Discuss Anthropology And Its Subfields Sociology Essay Example
Discuss Anthropology And Its Subfields Sociology Essay Example

Discuss Anthropology And Its Subfields Sociology Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (906 words)
  • Published: July 22, 2017
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The study of human behavior is called anthropology.

Anthropology is the study of humanity, encompassing diverse aspects of civilization and social relationships. It delves into the transformations in physical features and the effects of progress, as well as the development of languages, music, art, and architecture. It also examines traces left by human existence. Anthropology explores captivating inquiries like shifts in behavior over time, worldwide migrations, the distinctiveness and parallels among individuals from varying cultures and regions. Furthermore, it investigates the evolutionary history of Homo sapiens spanning millions of years and how people adapt and thrive in diverse cultural contexts.

The field of anthropology includes four subfields: cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, physical anthropology, and archaeology. Cultural anthropology involves studying various societies and civilizations by immersing anthropologists in these cultures to understand their way of life and compare differences and similarities. Their


main focus is understanding the connections that unite or separate different societies and civilizations.

Linguistic anthropology, on the other hand, explores language formation and evolution and its relationship with culture. Linguistic anthropologists reconstruct extinct languages and examine language processes, developments, and patterns across different cultures. They also investigate social variations in language usage and production.

Physical or Biological anthropology examines the evolution of human beings throughout history and the impact that specific environmental and cultural factors have on them. Bio anthropologists concentrate on studying the biological aspects of humans, exploring variations in different time periods. They explore subjects like human development, how humans adapt to diverse physical environments, and what insights we can gain from other primates about the human experience. Additionally, bio anthropologists frequently investigate the interconnectedness between human biology and culture as a means to comprehend

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their relationships. Another subfield within Anthropology is Archeology, which investigates ancient human artifacts.

Archeologists utilize historical evidence to discover insights into past human life, encompassing pre-historic and historic civilizations. This aids in comprehending the lifestyles of people from previous eras.

Anthropology sets itself apart from other social science fields; however, it shares interconnections with them. A fundamental similarity lies in the extensive methodology employed by anthropology and other disciplines of study.

Anthropology is a diverse field encompassing societal, biological science, lingual, cultural, modern-day and historical perspectives. Notably, this wide range of study establishes connections between anthropology and other disciplines while combining scientific and humanistic approaches. Both cultural anthropology and sociology share an interest in various aspects including societal relations, organizations, behavior, race, ethnicity, social class, gender and power relations within present-day nations. Nevertheless, they also exhibit some differences.

In general, sociologists primarily focus on developed societies in the West, while anthropologists concentrate on studying undeveloped societies. These distinct categories of societies shape their approaches to gathering and analyzing information. In Political Science, the difference lies in its specific analysis of certain aspects of human behavior within particular countries rather than studying human behavior as a whole. Psychology mainly conducts research within one's own society; however, anthropology contributes by providing cross-cultural data that emphasizes the necessity for diverse observations when drawing conclusions about "human" psychology.

The importance of studying Anthropology

It is crucial for us as humans to not only understand our origins but also grasp cultures that differ from our own.

Anthropology is essential for comprehending and addressing inquiries regarding human beings and their origins, as it uncovers the interdependence of individuals and how our language, behavior, and cultures are explained through


Franz Boas, Bronislaw Malinowski, and Clifford Geertz have made significant contributions to the field.

Researchers propose that Franz Boas brought about a revolution in modern anthropology by adopting a scientific methodology inspired by the natural sciences. He introduced the idea of "culture" as acquired behaviors. In contrast to the British school of anthropology, which focused on developing overarching theories, Boas prioritized research followed by propositions. On the other hand, Bronislaw Malinowski is widely acknowledged as the founder of functionalist anthropology. He made notable progress in anthropological fieldwork techniques and origins while shifting studies from an evolutionary perspective to sociological and psychological realms.

One of the significant outcomes of his fieldwork was strong evidence that disproved the "Freudian belief in a universal Oedipal Complex" and also demonstrated that so-called primitive cultures are capable of the same types and levels of rational thinking as more advanced societies. Anthropologist Clifford Geertz is known for his views on cultural relativism and deep psychological dependence. According to Geertz, the human mind is heavily influenced by culturally shaped beliefs and systems of meaning. He also explained the role of anthropologists, which is to observe and define the meaning of a specific culture's system, understand the conveyed symbols, and describe the behaviors and social relationships associated with these systems of meaning. His goal is to provide social science with a comprehensive understanding and recognition through "thick description."

While conducting anthropological studies, specifically in the Interpretative Anthropology theory, it highlights the significance of culture as a semiotic phenomenon for the social sciences as a whole. In our case, it pertains to the fields of comparative and political science.

Discussing Fieldwork as a primary method in Anthropology.

According to

Shane Hall, "Fieldwork is the key research method employed by anthropologists to comprehend diverse human cultures." Through this approach, researchers immerse themselves in different societies or communities, observing their behaviors, traditions, and interactions in a natural setting. Anthropologists and other social scientists have employed fieldwork to analyze societies and groups ranging from remote tribes in isolated areas to contemporary subcultures and organizations.

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