CH 15 Review Flashcards Preview

Cultural Anthropology: The Human Challenge > CH 15 Review > Flashcards

Flashcards in CH 15 Review Deck (23)
Loading flashcards...

Stability may be a striking feature of many traditional cultures, but all cultures are capable of adapting to changing conditions

Climatic, Economic, Political, or Ideological.


Dynamic processes involved in cultural change include

Accidental discoveries, deliberate inventions to solve some perceived problem, and borrowing from other peoples who introduce—or force—new commodities, technologies, and practices.


Progress is a relative term that implies improvement

As defined by the people who benefit from the changes.


Major mechanisms involved in voluntary cultural change are

Innovation, Diffusion, and Cultural Loss.


Innovation is any new idea, method, or device that gains widespread acceptance in society. A primary innovation is the creation, invention, or discovery of a new idea, method, or device.

A secondary innovation is a deliberate application or modification of these innovations.


A culture’s internal dynamics may encourage certain innovative tendencies while discouraging others.

Force of habit may obstruct the acceptance of an innovation.


Diffusion, the spread of certain ideas, customs, or practices from one culture to another, may account for up to 90 percent of a culture’s content.

Many domestic food plants developed by American Indians spread around the world, including corn, also known as maize. Typically, people borrow only those cultural elements that are compatible with their own.


Cultural loss involves the

Abandonment of some practice or trait.


Frequently, one group forces changes upon another

Usually in the course of conquest and colonialism.


Acculturation is the massive cultural change that occurs in a society when it experiences intensive firsthand contact with a more powerful society.

It may occur as a result of military conquest, political and economic expansion, or the substantial influx of dominant newcomers.


Ethnocide is the violent eradication of an ethnic group’s collective cultural identity as a distinctive people.

It occurs when a dominant society deliberately sets out to destroy another society’s cultural heritage. Among many examples is the experience of Yąnomami Indians of the Amazon forest in Brazil and Venezuela.


Although the process of acculturation often unfolds without planning, powerful elites may devise and enforce programs of cultural change

Directing immigrant or subordinated groups into learning and accepting a dominant society’s cultural beliefs and practices.


Applied anthropology—the application of anthropological insights and methods to solving practical problems

Arose as anthropologists sought to provide colonial administrators with a better understanding of native cultures, either to better control them or to avoid their serious disruption.


An alternative type of practical anthropology emerged in the latter 20th century. Known by various names including action anthropology, it involves community-based research and action in collaboration with indigenous societies, ethnic minorities, and other besieged or repressed groups.

A serious ethical issue for applied anthropologists is how far they should go in trying to change the ways of other peoples.


Some have retreated to inaccessible places in hopes of being left alone

Whereas others have lapsed into apathy.


Some, like the Trobriand Islanders, have reasserted their traditional culture’s values by

Modifying foreign practices to conform to indigenous values, a phenomenon known as syncretism.


If a culture’s values are widely out of step with the reality of their daily lives

Revitalization movements may arise.


One example of a revitalization movement is the cargo cult (especially noted in Melanesia in the southwest Pacific) in reaction to disruptive contact with Western capitalism.

A more recent example is the indigenous revitalization movement in Bolivia, led by the country’s Aymara Indian president, Evo Morales.


When the scale of discontent within a society is high, violent reaction such as rebellion or insurgency (organized armed resistance to the established government or authority in power) is likely.

And if the level of dissatisfaction rises even higher, it may lead to revolution—a radical change in a society or culture. In the political arena, revolution refers to the forced overthrow of an existing government and the establishment of a new one.


Modernization refers to an all-encompassing and global process of political and socioeconomic change

Whereby developing societies acquire some of the cultural characteristics common to Western industrial societies.


The process of modernization consists of five subprocesses: technological development, agricultural development, urbanization, industrialization, and telecommunication.

Other changes follow in the areas of political organization, education, social organization, and religion. As traditional beliefs and practices are undermined, secularization may rise.


Self-determination is deeply valued by

Traditional cultures feeling the impact of modernization and other cultural changes.


Attempting to claim self-determination does not guarantee success. Sámi reindeer herders living in northern Scandinavia discovered this when they adopted snowmobiles and faced a dramatic decline in the size of their herds.

In contrast, Shuar Indians in the Amazon who subsisted on wild game and forest gardens increased their social and economic security when they turned to raising cattle as a means of securing legal title to their lands.