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Chapter 0: Introduction to sociology 2e

Preface Read Online

About openstax

OpenStax is a non-profit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Our free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of modern college courses. Unlike traditional textbooks, OpenStax resources live online and are owned by the community of educators using them. Through our partnerships with companies and foundations committed to reducing costs for students, OpenStax is working to improve access to higher education for all. OpenStax is an initiative of Rice University and is made possible through the generous support of several philanthropic foundations.

About this book

Welcome to Introduction to Sociology 2e , an OpenStax resource created with several goals in mind: accessibility, affordability, customization, and student engagement—all while encouraging learners toward high levels of learning. Instructors and students alike will find that this textbook offers a strong foundation in sociology. It is available for free online and in low-cost print and e-book editions.

To broaden access and encourage community curation, Introduction to Sociology 2e is “open source” licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. Everyone is invited to submit examples, emerging research, and other feedback to enhance and strengthen the material and keep it current and relevant for today’s students. You can make suggestions by contacting us at

To the student

This book is written for you and is based on the teaching and research experience of numerous sociologists. In today’s global socially networked world, the topic of sociology is more relevant than ever before. We hope that through this book, you will learn how simple, everyday human actions and interactions can change the world. In this book, you will find applications of sociology concepts that are relevant, current, and balanced.

To the instructor

This text is intended for a one-semester introductory course. Since current events influence our social perspectives and the field of sociology in general, OpenStax encourages instructors to keep this book fresh by sending in your up-to-date examples to so that students and instructors around the country can relate and engage in fruitful discussions.

General approach

Introduction to Sociology 2e adheres to the scope and sequence of a typical introductory sociology course. In addition to comprehensive coverage of core concepts, foundational scholars, and emerging theories we have incorporated section reviews with engaging questions, discussions that help students apply the sociological imagination, and features that draw learners into the discipline in meaningful ways. Although this text can be modified and reorganized to suit your needs, the standard version is organized so that topics are introduced conceptually, with relevant, everyday experiences.

Changes to the second edition

Part of the mission of the second edition update was to ensure the research, examples and concepts used in this textbook are current and relevant to today’s student. To this end, we have rewritten the introduction of each chapter to reflect the latest developments in sociology, history and global culture. In addition to new graphs and images, the reader of the second edition will find new feature boxes on a diverse array of topics, which has been one of the goals of the update—bringing the world into greater focus through case studies on global culture.

This course covers the basic areas of anthropology including biological evolution, the prehistoric evolution of early civilizations, language, culture and social life, and the analyses of the nature and variability of human institutions.

However, the components that deal with cultural anthropology are heavily emphasized.

When you have finished this lesson you will be able to define anthropology as a discipline and describe the diversity and interrelatedness of anthropological research, and enumerate the history of anthropology, discuss the methods of anthropological research, and enumerate the subdivisions of anthropology.

You will also be able to analyze fieldwork in the context of the subdivisions of anthropology, discuss the benefits and limitations of participant observation, explain the basic ethics of anthropological reseacrh, and identify the uses of cross-cultural comparison.

Assignment PDF eBook: 
Chapter 1: Cultural Anthropology Definition
Download #1 Cultural Anthropology Assignment PDF eBook
50 Pages
English US
Educational Materials

Sample Questions from the Chapter 1: Cultural Anthropology Definition Assignment

Question: Which of the following is one method used by anthropologists to improve the general validity of their interpretations?


cross-cultural research

participant observation research

questionnaire research

laboratory research

Question: Which of the following illustrates how the role of culture as an adaptive system influenced Dobuan life.


it was learned as a result of hostility in child rearing practices.

it was the result of historical accident.

it was the result of precarious living caused by the unproductive soil of the island on which they live.

it was an expression of their growing awareness of conflicting class interests.

Question: The function of a custom is best defined as which of the following?


the motives of people who practice that custom

the contributions of a custom makes to the unity and survival of a society

the means by which a custom increases the complexity of a society

the psychological as opposed to material rewards that a custom has for its participants

Question: an approach that analyzes how cultures are adapted to their natural environments






interpretive anthropology


feminist anthropology

cultural ecology

American Anthropological Association


cultural evolutionism

postmodernist anthropology

cognitive anthropology

applied anthropology

Sir Edward Burnett Tylor

Franz Boas

culture and personality


British social anthropology

cultural area

Question: Boasian empiricism is best defined in which of the following ways?


a doctrine that empires were the most highly evolved stage of cultural development

a scientific approach that stresses careful observation and description over theorizing

a concept proposed by Franz Boas that ways of life are determined by racial heredity

a scientific approach that emphasizes the importance of careful and systematic theory building

Question: Ethnographers differ from ethnologists in which of the following ways?


Ethnologists work in the field gathering data; ethnographers write books analyzing it.

Ethnographers gather data; ethnologists do comparative analyzes of that data.

Ethnologists study animal behavior; ethnographers describe human customs.

Ethnographers describe human behavior; ethnologists interpret human communication.

Question: Which of the following is the strongest factor in keeping the different subdivisions of anthropology united in one discipline?


They are all found in universities.

They are all interested in human beings.

They all relate their research to the broader picture of the human condition.

They all use fieldwork.

Question: Which of the following correctly describes how anthropology compares with other fields that study human beings?


Anthropology is more diverse in the topics it undertakes to study.

Anthropology is highly specialized in its focus.

Anthropologists study each aspect of the human condition in isolation from other aspects.

Anthropologists study each aspect of the human condition only in its historical context.

Question: Which of the following is most characteristic of participant observation?


passive watching and note taking of people's public behavior

accurate recording of people's behavior when they are participating in the customs of their society

involvement in the day-to-day life of a society to gain fuller insight into the meanings of a people's way of life

data gathering sued by applied anthropologists to discover the most effective means of the changing their subject's customs

Question: Anthropological ethics are usually predicated on the idea that:


first loyalties of the anthropological fieldworker mistle with the people being studied.

academic freedom ensures the rights of field workers to study any topic that interests them.

field workers have a professional obligation to publish all of the information they obtain about the peoples they study.

deception of subjects is necessary so that their behavior will not be influenced by research interests.

Question: What characteristically anthropological research method is employed in all of the subfields of anthropology?



laboratory research

questionnaire research

library research

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Source:  Prof. Richley Crapo, Cultural Anthropology. (Utah State University), (Accessed 28 Mar, 2014). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
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