Saturday, September 8, 2012

Scope of Anthropology


According to American Anthropological Association, anthropology has two dimensions- Academic anthropology and practicing or applied anthropology. The latter refers to the application of anthropological data, perspectives, theory and methods to identify, assess and solve contemporary social problems.

Applied anthropology is the field of inquiry concerned with the relationships between anthropological knowledge and the uses of that knowledge in the world beyond anthropology.

Many anthropologists now are working in the areas such as public health, family planning, business, economic development and cultural resource management.

Applied medical anthropologists consider both the sociocultural and biological contexts and implication of diseases and illness. Perceptions of good and bad health along with actual health threats and problems differ among societies. Various ethnic groups recognize different illnesses, symptoms and causes and have developed health care systems and treatment strategies.

Public archaeology includes such activities as cultural resource management, contract archaeology, public educational programs and historic preservation. Applied cultural anthropologists sometimes work with the public archaeologists assessing the human problems generated  by the proposed changes in the sites and how they can be  reduced .

Within sociocultural anthropology ethnology is the comparative science that attempts to identify and explain cultural differences and similarities, test hypothesis and build theory to enhance our understanding of how social and cultural systems work. Ethnologists compare, contrast and make generalizations about societies and cultures.


Anthropology is the whole history of man as fired and pervaded by the idea of evolution. Anthropology studies man as he occurs at all known times. It studies him as he occurs in all known parts of the world.

Anthropology is science in the sense of specialized research that aims at truth for truth's sake. It specializes on the particular group of human beings, which itself is part of the larger particular group of living beings. Inasmuch as it takes over the evolutionary principle from the science dealing with the larger group, namely biology, anthropology may be regarded as a branch of biology. Of all the branches of biology, it is the one that is likely to bring us nearest to the true meaning of life; because the life of human beings must always be nearer to human students of life than, say, the life of plants.

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