Ethnography Cultural Anthropology Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1242 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion


Like the indigenous peoples of many continents and countries, the Australian Aborigines faced a dramatic change in lifestyle with the arrival of the British colonists. Some of these changes still manifest themselves even today, in the form of oppression and discrimination. Indeed, because of these very injustices, the beauty and depth of this culture is more often than not lost upon the Western world with its technology- and money-centered existence. The current paradigm of intercultural global understanding is in the process of increasingly prohibiting discrimination on any grounds. As such, it is unlikely that discrimination against the Aboriginal nations will continue indefinitely. Indeed, anthropological study of both traditional and modern lifestyles opens the doors towards intercultural understanding.

Social and Economic Organization

For the Aborigine people of Australia, various traditional connections exist, the most important of which is the connection with family and the connection with land. The former, social paradigm is closely connected with the latter, economic paradigm (Zierott 29). This connection between the economic and the social, as well as the connection among all people and everything around them, demonstrates the fundamentally holistic paradigm of the aborigine tradition. Everything is connected to everything else.

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All people in the Aboriginal tradition are also connected to each other, and function within the group as a relative to all other group members. The health and well-being of the group is held in higher regard than individual achievement. This group paradigm is also closely connected to the traditional survival paradigm: groups have a higher likelihood of survival in crisis situations than individuals. Although seen as a coherent whole, Aboriginal social divisions exist in the form of clans.

Term Paper on Ethnography Cultural Anthropology Assignment

In addition to people and the land, the Aborigine people also cultivate traditional connections with their ancestors. This connection serves to also demonstrate the integrated nature of the culture. The religious organization is not separated from either the economic or social organizations or lifestyle. Indeed, religion forms another very important aspect of the Aboriginal identity that has been displaced by the arrival and subsequent actions of the settlers.

Religion and Ritual

Aborigines are a very religiously-oriented people. Indeed, as mentioned above, religious is highly integrated in all aspects of their lives. According to the Aboriginal Culture Web page, the religion of these people is based upon a system of various deities represented by the physical world around them. They therefore worship their deities via elements of nature such as plants and rocks. While different Aboriginal groups had different deities, each deity could generally be divided into one of three groups: Creation Beings, Ancestral Beings, and Totemic Beings.

According to the Aboriginal belief, the time of creation is known as the "Dream Time." Each group interprets this time in a different way, with its own stories and theories on the issue. At its basis, dreams are seen as memories of the creation time (Aboriginal Culture). The Dream Time events are celebrated during ceremonies through song, dance and plays. The stories are also of use in initiation rituals: the young are only told part of the stories, with the "secret" parts only revealed during initiation when the adolescent reaches a certain age. Religion is also deeply integrated in cultural aspects such as art and craft, including weapons, utensils, body painting, and rock art.

The Dreamtime religious experience, like the other aspects of religion, is deeply integrated in all other aspects of society, with behavior, law and order affected by the stories and experiences of this time. As seen above, ceremony has always, and continues to play a an important role in the lives of Aboriginal people (Aboriginal Culture).

Many rituals are focused upon ensuring that the ancestral beings provide the tribe with a sufficient supply of sustenance. Chanting,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Ethnography Cultural Anthropology" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Ethnography Cultural Anthropology.  (2008, June 18).  Retrieved December 3, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Ethnography Cultural Anthropology."  18 June 2008.  Web.  3 December 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Ethnography Cultural Anthropology."  June 18, 2008.  Accessed December 3, 2020.