Cultural Anthropology

Anthropological Concepts: Body Art

All cultures decorate and make modifications to the human body, whether it is temporary or permanent. This is called body art.  Body Art includes cutting, styling, or dying hair; body piercing; body painting; tattooing; and scarification.  Hair Cutting, styling, or dying hair is found in many cultures, but it can mean something different in each …

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The Art of Small Scale Societies vs. Complex Societies

In a previous post, I discussed some differences between art in Western cultures and art in non-Western cultures. There are also differences between the art of small-scale societies and the art of complex societies.  One way art is different between these two kinds of societies has to do with size.  Small societies are often foragers (meaning …

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Anthropological Concepts: Introduction to Art & Culture

This blog post will focus on art and culture. People from cultures all around the world use art to express themselves. The earliest evidence of art ever found is from about 100,000 years ago in South Africa. Archaeologists found a painter’s workshop, with bone tools for mixing paint, yellow and red ochre for paint color, …

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Anthropological Concepts: Multiple Gender Identities

In a previous blog post, you learned about gender and culture. This post will talk more about cultural ideas of gender, specifically multiple gender identities. When you think about yourself, do you feel like a male or a female? That’s gender identity. Gender identity means whether a person feels like a male, or female, or something …

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Gender and Culture. Image of a tribe from Papua New Guinea.

Anthropological Concepts: Gender & Culture

In the last blog post, I talked about the 4 characteristics of gender. Gender is learned and collaborative, something we do, and involves asymmetry. Some people think that gender is also permanent, meaning whatever gender you are, you are that for the rest of your life. But, in some places, the gender you are changes throughout …

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4 Characteristics of Gender. Image of a balance scale with a man on one side and a woman on the other.

Anthropological Concepts: Characteristics of Gender

The last blog post talked about the difference between the terms “sex” and “gender” in Anthropology. Sex has to do with biology and involves chromosomes and the functioning of our bodies. In contrast, gender has to do with culture and is the culturally-based expectations placed on each sex. This blog post will focus on the 4 characteristics of …

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Anthropological Concepts: Sex & Gender

Anthropology studies the topic of Gender. But, what is Gender? Isn’t that just if you are a male or a female? Well, yes and no.   First, there is a difference between the terms “sex” and “gender.” Sex is biological and has to do with genetics. Sex is the shape and functioning of our bodies. Sex refers to what …

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What is Cultural Knowledge?

So, in a previous blog post you learned about culture, and how culture is learned, symbolic, shared, integrated, and adaptive. Now, I’d like to introduce another concept related to culture, called cultural knowledge. Cultural knowledge includes the mental parts of culture, such as beliefs, rules, and attitudes. Cultural knowledge has 5 elements, norms, values, symbols, constructions …

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