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WHAT IS

ANTHROPOLOGY?
The term originates from two
words in Greek:

(1) anthropos meaning

man as in human being

(2) logos meaning study.

Consequently we can
determine that anthropology
can be defined as: the study of
human beings.
Yet many other humanities,
sciences and social sciences
could also be defined as the
study of human beings since
the definition itself is so broad.

WHAT THEN IS UNIQUE OR


CHARACTERISTIC OF
ANTHROPOLOGY?

(a). anthropology is transcultural;


looks all human groups, large and
small; distant and near.

(b). anthropology spans all of


human history, the ancient and
the modern. We must know past
to understand present.

(c). anthropology is holistic;


seeks to demonstrate how
aspects of cultures are linked,
how they affect one another;
seeks to understand all
aspects of human behavior. It
is a multi-faceted approach to
the study of human behavior.

Anthropology seeks to find the


generalities about human life
while also explaining the
differences. To do this the
examples must include a
transcultural and historical
perspective.

Anthropology seeks to
understand and explain why
people do the things they do and
say the things they say. A goal is
create better understanding
among people.

In sum, we as anthropologists
often say that anthropology is the
most humane of the sciences and
the most scientific of the
humanities. Thus we draw data
from all kinds of sources.

WHAT ARE the SUBFIELDS of


ANTHROPOLOGY as a
SOCIAL SCIENCE?

THE TWO MAIN SUB-FIELD DIVISIONS


WITHIN ANTHROPOLOGY ARE:

(1) biological anthropology


(2) cultural anthropology.
(3) archeology antropology
(4) linguistic anthropology
In this course we will be focusing
on cultural anthropology.

Biological anthropology seeks


to understand human behavior
from a biological base especially
focusing upon human evolutionary
history and biological variation
among human populations.

Some examples of biological


anthropology are paleontology;
primatology; the study of
human variation

Cultural anthropology seeks to


understand universals and
variations in human cultures both
past and present.

Archaeology seeks to
understand human history
through the study (primarily) of
materials remains. Sometimes the
work of archaeologists overlaps
with the work of historians in a
specialization, historical
archaeology.

Linguistics seeks to understand


human language, written and nonwritten, spoken and non-verbal.
The study of how languages
change over time is termed
historical linguistics. The study of
how language is used in social
contexts is termed sociolinguistics.

Ethnology seeks to understand


the patterns of human thought
and behavior over time. A holistic,
detailed description of a culture is
termed an ethnography.

Underscoring all of the sub-fields


in both biological and cultural
anthropology is Practicing or
Applied anthropology, which
seek to apply anthropological
knowledge to the solution of
human problems. All of the subfields in anthropology have an
applied, practicing component.

FURTHER COMMON DIVISIONS


WITHIN ANTHROPOLOGY
INCLUDE:
(1) area specializations (SE
Asia, Europe, Latin American, etc.;
areas which share some culturalhistorical characteristics )
(2) topic specializations
(medical, ecological, gender, etc.;
themes upon which to focus within
a holistic and deeply contextual
framework of a culture)