomes: Our Human Story Unfolds
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Critical Thinking Questions
    9. Bibliography
  7. 6 Language and Communication
    1. Introduction
    2. 6.1 The Emergence and Development of Language
    3. 6.2 Language and the Mind
    4. 6.3 Language, Community, and Culture
    5. 6.4 Performativity and Ritual
    6. 6.5 Language and Power
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Critical Thinking Questions
    10. Bibliography
  8. 7 Work, Life, and Value: Economic Anthropology
    1. Introduction
    2. 7.1 Economies: Two Ways to Study Them
    3. 7.2 Modes of Subsistence
    4. 7.3 Gathering and Hunting
    5. 7.4 Pastoralism
    6. 7.5 Plant Cultivation: Horticulture and Agriculture
    7. 7.6 Exchange, Value, and Consumption
    8. 7.7 Industrialism and Postmodernity
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary
    11. Critical Thinking Questions
    12. Bibliography
  9. 8 Authority, Decisions, and Power: Political Anthropology
    1. Introduction
    2. 8.1 Colonialism and the Categorization of Political Systems
    3. 8.2 Acephalous Societies: Bands and Tribes
    4. 8.3 Centralized Societies: Chiefdoms and States
    5. 8.4 Modern Nation-States
    6. 8.5 Resistance, Revolution, and Social Movements
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Critical Thinking Questions
    10. Bibliography
  10. 9 Social Inequalities
    1. Introduction
    2. 9.1 Theories of Inequity and Inequality
    3. 9.2 Systems of Inequality
    4. 9.3 Intersections of Inequality
    5. 9.4 Studying In: Addressing Inequities within Anthropology
    6. Key Terms
    7. Critical Thinking Questions
    8. Bibliography
  11. 10 The Global Impact of Human Migration
    1. Introduction
    2. 10.1 Peopling of the World
    3. 10.2 Early Global Movements and Cultural Hybridity
    4. 10.3 Peasantry and Urbanization
    5. 10.4 Inequality along the Margins
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Critical Thinking Questions
    9. Bibliography
  12. 11 Forming Family through Kinship
    1. Introduction
    2. 11.1 What Is Kinship?
    3. 11.2 Defining Family and Household
    4. 11.3 Reckoning Kinship across Cultures
    5. 11.4 Marriage and Families across Cultures
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Critical Thinking Questions
    9. Bibliography
  13. 12 Gender and Sexuality
    1. Introduction
    2. 12.1 Sex, Gender, and Sexuality in Anthropology
    3. 12.2 Performing Gender Categories
    4. 12.3 The Power of Gender: Patriarchy and Matriarchy
    5. 12.4 Sexuality and Queer Anthropology
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Critical Thinking Questions
    9. Bibliography
  14. 13 Religion and Culture
    1. Introduction
    2. 13.1 What Is Religion?
    3. 13.2 Symbolic and Sacred Space
    4. 13.3 Myth and Religious Doctrine
    5. 13.4 Rituals of Transition and Conformity
    6. 13.5 Other Forms of Religious Practice
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Critical Thinking Questions
    10. Bibliography
  15. 14 Anthropology of Food
    1. Introduction
    2. 14.1 Food as a Material Artifact
    3. 14.2 A Biocultural Approach to Food
    4. 14.3 Food and Cultural Identity
    5. 14.4 The Globalization of Food
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Critical Thinking Questions
    9. Bibliography
  16. 15 Anthropology of Media
    1. Introduction
    2. 15.1 Putting the Mass into Media
    3. 15.2 Putting Culture into Media Studies
    4. 15.3 Visual Anthropology and Ethnographic Film
    5. 15.4 Photography, Representation, and Memory
    6. 15.5 News Media, the Public Sphere, and Nationalism
    7. 15.6 Community, Development, and Broadcast Media
    8. 15.7 Broadcasting Modernity and National Identity
    9. 15.8 Digital Media, New Socialities
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary
    12. Critical Thinking Questions
    13. Bibliography
  17. 16 Art, Music, and Sport
    1. Introduction
    2. 16.1 Anthropology of the Arts
    3. 16.2 Anthropology of Music
    4. 16.3 An Anthropological View of Sport throughout Time
    5. 16.4 Anthropology, Representation, and Performance
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Critical Thinking Questions
    9. Bibliography
  18. 17 Medical Anthropology
    1. Introduction
    2. 17.1 What Is Medical Anthropology?
    3. 17.2 Ethnomedicine
    4. 17.3 Theories and Methods
    5. 17.4 Applied Medical Anthropology
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Critical Thinking Questions
    9. Bibliography
  19. 18 Human-Animal Relationship
    1. Introduction
    2. 18.1 Humans and Animals
    3. 18.2 Animals and Subsistence
    4. 18.3 Symbolism and Meaning of Animals
    5. 18.4 Pet-Keeping
    6. 18.5 Animal Industries and the Animal Trade
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Critical Thinking Questions
    10. Bibliography
  20. 19 Indigenous Anthropology
    1. Introduction
    2. 19.1 Indigenous Peoples
    3. 19.2 Colonization and Anthropology
    4. 19.3 Indigenous Agency and Rights
    5. 19.4 Applied and Public Anthropology and Indigenous Peoples
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Critical Thinking Questions
    9. Bibliography
  21. 20 Anthropology on the Ground
    1. Introduction
    2. 20.1 Our Challenging World Today
    3. 20.2 Why Anthropology Matters
    4. 20.3 What Anthropologists Can Do
    5. Key Terms
    6. Summary
    7. Critical Thinking Questions
    8. Bibliography
  22. Index
acephalous societies
communities with no formal positions of leadership.
age sets
gendered groups of people of roughly the same age who play a distinctive role in society with important social obligations and abilities. Age-grade systems tend to be associated with acephalous societies.
Arab Spring
a series of protests that spread throughout the Arab world in the early 2010s, demanding an end to oppressive government and poor living conditions.
asafo
in Akan societies, the group of young men charged with protecting the town, performing public works, and representing public opinion. Asafo could depose corrupt and unpopular chiefs.
authority
the exercise of power based on expertise, charisma, or roles of leadership.
band societies
communities of gatherer-hunters in which leadership is temporary, situational, and informal.
big man
an informal leader who has gained power by accumulating wealth, sponsoring feasts, and helping young men pay bride wealth.
centralized societies
communities in which power is concentrated in formal positions of authority, such as chiefs or kings.
chief
the inherited office of leadership in a chiefdom, combining coercive forms of economic, political, judicial, military, and religious authority.
chiefdoms
societies in which political leadership is regionally organized through an affiliation or hierarchy of chiefs. Chiefdoms are associated with intensive agriculture, militarism, and religious ideologies.
chinampas
agricultural plots created from layers of mud and vegetation in the shallow part of a lake.
clans
large kin groups that trace their descent from a common ancestor who is either not remembered or possibly mythological.
coercive power
the ability to enforce judgments and commands using socially sanctioned violence.
colonial states
state governments imposed by foreigners to rule over local peoples.
failed state
a state that cannot perform any of the essential functions of a state.
fragile state
a state government that cannot adequately perform the essential functions of a state, such as maintaining law and order, building basic infrastructure, guaranteeing basic amenities, and defending its citizens against violence.
hegemony
a powerful ideology that has become generally accepted by most groups in society as common sense. Hegemony emphasizes the norms and values that support the existing social order.
ideology
an organized set of ideas associated with a particular group or class in society. Ideologies are used to explain how various realms of nature and society work, including such realms as economics, politics, religion, kinship, gender, and sexuality.
imagined communities
citizens of a nation-state joined together by rituals and practices that give them a collective, imagined sense of community.
king
hereditary ruler of a multiethnic empire based on a chiefdom.
leopard-skin chief
an informal mediator in Nuer society who negotiated settlement in the case of homicide.
lineage orders
societies in which extended family groups provide the primary means of social integration. Leadership in these societies is provided by elders and other temporary or situational figures.
nation
a sense of cultural belonging or peoplehood based on a common language, common origin story, common destiny, and common norms and values. National identities are actively constructed by states.
nation-state
a political institution joining the apparatus of the state with the notion of cultural belonging or peoplehood.
parrhesia
courageous public speech inspired by a moral desire to reveal the truth and demand social change.
persuasive power
the ability to influence others without any formal means of enforcement.
political economy
study of the ways in which political and economic realms continually reinforce and sometimes contradict one another over time.
politics
all elements of the sociocultural dynamics of power
postcolonial studies
an interdisciplinary field that combines history, anthropology, political science, and area studies in an effort to understand the diversity, complexity, and legacy of colonialism throughout the world.
power
the ability to influence people and/or shape social processes and social structures.
proto-states
societies that exhibit some but not all of the features of state societies.
reform
the call for systemic changes to address social problems.
resistance
the expression of disagreement or dissatisfaction with the social order; may be explicit or implicit.
revolution
the replacement of one social order with a different one, often to create enhanced justice, equality, stability, or freedom.
segmentary lineage
a kind of lineage order in which family units called minimal lineages are encompassed by larger groups called maximal lineages, which are subsumed by even larger groups called clans.
social movement
an organized set of actions by a group outside of government aiming at achieving social change.
social stratification
the division of society into groups that are ranked according to wealth, power, or prestige.
state societies
large, stratified, multiethnic societies with highly centralized leadership, bureaucracies, systems of social control, and military forces exerting exclusive control over a defined territory.
tribal societies
an older term used by anthropologists to refer to pastoralist and horticulturalist societies in which extended family structures provide the primary means of social integration.
tribe
an old-fashioned term used to describe ethnic groups or groups organized by lineage. Avoided by many anthropologists now because of connotations of primitivism and groupthink.
village democracies
acephalous societies in which an array of social groups provide arenas for discussion and consensus.
Do you know how you learn best?
Kinetic by OpenStax offers access to innovative study tools designed to help you maximize your learning potential.
Order a print copy

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Citation/Attribution

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/introduction-anthropology/pages/1-introduction
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/introduction-anthropology/pages/1-introduction
Citation information

© Jun 13, 2022 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.