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Anthropology and changes in society

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What does it mean to say that the world is simultaneously becoming increasingly divided and increasingly homogeneous?

What role has colonialism played in cultural change? What role do multi-national corporation play? How do anthropologists contribute to the understanding of these processes?

In what ways do urbanization and globalization affect traditional societies? Can you give any examples from the real world of a smaller scale society that has been affected by colonialism or globalization? How do anthropologists contribute to the understanding of these processes?

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What does it mean to say that the world is simultaneously becoming increasingly divided and increasingly homogeneous?

The world has become more homogeneous because it is easier to access other places and other cultures through travel and through communications. Communication across the globe to places previously unknown gives knowledge to people. We can better gain this knowledge and define other cultures not only from our own perspective, but also from theirs. People can travel more quickly and efficiently between places, so they can access other cultures almost immediately, helping to bring their culture to other places while absorbing and incorporating other cultures into their lives. For example, the United States now faces the prospect of the Hispanic population becoming the dominant culture. However, we can already see the intermingling of people and culture. This is true for many different populations and races/ethnicity.

The problem is, this coming together is also showing us a division in wealth and knowledge, creating many great divides. The wealth is gathered in an even smaller circle as more ...

Solution Summary

Using the questions supplied, how changes in the global world are explained by anthropology. Terms of homogeneous, society, division, colonization, and multinational corporations are discussed.

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Nowak and Laird's Applying Anthropology

Nowak and Laird's Applying Anthropology 6.2 box, in Cultural Anthropology, proposes the following question:

The familiar saying "never do business with family" advises against the practices used in many of the chiefdom societies discussed in this chapter. This old saying implies that doing business with family will create conflict, whereas chiefdom societies welcome and encourage such close-knit economic exchanges as a way of preventing conflict. In fact, in an interesting article on family businesses, Bertrand and Schoar comment on how cultures based on strong family ties can have a negative impact on economic development. The reasoning is that the more we are taught to count on our kinship and family ties, the less likely we are to trust those outside our family networks, which greatly prohibits the development of larger economic institutions.

Consider both examples and create an argument for or against mixing business with family. When responding to this question, be sure to engage in cross-cultural comparison, taking into consideration variation in subsistence systems, descent systems, mobility, and any other factors you consider pertinent. Draw examples from the ethnographic record, your own experience, and the experience of others with whom you are familiar.

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