Marxist Anthropology and American Materialism Term Paper

Pages: 3 (826 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Anthropology

¶ … Marxist Anthropology and American Materialism in the Science of Anthropology

Centering on the study of culture and human life, anthropology as a field of study in the social sciences looks at how people, as social actors, make use of artifacts and practice traditions and values that reflects the distinctive feature that characterizes the culture. With its inception in the 19th century through Sir Edward Tylor, who is also considered the father of anthropology, the science of studying cultures in various countries and societies have developed to include numerous theories that offer a different perspective or paradigm to explain a particular cultural phenomenon and feature.

Culture is reflected in all aspects of human life, be it through the study of religion, art, literature, and even mundane activities such as the use of language, conduct of traditions and rituals, as well as the lifestyle of people.

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Cultures of the world share a set of fundamental characteristics, which commonly occurs to cultures of various nations and societies. The first characteristics of culture are that it is made up of "learned behavior," wherein values are passed from generation to generation in the form of traditions and rituals. Inherent in this characteristic is the utilization of man-made symbols, such as language, which people uses to represent and interpret commonly-held meanings of their experiences. Apart from these characteristics, culture is also relatively "patterned," yet, is also dynamic, as a result of the changing nature of values and behavior adopted by the members of that culture. More importantly, culture is shared and adaptable to all individuals, whether or not they have grown accustomed to the culture of a society or not (Chapter 4, 72).

Term Paper on Marxist Anthropology and American Materialism in the Assignment

Because of the dynamic nature of culture, anthropological theories and paradigms were formulated by social scientists in order to further explain the perpetuation or disintegration of a culture within the society. Two of the theories that are discussed in this paper are Marxist anthropology and American materialism, paradigms that best describes the nature of modernism in today's contemporary society.

Marxist anthropology was derived from Karl Marx's theory of class conflict within a capitalist (modern) society. This paradigm centers its focus in explaining cultures of the world through an "economic interpretation of history." The relationship between economy and history ultimately determines Marx's concept of class conflict, wherein the control and ownership of the means of production in the society leads to the dominance of the 'controlling' or elite class, to the detriment of the proletariat,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Marxist Anthropology and American Materialism."  Essaytown.com.  November 14, 2004.  Accessed January 24, 2021.
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