CREATEDATE 8/26/05 1:36 PM Anthropology 130 – Theoretical Trends Late 19th/early 20th century anthropological explanations Cultural evolution – looked at changes in societies, especially political organization (e.g. band, tribe, chiefdom, state). Differences in society were explained by different levels of evolutionary development (primitive to complex). Highly critiqued theoretical trend due to early theories based in Eurocentric notions. Modern cultural evolutionary theorists reject many of the problematic notions of the late 19th and early 20th century. Historical particularism – based in the belief that all societies have their own unique historical development. The goal was to describe cultural artifacts and knowledge. Focus on Native Americans, and based in the assumption that "native" cultures needed to be researched before they disappear. Structural-functionalism – study the functions of institutions within a society (i.e. economic, politics, etc); goal to understand an entire culture by looking at it's institutional components and how they function within a culture. Structuralism – Strauss was concerned with the production and reproduction of meanings in a culture through various activities, such as ritual, myths, games, etc. Concerned with how meanings and sensations inform our consciousness. Mid-20th Century to present: Cultural ecology – interested in human and environmental interactions and human adaptations to the environment. Interpretation/symbolic - the study of culture through the interpretation of meanings, symbols, and beliefs in society. In the late 60s and throughout the 70s, anthropology began to examine itself as a discipline. It became more critical of earlier approaches and began to look at some of the problems with the ways earlier anthropologists represented people throughout the world. Some of the approaches that became popular in the late 20th century were: Political economy – power relations at various levels Others: feminist approaches, post-colonial, etc.