What is anthropology? An introduction for English Learners by Inglés con Julie - Profesora de inglés en Majadahonda

What is anthropology? An introduction for English Learners


What is the anthropological thought of today? How can anthropological knowledge be applied or used when dealing with modern concerns?

Anthropology has demonstrated how science can be applied to an understanding of the evolution and nature of human behavior. Anthropology allows us to navigate through the notions of culture and how it varies in our understanding of other cultures. This can be used as a tool to better understand our own. Understanding the biological diversity and the culture phenomenon of race has been one of anthropology’s most important contributions. This will eventually aid in addressing future social problems caused by lack of understanding. It helps us to understand the cultural reasons for violence. This is important when we are living in a world where conflicts or war are common due to cultural way of life. Anthropology can also contribute to issue of culture change by using its understanding of other cultures and the potential results of change and to help give these cultures a voice and predict and guide change as it occurs. First some useful definitions:

  • Fieldwork is one of the things that attract people to anthropology as a career.  It’s important, but only partially reflects the ‘holistic’ nature of the discipline
  • Anthropology—is the holistic study of humankind—searching for interrelationships along all the parts of its subject: Anthropologists all try to answer questions about the human species.

Anthropology is divided into four subfields:

•Biological (physical) anthropology—focuses on  humans as a biological species; includes human genetics, human evolution, the fossil record, nonhuman primates, and the biology of living populations.

•Cultural  anthropology—focuses on our ability to create ideas, behaviors, and technologies that are shared with one another (our culture); Culture is studied as a trait of our species.

•Linguistic  anthropology—studies language as a human characteristic; attempts to explain differences among more than 3,000 existing human languages.  Examines the relationship between language and culture.

•Archaeology— ithe study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts and cultural landscapes.


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