Discuss about the Think Big For Cultural Anthroology.
Anthropology is the science of humanity involving the study of humans, human behaviour and societies in past and present (Marcus & Fischer, 2014). The subject is manifested best as a scientific study of human culture and societies covering past and present throughout the world. Anthropology provides a holistic approach to study humankind. There are four subfields in anthropology that give necessary time and opportunity to the anthropologists to study the entire variety present in human species. The four subfields are Cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology and linguistic anthropology (Scupin & DeCorse 2016). This easy is on the cultural anthropology and its contribution to understanding human experience. The essay also discusses the theories and methods that are used in cultural anthropology and the way this subfield is different than other three subfields.
Cultural anthropology is the branch of anthropology precisely on the study of cultural variation among humans. It deals with the origin, history and development of human culture. Often cultural anthropologist study groups that have different goals, values, views of reality and environmental adaptation than the one they belong (Lewis, 2017). Through the cultural anthropology, it is found that culture is learned and it is through the culture that one adapts to the environment. Firstly, the specific field was restricted to the societies termed as “primitive, savage, tribal and traditional.” Since the early anthropologists were European and North American, the primary interest was on the societies that were different than them. However, today anthropologist studies have gone beyond that boundary to study more than simple tribal, traditional or primitive society. The study of cultural anthropology has extended to village communities with modern societies as well as cities and industrial enterprises.
After covering the contribution made by the cultural anthropologist in understanding the human behaviour and humankind, it is essential to know the way anthropologist record and represent cultural data and use them to address theoretical issues. Anthropology is a sphere of science that deals with the objective collection and recording of empirical data as well as the treatment of their findings in term of an explanatory system.
Ethnography: The process of recording and representing a type of culture of a specific group of people is called ethnography. It is a fieldwork method which studies the features, patterns and principles of coherent integration (Bernard & Gravlee, 2014). The process of producing ethnography is on the basis of primary data on field observation of the selected culture group. The cultural anthropologists are also named as ethnographers. The field work involves interviews and conversation with the culture group through longitudinal research and observation of the participants. In this method, data collected by the anthropologist will have handwritten notes that are made during the observations, interpretations from the conversation with the sample or the group of people selected for observation, survey data as well as demographic statistics. There are two kinds of field works, emic and etic. The emic approach refers to the field research where the knowledge and viewpoints are obtained within the social group, and the etic approach is when the similar function is performed from outside of the social group (Takhar-Lail & Chitakunye, 2015). The emic approach is always viewing from local people’s perspective, the way local people perceive and categorize the world, the set of believes they have along with the regulations they follow, also the way they imagine and explain feelings and experiences (Whitaker, 2017). In the etic approach, the members tend to be very involved with themselves, therefore, the ethnographers observe and interpret their culture impartially.
Like the other four subfields, the cultural anthropology also deals with the human behaviour and humankind. It talks about human and humanity of different societies and different time zones and the emergence of human life. However, the cultural anthropology is only in the sphere of culture, and it examines similarities and dissimilarities among various cultures of the world. The other subfields of anthropology, physical anthropology, archaeological anthropology and linguistic anthropology deal with different aspects such as human as biological organisms, historic and prehistoric way, the aspect of language of different societies and culture. Since all the elements have own area of studies, these subfields are different from one another, however, dealing with only human being also makes them similar to each other.
Bernard, H. R., & Gravlee, C. C. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of methods in cultural anthropology. Rowman & Littlefield.
Lewis, I. (2017). Social and cultural anthropology in perspective: Their relevance in the modern world. Routledge.
Marcus, G. E., & Fischer, M. M. (2014). Anthropology as cultural critique: An experimental moment in the human sciences. University of Chicago Press.
Scupin, R., & DeCorse, C. R. (2016). Anthropology: A global perspective. Pearson Education.
Takhar-Lail, A., & Chitakunye, P. (2015). Reflexive introspection: Methodological insights from four ethnographic studies. Journal of Business Research, 68(11), 2383-2394.
Whitaker, E. M. (2017). Emic and Etic Analysis. The Wiley?Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory, 1-2.
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