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Glossary


absolute dating  Dating techniques that establish dates in numbers or ranges of numbers; examples include the radiometric methods of 14C, K/A, 238U, TL, and ESR dating.
acculturation  The exchange of cultural features that results when groups come into continuous firsthand contact; the original cultural patterns of either or both groups may be altered, but the groups remain distinct.
Acheulian  Derived from the French village of St. Acheul, where these tools were first identified; Lower Paleolithic tool tradition associated with H. erectus.
achieved status  Social status that comes through talents, choices, actions, efforts, activities, and accomplishments, rather than ascription.
adapids  Early (Eocene) primate family ancestral to lemurs and lorises.
adaptation  The process by which organisms cope with environmental stresses.
adaptive  Favored by natural selection in a particular environment.
advocacy view  of applied anthropology; the belief that precisely because anthropologists are experts on human problems and social change, and because they study, understand, and respect cultural values, they should make policy affecting people.
aesthetics  Appreciation of the qualities perceived in works of art; the mind and emotions in relation to a sense of beauty.
affinals  Relatives by marriage, whether of lineals (e.g., son’s wife) or collaterals (e.g., sister’s husband).
age set  Group uniting all men or women born during a certain time span; this group controls property and often has political and military functions.
agnates  Members of the same patrilineal descent group.
agriculture  Nonindustrial systems of plant cultivation characterized by continuous and intensive use of land and labor.
ahimsa  Hindu doctrine that prohibits harming life, and thus cattle slaughter.
allele  A biochemical difference involving a particular gene.
Allen’s rule  Rule stating that the relative size of protruding body parts (such as ears, tails, bills, fingers, toes, and limbs) tends to increase in warmer climates.
alluvial  Pertaining to rich, fertile soil deposited by rivers and streams.
ambilineal  Principle of descent that does not automatically exclude the children of either sons or daughters.
ambilocal  Postmarital residence pattern in which the couple may reside with either the husband’s or the wife’s group.
analogies  Similarities arising as a result of similar selective forces; traits produced by convergent evolution.
anatomically modern humans (AMHs)  Including the Cro-Magnons of Europe (31,000 B.P.) and the older fossils from Skh¯ul (100,000) and Qafzeh (92,000); continue through the present; also known as H. sapiens sapiens.
animism  Belief in souls or doubles.
Anthropoidea  One of two suborders of primates; includes monkeys, apes, and humans.
anthropoids  Members of Anthropoidea, one of the two suborders of primates; monkeys, apes, and humans are anthropoids.
anthropology  The study of the human species and its immediate ancestors.
anthropology and education  Anthropological research in classrooms, homes, and neighborhoods, viewing students as total cultural creatures whose enculturation and attitudes toward education belong to a larger context that includes family, peers, and society.
anthropometry  The measurement of human body parts and dimensions, including skeletal parts (osteometry).
antibody  A defending protein that reacts by attacking a foreign substance; see antigen.
antigen  A chemical substance that triggers the production of an antibody.
apartheid  Castelike system in South Africa; blacks, whites, and Asians have separate (and unequal) neighborhoods, schools, laws, and punishments.
apical ancestor  In a descent group, the individual who stands at the apex, or top, of the common genealogy.
applied anthropology  The application of anthropological data, perspectives, theory, and methods to identify, assess, and solve contemporary social problems.
arboreal  Tree-dwelling.
arboreal theory  Theory that the primates evolved by adapting to life high up in the trees, where visual abilities would have been favored over the sense of smell, and grasping hands and feet would have been used for movement along branches.
archaeological anthropology (prehistoric archaeology)  The study of human behavior and cultural patterns and processes through the culture’s material remains.
archaic Homo sapiens  Early H. sapiens, consisting of the Neandertals of Europe and the Middle East, the Neandertal-like hominids of Africa and Asia, and the immediate ancestors of all these hominids; lived from about 300,000 to 30,000 B.P.
archaic state  Nonindustrial state.
art  An object or event that evokes an aesthetic reaction—a sense of beauty, appreciation, harmony, and/or pleasure; the quality, production, expression, or realm of what is beautiful or of more than ordinary significance; the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria.
artifacts  Material items that humans have manufactured or modified.
arts  The arts include the visual arts, literature (written and oral), music, and theater arts.
ascribed status  Social status (e.g., race or gender) that people have little or no choice about occupying.
ASL  American Sign Language, a medium of communication for deaf and mute humans and apes.
assimilation  The process of change that a minority group may experience when it moves to a country where another culture dominates; the minority is incorporated into the dominant culture to the point that it no longer exists as a separate cultural unit.
attitudinal discrimination  Discrimination against members of a group because of prejudice toward that group.
Aurignacian  Upper Paleolithic tradition, 35,000 to 20,000 B.P.; tools usually found in narrow valleys or near cliff walls, and thick layers suggest long occupation; may have diffused into Europe from elsewhere.
australopithecines  Varied group of Pliocene– Pleistocene hominids. The term is derived from their former classification as members of a distinct subfamily, the Australopithecinae; now they are distinguished from Homo only at the genus level.
axis  Plant part that attaches the grains to the stalk; brittle in wild grains, tough in domesticated ones.
Aztec  Last independent state in the Valley of Mexico; capital was Tenochtitlan. Thrived between A.D. 1325 and the Spanish conquest in 1520.
balanced reciprocity  See generalized reciprocity.
band  Basic unit of social organization among foragers. A band includes fewer than 100 people; it often splits up seasonally.
berdaches  Among the Crow Indians, members of a third gender, for whom certain ritual duties were reserved.
Bergmann’s rule  Rule stating that the smaller of two bodies similar in shape has more surface area per unit of weight and can therefore dissipate heat more efficiently; hence, large bodies tend to be found in colder areas and small bodies in warmer ones.
Beringia  Area now under the Bering Sea; a dry land mass several hundred miles wide, exposed during the glacial advances.
bifurcate collateral kinship terminology  Kinship terminology employing separate terms for M, F, MB, MZ, FB, and FZ.
bifurcate merging kinship terminology  Kinship terminology in which M and MZ are called by the same term, F and FB are called by the same term, and MB and FZ are called by different terms.
big man  Regional figure often found among tribal horticulturalists and pastoralists. The big man occupies no office but creates his reputation through entrepreneurship and generosity to others. Neither his wealth nor his position passes to his heirs.
bilateral kinship calculation  A system in which kinship ties are calculated equally through both sexes: mother and father, sister and brother, daughter and son, and so on.
biochemical genetics  Field that studies structure, function, and changes in genetic material.
biological anthropology  The study of human biological variation in time and space; includes evolution, genetics, growth and development, and primatology.
biological determinists  Those who argue that human behavior and social organization are biologically determined.
biological kin types  Actual genealogical relationships, designated by letters and symbols (e.g., FB), as opposed to the kin terms (e.g., uncle) used in a particular society.
biomedicine  Western medicine, which attributes illness to scientifically demonstrated agents: biological organisms (e.g., bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites) or toxic materials.
bipedal  Two-footed.
Black English Vernacular (BEV)  A rule-governed dialect of American English with roots in southern English. BEV is spoken by African-American youth and by many adults in their casual, intimate speech—sometimes called “ebonics.”
blade tool  The basic Upper Paleolithic tool type, hammered off a prepared core.
blended family  Kin unit formed when parents remarry and bring their children into a new household.
blood feud  Feud between families, usually in a nonstate society.
bone biology  The study of bone as a biological tissue, including its genetics; cell structure; growth, development, and decay, and patterns of movement (biomechanics).
bourgeoisie  One of Marx’s opposed classes; owners of the means of production (factories, mines, large farms, and other sources of subsistence).
brachiation  Under-the-branch swinging; characteristic of gibbons, siamangs, and some New World monkeys.
brideprice  See progeny price.
bridewealth  See progeny price.
broad-spectrum revolution  Period beginning around 20,000 B.P. in the Middle East and 12,000 B.P. in Europe, during which a wider range, or broader spectrum, of plant and animal life was hunted, gathered, collected, caught, and fished; revolutionary because it led to food production.
bronze  An alloy of arsenic and copper or of tin and copper.
bush school  Held in a location remote from residential areas; young people go there when they reach puberty to be instructed in knowledge viewed as essential to adult status.
call systems  Systems of communication among nonhuman primates, composed of a limited number of sounds that vary in intensity and duration. Tied to environmental stimuli.
caloric staple  Major source of dietary carbohydrates—such as wheat, rice, or maize.
candomblé  A syncretic “Afro-Brazilian” cult.
capital  Wealth or resources invested in business, with the intent of producing a profit.
capitalist world economy  The single world system, which emerged in the 16th century, committed to production for sale, with the object of maximizing profits rather than supplying domestic needs.
caprine  From capra, Latin for “goat”; refers to goats and sheep.
Capsians  Mesolithic North African foragers who based much of their subsistence on land snails.
cargo cults  Postcolonial, acculturative religious movements, common in Melanesia, that attempt to explain European domination and wealth and to achieve similar success magically by mimicking European behavior.
caste system  Closed, hereditary system of stratification, often dictated by religion; hierarchical social status is ascribed at birth, so that people are locked into their parents’ social position.
catarrhine  Sharp-nosed; anthropoid infraorder that includes Old World monkeys, apes, and humans.
catastrophism  View that extinct species were destroyed by fires, floods, and other catastrophes. After each destructive event, God created again, leading to contemporary species.
catharsis  Intense emotional release.
Cenozoic  Era of recent life—birds and mammals.
ceremonial fund  Resources invested in ceremonial or ritual expenses or activity.
ceremonies of increase  Rituals held to promote the fertility and reproduction of plants and animals.
chiefdom  Form of sociopolitical organization intermediate between the tribe and the state; kin-based with differential access to resources and a permanent political structure. A rank society in which relations among villages as well as among individuals are unequal, with smaller villages under the authority of leaders in larger villages; has a two-level settlement hierarchy.
chromosomes  Basic genetic units, occurring in matching (homologous) pairs; lengths of DNA made up of multiple genes.
chronology  Time frame, sequence.
civilization  A complex society with a government and social classes; synonyms are nation-state and state.
clan  Unilineal descent group based on stipulated descent.
class  Zoological: Division of a kingdom; composed of related orders.
class consciousness  Recognition of collective interests and personal identification with one’s economic group (particularly the proletariat); basic to Marx’s view of class.
classic Neandertals  Stereotypical Neandertals of Western Europe, considered by some scholars to be too specialized to have evolved into H. sapiens sapiens.
cline  A gradual shift in gene frequencies between neighboring populations.
Clovis tradition  Stone technology based on a projectile point that was fastened to the end of a hunting spear; it flourished between 12,000 and 11,000 B.P. in North America.
collateral household  Type of expanded family household including siblings and their spouses and children.
collateral relative  A biological relative who is not a lineal; that is, is not in ego’s direct line, such as B, Z, FB, or MZ.
colonialism  The political, social, economic, and cultural domination of a territory and its people by a foreign power for an extended time.
communal religions  In Wallace’s typology, these religions have, in addition to shamanic cults, communal cults in which people organize community rituals such as harvest ceremonies and rites of passage.
communitas  Intense community spirit, a feeling of great social solidarity, equality, and togetherness; characteristic of people experiencing liminality together.
competence  What native speakers must (and do) know about their language in order to speak and understand it.
competitive exclusion  Ecological principle that if two similar species exploit the same ecological niche, any advantage on the part of one of them, even though minor, eventually will force the other from that niche.
complex societies  Nations; large and populous, with social stratification and central governments.
conspecifics  Individual members of the same species.
continental shelf  Offshore shallow-water zone over which the ocean gradually deepens until the abrupt fall to deep water, which is known as the continental slope.
continental slope  See continental shelf.
convergent evolution  Independent operation of similar selective forces; process by which analogies are produced.
core  Dominant structural position in the world system; consists of the strongest and most powerful states with advanced systems of production.
core values  Key, basic, or central values that integrate a culture and help distinguish it from others.
correlation  An association between two or more variables such that when one changes (varies), the other(s) also change(s) (covaries); for example, temperature and sweating.
cranium  Skull.
creationism  Explanation for the origin of species given in Genesis: God created the species during the original six days of Creation.
creative opposition  Process in which people change their behavior as they consciously and actively avoid or spurn an external image or practice.
cross cousins  Children of a brother and a sister.
cultivation continuum  A continuum based on the comparative study of nonindustrial cultivating societies in which labor intensity increases and fallowing decreases.
cultural anthropology  The study of human society and culture; describes, analyzes, interprets, and explains social and cultural similarities and differences.
cultural colonialism  Internal domination—by one group and its culture/ideology over others; for example, Russian domination of the former Soviet Union.
cultural consultants  Subjects in ethnographic research; people the ethnographer gets to know in the field, who teach him or her about their culture.
cultural convergence (or convergent cultural evolution)  Development of similar traits, institutions, or behavior patterns as a result of adaptation to similar environments; parallel development without contact or mutual influence.
cultural determinists  Those who relate behavior and social organization to cultural or environmental factors. This view focuses on variation rather than universals and stresses learning and the role of culture in human adaptation.
cultural ecology  The study of ecosystems that include people, focusing on how human use of nature influences and is influenced by social organization and cultural values.
cultural imperialism  The rapid spread or advance of one culture at the expense of others, or its imposition on other cultures, which it modifies, replaces, or destroys—usually because of differential economic or political influence.
cultural learning  Learning based on the human capacity to think symbolically.
cultural relativism  The position that the values and standards of cultures differ and deserve respect. Extreme relativism argues that cultures should be judged solely by their own standards.
cultural resource management (CRM)  The branch of applied archaeology aimed at preserving sites threatened by dams, highways, and other projects.
cultural rights  Doctrine that certain rights are vested not in individuals but in identifiable groups, such as religious and ethnic minorities and indigenous societies. Cultural rights include a group’s ability to preserve its culture, to raise its children in the ways of its forebears, to continue its language, and not to be deprived of its economic base by the nation-state in which it is located.
cultural transmission  A basic feature of language; transmission through learning.
culturally compatible economic development projects  Projects that harness traditional organizations and locally perceived needs for change and that have a culturally appropriate design and implementation strategy.
culture  Distinctly human; transmitted through learning; traditions and customs that govern behavior and beliefs.
culture and personality  A subfield of cultural anthropology; examines variation in psychological traits and personality characteristics among cultures.
cuneiform  Early Mesopotamian writing that used a stylus (writing implement) to write wedge-shaped impressions on raw clay; from the Latin word for wedge.
curer  Specialized role acquired through a culturally appropriate process of selection, training, certification, and acquisition of a professional image; the curer is consulted by patients, who believe in his or her special powers, and receives some form of special consideration; a cultural universal.
cytoplasm  The outer area of the cell rather than the nucleus.
daughter languages  Languages developing out of the same parent language; for example, French and Spanish are daughter languages of Latin.
demonstrated descent  Basis of the lineage; descent-group members cite the names of their forebears in each generation from the apical ancestor through the present.
descent  Rule assigning social identity on the basis of some aspect of one’s ancestry.
descent group  A permanent social unit whose members claim common ancestry; fundamental to tribal society.
development anthropology  The branch of applied anthropology that focuses on social issues in, and the cultural dimension of, economic development.
diaspora  The offspring of an area who have spread to many lands.
differential access  Unequal access to resources; basic attribute of chiefdoms and states. Superordinates have favored access to such resources, while the access of subordinates is limited by superordinates.
diffusion  Borrowing of cultural traits between societies, either directly or through intermediaries.
diglossia  The existence of “high” (formal) and “low” (informal, familial) dialects of a single language, such as German.
directional selection  Long-term selection of the same trait(s); may go on as long as environmental forces remain the same.
discourse  Talk, speeches, gestures, and actions.
discrimination  Policies and practices that harm a group and its members.
disease  A scientifically identified health threat caused by a bacterium, virus, fungus, parasite, or other pathogen.
displacement  A basic feature of language; the ability to speak of things and events that are not present.
domestic  Within or pertaining to the home.
domestic–public dichotomy  Contrast between women’s role in the home and men’s role in public life, with a corresponding social devaluation of women’s work and worth.
domestic system  of manufacture, also known as “home handicraft production”; preindustrial manufacturing system in which organizer-entrepreneurs supplied raw materials to people who worked at home and collected finished products from them.
dominant  Allele that masks another allele in a heterozygote.
dowry  A marital exchange in which the wife’s group provides substantial gifts to the husband’s family.
dry farming  Cultivation that is rainfall-dependent, without irrigation.
dryopithecids  Zoological ape family living in Europe during the middle and late Miocene; probably includes the common ancestor of the lesser apes (gibbons and siamangs) and the great apes.
ecocide  Destruction of local ecosystems.
ecology  The study of interrelationships among living things in an environment.
economic typology  Classification of societies based on their adaptive strategies; for example, foraging, horticulture, pastoralism, agriculture.
economizing  The rational allocation of scarce means (or resources) to alternative ends (or uses); often considered the subject matter of economics.
economy  A population’s system of production, distribution, and consumption of resources.
ecosystem  A patterned arrangement of energy flows and exchanges; includes organisms sharing a common environment and that environment.
egalitarian society  A type of society, most typically found among foragers, that lacks status distinctions except for those based on age, gender, and individual qualities, talents, and achievements.
ego  Latin for I. In kinship charts, the point from which one views an egocentric genealogy.
elite level  Archaeological term for evidence of differential access to strategic resources; found in chiefdoms and states.
emic  The research strategy that focuses on native explanations and criteria of significance.
emotionalistic disease theories  Theories that assume that illness is caused by intense emotional experiences.
empire  A mature, territorially large and expansive state; empires are typically multiethnic, multilinguistic, and more militaristic, with a better developed bureaucracy, than earlier states.
enculturation  The social process by which culture is learned and transmitted across the generations. endogamy Marriage between people of the same social group.
environmental racism  The systematic use of institutionally based power by a majority group to make policy decisions that create disproportionate environmental hazards in minority communities.
equity, increased  A reduction in absolute poverty and a fairer (more even) distribution of wealth.
estrus  Period of maximum sexual receptivity in female baboons, chimpanzees, and other primates, signaled by vaginal area swelling and coloration.
ethnic expulsion  A policy aimed at removing groups that are culturally different from a country.
ethnic group  Group distinguished by cultural similarities (shared among members of that group) and differences (between that group and others); ethnic group members share beliefs, values, habits, customs, and norms, and a common language, religion, history, geography, kinship, and/or race.
ethnicity  Identification with, and feeling part of, an ethnic group, and exclusion from certain other groups because of this affiliation.
ethnocentrism  The tendency to view one’s own culture as best and to judge the behavior and beliefs of culturally different people by one’s own standards.
ethnocide  Process in which ethnic groups survive but lose or severely modify their ancestral cultures.
ethnography  Field work in a particular culture.
ethnology  Cross-cultural comparison; the comparative study of ethnographic data, of society, and of culture.
ethnomusicology  The comparative study of the musics of the world and of music as an aspect of culture and society.
ethnoscience  See ethnosemantics.
ethnosemantics  The study of lexical (vocabulary) contrasts and classifications in various languages.
etic  The research strategy that emphasizes the observer’s rather than the natives’ explanations, categories, and criteria of significance.
Etoro  Papua New Guinea culture in which males are culturally trained to prefer homosexual behavior.
eugenics  Controversial movement aimed at genetic improvement by encouraging the reproduction of individuals with favored features and discouraging that of individuals with features deemed undesirable.
Eve theory  Theory that a small group of anatomically modern people arose recently, probably in Africa, from which they spread and replaced the native and more archaic populations of other inhabited areas.
evolution  Descent with modification; change in form over generations.
excavation  Digging through the layers of deposits that make up an archaeological site.
exogamy  Rule requiring people to marry outside their own group.
expanded family household  Coresident group that can include siblings and their spouses and children (a collateral household) or three generations of kin and their spouses (an extended family household).
expressive culture  The arts; people express themselves creatively in dance, music, song, painting, sculpture, pottery, cloth, storytelling, verse, prose, drama, and comedy.
extended family  Expanded household including three or more generations.
extradomestic  Outside the home; within or pertaining to the public domain.
extrasomatic  Nonbodily; pertaining to culture, including language, tools, and other cultural means of adaptation.
family, zoological  Group of similar genera.
family of orientation  Nuclear family in which one is born and grows up.
family of procreation  Nuclear family established when one marries and has children.
fictive kinship  Personal relationships modeled on kinship, such as that between godparents and godchildren.
First World  The “democratic West”—traditionally conceived in opposition to a “Second World” ruled by “communism.” fiscal Pertaining to finances and taxation.
focal vocabulary  A set of words and distinctions that are particularly important to certain groups (those with particular foci of experience or activity), such as types of snow to Eskimos or skiers.
folk  Of the people; originally coined for European peasants; refers to the art, music, and lore of ordinary people, as contrasted with the “high” art or “classic” art of the European elites.
food production  Cultivation of plants and domestication (stockbreeding) of animals; first developed in the Middle East 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.
foramen magnum  “Big hole” through which the spinal cord joins the brain; located farther forward in Australopithecus and Homo than in apes.
forced assimilation  Use of force by a dominant group to compel a minority to adopt the dominant culture—for example, penalizing or banning the language and customs of an ethnic group.
fossils  Remains (e.g., bones), traces, or impressions (e.g., footprints) of ancient life.
fraternal polyandry  Marriage of a group of brothers to the same woman or women.
functional explanation  Explanation that establishes a correlation or interrelationship between social customs. When customs are functionally interrelated, if one changes, the others also change.
gametes  The sex cells: eggs (ova) and sperms.
gender roles  The tasks and activities that a culture assigns to each sex.
gender stereotypes  Oversimplified but strongly held ideas about the characteristics of males and females.
gender stratification  Unequal distribution of rewards (socially valued resources, power, prestige, and personal freedom) between men and women, reflecting their different positions in a social hierarchy.
gene  Area in a chromosome pair that determines, wholly or partially, a particular biological trait, such as whether one’s blood type is A, B, AB, or O.
gene flow  Exchange of genetic material between populations of the same species through direct or indirect interbreeding.
gene pool  All the alleles and genotypes within a breeding population—the “pool” of genetic material available.
genealogical method  Procedures by which ethnographers discover and record connections of kinship, descent, and marriage, using diagrams and symbols.
general anthropology  The field of anthropology as a whole, consisting of cultural, archaeological, biological, and linguistic anthropology.
generality  Culture pattern or trait that exists in some but not all societies.
generalized reciprocity  Principle that characterizes exchanges between closely related individuals. As social distance increases, reciprocity becomes balanced and finally negative.
generational kinship terminology  Kinship terminology with only two terms for the parental generation, one designating M, MZ, and FZ and the other designating F, FB, and MB.
genetic evolution  Change in gene frequency within a breeding population.
genitor  Biological father of a child.
genocide  Physical destruction of ethnic groups by murder, warfare, and introduced diseases.
genotype  An organism’s hereditary makeup.
genus (plural, genera)  Group of similar species.
gibbons  The smallest apes, natives of Asia; arboreal and territorial.
glacials  The four or five major advances of continental ice sheets in northern Europe and North America.
globalization  The accelerating interdependence of nations in a world system linked economically and through mass media and modern transportation systems.
gracile  Opposite of robust.
grammar  The formal organizing principles that link sound and meaning in a language; the set of abstract rules that make up a language.
green revolution  Agricultural development based on chemical fertilizers, pesticides, 20th-century cultivation techniques, and new crop varieties such as IR-8 (“miracle rice”).
Halafian  An early (7500–6500 B.P.) and widespread pottery style, first found in northern Syria; refers to a delicate ceramic style and to the period when the first chiefdoms emerged.
head, village  A local leader in a tribal society who has limited authority, leads by example and persuasion, and must be generous.
health-care systems  Beliefs, customs, and specialists concerned with ensuring health and preventing and curing illness; a cultural universal.
hegemonic reading (of a “text”)  The reading or meaning that the creators intended, or the one the elites consider to be the intended or correct meaning.
hegemony  As used by Antonio Gramsci, a stratified social order in which subordinates comply with domination by internalizing its values and accepting its “naturalness.”
heterozygous  Having dissimilar alleles of a given gene.
hidden transcript  As used by James Scott, the critique of power by the oppressed that goes on offstage—in private—where the power holders can’t see it.
Hilly Flanks  Woodland zone that flanks the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to the north; zone of wild wheat and barley and of sedentism (settled, nonmigratory life) preceding food production.
historical explanation  Demonstration that a social institution or practice exists among different populations because they share a period of common history or have been exposed to common sources of information; includes diffusion.
Hogopans  Nickname for the ancestral population of Miocene hominoids that eventually split three ways to give rise to humans, gorillas, and chimps; derived from the genus names Homo, Gorilla, and Pan (chimpanzee).
holistic  Interested in the whole of the human condition: past, present, and future; biology, society, language, and culture.
Hominidae  Zoological superfamily that includes fossil and living humans; according to some taxonomists, also includes the African apes.
hominids  Members of the zoological family (Hominidae) that includes fossil and living humans.
Hominoidea  Zoological superfamily that includes fossil and contemporary apes and humans.
hominoids  Members of the superfamily including humans and all the apes.
Homo habilis  Term coined by L. S. B. and Mary Leakey; immediate ancestor of H. erectus; lived from about 2 to 1.7 or 1.6 m.y.a.
Homo sapiens sapiens  Anatomically modern humans.
homologies  Traits that organisms have jointly inherited from their common ancestor.
homozygous  Possessing identical alleles of a particular gene.
horticulture  Nonindustrial system of plant cultivation in which plots lie fallow for varying lengths of time.
human rights  Doctrine that invokes a realm of justice and morality beyond and superior to particular countries, cultures, and religions. Human rights, usually seen as vested in individuals, would include the right to speak freely, to hold religious beliefs without persecution, and to not be enslaved, or imprisoned without charge.
humanities  Academic fields that study languages, texts, philosophies, arts, music, performances, and other forms of creative expression.
hybrid  Mixed.
hydraulic systems  Systems of water management, including irrigation, drainage, and flood control. Often associated with agricultural societies in arid and river environments.
hypervitaminosis D  Condition caused by an excess of vitamin D; calcium deposits build up on the body’s soft tissues and the kidneys may fail; symptoms include gallstones and joint and circulation problems; may affect unprotected light-skinned individuals in the tropics.
hypodescent  Rule that automatically places the children of a union or mating between members of different socioeconomic groups in the less-privileged group.
hypoxia  A body’s oxygen deprivation; the difficulty of extracting oxygen from the air increases with altitude because barometric pressure decreases and molecules of air are farther apart.
ideal types  Labels that make contrasts seem more extreme than they really are (e.g., big and little). Instead of discrete categories, there is actually a continuum from one type to the next.
identity politics  Sociopolitical identities based on the perception of sharing a common culture, language, religion, or “race,” rather than citizenship in a nation-state, which may contain diverse social groups.
illness  A condition of poor health perceived or felt by an individual.
imperialism  A policy of extending the rule of a nation or empire over foreign nations or of taking and holding foreign colonies.
incest  Forbidden sexual relations with a close relative.
incest taboo  Universal prohibition against marrying or mating with a close relative.
inclusive fitness  Reproductive success measured by the representation of genes one shares with other, related individuals.
income  Earnings from wages and salaries.
independent assortment  Mendel’s law of; chromosomes are inherited independently of one another.
independent invention  Development of the same cultural trait or pattern in separate cultures as a result of comparable needs and circumstances.
indigenized  Modified to fit the local culture.
indigenous peoples  The original inhabitants of particular territories; often descendants of tribespeople who live on as culturally distinct colonized peoples, many of whom aspire to autonomy.
individual fitness  Reproductive success measured by the number of direct descendants an individual has.
Industrial Revolution  The historical transformation (in Europe, after 1750) of “traditional” into “modern” societies through industrialization of the economy.
infanticide  Killing a baby; a form of population control in some societies.
institutional discrimination  Programs, policies, and arrangements that deny equal rights and opportunities to, or differentially harm, members of particular groups.
interglacials  Extended warm periods between such major glacials as Riss and Würm.
international culture  Cultural traditions that extend beyond national boundaries.
interstadials  Brief warm periods during a glacial; not to be confused with the longer interglacials.
intervention philosophy  Guiding principle of colonialism, conquest, missionization, or development; an ideological justification for outsiders to guide native peoples in specific directions.
interview schedule  Ethnographic tool for structuring a formal interview. A prepared form (usually printed or mimeographed) that guides interviews with households or individuals being compared systematically. Contrasts with a questionnaire because the researcher has personal contact with the local people and records their answers.
IPR  Intellectual property rights, consisting of each society’s cultural base—its core beliefs and principles. IPR is claimed as a group right—a cultural right, allowing indigenous groups to control who may know and use their collective knowledge and its applications.
Iroquois  Confederation of tribes in aboriginal New York; matrilineal with communal long houses and a prominent political, religious, and economic role for women.
ischial callosities  Rough patches of skin of gibbons and Old World monkeys on the buttocks, adapted to sitting on hard rocky ground and rough branches.
ivory tower view  of applied anthropology; the belief that anthropologists should avoid practical matters and concentrate on research, publication, and teaching.
Jomon  Widespread (30,000 sites known) Japanese Mesolithic culture, dated to 6000 to 5000 B.P.; hunted deer, pigs, bear, and antelope, and also ate fish, shellfish, and plants.
Ju’hoansi  Group of San (Bushmen) foragers of southern Africa.
key cultural consultant  Person who is an expert on a particular aspect of native life.
kin-based  Characteristic of many nonindustrial societies. People spend their lives almost exclusively with their relatives; principles of kinship, descent, and marriage organize social life.
kin terms  The words used for different relatives in a particular language, as opposed to actual genealogical relationships (biological kin types).
kinesics  The study of communication through body movements, stances, gestures, and facial expressions.
kingdom, zoological  Group of related classes.
kinship calculation  The system by which people in a particular society reckon kin relationships.
knuckle-walking  A form of terrestrial locomotion in which long arms and callused knuckles support the trunk; the ape ambles around leaning forward.
Kwakiutl  A potlatching society on the North Pacific Coast of North America.
lactase  See lactose.
lactose  A complex sugar in milk; its digestion requires an enzyme called lactase in the small intestine. Among most mammals, lactase production ceases after weaning, and the ability to digest milk is lost.
language  Human beings’ primary means of communication; may be spoken or written; features productivity and displacement and is culturally transmitted.
latent function  A custom’s underlying function, often unperceived by natives.
law  A legal code, including trial and enforcement; characteristic of state-organized societies.
LDC  A less-developed country; by contrast with an industrial nation.
leveling mechanisms  Customs and social actions that operate to reduce differences in wealth and thus to bring standouts in line with community norms.
levirate  Custom by which a widow marries the brother of her deceased husband.
lexicon  Vocabulary; a dictionary containing all the morphemes in a language and their meanings.
life history  Of a key consultant or narrator; provides a personal cultural portrait of existence or change in a culture.
liminality  The critically important marginal or in-between phase of a rite of passage.
lineage  Unilineal descent group based on demonstrated descent.
lineal kinship terminology  Parental generation kin terminology with four terms: one for M, one for F, one for FB and MB, and one for MZ and FZ.
lineal relative  Any of ego’s ancestors or descendants (e.g., parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren); on the direct line of descent that leads to and from ego.
linguistic anthropology  The descriptive, comparative, and historical study of language and of linguistic similarities and differences in time, space, and society.
linguistic relativity  Notion that all languages and dialects are equally effective as systems of communication.
linguistic uniformitarianism  Belief that explanations for long-term change in language should be sought in ordinary forces that continue to work today; thus, the forces that have produced linguistic changes over the centuries are observable in linguistic events (variation) taking place today.
linkages  Interconnections between small-scale and large-scale units and systems; political, economic, informational, and other cultural links among village, region, nation, and world.
liturgical order  A set sequence of words and actions invented prior to the current performance of the ritual in which it occurs.
liturgies  Set formal sequences of words and actions; common in political events and rituals or ceremonies.
local descent group  All the members of a particular descent group who live in the same place, such as the same village.
longitudinal  Long-term; refers to a study carried out over many years.
longitudinal research  Long-term study of a community, region, society, culture, or other unit, usually based on repeated visits.
macroband  Assembly of foraging bands for intensive collecting or cooperative hunting.
magic  Use of supernatural techniques to accomplish specific aims.
maize  Corn; domesticated in highland Mexico.
majority groups  Superordinate, dominant, or controlling groups in a social-political hierarchy.
maladaptive  Harmful; selected against; conferring a disadvantage with respect to survival and reproduction.
mana  Sacred impersonal force in Melanesian and Polynesian religions.
manifest function  The reasons that natives offer for a custom.
manioc  Cassava; a tuber domesticated in the South American lowlands.
market principle  Profit-oriented principle of exchange that dominates in states, particularly industrial states. Goods and services are bought and sold, and values are determined by supply and demand.
marriage  Socially approved relationship between a socially recognized male (the husband) and a socially recognized female (the wife) such that the children born to the wife are accepted as the offspring of both husband and wife.
mater  Socially recognized mother of a child.
matriarchy  A society ruled by women; unknown to ethnography.
matrifocal  Mother-centered; often refers to a household with no resident husband-father.
matrilateral skewing  A preference for relatives on the mother’s side.
matrilineal descent  Unilineal descent rule in which people join the mother’s group automatically at birth and stay members throughout life.
matrilocality  Customary residence with the wife’s relatives after marriage, so that children grow up in their mother’s community.
matrons  Senior women, as among the Iroquois.
means (or factors) of production  Land, labor, technology, and capital—major productive resources.
medical anthropology  Field including biological and cultural, theoretical and applied, anthropologists concerned with the sociocultural context and implications of disease and illness.
meiosis  Special process by which sex cells are produced; four cells are produced from one, each with half the genetic material of the original cell.
melanin  Substance manufactured in specialized cells in the lower layers of the epidermis (outer skin layer); melanin cells in dark skin produce more melanin than do those in light skin.
Mendelian genetics  Studies ways in which chromosomes transmit genes across the generations.
Mesoamerica  Middle America, including Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize.
Mesolithic  Middle Stone Age, whose characteristic tool type was the microlith; broad-spectrum economy.
Mesopotamia  The area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is now southern Iraq and southwestern Iran; location of the first cities and states.
Mesozoic  Era of middle life—reptiles, including the dinosaurs.
metallurgy  Knowledge of the properties of metals, including their extraction and processing and the manufacture of metal tools.
microband  Small family group of foragers.
microlith  Greek for “small stone”; characteristic Mesolithic tool.
Middle Pleistocene  The period from the Mindel glacial through the Riss-Würm interglacial.
Mindel  The second major glacial advance in Europe.
minimal pairs  Words that resemble each other in all but one sound; used to discover phonemes.
minority groups  Subordinate groups in a social-political hierarchy, with inferior power and less secure access to resources than majority groups.
mitosis  Ordinary cell division; DNA molecules copy themselves, creating two identical cells out of one.
mode of production  Way of organizing production—a set of social relations through which labor is deployed to wrest energy from nature by means of tools, skills, and knowledge.
moiety  One of two descent groups in a given population; usually moieties intermarry.
molecular anthropology  Genetic analysis, involving comparison of DNA sequences, to determine evolutionary links and distances among species and among ancient and modern populations.
monocrop production  System of production, often on plantations, based on the cultivation of a single cash crop.
monotheism  Worship of an eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent supreme being.
morpheme  Minimal linguistic form (usually a word) with meaning.
morphology  The study of form; used in linguistics (the study of morphemes and word construction) and for form in general—for example, biomorphology relates to physical form.
Mousterian  Middle Paleolithic tool-making tradition associated with Neandertals.
multiculturalism  The view of cultural diversity in a country as something good and desirable; a multicultural society socializes individuals not only into the dominant (national) culture but also into an ethnic culture.
multiregional evolution  Theory that Homo erectus gradually evolved into modern H. sapiens in all regions inhabited by humans (Africa, Europe, northern Asia, and Australasia). As the regional populations evolved, gene flow always connected them, and so they always belonged to the same species. This theory opposes replacement models such as the Eve theory.
multivariate  Involving multiple factors, causes, or variables.
mutation  Change in the DNA molecules of which genes and chromosomes are built.
m.y.a.  Million years ago.
namesakes  People who share the same name; a form of fictive kinship among the San, who have a limited number of personal names.
nation  Once a synonym for “ethnic group,” designating a single culture sharing a language, religion, history, territory, ancestry, and kinship; now usually a synonym for state or nation-state.
nation-state  An autonomous political entity; a country like the United States or Canada.
national culture  Cultural experiences, beliefs, learned behavior patterns, and values shared by citizens of the same nation.
nationalities  Ethnic groups that once had, or wish to have or regain, autonomous political status (their own country).
native taxonomy  Classification system invented and used by natives rather than anthropologists.
Natufians  Widespread Middle Eastern culture, dated to between 12,500 and 10,500 B.P.; subsisted on intensive wild cereal collecting and gazelle hunting and had year-round villages.
natural selection  Originally formulated by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace; the process by which nature selects the forms most fit to survive and reproduce in a given environment, such as the tropics.
naturalistic disease theories  given environment, such as the tropics. naturalistic disease theories Include scientific medicine; theories that explain illness in impersonal systemic terms.
naturists  Those who argue that human behavior and social organization are biologically determined.
Neandertals  H. sapiens neanderthalensis, representing an archaic H. sapiens subspecies, lived in Europe and the Middle East between 130,000 and 30,000 B.P.
negative reciprocity  See generalized reciprocity.
négritude  Black association and identity—an idea developed by dark-skinned intellectuals in Francophone (French-speaking) West Africa and the Caribbean.
neocolonialism  A revival or new form of colonialism—the political, social, economic, and cultural domination of a territory and its people by a foreign power, often justified by the assertion that foreigners are more enlightened at governing than are natives of the colonial area.
Neolithic  “New Stone Age,” coined to describe techniques of grinding and polishing stone tools; the first cultural period in a region in which the first signs of domestication are present.
neolocality  Postmarital residence pattern in which a couple establishes a new place of residence rather than living with or near either set of parents.
Nilotic populations  Populations, including the Nuer, that inhabit the Upper Nile region of eastern Africa.
nomadism, pastoral  Movement throughout the year by the whole pastoral group (men, women, and children) with their animals; more generally, such constant movement in pursuit of strategic resources.
nuclear family  Kinship group consisting of parents and children.
nurturists  Those who relate behavior and social organization to environmental factors. Nurturists focus on variation rather than universals and stress learning and the role of culture in human adaptation.
Oaxaca, Valley  of Southern Mexican valley that was an early area of food production and state formation.
office  Permanent political position.
Oldowan pebble tools  Earliest (2 to 2.5 m.y.a.) stone tools; first discovered in 1931 by L. S. B. and Mary Leakey at Olduvai Gorge.
Olmec  Elite-level society on Mexico’s Gulf Coast, 3200 to 2500 B.P.
Olympian religions  In Wallace’s typology, develop with state organization; have full-time religious specialists—professional priesthoods.
omomyids  Early (Eocene) primate family found in North America, Europe, and Asia; early omomyids may be ancestral to all anthropoids; later ones may be ancestral to tarsiers.
open class system  Stratification system that facilitates social mobility, with individual achievement and personal merit determining social rank.
opposable thumb  A thumb that can touch all the other fingers.
order, zoological  Division of a zoological class; a group of related suborders, such as the primates.
orthograde posture  Straight and upright; the posture among apes and humans.
osteology  The study of bones; useful to biological anthropologists studying the fossil record.
overinnovation  Characteristic of projects that require major changes in natives’ daily lives, especially ones that interfere with customary subsistence pursuits.
paleoanthropology  The study of hominid evolution and human life as revealed by the fossil record.
paleoecology  The study, often by archaeologists, of ecosystems of the past.
Paleoindians  Early North American Indians who hunted horses, camels, bison, elephants, mammoths, and giant sloths.
Paleolithic  Old Stone Age (from Greek roots meaning “old” and “stone”); divided into Lower (early), Middle, and Upper (late).
paleontology  Study of ancient life through the fossil record.
paleopathology  Study of disease and injury in skeletons from archaeological sites.
Paleozoic  Era of ancient life—fishes, amphibians, and primitive reptiles.
palynology  Study of ancient plants through pollen samples from archaeological or fossil sites in order to determine a site’s environment at the time of occupation.
pantheon  A collection of supernatural beings in a particular religion.
pantribal sodality  A non-kin-based group that exists throughout a tribe, spanning several villages.
parallel cousins  Children of two brothers or two sisters.
participant observation  A characteristic ethnographic technique; taking part in the events one is observing, describing, and analyzing.
particularity  Distinctive or unique culture trait, pattern, or integration.
pastoralists  People who use a food-producing strategy of adaptation based on care of herds of domesticated animals.
pater  Socially recognized father of a child; not necessarily the genitor.
patriarchy  Political system ruled by men in which women have inferior social and political status, including basic human rights.
patrilineal descent  Unilineal descent rule in which people join the father’s group automatically at birth and stay members throughout life.
patrilineal-patrilocal complex  An interrelated constellation of patrilineality, patrilocality, warfare, and male supremacy.
patrilocality  Customary residence with the husband’s relatives after marriage, so that children grow up in their father’s community.
peasant  Small-scale agriculturalist living in a state with rent fund obligations.
performance  What people actually say; the use of speech in social situations.
Perigordian  Upper Paleolithic tradition that coexisted with the Aurignacian in Europe between 35,000 and 20,000 B.P. Perigordian tools usually are found in thin deposits and are scattered over large areas; evolved in Western Europe out of Mousterian antecedents.
periphery  Weakest structural position in the world system.
personalistic disease theories  Theories that attribute illness to sorcerers, witches, ghosts, or ancestral spirits.
phenotype  An organism’s evident traits, its “manifest biology”—anatomy and physiology.
phenotypical adaptation  Adaptive biological changes that occur during the individual’s lifetime, made possible by biological plasticity.
phone  Any speech sound.
phoneme  Significant sound contrast in a language that serves to distinguish meaning, as in minimal pairs.
phonemics  The study of the sound contrasts (phonemes) of a particular language.
phonetics  The study of speech sounds in general; what people actually say in various languages.
phonology  The study of sounds used in speech.
phylogeny  Genetic relatedness based on common ancestry.
physical anthropology  See biological anthropology.
pidgin  A mixed language that develops to ease communication between members of different cultures in contact, usually in situations of trade or colonial domination.
plasticity  The ability to change; notion that biology is affected by environmental forces, such as diet and altitude, experienced during growth.
platyrrhine  Flat-nosed; anthropoid infraorder that includes the New World monkeys.
Pleistocene  Epoch of Homo’s appearance and evolution; began two million years ago; divided into Lower, Middle, and Upper.
plural marriage  See polygamy.
plural society  A society that combines ethnic contrasts and economic interdependence of the ethnic groups.
polity  The political order.
polyandry  Variety of plural marriage in which a woman has more than one husband.
polygamy  Any marriage with more than two spouses.
polygyny  Variety of plural marriage in which a man has more than one wife.
Polynesia  Triangle of South Pacific islands formed by Hawaii to the north, Easter Island to the east, and New Zealand to the southwest.
polytheism  Belief in several deities who control aspects of nature.
polytypic species  Species with considerable phenotypic variation.
pongid  Zoological family that includes orangutans.
population genetics  Field that studies causes of genetic variation, maintenance, and change in breeding populations.
postcolonial  Referring to interactions between European nations and the societies they colonized (mainly after 1800); more generally, “postcolonial” may be used to signify a position against imperialism and Eurocentrism.
postcranium  The area behind or below the head; the skeleton.
posterior  Back; for example, posterior or back dentition—premolars and molars.
postmodern  In its most general sense, describes the blurring and breakdown of established canons (rules, standards), categories, distinctions, and boundaries.
postmodernism  A style and movement in architecture that succeeded modernism. Compared with modernism, postmodernism is less geometric, less functional, less austere, more playful, and more willing to include elements from diverse times and cultures; postmodern now describes comparable developments in music, literature, visual art, and anthropology.
postmodernity  Condition of a world in flux, with people on the move, in which established groups, boundaries, identities, contrasts, and standards are reaching out and breaking down.
pot irrigation  Simple irrigation technique used in Oaxaca; by means of pots, water close to the surface is dipped and poured on plants.
potlatch  Competitive feast among Indians on the North Pacific Coast of North America.
potsherds  Fragments of earthenware; pottery studied by archaeologists in interpreting prehistoric life styles.
power  The ability to exercise one’s will over others—to do what one wants; the basis of political status.
practicing anthropologists  Used as a synonym for applied anthropology; anthropologists who practice their profession outside of academia.
prehensile  Grasping, as in the tail of the New World monkeys.
prehistory  The period before the invention of writing (less than 6,000 years ago).
prejudice  Devaluing (looking down on) a group because of its assumed behavior, values, capabilities, attitudes, or other attributes.
prestige  Esteem, respect, or approval for acts, deeds, or qualities considered exemplary.
primary groups  Primate groups composed of a permanently bonded male and female and their preadolescent offspring.
primary states  States that arise on their own (through competition among chiefdoms), and not through contact with other state societies.
primates  Monkeys, apes, and prosimians; members of the zoological order that includes humans.
primatology  The study of the biology, behavior, social life, and evolution of monkeys, apes, and other nonhuman primates.
primogeniture  Inheritance rule that makes the oldest child (usually the oldest son) the only heir.
Proconsul  Early Miocene genus of the pliopithecoid superfamily; the most abundant and successful anthropoids of the early Miocene; the last common ancestor shared by the Old World monkeys and the apes.
productivity  A basic feature of language; the ability to use the rules of one’s language to create new expressions comprehensible to other speakers.
progeny price  A gift from the husband and his kin to the wife and her kin before, at, or after marriage; legitimizes children born to the woman as members of the husband’s descent group.
proletarianization  Separation of workers from the means of production through industrialism.
prosimians  The primate suborder that includes lemurs, lorises, and tarsiers.
protolanguage  Language ancestral to several daughter languages.
psychological anthropology  The ethnographic and cross-cultural study of differences and similarities in human psychology.
public transcript  As used by James Scott, the open, public interactions between dominators and oppressed—the outer shell of power relations.
punctuated equilibrium  Model of evolution; long periods of equilibrium, during which species change little, are interrupted by sudden changes—evolutionary jumps.
questionnaire  Form (usually printed) used by sociologists to obtain comparable information from respondents. Often mailed to and filled in by research subjects rather than by the researcher.
race  An ethnic group assumed to have a biological basis.
racism  Discrimination against an ethnic group assumed to have a biological basis.
radiometric  Dating technique that measures radioactive decay.
random genetic drift  Change in gene frequency that results not from natural selection but from chance; most common in small populations.
random sample  A sample in which all members of the population have an equal statistical chance of being included.
ranked society  A type of society with hereditary inequality but not social stratification; individuals are ranked in terms of their genealogical closeness to the chief, but there is a continuum of status, with many individuals and kin groups ranked about equally.
rapport  A good, friendly working relationship between people, for example, ethnographers and their hosts and consultants.
recessive  Genetic trait masked by a dominant trait.
reciprocity  One of the three principles of exchange; governs exchange between social equals; major exchange mode in band and tribal societies.
recombination  Following independent assortment of chromosomes, new arrangements of hereditary units produced through bisexual reproduction.
redistribution  Major exchange mode of chiefdoms, many archaic states, and some states with managed economies.
refugees  People who have been forced (involuntary refugees) or who have chosen (voluntary refugees) to flee a country, to escape persecution or war.
regulation  Management of variables within a system of related and interacting variables. Regulation assures that variables stay within their normal ranges, corrects deviations from the norm, and thus maintains the system’s integrity.
relative dating  Dating technique, e.g., stratigraphy, that establishes a time frame in relation to other strata or materials, rather than absolute dates in numbers.
relativity  Of evolution through natural selection; adaptation and fitness are in relation to specific environments, and traits are not adaptive or maladaptive for all times and places.
religion  Belief and ritual concerned with supernatural beings, powers, and forces.
remote sensing  Use of aerial photos and satellite images to locate sites on the ground.
rent fund  Scarce resources that a social inferior is required to render to an individual or agency that is superior politically or economically.
replacement fund  Scarce resources invested in technology and other items essential to production.
respondents  Subjects in sociological research; the people who answer questions in questionnaires and other social surveys.
revitalization movements  Movements that occur in times of change, in which religious leaders emerge and undertake to alter or revitalize a society.
rickets  Nutritional disease caused by a shortage of vitamin D; interferes with the absorption of calcium and causes softening and deformation of the bones.
Riss  The third major glacial advance in Europe.
rites of passage  Culturally defined activities associated with the transition from one place or stage of life to another.
ritual  Behavior that is formal, stylized, repetitive, and stereotyped, performed earnestly as a social act; rituals are held at set times and places and have liturgical orders.
robust  Large, strong, sturdy; said of skull, skeleton, muscle, and teeth; opposite of gracile.
Romer’s rule  Evolutionary rule stating that an innovation that evolves to maintain an existing system can play a major role in changing that system.
sagittal crest  Bony ridge atop the skull that forms as bone grows; develops from the pull of chewing muscles as they meet at the midline of the cranium.
sample  A smaller study group chosen to represent a larger population.
San  Foragers of southern Africa, also known as Bushmen; speakers of San languages.
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis  Theory that different languages produce different ways of thinking.
schistosomiasis  Disease caused by liver flukes transmitted by snails inhabiting ponds, lakes, and waterways, often created by irrigation projects.
schizoid  view of applied anthropology; the belief that anthropologists should help carry out, but not make or criticize, policy, and that personal value judgments should be kept strictly separate from scientific investigation in applied anthropology.
science  A systematic field of study or body of knowledge that aims, through experiment, observation, and deduction, to produce reliable explanations of phenomena, with reference to the material and physical world.
scientific medicine  As distinguished from Western medicine, a health-care system based on scientific knowledge and procedures, encompassing such fields as pathology, microbiology, biochemistry, surgery, diagnostic technology, and applications.
Second World  The Warsaw Pact nations, including the former Soviet Union, the Socialist and once-Socialist countries of Eastern Europe and Asia.
secret societies  Sodalities, usually all-male or all-female, with secret initiation ceremonies.
sectorial  fallowing Intensive horticulture; plots are cultivated for two to three years, then fallowed for three to five, with a longer rest after several of these shorter cycles.
sedentism  Settled (sedentary) life; preceded food production in the Old World and followed it in the New World.
segmentary lineage organization (SLO)  Political organization based on descent, usually patrilineal, with multiple descent segments that form at different genealogical levels and function in different contexts.
semantics  A language’s meaning system.
semiperiphery  Structural position in the world system intermediate between core and periphery.
serial monogamy  Marriage of a given individual to several spouses, but not at the same time.
sertão  Arid interior of northeastern Brazil; backlands.
settlement hierarchy  A ranked series of communities differing in size, function, and type of building; a three-level settlement hierarchy indicates state organization.
sexual dimorphism  Marked differences in male and female biology, besides the contrasts in breasts and genitals, and temperament.
sexual selection  Based on differential success in mating, the process in which certain traits of one sex (e.g., color in male birds) are selected because of advantages they confer in winning mates.
sexual orientation  A person’s habitual sexual attraction to, and activities with, persons of the opposite sex, heterosexuality; the same sex, homosexuality; or both sexes, bisexuality.
shaman  A part-time religious practitioner who mediates between ordinary people and supernatural beings and forces.
sickle-cell anemia  Usually fatal disease in which the red blood cells are shaped like crescents, or sickles, and increase the heart’s burden by clogging the small blood vessels.
sisal  Plant adapted to arid areas; its fiber is used to make rope.
Sivapithecus  Widespread fossil group first found in Pakistan; includes specimens formerly called “Ramapithecus” and fossil apes from Turkey, China, and Kenya; early Sivapithecus may contain the common ancestor of the orangutan and the African apes; late Sivapithecus is now seen as ancestral to the modern orang.
slash and burn  Form of horticulture in which the forest cover of a plot is cut down and burned before planting to allow the ashes to fertilize the soil.
slavery  The most extreme, coercive, abusive, and inhumane form of legalized inequality; people are treated as property.
smelting  The high-temperature process by which pure metal is produced from an ore.
social fund  Scarce resources invested to assist friends, relatives, in-laws, and neighbors.
social race  A group assumed to have a biological basis but actually perceived and defined in a social context, by a particular culture rather than by scientific criteria.
society  Organized life in groups; typical of humans and other animals.
sociobiology  The study of the evolutionary basis of social behavior.
sociolinguistics  Study of relationships between social and linguistic variation; study of language (performance) in its social context.
sociopolitical typology  Classification scheme based on the scale and complexity of social organization and the effectiveness of political regulation; includes band, tribe, chiefdom, and state.
sodality  See pantribal sodality.
sororate  Custom by which a widower marries the sister of the deceased wife.
speciation  Formation of new species; occurs when subgroups of the same species are separated for a sufficient length of time.
species  Population whose members can interbreed to produce offspring that can live and reproduce.
state (nation-state)  Complex sociopolitical system that administers a territory and populace with substantial contrasts in occupation, wealth, prestige, and power. An independent, centrally organized political unit; a government. A form of social and political organization with a formal, central government and a division of society into classes
status  Any position that determines where someone fits in society; may be ascribed or achieved.
stereoscopic vision  Ability to see in depth.
stereotypes  Fixed ideas—often unfavorable—about what the members of a group are like.
stipulated descent  Basis of the clan; members merely say they descend from their apical ancestor; they don’t trace the actual genealogical links between themselves and that ancestor.
strategic resources  Those necessary for life, such as food and space.
stratification  Characteristic of a system with socioeconomic strata, sharp social divisions based on unequal access to wealth and power; see stratum.
stratified  Class-structured; stratified societies have marked differences in wealth, prestige, and power between social classes.
stratigraphy  Science that examines the ways in which earth sediments are deposited in demarcated layers known as strata (singular, stratum).
stratum  One of two or more groups that contrast in regard to social status and access to strategic resources. Each stratum includes people of both sexes and all ages.
style shifts  Variations in speech in different contexts.
subaltern  Lower in rank, subordinate, traditionally lacking an influential role in decision making.
subcultures  Different cultural traditions associated with subgroups in the same complex society.
subgroups  Languages within a taxonomy of related languages that are most closely related.
suborder  Group of closely related superfamilies.
subordinate  The lower, or underprivileged, group in a stratified system.
subsistence fund  Scarce resources invested to provide food in order to replace the calories expended in daily activity.
sumptuary goods  Items whose consumption is limited to the elite.
superfamily  Group of closely related zoological families.
superordinate  The upper, or privileged, group in a stratified system.
supply and demand, law  of Economic rule that things cost more the scarcer they are and the more people want them.
survey research  Characteristic research procedure among social scientists other than anthropologists. Studies society through sampling, statistical analysis, and impersonal data collection.
symbiosis  An obligatory interaction between groups that is beneficial to each.
symbol  Something, verbal or nonverbal, that arbitrarily and by convention stands for something else, with which it has no necessary or natural connection.
syncretisms  Cultural blends, or mixtures, including religious blends, that emerge from acculturation, particularly under colonialism, such as African, Native American, and Roman Catholic saints and deities in Caribbean vodun, or “voodoo,” cults.
syntax  The arrangement and order of words in phrases and sentences.
systematic survey  Information gathered on patterns of settlement over a large area; provides a regional perspective on the archaeological record.
systemic perspective  View that changes have multiple consequences, some unforeseen.
taboo  Set apart as sacred and off-limits to ordinary people; prohibition backed by supernatural sanctions.
taphonomy  The study of the processes—biological and geological—by which dead animals become fossils; from the Greek taphos, which means “tomb.”
taxonomy  Classification scheme; assignment to categories (taxa; singular, taxon).
teocentli  Or teosinte, a wild grass; apparent ancestor of maize.
Teotihuacan  A.D. 100 to 700, first state in the Valley of Mexico and earliest major Mesoamerican empire.
terrestrial  Ground-dwelling.
text  Something that is creatively “read,” interpreted, and assigned meaning by each person who receives it; includes any media-borne image, such as Carnaval.
theory  An explanatory framework, containing a series of statements, that helps us understand why (something exists); theories suggest patterns, connections, and relationships that may be confirmed by new research.
Third World  The less-developed countries (LDCs).
Thomson’s nose rule  Rule stating that the average nose tends to be longer in areas with lower mean annual temperatures; based on the geographic distribution of nose length among human populations.
totem  An animal or plant apical ancestor of a clan.
traditions, in tool making  Coherent patterns of tool manufacture.
transecting groups  Networks created through direct communication channels between groups that previously had, or otherwise have, trouble communicating—for example, physicians and patients.
transhumance  One of two variants of pastoralism; part of the population moves seasonally with the herds while the other part remains in home villages.
tribe  Form of sociopolitical organization usually based on horticulture or pastoralism. Socioeconomic stratification and centralized rule are absent in tribes, and there is no means of enforcing political decisions.
tropics  Geographic belt extending about 23 degrees north and south of the equator, between the Tropic of Cancer (north) and the Tropic of Capricorn (south).
tundra  Cold, treeless plains.
typology, economic  See economic typology.
typology, sociopolitical  See sociopolitical typology.
underdifferentiation  Planning fallacy of viewing less-developed countries as an undifferentiated group; ignoring cultural diversity and adopting a uniform approach (often ethnocentric) for very different types of project beneficiaries.
uniformitarianism  Belief that explanations for past events should be sought in ordinary forces that continue to work today.
unilineal descent  Matrilineal or patrilineal descent.
unilocal  Either patrilocal or matrilocal postmarital residence; requires that a married couple reside with the relatives of either the husband or the wife, depending on the society.
universal  Something that exists in every culture.
Upper Paleolithic  Blade-toolmaking traditions associated with early H. sapiens sapiens; named from their location in upper, or more recent, layers of sedimentary deposits.
urban anthropology  The anthropological study of cities.
uterine  Primate groups made up of mothers, sisters, daughters, and sons that have not emigrated.
variables  Attributes (e.g., sex, age, height, weight) that differ from one person or case to the next.
vertical economy  Economy based on environmental zones that, although close together in space, contrast in altitude, rainfall, overall climate, and vegetation.
vertical mobility  Upward or downward change in a person’s social status.
visual predation theory  Theory that the primates evolved in lower branches and undergrowth by developing visual and tactile abilities to aid in hunting and snaring insects.
wealth  All a person’s material assets, including income, land, and other types of property; the basis of economic status.
westernization  The acculturative influence of Western expansion on native cultures.
working class  Or proletariat; those who must sell their labor to survive; the antithesis of the bourgeoisie in Marx’s class analysis.
Würm  The last glacial; began around 75,000 B.P. and ended between 17,000 and 12,000 B.P.
zygote  Fertilized egg, created by the union of two sex cells, one from each parent.







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