It is way easy to define in a cluster of words. It is difficult to describe, however. How could you illustrate the history of humankind? How could just a few words let slip why we are the way we are? It is, in no way, philosophy. It is anthropology. Simply put, anthropology is the study of mankind, past and present, in order to comprehend to the intricacies that cultures across the history of humans entail. It is anthropology that establishes relevant knowledge from the social and biological sciences, not to miss the physical sciences and humanities. So, is anthropology a science? Can say that.
When one isn't really sure about the meaning and purpose of anthropology, simply studying what is the concern of anthropologists, describes the purpose of studying humankind. Anthropologists apply the knowledge they garner about mankind and human genetics, to some extent, to the solutions that humans face and combat. There isn't a scarceness of perspectives associated with the several disciplines and sub-disciplines of anthropology, all discussed in the content that follows below. Let us learn about something us.
What is Anthropology About
It's about addressing the intricate questions that talk about human origins, globalization, world history, spread and treatment of a particular infectious disease, and bringing knowledge to world masses. Anthropologists unleash facts associated with evolution, and synthesize information. It is the study about cultural anthropology that helps in bridging social and cultural discrepancies and distances, thus, making people represent themselves in their own ways. With a rather strong code of ethics, anthropology requires respect for varied diversities of humankind, cultures, knowledge, and societies. You know, there is a slight difference between anthropology and other human studies or social sciences. For the most part, practitioners who study anthropology perceive the subject as holistic, and construe to culture as the most essential concept of studying humankind. While many social sciences deal with the present and future of civilizations, anthropology sheds light on the life of human population from the present to zillions of years ago. All in all, it wouldn't be wrong to state that anthropology seeks to represent how a single segment of the human cultural system associates with the others, thereby, influencing them in its own myriad ways.
Types of Anthropology
The ones we know of as world's most famous anthropologists, were trained to study four key areas, viz., cultural anthropology, archaeology (forensic anthropology), biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. For research, teaching, and self-enlightenment purposes, anthropologists segregate the perspectives of all of these areas into their study. Let us do the same, and understand, in brief, the four disciplines of anthropology.
From what the history of anthropology states, an anthropologist studying human cultures and societies lays emphasis on the social patterns and practices adopted by cultures, with special attention to how people dwell, live, and survive in particular places, and how do they manage, administer, and create a meaning out of it. Cultural anthropology deals with concerning about the similarities and discrepancies among and within the societies, and their effects on race, gender, class, sexuality, and nationality as a whole.
Archaeology - Forensic Anthropology
Archaeology or forensic anthropology is one of the most interesting branches of anthropology, for when it comes to studying the tangible remains of a culture or individual, unleashing the clues that humans have left behind is immensely exciting. Human beings, while dwelling, had a way of life; houses, tools, and burials. Hence, archaeology unleashes this important information about the conventions and convictions of a particular civilization. Paintings, sketches, skeletal remains, etc. are some areas that depict practices prevalent in that society. This is how archaeologists arrive to a conclusion with regards to the religious beliefs of a particular community.
Biological anthropology, or physical anthropology studies facts about human evolution. Anthropologists specializing in this discipline seek to comprehend to how humans respond and adapt to varied surroundings. Moreover, the diverse biological and cultural processes contribute to growth, development, and conduct of human life are the chief concern of biological anthropologists. They also seek answers to causes of diseases and early death, variations, and human biological origins. Studying about Darwin's evolutionary theory is the primary matter of concern for anthropologists researching in this field.
The study where language mirrors and influences social life is what is linguistic anthropology. Anthropologists in this field explore the myriad ways in which language practices describe communication and interaction patterns, leading to formulation of social identities and memberships, and organization of ideologies. Linguistic anthropology is responsible for equipping people with general cultural representations of their social and natural surroundings, thereby, understanding power, inequality, and social transformations.
Those immensely keen about studying about human evolution, world culture and heritage, and history of humankind will, perhaps, be able to tell what does anthropology mean to them. After studying about anthropology and its various disciplines, it wouldn't be wrong to call it the progeny of natural sciences and humanities.