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Cultural Anthropology: The Human Challenge > CH 16 Review > Flashcards

Flashcards in CH 16 Review Deck (24)
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In the Anthropocene, beginning with the industrial revolution 200 years ago, modern technology has radically increased production, transportation

And communication worldwide, and the human population has grown to more than 7 billion—half living and working in urban areas.


The growing interconnectedness of our species facilitated by modern mass transportation and telecommunications media has resulted in many external similarities across cultures

Spawning speculation that humanity’s future will feature a single homogenous global culture. This is sometimes referred to as the “McDonaldization” of societies.


Beyond the worldwide flow of commodities and ideas (food, film, fashion, music, and so on), global integrative processes include

NGOs, media, and sports, as well as humanitarian aid organizations.


Anthropologists are skeptical that a global culture or political system is emerging

Comparative historical and cross-cultural research shows the persistence of distinctive worldviews, and the tendency of large multi-ethnic states to come apart.


In pluralistic societies two or more ethnic groups or nationalities are politically organized into one territorial state.

Ethnic tension is common in such states and sometimes turns violent, which can lead to formal separation.


To manage cultural diversity within such societies, some countries have adopted multiculturalism

Which is an official public policy of mutual respect and tolerance for cultural differences.


An example of long-established multiculturalism may be seen in states such as Switzerland

Where people speaking German, French, Italian, and Romansh coexist under the same government.


Pluralistic societies, in virtually all parts of the world, show a tendency to fragment

Usually along major linguistic, religious, or ethno-nationalist divisions.


Especially when state territories are extensive and lack adequate transportation and communication networks

As well as major unifying cultural forces such as a common religion or national language, separatist intentions may be realized.


Throughout history, challenges such as famine, poverty, and

Violent threats by dangerous neighbors have forced people to move—often scattering members of an ethnic group.


Migration—voluntary or involuntary—is temporary or permanent change from a usual place of residence.

It may be internal (within the boundaries of one’s country) or external (from one country to another).


Every year several million people migrate to wealthy countries in search of wage labor and a better future.

In addition 45 million refugees can be found in almost half of the world’s countries.


Migrants moving to areas traditionally inhabited by other ethnic groups may face

Xenophobia—fear or hatred of strangers.


Most migrants begin their new lives in expanding urban areas.

Today, 1 billion people live in slums.


Structural power refers to the macro-level power that manages or restructures political and economic relations within and among societies while simultaneously shaping or changing ideology (ideas, beliefs, and values).

It has two components: hard power (which is coercive and is backed up by military force and/or financial pressure) and soft power (which coopts or manipulates through ideological persuasion).


The most powerful country in the world today remains the United States

Home to more global corporations than any other country and responsible for over 34 percent of the world’s $1.78 trillion military expenditures.


Cutting across international boundaries, global corporations are a powerful force for worldwide integration.

Their power and wealth often exceed that of national governments.


Competing states and corporations utilize the ideological persuasion of soft power (as transmitted through electronic and digital media, communication satellites, and other information technology)

To sell the general idea of globalization as something positive and to frame or brand anything that opposes capitalism in negative terms.


While providing megaprofits for large corporations, globalization often wreaks havoc in many traditional cultures and disrupts long-established social organization.

This engenders worldwide resistance against superpower domination—and with that an emerging world system that is inherently unstable, vulnerable, and unpredictable.


One result of globalization is the expansion and intensification of structural violence—physical and/or psychological harm (including repression, cultural and environmental destruction, poverty, hunger and obesity, illness, and premature death)

Caused by impersonal, exploitative, and unjust social, political, and economic systems.


Reactions against the structural violence of globalization include the rise of traditionalism and revitalization movements—efforts to return to life as it was (or how people think it was) before the familiar order became unhinged and people became unsettled.

These may take the form of resurgent ethno-nationalism or religious fundamentalist movements.


Some dramatic changes in cultural values and motivations, as well as in social institutions and the types of technologies we employ, are required if humans are going to realize a sustainable future for generations to come.

The shortsighted emphasis on consumerism and individual self-interest characteristic of the world’s affluent countries needs to be abandoned in favor of a more balanced social and environmental ethic.


Anthropologists have a contribution to make in bringing about this shift.

They are well versed in the dangers of culture-bound thinking, and they bring a holistic biocultural and comparative historical perspective to the challenge of understanding and balancing the needs and desires of local communities in the age of globalization.


Inspired by human rights ideals, there have always been “applied” anthropologists who reach beyond studying different cultures

To assist besieged groups struggling to survive in today’s rapidly changing world.