Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Anthropological Tree

There are four branches of study that makes up anthropology. The vast majority of anthropologists work in social anthropology.In the US they call it cultural anthropology or ethnology. The naming of parts as either social or cultural anthropology is a historic legacy of the specific developments of the British and American national traditions. Social or cultural anthropology involves the study of cultural diversity,the search for cultural universals,the study of societies as functioning wholes,the study of social structure,the interpretation of symbolism etc.

Physical anthropology began as a study of races of man.Anthropometrists with their callipers set about their favourite occupation of measuring and classifying head sizes.The objective was to prove racial differences as physically given and support racist theories of both human origins and cultural diversity.Physical anthropology includes studying classification from tooth variations between monkeys and modern man to comparative anatomy and physiology.Both human ecology and genetics are part of physical anthropology. Human ecology studies the adaptive responses of homo sapiens in different environmental conditions.Genetics in anthropology concerns the genetic variation of different racial groups.It is overshadowed by the growth of biological genetics.Physical anthropology came back in 1970s and 80s through the development of sociobiology the study of the genetic basis of human behavior.Linguistic concepts and theories are borrowed by anthropologists.Linguistic models are used as models for cultural and social behavior by structuralist and cognitive social anthropologists who see societies as communicative systems and who regard language as the  basis for modes of thought.

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