Anthropologists like myself try to figure out
why present day humans are the way they are.
Meredith F. Small Female Choices
Who are we? How old is the human species? Where did we come from? What do we believe and why? Is our own culture the epitome of civilization? What is reality? How have we arrived at a position where destroying the earth doesn't bother us very much? These, and many, many more are the questions that drive anthropologists to study human beings and our interactions. In fact, the presence of a driving question is the seed that creates anthropologists, as we will soon see.
Anthropology is the study of humanity. As one might suspect, given the scope of the questions in the previous paragraph, anthropology is a broad field with many subfields (or methods) of gathering information. Let's look at some of these areas of study, the methodology for each discipline, and a few of the specialists and their research.
According to James Spradley (1979) in The Ethnographic Interview, ethnology is "the study of culture" (pg. iii). On the surface, this would seem the simplest of tasks. However most of us are unaware that we are wearing Kant's irremovable glasses' when it comes to viewing other cultures&SHY;our own personal biases and beliefs are fully intact. This ethnocentric viewpoint (defined by John Bodley as "the tendency to evaluate other cultures in reference to one's own presumably superior culture"2) is the biggest stumbling block to understanding other cultures and recognizing their own inherent value. The aim of the good ethnographer is to take off the glasses of ethnocentrism as often as possible and learn from other people what their world is like.
In order to ...
... middle of paper ...
...1989). Yuqui: Forest nomads in a changing world. Orlando: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Public Broadcasting Service (Producer). Millennium series: Inventing reality [Videotape].
Rosenthal,E. (1991, December). The forgotten female. Discover 22&SHY;27.
RuppelShell,E. (1991, December). Flesh & bone. Discover 37&SHY;42.
Small, M. F. (1993). Female choices: Sexual behavior of female primates. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Spradley, J.P. (1979). The ethnographic interview. Orlando: Hartcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Struever, S. & Holton, F. A. (1979). Koster: Americans in search of their prehistoric past. Garden City: Anchor Press/ Doubleday.
Stuart, G. E. & McMananon, F. P. (1996). Archaeology & you. Washington D.C.: National Geographic Society.
Zastrow, C. (1996). Introduction to social work and social welfare (6th ed.). Pacific Grove: BrookslCole Publishing.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Though women have played an integral part in the history of the discipline of anthropology, it was not until the early 1970’s that the field of anthropology and gender, or feminist anthropology emerged. Sex and gender roles have always been a vital part of any ethnographic study, but the contributors of this theory began to address the androcentric nature of anthropology itself. The substantial gap in information concerning the study of women was perceived as a male bias, a prejudice made more apparent because what little women-centered fieldwork was done received insufficient attention from the academic community.... [tags: Feminist Anthropology ]
1582 words (4.5 pages)
- What is applied anthropology and how can it be applied to almost every facet of society. The answer is obvious when we look at what the field of anthropology encompasses. Anthropology, as defined by the American Anthropological Association is, “the study of humans, past and present.” In the United States, anthropologists are educated in one of the four areas, sociocultural anthropology, biological/physical anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics. Active within these four subfields is Applied Anthropology, which is the application of the method and theory of an anthropological subfield to the analysis and solution of real world situations and practical problems.... [tags: Physical Anthropology]
1518 words (4.3 pages)
- This paper seeks to show the inter-relationship of bio- medical professionals such as doctors and nurses in comparison with medical anthropologists and try to show their relevancy in the healthcare system and their collaboration in inter-professionalism. Medical anthropology is an advancing sub-discipline of anthropology. Medical anthropology is intended to provide a framework, which should enable students to identify and analyze social, cultural, behavioural and environmental factors in relation to health and disease/illness in any given society.... [tags: Medical Anthropology]
940 words (2.7 pages)
- What Is Anthropology. How Is It Done. People enter the field of anthropology for a variety of reasons. Some people enter the field by accident. This means that they did not intend on becoming an anthropologist. Some people were interested in the field from the start. One person married a social anthropologist; and, after living with a group of people for two years wrote an ethnography about the people. The first story is about Adrienne Zihlman. She is a paleoanthropologist. She collects all kinds of bones; so, she can "contrive and test ideas about the origins of humans by studying the remains of living things" (Shell 1991:37).... [tags: Anthropology Essays]
2372 words (6.8 pages)
- Cultural Anthropology and Ethnographic Fieldwork James P. Spradley (1979) described the insider approach to understanding culture as "a quiet revolution" among the social sciences (p. iii). Cultural anthropologists, however, have long emphasized the importance of the ethnographic method, an approach to understanding a different culture through participation, observation, the use of key informants, and interviews. Cultural anthropologists have employed the ethnographic method in an attempt to surmount several formidable cultural questions: How can one understand another's culture.... [tags: Cultural Anthropology Papers]
1792 words (5.1 pages)
- In the course of the study of medicine from an anthropological perspective, there are several themes which are repeatedly encountered. These include the body and its representation, meaning and a person’s response to that meaning, and finally, the symbolic images which construct and shape both meaning and the bodily representation. Each of these themes are addressed throughout medical anthropological texts, and are connected to and build on each other in a variety of ways. The body is the site of medicine, because the body is the site of all cultural practices.... [tags: Health, Medical Anthropology]
1129 words (3.2 pages)
- What is the significance for economic anthropology of the work of Marx and Durkheim. Introduction The works of Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim have proved that they were indeed the finding fathers of modern social theory during the late 19th to the early 20th century. Along with others (i.e. Weber, Simmel, Veblen etc.) they had laid down the foundations of our understanding of the relationships that are held between culture and society on one hand, and economic activity on the other hand. Marx saw economics in terms of conflicts between different interest groups, which he referred to as ‘classes’, over rights to various facets of the processes of production, and the effect that those conflicts... [tags: history, phylosophy, politics]
1542 words (4.4 pages)
- During the 20th century, anthropology has developed following influential people such as Boas. The four subfields existed for a long time as separate fields, but with the direction of examining human culture within the United States, it became important to be holistic. Each subfield contributed greatly as no one field can study the entire breadth or depth of culture and behavior. However, there are forces that are contributing to each field going in its own direction that can lead to a break-up in the future.... [tags: Ethnic Groups, Native Americans]
1802 words (5.1 pages)
- Sociology & Psychology: Anthropology and UFOs Generic introduction I will start my overview of sociological, psychological, and psychoanalytic work on UFOs in the US by isolating several key genres in the many fields concerned with UFOs. A first genre is the analysis of the social psychology of UFO belief. Jung (1991) was among the first to take this approach with his psychoanalysis of saucer reports, though he also focused on the psychological profiles of self-identified UFO witnesses. His broader analytic work has served as a point of departure for later studies of the symbolic content of UFO reports, alien folklore, and sci-fi entertainment.... [tags: Essays Papers]
1011 words (2.9 pages)
- Anthropology Anthropology what a vulnerable observer you are. You may well have to jump into the arms of the scientists if you are going to try to keep your grass hut at the academy. -- Ruth Behar Debates on the role the reflexive plague the field of cultural anthropology as postmodern critics join the bandwagon attempting to claim authority in this dubiously recognized discipline. In the borderline realm between the sciences and humanities, cultural anthropology has tried to find a niche in which it can comfortably rest.... [tags: Anthropologist Culture Essays]
1331 words (3.8 pages)