Assignment One: Race
Race is defined as the classification of people into groups based on color shape and size. In most cases, this classification is influenced by culture and has been practiced since 1977 as part of a response to discrimination (pbs.org). For that reason, when used in reference to people, race has been defined as being a member of a particular cultural community. Accordingly, in America, race is divided into six categories including American Indian, African American, Native Hawaiian, Asian, Hispanic, and White. Relevantly, if a person belongs to any of the above communities, he or she is said to being of that racial background. According to the information presented in part one to four of the PBS documents, it is evident that race has been an issue that has affected Americans throughout history. The first factor that is evident from these documents is that racial discrimination is still existent in America today. Additionally, the documents reveal certain issues such as the fact that the wealth acquired by Americans today is based on their racial identity, as opposed to, individual hard work (pbs.org). Lastly, most Americans today are ignorant of the racial issues existing in their society, which plays a role in the existence of racial discrimination in the society.
The most surprising issues from these articles is the fact that racial discrimination still exists even in modern society. The American society is assumed to be the most democratic society in the world and the possibility of racial discrimination ended during the period of Martin Luther King. Having a holistic perspective on race allows individuals to respect each race, hence reducing the possibility of racial discrimination in society. Accordingly, having individual biological, socio-cultural, and historical perspectives regarding race will only allow people to have limited thoughts on race, which in turn, increases the possibility of racial discrimination in society.
Assignment Two: Significance of Anthropology
As a field of study, anthropology has been identified as being beneficial to the society at large. Not only does it assist academicians in understanding humanity and the human process, it also promotes the comprehension of the overall human society. Accordingly, anthropology results in more objectivity and critical thought regarding individual societies, cultures, and subcultures, as well as, the values, successes, and problems in each culture and society (Lewis, 1998). This is because anthropology allows the study of the human being, which in turn, allows individuals understand humanity much better. Anthropology allows the understanding of the formulation of cultural values and beliefs, which is normally considered as a way of understanding certain human behavior and practices. Anthropology allows individuals to critique how and why communities behave the way they do, and accordingly act in a particular manner. Communities and societies are exposed, thus allowing the comprehension of the way of life for those belonging to these communities (Harris, 1997). Additionally, anthropology encourages understanding of the various classifications of groups in particular cultures, thus the formation of sub-cultures. It allows comprehension of the determinants for these classification and groupings, as well as, the different applications in the societies through which they can be applied.
Assignment Three: Challenges of Anthropology
The ways in which anthropology is practiced today is far much different and complicated than it was in the past. This is because the anthropological process has changed from how it was practiced in the past, making it hard for anthropologists to conduct ethnographic research, thus affect understanding of anthropology. Anthropologists today face various challenges, which have in turn affected how the human being and his society can be understood. One of the problems faced by anthropologists today regards native anthropologists, who when carrying out ethnographic research may be forced into providing biased anthropological information. Native anthropologists are not equipped with the necessary knowledge to provide commentary on ethnographic data that is outside of their ethnographic background (Price, 2004).
Another problem facing anthropology today regards globalization and the increased economic, physical, and cultural connectedness of societies. Though this may not appear as an anthropological problem at first sight, it is considered as one of the greatest problems of anthropology today. Globalization has led to the dissolution of the uniqueness of most communities today, as people believe in letting go of their cultural differences and embracing the global community (Price, 2004). This has, in turn, forced communities to let go of the cultural values and beliefs that make them unique, thus making it hard for anthropologists to conduct proper ethnographic research. Another problem that has been associated with anthropology revolves around ethics when conducting ethnographic research. Just like all other field, anthropology has faced a problem of ethics, whereby ethnographic researchers have been accused of carrying out various unethical practices during field study. Accordingly, unethical anthropological practices have been carried out as a result of the fact that ethnographic research relies on human data that is easy to manipulate. Relevantly, another challenge that has been identified in relation to anthropology is unequal power relationships, which comes as a result of postmodernism (Price, 2004). The last challenge that has been associated with anthropology is andocentric bias, which refers to the emphasis of the male point of view in research, as opposed to, the unification of research finding in studies.
Assignment Four: Communicative Behavior
This study was carried out at Walmart, which is one of the busiest shopping centers in America. This particular retail store was chosen because it has a considerable number of customers visiting the premises on a daily basis, thus providing the necessary data required for the study. The study was conducted during on a Saturday afternoon, a time which the store receives the largest number of customers, thus making it the busiest time of the week for the retail store. During this time, there is plenty of traffic for the retail store, as many customers, all of different gender, age, and racial background, visit the store to purchase one or two products for their homes. Observably, most shoppers were shopping in groups, with the fewer numbers of shoppers engaging in purchasing activities on their own. Accordingly, the study observed various similar and different communicative behaviors between men and women shoppers. One of the observations was the fact that men tended to shop on their own, as opposed to shopping in groups. Additionally, men who shopped in groups were mostly in the company of children suggesting that they are parents, or elder siblings to the children. Women, on the other hand, had a greater tendency of shopping as a group. They were also observed to be in the company of children once in a while, hence the possibility of parenthood.
Male shoppers were observed to engage in very minimal communication with each other during the shopping spree, and the longest form of communication was during the actual purchase of goods at the counter. Women , on the other hand communicated frequently with each other at all times during the shopping spree with most of the conservations regarding other issues not related to the shopping spree. The observed communicative behaviors between the different shoppers at Walmart sequentially allow various conclusions to be drawn regarding gendered communicative behaviors. Conclusively, in terms of learning culture, this assignment demonstrates the different ways in which culture is learned and performed throughout one’s life.
Assignment Five: Language
Language, culture, and social identities have all been linked together in anthropological studies. Accordingly, one of the results of this linkage is the identification of the English language as the main language for Americans, thus forcing the American population to learn the language (Crawford, 2007). However, this identification has met a number of challenges from both critics and American communities who believe that because America is made up of various communities, it should, therefore consider the possibility of multilingualism as a representation of the various communities that the state houses. Some of the arguments in support of linguistic diversity include the concept that it represents all the communities making up the society, thus allowing them to feel as though they are part of the society.
Another argument in support of multilingualism is that it reduces racial and ethnic discrimination, as communities who do not speak a similar language as the rest do not feel as though they do not belong (Crawford, 2007). Contrastingly, the arguments against linguistic diversity state that multilingualism does not support national unity, which is the downfall of most nations. The issue of multilingualism invokes strong feelings for some individuals because language is part and parcel of cultural identity, which if taken away from them, would impact their identification in the society. Most critics argue that all bilingual countries experience dissent and a lack of national unity (Crawford, 2007). However, this is not the case, as others have used this multilingualism to promote unity through the representation of all members of the society. Accordingly, based on the ideas presented in each of the arguments regarding multilingualism, it is safe to say that the anthropological community would support the application of multilingualism, because it recognizes all the different communities that make up a particular society.
Assignment Six: Family Organization
Based on the information gathered from this unit regarding anthropological issues and factors in society, the concept of the family remains the centre of all anthropological knowledge. Additionally, various examples of the family structure are provided in Nanda and Warms, thus allowing further comprehension on the concept of family in anthropology. Various factors are highlighted in relation to family organization including geographical proximity, economic dependence, and division of labor. These can sequentially be utilized for the analysis of the family on a personal level.
Geographical proximity/household structure
My family is a family of five comprising of a father, mother, brother, and two sisters. The parents and their two daughters live together, whereas the son as moved out of the family house and is living about three hours away from the family. The reason for the son’s geographic distance is mainly because of work, and also because he believes that he should start his family far away from their home for better parenting and minimal family interference. In relation to my parents’ immediate family, my family lives very far away from them, with most of them living in a different town from each other.
Apart from the youngest daughter who is still in high school, the rest of the family members work, with the parents having the responsibility of providing for the family. The oldest daughter supports the family in case they need help, but most of the time is not tasked with the responsibility of providing for the family.
Division of labor
Labor in our family is divided along gender lines in that, the males in the family perform duties that are considered masculine, whereas the females perform feminine duties.
Evidently, my family setting is much different from my parent’s family’s setting during their time. This is because, the roles of family members were much different during their time, thus affecting their family organizations.
Assignment Seven: Gender
Anthropology and ethnographic studies cannot be considered as comprehensive without the consideration of gender and its influence in anthropology. Essentially, the concept of gender has been considered from two main perspectives including the biological and the cultural perspectives (Basow, 1994). The biological perspective defines gender in terms of the different biological characteristics possessed by men and women. The cultural perspective, on the other hand, defines gender based on the cultural perception that the society holds regarding men and women. The term gender role refers to the different duties and responsibilities assigned to the different genders that are existent in society today. As most would assume, gender roles vary biologically and culturally, with most cultures defining different gender roles for their communities (Basow, 1994). Whereas biological gender roles are similar across all cultures and may include giving birth, cultural gender roles differ from one another with the similarity being minimal across cultures.
Another term that is common to anthropological studies is gender stereotype, which refers to the classification of the different genders in terms of their behavior. Also used synonymously with gender discrimination, gender stereotyping is used to define the different perceptions people have regarding a particular gender, and why they would choose one gender over the other at any given time (Basow, 1994). It is the belief that a particular gender behaves and thinks in a particular manner, which in turn affects how that gender is viewed in the society. Conclusively, gender hierarchy is another term that is significant and common to anthropological studies. It refers to the chain of command that is characteristic of gender such as in the family setting where the father is seen as the breadwinner.
Assignment Eight: Anthropological Approaches to Consumer Behavior
Based on the case studies presented in their website, it is evident that the anthropological approaches embraced by this organizations range from language and signage, and consumer culture for the sale of their products and services. Specifically the organization has used packaging, building design, technology and the integration of pet shopping, as part of their strategies to increase sales for the company. In essence, their anthropological approach can be defined as anthropology to economic behavior, which has benefited the company in various ways (envorisell.com). Based on the information presented on their website, it is clear that the company has embraced the use of anthropologists in the determination of the various approaches to be used for the promotion of sales. This, in turn, illustrates the significance of anthropologists in consumer behavior.
Assignment Nine: World Civilizations
Based on the information provided in the Pearson Longman companion website, there are various world civilizations, all of which attained their civilization at a different time from the other. For this assignment, two world civilizations have been chosen including Rome and America. Both these states achieved their civilization at a different time form the other with the difference being only a few decades apart. Whereas Roman civilization was first recorded in years as early as 510 B.C.E., evidence of American civilization has bee traced back to 2000 BC (Pearson Longman Companion). The differences between these two civilizations is further illustrated in their economic structures, political systems, warfare and conflict, as well as, laws and social regulations. In relation to economic or subsistence strategy structure, the Roman economy was unequal in most of the period that characterized the Roman Empire. The northern parts of the empire were the most uneconomically productive, whereas Greece and the other parts of the empire yielded the best economic results for this empire(Pearson Longman Companion).
Economically, the Roman society was divided between noble landowners, town dwellers, and the rural populace. The American civilization, on the other hand, was much different from the Roman civilization in that it was not solely dependent on the state citizens for its civilization. Because America was developed from the migration and settling of various ethnic communities into the state, the economic structures were divided between the land owners and the slaves. The Roman political and leadership system was autocratic with the Roman republic being charged with the responsibility of maintaining law and order in the region (Pearson Longman Companion). The American civilization, on the other hand, embraced a similar authoritative system of governance with those in charge being the influential land owners, as well as, other rich people in the state. Roman and American Warfare and conflict is differentiated in the choice of nations that each civilization chose to engage in warfare.
Assignment Ten: Poverty
All of the following information should be for the city where your primary residence is and be as current as possible.Please note what city you are using here: ___________________________________________
General – for your city:
Average household income (also called median household income):_______________________
Average individual income (or per capita income):_____________________________________
Average home price (also called median home price):___________________________________
Current state minimum wage:______________________________________________________
US poverty threshold for a family of 1:______________________________________________
Earnings:B1. Look at the classified ads and list an assortment of the wages are being offered for jobs that do not require extensive experience in the following occupations:
Housekeeper (hotel or domestic):___________________________________________________
Construction or handy work:______________________________________________________
B2. Calculate the following earnings for work at a level just below that of full-time (38 hours, as fulltime employees are often given benefits and companies prefer to minimize benefit expenditures):
(Current state minimum wage + 3.50) x 38 = _____________________ weekly wages
Weekly wages x 4.33 = ________________________ monthly gross earnings
Monthly gross earnings x .10 = _____________________ in taxes
Monthly gross earnings – taxes = ____________________ after tax net monthly earnings
After tax net monthly earnings x 12 = _______________________net yearly earnings
How does this compare to the wages being offered in part B1? Mark one: Higher ______ Lower ________ About right _______
Basic expenditures – Shelter, transportation, food, clothing:
Rent for a 1 bedroom apartment:___________________________________________________
Utilities (phone, gas/electric, water, trash – whatever is not included in rent):________________
Monthly car payment on a dependable, economy vehicle:________________________________
Monthly car insurance:___________________________________________________________
Gasoline costs for one month (based on driving 15 miles per day to work round-trip, 5 days week):________________________________________________________________________
Monthly costs for medical insurance premium:________________________________________
Estimated monthly food costs (tip: keep your grocery and other food receipts for a week and multiply by 4.33):_______________________________________________________________
Monthly clothing expenses (including purchases and laundry costs):_______________________
TOTAL OF ALL MONTHLY EXPENDITURES: _____________________________________AFTER TAX MONTHLY EARNINGS (from Part B2): ________________________________How do these two figures compare?_________________________________________________
Poverty is defined as the state of having little or no money or material possessions to maintain the normal living conditions for a person or a family. In most cases, poverty is defined as living being incapable of supporting oneself in terms of meeting the daily needs and requirements. For that reason, individuals who are deemed as poor as the ones who lack access to one or all of the basic needs including food shelter and clothing. However, the modern definition of the poor person is one who lives below the dollar, that is, on a daily basis. The rationale behind such definitions is that poor people do not have access to similar things like everyone else. Different from the term poor, the term, middle class refers to the social and economic class that falls between the upper class and the lower class. The upper class defines the rich, and the people who have access to a surplus of the daily needs and requirements. The lower class, which is also defined as poor defines those that do not have access to basic necessities. Accordingly, the middle class defines those have enough money to sustain their attainment of basic needs and requirements.
Assignment Eleven: Ethnic Conflict
The term ethnic conflict is defined as conflict between two ethic groups, which normally results in wars. Ethnic conflicts have been existent in society throughout history as ethnic groups fight for identification and recognition in their respective societies (Monica, 2003). One of the most current ethnic conflicts in society today involves the conflict in Ethiopia-Somalia conflict that is about five years old. The conflict between the two has been associated with land disputes, especially issues related to the border line as the two states are both interested in extending the border so that they can increase the land for their countries.
As presented in the media, the conflict has been linked with the need for colonization and taking over each country by its rival. Accordingly, most people, are therefore, led to believe that the two states are interested in colonizing each other when in essence they want to expand their boundaries (Monica, 2003). The immediate results of this conflict have been identified as the mass deaths of the two ethnic communities represented in each country. Additionally, another consequence of these two conflicts is the formation of destructive militia groups that instead of bringing peace to the countries, they increase unrest, chaos and insecurity in the countries. Anthropologists would define this conflict as a conflict of racial identity and sustenance, whereby the two communities seek to make out themselves as the superior ethnic community over the other. The fight for land is, therefore, a way of assuring the communities of resources for their community, as opposed to the colonization of the other state.
Type of item Brand of Item Approximate Cost of Item Country where it was made
4 Years +
T-shirt Mark and Spencer
1 Year or Less Dress
Jimmy Choo $250
USA JAPAN CHINA MALASYIA INDIA TAIWAN
GDP (Gross Domestic Product) $14.44
Trillion $4.34 Trillion $7.998 Trillion $400 Billion $3.304 Trillion $714.7 Billion
GDP per capita (per person) $47,504 $$34,100 $7,000 $15,200 $1.207 $31,100
Industries Telecommunications, Food Processing, Consumer Goods Automobile, Electronics, Textiles, Processed Food Mining, Automobile, Telecommunications Manufacturing, Mining, Agriculture Processing, Petroleum Production and Refining Textile, Chemicals, Food Processing, Mining, Transportation, Manufacturing Electronics, manufacturing, Petroleum refining, Textiles, Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Products,
Exports $1.277 Trillion $746.5 Trillion $1.435 Trillion $200.7 Billion $187.9 Billion $254.9 Billion
Export partners Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, Germany, UK US, China, South Korea, Hong Kong U.S, Japan, South Korea, Germany Singapore, US, Japan, China, Thailand, Hong Kong US, UAE, China China, US, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore
Total population 307,212,123 127,078,679 1,338,612,968 25,715,820 1,166,079,217 22,974,347
Poverty rate % 12% 4% 19% 5.1% 25% 1%
Day of Independence 4th July 1776 1873 1 October 1949 31 August 1957 15 August 1947 10 October 1911
Assignment Thirteen: Western Models vs. Anthropological Perspectives
Western models of economic development are modernization refers to the modern or western definition of civilization as understood by man. With this definition of civilization, individuals are made to believe that civilization is a consequence of economic and industrial development, as opposed to other factors (Wallerstein, 2003). The anthropological perspectives on development, on the other hand, defines civilization from a different perspective including the integration or mergence of people and communities. In this perspective, civilization is seen as the result of the development of new communities as opposed to economic development. Anthropologists critique the western models because these models do not consider the human role in civilization. Instead, they examine the role of trade and industrialization, which do not necessarily present the actual factors that led to the civilization of countries and states. When civilization is considered from an anthropological perspectives, one can see how anthropology can change human understanding on what goes on around them. Additionally, an anthropological perspective will allow individuals to anticipate possible future civilizations that will come about as a result of human involvement and association. Evidently, anthropological perspectives are crucial for almost all aspects of human lives and can be used to explain some of the factors that occur in society today.
Assignment Fourteen: Making a Difference Through Anthropology
Anthropology, as a scholastic and an practical discipline, can influence the world in terms of appreciating the human experience, as well as, improving the human state through research and appliance (Nanda & Warms, 2010). As illustrated in their book, Nanda and Warm provide various ways through which anthropology can be used to help improve the lives of human beings, thus increasing the value of live for most people. In the case of AIDS prevention, anthropology seeks to figure out the various ways in which the problem of HIV/AIDS can be eradicated from the countries that the disease mostly affects (Nanda & Warms, 2010). Accordingly, anthropological research carried out on the spread of HIV/AIDS in countries will be focused on the role of the human mind in the spread of the disease.
Specifically, anthropological research, in such a case, will look at the human and culture based influences that have led to the spread of the disease in the different societies it affects. Anthropological research will examine how the different cultures of people living in these communities translate into the prevalence of the disease, as well as, how to manipulate these cultures into the eradication of the disease (Nanda & Warms, 2010). This is different from other approaches such as the economic model that links the economic stature of societies with the spread of certain diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Accordingly, there are various other problems that could benefit from anthropological research such as poverty, and ethnic conflict among other things. Anthropological research can be used to define the cultural and human influences of these problems, as well as, the different ways in which they can be solved.
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