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Anthropology Exam Review

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Anthropology 1AB3 Exam Review


  • Read the textbook thoroughly.  Don’t skip the examples/stories as I ask about these on the test.  Ask yourself: what’s the point of this example? What key course idea(s) does this relate to?
  • The final exam is NOT cumulative. It only covers course material from October 22 onward (so YES, it includes Oct. 22 material).
  • “Course material” includes all readings on the syllabus (the textbook, supplementary readings posted on Avenue), lecture material, powerpoints, film and film clips; guest speaker lecture material).

Key Themes

  • Race, racism and white privilege; race as social hierarchy (what are other forms of social hierarchy?), how did the concept of race develop?; how is it a cultural construction?; why is it not biological?; what is scientific racism and what are some examples of how scientists have sought to conflate race with biology?; race as a continuum – what are examples of this?: race as politicized – example like Susie Phipps; Conrad Kottak
  • Social hierarchy
  • Violence and conflict: how is order maintained; what is conflict? Types of societies and how they maintain order. Juergensmeyer’ anthro and military; bias against/for conflict; ethnic violence; violence and nation-state; nationalism/nation/nation state and order and violence
  • Uses of anthropology

October 22nd Lectue

Social Stratification/Hierarchy

  • The ordering and ranking of individuals within society.
  • Social hierarchies are based upon people’s PERCEPTIONS of others
  • Ex. Class, gender, education, sexual orientation
  • Are social hierarchies inevitable? Almost yes. Larger society, more bureaucratic.

Our Identities are stratified:

  •  Unequal access to

o   1) wealth or economic resources (things that have value);

o   2) power (ability to persuade others and often to control them);

o   3) prestige (respect and honour)

 Social Stratification

  • Intensify as communities become large, develop agriculture, and develop the necessity for occupational specialization (different jobs)
  • Some occupations rewarded / valued more than others
  • Capitalism increased forms of social hierarchies like CLASS


  • Perceptions of an individual’s standing or status in society, normally based on economic criteria.
  • Max Weber – Argued that in Western societies class is based on things like educational attainment, occupation, religious or spiritual affiliation, economics. (it is believed that we have control over these things)
  • Occupations – think how we value jobs that require intense schooling and perceived “brain power” as opposed to “hands on” jobs – this valuation contributes to stratification
  • We live in a society in which brain power, mental capacity jobs etc. are a form of success to prestige and power

Class is seen as:

  • Achieved or Ascribed
  •  Achieved – something you got from individual effort
  • Ascribed – something that comes to you, or you are born into
  • The American Dream! – equal opportunity to attain success, the belief that opportunities are available to everyone, if not attained, people believe that it is the victim’s fault
  • the rags to riches tale/ MYTH and belief that opportunities are available to everyone – myth but presumed to be reality
  • Ex. Great Gatsby, Oprah
  • “If you don’t achieve, it is your fault” “work hard, and you’ll prosper”

The Anthropology of Race and Racism

Race Refers to…

  •  The presumed hereditary characteristics of a group of people. It is taken-for-granted in mainstream society that races actually exist
  • BUT…race is arbitrary. It is a culturally constructed identity …but with REAL consequence
  •  Race is also… a form of stratification and legal classification
  •  Race is not ethnicity, it is not biological, it is not ascribed, it is not fixed

Race as a Cultural Construction

  • Conrad Kottak – race in Brazil; race as a continuum rather than a fixed category (a concept known as “colourism”)

o   White colonizers took over, so white skin is valued, perceived as higher social status, afforded more respect

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