Anthropology is a complex understanding of human interaction with nature and with them. It is the knowledge about past and present activities related to mankind. Anthropology is derived from a Greek word "anthropoid" human/ mankind and "logi" study or word. Anthropology is built up on the scholarly disciplines of humanities, biology,physical sciences, and social sciences. The subject revolves around human behavior, their interaction, response and organization to culture, ethics differences,social behavior, biological development and finally evolution after coming to the present existing Homo sapiens. The works of renowned anthropologists Franz boas(1858-1942), father of American anthropology and Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942)a polish anthropologist lead the separation of anthropology as an individual entity from other social sciences.
Homo erectus is the first bipedal user present in the Pleistocene epoch (2588, 000 years ago). Humans or Homosapiens, who are evolved from its immediate predecessor archice homo sapiens around 200000 years ago, are the only surviving species of the genus "homo" belonging to species of hominidae.
Anthropology is an umbrella of studies which areconglomerated as four major groups:
1. Biological Anthropology:
It is a field of studies related to the development and changes of the physical and biological human form. It the set of inter disciplinary courses ofpale anthropology (based on the fossils of human race and its ancestral beings), anthropometrics (human measurements used to understand the physical variation), human osteology (study of bones for the relative knowledge of morphology, age, sex, growth) and human behavioral ecology (applicationof evolution principles to the human development context).
Branches of Biological Anthropology:
- Human biology deals with the simple biology life and structure of human cell.
- Typology differentiates the human species by their physical traits i.e. skin, height, etc. some of the races are Caucasoid race, mongoloid race and australoid race.
- Pale pathology is the study of diseases. Not only about on the pathogenic conditions of the bones and mummified tissues of the fossils, but also on the nutrition intake to determine the extent and over time re occurrence.
- Forensic anthropology uses techniques to determine the cause and condition of the death.
- Evolutionary anthropology is based on the theories of human physiology, human behavior and evolution principles.
2. Socio Cultural Anthropology:
It focuses on understanding of customs, religious beliefs, ethical values, law and differences resolution, kinship, family structure, parent child relationship, social norms and socialization. The study of emerging cyber culture and globalism comes under this category.
Branches of Socio-cultural Anthropology:
- Economic anthropology deals with the human economic behavior, his indulgence to the concepts of money, bargain system, give and take policies.
- Anthropology of kinship, sexuality and feminism is the pattern of hierarchical family matriarchy and patriarchy. Institution of marriage,dowry system, and gender, social relations are also studied under this.
- Political and legal anthropology concerns the political systems and regulation and social ordering. Concepts like caste, social status, chiefdom etc. are studied under this branch.
- Anthropology of science and technology developed due to the recent changes in the world. This sub field deals with the human interaction with cyber virtual world and modern technological systems.
- Anthropology of religion deals with the profound influence of religion in social structure. Issues like religion, magic, myth, extreme fetishism and ancestor worship come under this category.
It is primarily related to the study of human activities likeprimitive architecture, artifacts and remains of decay.
Branches under Archaeology:
- Ethno archeology is the study of living people as a reference for the study of the regional artifacts and practices.
- Historical archeology deals with study of archeology through found primitive writings.
- Maritime archeology deals with the remains found in the seas, lakes and other water bodies. The interaction with the human past, regional variations,and maritime influence in the social and cultural development of that particular region is also part of maritime archeology.
4. Linguistic anthropology:
It deals with the influence of language on the socio-cultural and economic development of mankind. It focuses on the impact of language on the development of communication, identity and shaping up of ideologies. The relationship between language (verbal and non-verbal) and culture is very important.
Branches of linguistic anthropology:
- Semiotic anthropology is the usage of semiotics and deals with the interaction of human beings. They are used to give structure and base tolanguage.
- Linguistic insecurity deals with the physiological condition of self consciousness and fear of inferiority than the prescribed standards.
- Ethno linguistics is about the interaction of language with culture, concepts like second language and intercultural communications.
In a way every human being is considered as an anthropologist, if we accept the interpretation that every man isunique and hence the study. Some of the notable anthropologists are:
- Edward Burnett Taylor (1832-1917) an English anthropologist, best known for his work primitive culture. He is significant for his representation of cultural evolutionism and animism.
- James George Frazer (1854-1941) is a social anthropologist from Scotland, known for his research on mythology and comparative religion. His vital work is the golden bough: a study in magic and religion (1890).
- Alfred Radcliffe-brown (1881-1955) an English socio- cultural anthropologist who developed the theory of structural functionalism that deals with the social structure and relations. His publications are so many. The Andaman islanders: a study in social anthropology (1922) are social organizations of Australian tribes(1931) are the appreciable ones.
- Margaret mead (1901-1978) is an American cultural anthropologist, a controversial writer, and a profound intellectual academician. She is known for her influence on sexual revolution through her works like, coming age of Samoa(1928), sex and temperament in three primitive societies (1935).
- Clifford Geertz (1926-2006) is an American cultural (more profoundly symbolist) anthropologist. He gave a strong influence on 20th century academia. Some of his famous works are the interpretation of cultures(1973) and local knowledge: further essays on interpretative anthropology(1983).
Contemporary anthropology is always related to large number of institutions, organizations and universities some of them are:
- Royal anthropological institution of Great Britain and Ireland (RAI): It is founded in 1871. The institution published three journals, journal of royal anthropological institute, anthropology today, anthropology index online.
- Anthropological survey of India (AnSI): It works under the ministry of culture, government of India formed in 1945. Varanasi is its headquarters and later in 1948 shifted to Kolkata museum.
- Center for world indigenous studies (CWIS) an American organization incorporated in 1984, for the preservance and study of indigenous languages.
- Amerind foundation museum and research faculty founded in 1937 by William Shirley Fulton for the interpretation and preservation of Native American culture. The word amerind is a coagulation of American and Indian.
- Cultural survival (1972) founded by anthropologist David may bury Lewis and his wife in Cambridge, U.S.A works for the indigenous communities worldwide.
- American anthropological association (AAA): Founded in 1909 Virginia, U.S.A. this organization publishes around 20 various journals like the American anthropologist, medical anthropology and American ethnologistquarterly. It also publishes an official newspaper called anthropology news.
Anthropologists and their employment
The anthropologists work in various sectors like, colleges, universities, Non-government organizations, health services etc. they teach about anthropology to graduate and undergraduate students. There are many professional schools and workshops which need knowledge about this subject. The work also involves addressing cultural and social results and setting up partnerships for research. A doctorate is a must for the professional anthropologists. Both academic and non-academic careers are available for people who study anthropology. There are various concerns and interests that question the plethora of domains present in Anthropology.
Applications of the methods in anthropology
- Research is carried out by the anthropologists and they teach the same.
- Universities, museums and colleges employee the researches.
- The methodology implemented in problem solving is practiced in various corporate, hospitals and government organizations. These set of researchers are called applied anthropologists and the job they perform are called non-academic.
- The efficiency of the employees and the customers of various diversity increases with the knowledge of cultural anthropologists.
- There are many cultural anthropologists working for NATO, Afghanistan, military of United Nations and in the congress of United States to establish the sense of cultural unity among the people.
- Forensic anthropologists work in the fields like courts, police, military and internationally based organizations. They aim at identifying the victims of disaster or murder. It is performed using the DNA of the animal or with the skeleton remains. There are forensic anthropologists working for the United States military to identify the identity of the dead soldiers.
- Medical anthropologists explain the reason for any disease or illness. The reason of illness is not because of any kind of supernatural powers is accepted by all literate people in the West of the world. Germ theory is another concept. However, other parts of the world have various conceptions towards accepting the fact. They help the doctors in explaining the people about the illness and treating the right way. Epidemiology is also another concept of interest for medical anthropologists.
- There are few anthropologists who identify and discover new plants and showcase their uses. These kinds of researches are known as ethnobotanists.