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Cultural anthropology

Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans. It is in contrast to social anthropology, which perceives cultural variation as a subset of the anthropological constant.

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"Anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon describes his apprehension as he canoes up the Orinoco River for an ethnographic study of the Yanomamo Indians of Venezuela. Chagnon tells how he traded goods for information, always following the customs dictated for visitors. He describes the major research he pursued for years and shows how the ethnographer must put aside prejudices and actively participate in a society to gather the most comprehensive picture of the culture. Chagnon is shown sleeping, eating, and sharing hallucinogenic drugs with the Yanomamo tribesmen; making friends and enemies; and, ultimately, being accepted by the tribe. Finally, Chagnon emphasizes the importance of appreciating the value of other cultures. The program also considers some of the ethical issues inherent in participant observation research."

Contributed by Andrea Valdez

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