Mythic Field: Cultural Anthropology
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Cultural anthropology is hallmarked by the concept of culture itself. While many definitions of “culture” have been offered and discussed in the academic literature for 100 years, a simple, yet complete definition of culture is “the knowledge people use to live their lives and the way in which they do so” (Handwerker 2002). The National Park Service uses an equally simple definition of culture in its guidelines for cultural resource management: “a system of behaviors (including economic, religious, and social), beliefs (values, ideologies), and social arrangements.”Cultural anthropology is distinguished by the research methods employed in the study of human cultures. First among a wide suite of qualitative and quantitative methods is “participant observation,” a practice of living and participating within a community and gaining a deep understanding of the cultural system by active first-hand experience and participation in daily life...
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