Experiencing Culture

Experiencing Culture


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Book Chapter


Cultural anthropology is a rich multidisciplinary subfield of anthropology. Cultural anthropologists’ study all aspect of people’s life simultaneously; they observe, describe and experience different cultures participating in their everyday activities for an extended period of time; compare and explain the similarities and differences among cultural groups around the world based on ethnographic accounts; study genetic predispositions to certain diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, breast cancer or haemophilia, based on kin relationships; or systematically collect narratives about people’s lives in order to interpret their behaviour.

Cultural anthropologists may specialize in different academic fields. For instance, some cultural anthropologists concentrate on anthropology of religion, other are interested in anthropology of music, anthropology of creativity, anthropology of sexuality, etc. Regardless of their different areas of expertise, the common goal of their research is to reconstruct the invisible world of ideas, beliefs, values, and customs, hidden behind religious and cult practices, witchcraft and magic rituals, art and music performances, types of families and marriages, sex and gender inequality problems, political and economic systems, languages and other forms of communication.

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Cultural anthropology, cultural groups, cultural universals, cultural differences, holism relativism, ethnocentrism


Learning Outcomes
After reading this chapter, students should be able to:

  • Define culture as a concept in cultural anthropology;
  • Explain the characteristics of culture;
  • Distinguish between cultural universals and cultural differences;
  • Analyze the key terms in anthropology: holism, relativism, and ethnocentrism;
  • Identify the techniques used by cultural anthropologists to study different cultures.


Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences (FHASS)

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Original Citation

Boshnakova, A. (2020) Experiencing culture. In: J. Pulis and P. Angelini (Eds.), Social and behavioural sciences: Exploring human behaviour and the environment. TopHat.

Experiencing Culture


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