What Is Anthropology?

Topics: Anthropology, Sociology, Culture Pages: 2 (412 words) Published: October 31, 2006
Anthropology is defined as the study of humankind and their behavior. Anthropologists conduct scientific and humanistic studies of the culture and evolution of humans. Anthropology is traditionally broken down into four sub-fields: Biological anthropology, Archaeology, Linguistic anthropology, and Cultural anthropology. There is also a fifth sub-field, Applied anthropology. Each of these branches has its own skills, theories, and knowledge of studying humanity.

Biological anthropology studies the human body. They look at humans as a species, tracing back their origin, evolutionary development, and genetic make-up. Biological anthropology is a way of fully understanding how humans adapt to its natural environments.

The second sub-field of anthropology is archaeology. Archaeology is defined as the study of material remains such as fossils, religious figurines, vessels, pictographs, artifacts, relics, cave paintings, and monuments of past human life and activities. These material remains help us interpret and reassemble cultures that lived long ago and their ways of life.

The look at the history, evolution, and inner structure of human languages is linguistic anthropology. Linguistic anthropology studies links between different societies and explores how humans communicate and reason with one another. It also allows us to explore the connection between language, the mind, and behavior. Language is vital to obtaining information and knowledge, and it is the language that the culture itself depends on.

The fourth sub-field of anthropology is cultural anthropology; the largest branch. Cultural anthropology deals with human cultures with respect to social structure, language, law, art, politics, religion, and other ways of life. Cultural anthropology seeks to understand the logics of another society and helps outsiders make sense of behaviors that may seem senseless and bizarre. It also helps us avoid ethnocentrisms, and allows us to see...
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