Branches of Anthropology
Culture is an important tool for human survival. It is a complex whole of knowledge, morals, traditions, arts and customs, that we have learned as being part of a society. It is transferred over generations non-biologically, through words and symbols. Cultural anthropologists try to understand the logic behind cultural norms. They believe that no tradition or cultural practice is wrong. For example, scarring of the body might seem bizarre to us. However, a study of the culture of the African tribes that follow this ritual has shown that this is a highly relevant practice. During their research, cultural anthropologists live within a community, observe their customs, and try to understand them in comparison to the practices of other societies. Cultural anthropologists may study a society living on the far end of the globe, or may concentrate on certain segments of our own society, like the corporate sector, laborers, or slum dwellers.
Language is an important agent of transmission of culture. It is an accomplishment of the human species that has given it an edge over the rest of the animals in the living world. In their endeavor to understand the origin and evolution of a language and oral traditions, linguistic anthropologists gain valuable insights into the culture of a community. They understand prehistoric links between various societies and explore the meaning of verbal concepts to learn about the conditions that existed in the past, and how humans adjusted to those. Besides studying language in a cultural aspect, linguistic anthropologists also try to understand the biological implications of language. This involves studying changes in the human brain and body, that enabled us to organize sounds in a meaningful way, to evolve language.
Archeology deals with studying the tangible remains of a culture. Fortunately, human beings leave clues about their ways of life, not only in words and alphabets, but also in the form of material remains like pot sherds, foundation...