Ch 2: Theoretical Perspectives of Anthropology

About This Chapter

Watch theoretical perspectives of anthropology video lessons and learn about structuralism, functionalism, cultural ecology and other theoretical approaches to anthropology.

Theoretical Perspectives of Anthropology - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

When conducting anthropological investigations, anthropologists use various theoretical perspectives depending on their focus. For example, structuralists focus on the underlying patterns of human thought as they relate to culture, while functionalists compare the parts of society to the organs of a living organism. This chapter will go over the premises of several theoretical perspectives of anthropology. After finishing this chapter, you should be able to explain the different theoretical perspectives of anthropology, including:

  • Structuralism
  • Functionalism
  • Structural functionalism
  • Cultural ecology
  • Cultural evolution
  • Cultural determination

Video Objective
Structuralism and the Works of Levi Strauss Learn about the thoughts and theories of anthropologist Levi-Strauss and his ideas about structuralist societies
Functionalism in Anthropology: The Works of Durkheim and Malinowski Discover the concept of interdependence on society's behaviors and customs as asserted by Durkheim and Malinowski
Structural Functionalism and the Works of Talcott Parsons Understand the beliefs and theories of Talcott Parsons as they relate to society as an interdependent system
Cultural Ecology in Anthropology: The Works of Julian Steward Explore the works of Julian Steward and learn how humans adapt to social and physical environments
Cultural Evolution in Anthropology Describe the history and premise of cultural evolution in anthropology and learn how cultures and societies change over time
Understanding Cultural Determination in Anthropology Learn about the premise of cultural determination, which asserts that environmental factors override biological traits in determining who we are

6 Lessons in Chapter 2: Theoretical Perspectives of Anthropology
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Structuralism and the Works of Levi Strauss

1. Structuralism and the Works of Levi Strauss

This lesson will give a brief overview of structuralism and the works of Claude Levi-Strauss. In doing this, it will highlight the concept of culture, binary oppositions, and the basic structures of kinship.

Functionalism in Anthropology: The Works of Durkheim and Malinowski

2. Functionalism in Anthropology: The Works of Durkheim and Malinowski

This lesson will be an overview of the theoretical perspective of functionalism. It will highlight the works of Malinowski and Durkheim as well as the theory of structural-functionalism.

Structural Functionalism and the Works of Talcott Parsons

3. Structural Functionalism and the Works of Talcott Parsons

This lesson will seek to explain structural functionalism and the works of Talcott Parsons. In doing so, it will highlight the AGIL system and the functional theory of stratification.

Cultural Ecology in Anthropology: The Works of Julian Steward

4. Cultural Ecology in Anthropology: The Works of Julian Steward

This lesson will explain the field of cultural ecology. In doing so, it will highlight the works of Julian Steward and the theories of unilinear and multilinear evolution.

Cultural Evolution in Anthropology

5. Cultural Evolution in Anthropology

This lesson will seek to explain the history of cultural evolution within anthropology. In doing so, it will highlight the works of Tylor and Morgan as well as the concepts of diffusion and survivals.

Understanding Cultural Determination in Anthropology

6. Understanding Cultural Determination in Anthropology

This lesson will seek to explain the theory of cultural determination. In doing so, it will highlight the concept of culture, as well as the work of Franz Boas, the Father of American Anthropology.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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