Introducing Anthropology

Anthropology is the systematic study of humankind in order to further comprehend the unique qualities of cultures in the past and the present as well as discover fundamental similarities. There are five sub-disciplines that bridge science and humanities which include Physical Anthropology, Archaeology, Linguistics, Cultural Anthropology, and Applied Anthropology.

Physical Anthropology is very closely related to natural science. It focuses on humans on a biological level. The largest research area for this sub-discipline is evolution. This section investigates the anatomy and behaviour of monkeys and apes since they are humans’ long ancestors as well as the biological evolution of the human species. They also study physical variations between different human populations. A few terms important to be aware of are: primatology, human variation, paleoanthropology, and forensic anthropology. Primatology is the study of evolution from an anatomical perspective, the social behaviour of primates, and the adaptation of primates. Human variation is how and why populations vary physically. Paleoanthropology is how and why humans evolved. Forensic anthropology is to analyze and identify human remains.

Archaeology is to seek and examine artifacts of past societies. It is further broken down to prehistoric, historic, classical, biblical, and underwater. It also looks into modern “trash”. As it is commonly known for this sub-discipline investigates the past of humans by excavating and analyzing material remains. Two important definitions is prehistoric and historic. Prehistoric is archaeology that investigates cultures that lived before the development of writing and historic is archaeology that investigates written accounts along with the historic sites.

Anthropological Linguistics is the subfield of Anthropology, Philosophy, and English. The main research ideas are hot it is used, the relationship between language and culture, and how humans acquire language. It is often studied of how language is utilized in a social context. Here, they study the styles of speech people use. They study the correlation between labels people give the environment and how they perceive the environment. This subfield is concerned with complex relations between language and other aspects of human behaviour and thought.

Cultural Anthropology examines contemporary societies and cultures throughout the world, especially ethnography, a written account of how a single human population lives. It is the study of contemporary and primitive human societies and cultures. It focuses on customs and beliefs of a group of people. The objectives are to study how human groups lives, compare cultures to determine universal principals, understand how dimensions of human life relate (like religion, art, community, and family), comprehend cultural changes, and make the public aware of cultural differences. Fieldwork includes moving into a community that is being studied, communicating in the local language, and living in close contact with people.

Applied Anthropology assumes training in all four fields. It links to other social sciences like Sociology, Psychology, Economic, Political Science, and History. It also offers practical solutions to cultural issues. Medical Anthropology focuses on health, nutrition, social environment, and cultural beliefs. Developmental Anthropology helps agencies adapt projects to community needs and applies research skills to human problems. Educational Anthropology deals with issues of learning and teaching. Corporate Anthropology trains employees within a company what to expect, how to speak, and how to act when they conduct business in other countries. Essentially, Applied Anthropology applies research skills to human problems.


Source: Psychology, Anthropology, and Sociology class

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