11 February 2008
Introduction to Anthropology
1. What is anthropology?
Anthropology is the study of humans or humanity.
The word anthropology has two parts.. It is a compound of two Greek words, ‘anthropos’ and ‘logos’ , which can be translated as ‘human’ and “the study of”, respectively. So anthropology means ‘knowledge about humans’ or study of humanity. Anthropology is the study of people: where they came from, how they live differently in different societies across the world, how they interact with each other and with their environment.
Anthropology studies humankind in comparison of one community of people with others, underlining a variety of human behavior and importance of culture in an explanation of this variety. The Anthropology aspires to open principles of behavior which concern all human communities.
2. What are the general principles of anthropology and what is important about each?
Anthropology includes the biological and social study of humans as complex organisms with the capacity for language, thought, and culture. Anthropology is a subject that seeks to be holistic and comparative as well as global , relative and empirical.
There are a few general principles of anthropology :
Anthropological researches are extended worldwide. You can find anthropological studies about almost every cultural group on the planet, from Canadians to Russians, from Eskimo to the Indians. Anthropologists can comprehend researches of any cultural group. Finally the anthropology area investigates essential elements of human experience in all cultural groups in the world. Global, then, not only spatial, but can address also to an object of research, which tries to investigate a variety of aspects of human existence.
What does holistic means? Holism from holos, a Greek word meaning all, entire, total .Holism means that properties of a given system -chemical, biological economic, can be explained only as the sum of its component. Take as example holistic principle in medicine. Holistic medicine comprehends illness as a system problem. It considers human body as integral . We were ill not only because viruses or bacteria encroach in our body, but because of all kinds of factors which we tend not to recognize. For example , if we have stress or we have the conflict of social relations we have higher chance of disease . Despite we tend to think that other symptoms and conditions are irrelevant to our illness it may also be connected to the main problem.
So, when we speak about “holism” in anthropology, we mean, that we try to pull communications between various aspects of culture, to see it as a whole system.
Anthropology uses procedure of placing of similar cultural events in the various nations and cultures nearby with each other to investigate the general lines and distinctions. The essence of the process of the decision of problems which face to anthropology consists in it - to be compared, it is necessary to investigate distinction .We always see things from our own viewpoint, and we compare that we observed or heard to our own cultural established systems of sights.
The relativity principle means, that when we try to compare , we should make so, when we not extolling one group of compared persons to another. If, for example in physical anthropology we study distribution of height of the person among various human groups, we should make so with no intention to establish that height in one cultural group is higher and thus cultural group is above of other. More likely we would try to understand distribution of height within the specific population and to investigate factors which promote it concerning a certain cultural context. In other words, the certain case or the phenomenon can be understood only concerning details, in a historical or cultural context in which they are found.
Empirical: This means: derived from or relating to experiment and observation rather than theory .The empiricism principle focuses a way which anthropologists think of research and data by underlining importance experience, and sensory perception in any given attempt to understand something about humankind. Anthropology based on practical experience rather than scientific proof.
3. What are the four subfields of anthropology?
Anthropology has four subfields:
1. Cultural Anthropology
2. Biological (or Physical) Anthropology .
4. Linguistic Anthropology
4. What are the basic approaches and methods of each subfield?
There are a number of different sorts of methods by which anthropologists go about studying humans.
Anthropology uses the Comparative Method. The anthropology uses simple however strong idea: any details of our behavior can be understood is better when it is noticed against a full range of human behavior. It, a comparative method which tries to explain the general lines and distinctions among people holistically, in a humankind context as a whole. Any details of our behavior can be better to be understood when it is noticed in a context given by a full range of human behavior.
Cultural Anthropology. Cultural anthropology investigates by using of long term, intensive field studies culture and public organization of specific people: language, the economic and political organization , the law and the conflict decision, samples of consumption and an exchange, relationship and family structure, gender relations, nationalization , religion, mythology. The cultural anthropology has a primary method - that named Ethnography. Ethnography - an empirical method of studying of people and as they live. Ethnographers compare that they see and hear with supervision and results of the researches made in other societies. Originally, anthropologists place together a full way of life for the culture considered as a whole. Today, the most probable centre of researches is in a cultural life, such as economy, a policy, religion or art.
Archeology intents to understand distribution and movement of ancient settlements, developments of human public organization , and relations among modern settlements. The archeology involves a wide variety of field methods (the review, geophysical researches, removal of a core, excavation) and laboratory procedures (composite researches, dating of researches measures of formal variability, examination of samples of wear process, rest research, etc. Archeologist prevalently study the materials made by prehistoric groups, but also switches on modern, historical and ethnographic settlements.
Linguistic Anthropology. Linguistic anthropology aspires to understand processes of human communications, oral and nonverbal, changes in language during time and a place, social use of language, both the relation between language and culture. It is a part of anthropology, which uses linguistic methods to study anthropological problems, connecting the analysis of linguistic forms and processes with interpretation cultural processes.
Physical anthropology Physical anthropology uses methodology of anthropological reconstruction for comparison of the ancient and modern population, paleoanthropology and social strategy early hominid, archeologo -genetic researches of the ancient population. Biological or physical anthropology researches the physical human being by studying of human evoluution and adaptibility , population genetic. Subfields or related fields are : anthropometrics, osteology.
5. What is a subject which each of the subfields would examine?
1.Cultural Anthropology Subject for research: Culture, ethnocentrism(nationalism), cultural aspects of language and communication, subsistence and other economic patterns, kinship, sex and marriage, socialization, social control, political organization, class, ethnicity, gender, religion, and culture change.
2. Biological (or Physical) Anthropology Subject for research: Mechanisms of biological development, genetic inheritance, a human adaptability and change, primatology. Biological (or physical) anthropology looks at the Person Reasonable as on a sort and investigates biological origin, evolutionary
development, and a genetic variety. It examines an origin and development of the person, is interested in evolutionary aspects of anthropology and historical genetics
3. Archaeology Subject for research: Prehistory and early history of cultures around the world; major trends in cultural evolution; and techniques for finding, excavating, dating, and analyzing material remains of past societies..
4. Linguistic Anthropology Subject for research: The human communication process focusing on the importance of socio-cultural influences; nonverbal communication; and the structure, function, and history of languages, dialects, pidgins (language made up of elements of two or more other languages and used for contacts), and creoles.
6. Identify a subject which 2 or more subfields would study. How would each subfield approach that subject differently?
If compare two subfields of Anthropology such as Physical ,Cultural Anthropology and Linguistic Anthropology , we could see that they have some similar subject for study ,but different methods and approaches . Take as example of the subject - gender.
The physical anthropology investigates physical or biological aspects of of gender. Analyze biological processes which lead to sexual differences. Studies evolutionary development which have led us to our current biological conditions. Biological or physical anthropology investigates the physical person, human development. Physical anthropology uses methodology of anthropological reconstruction for comparison of the ancient and modern population.
Cultural Anthropology investigates a gender in our modern world, by visiting cultures and communities studying them through supervision, participation and interview about various gender beliefs of people .Cultural Anthropology gathers this information by using gender methods.
Linguistic Anthropology is interested in the gender aspects of language, by studying how it is that people with various gender speak in another way in various contexts, or it could be the analysis of the gender beliefs which have been built in structure of language directly.