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Anthropologic Study

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Briefly describe an anthropological study in terms of how the data was collected and/or what the research tells us. You may choose a study from the text OR you may go online and find a research example from one of the many anthropology web sites. Here are some interesting sites you are welcome to use or again, feel free to find your own. Just be sure to give us the URL.

Maya Adventure http://www.smm.org/sln/ma/
Rewriting Southwestern Prehistory http://www.he.net/~archaeol/9701/abstracts/southwest.html
Mississippian Culture www.riverweb.uiuc.edu/
Home of the Cliff Dwellers http://www.swcolo.org/Tourism/Archaeology/MesaVerde.html
Cherokee http://www.cherokeemuseum.org/
Digital Library of Appalachia http://www.aca-dla.org/

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Native Americans: the Mississipian Culture

All of this information was found at the site above. Information in individual paragraphs was found under the section heading at the end of each paragraph.

This website was made by the RiverWeb program of the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. This program would like to "promote environmental education and historical and cultural awareness about rivers and their watersheds among students, educators, and their communities, and to facilitate greater citizen participation in environmental monitoring, planning, and policy-making by harnessing advanced information technologies." One of the areas described on this site is the American Bottom region, the area near St. Louis near the confluence of the Mississippi, Illinois, and Missouri rivers. This area was home to the Mississippian people approximately 1000 years ago. About this Site

Most Native American societies in the region were primarily egalitarian prior to the Mississippian culture. The Mississippian society was a complex chiefdom in which some people had more money, power, status, etc. than others. It was ruled by a chief, who was always male according to historical accounts, mortuary practices, and art. The website includes common ...

Solution Summary

One of the websites in the problem was used to describe a specific culture and to describe a study in terms of "what the research tells us". Part of the solution includes a definition of a chiefdom.

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Eating disorders and the media

Please read the article below, and explain if you agree with these findings:

We Have to Have Those Thin, Slim Bodies Sociocultural theorists are quick to say that women in Western, industrialized societies suffer from high rates of eating disorders because they are constantly exposed to media images of ultra-thin models and actresses. But do we really know that such images are to blame?

Perhaps these media images don't set a trend but merely reflect a national obsession with physical beauty. Perhaps eating disorders would be just as common with or without slim-figured movie stars and svelte magazine models.

Remarkably, a group of researchers led by Dr. Anne Becker of Harvard Medical School was able to find a place where they could study this question (Becker et al., 2002). Prior to 1995, eating disorders were virtually non-existent on the island of Fiji, located in the South Pacific.

Eating disorders were not only rare, but Fijians considered a hearty appetite and a robust figure to be signs of emotional well-being and physical health. In 1995, the island of Fiji began to receive Western television programs such as "Beverly Hills 90210" "Seinfeld" and "ER."

Within three years, the number of teenage girls receiving high scores on a measure of eating disordered behaviors went from 12.7% to 29.2%. In 1995, not a single teenage girl included in the study had ever self-induced vomiting in an effort to control her weight; by 1998, 11.3% of the girls in the study reported having done so. In a culture where dieting had traditionally been frowned upon and discouraged, 69% of the girls surveyed in 1998 reported having dieted, and 74% said they sometimes felt that they were overweight.

Becker and her colleagues point out that the arrival of television is only one of many recent modernizations in Fijian culture. The gradual conversion from subsistence agriculture to a cash economy may also play a role in changing how girls feel about their bodies. Yet when interviewed, the Fijian girls included in Becker's study made direct reference to the
connection between what they saw on television and how they thought about themselves:
When I look at the characters on TV, the way they act on TV and I just look at the body, the figure of that body, so I say, "look at them, they are thin and they all have this figure," so I myself want to become like that, to become thin. ...it's good to watch [TV] because ... it's encouraged me that what I'm doing is right; when I see the sexy ladies on the television, well, I want to be like them, too. ...the actresses and all those girls ... I just like, I just admire them and I want to be like them. I want their body, I want their size. I want to be [in] the same position as they are ... Because Fijians are, most of us Fijians are, many of us, most, I can say most, we are brought up on these heavy foods, and our bodies are, we are getting fat. And now, we are feeling, we feel that it is bad to have this huge body. We have
to have those thin, slim bodies. (Becker et al., 2002, p. 513)

Becker's findings raise questions about why some girls who watch American television go on crash diets and others don't. All the same, her study shows that Western television programming can have a powerful, noxious effect on the lives and bodies of those who watch.

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