Cultural Anthropology

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Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology

Question 1: Understanding Of Cultural Anthropology

According to Keesing et al, Anthropology is described as the study of human beings relating to their physical and cultural behaviours. This is the term used to illustrate the time when European Anthropologists went out of Europe to the colonies in order to observe and describe the particularity of non European countries, attending to their traditional culture forms or their subjection to modern social change. For example John Owen who was born in Uganda and was educated in Oxford University, received a degree in Anthropology and after he became district commissioner in Sudan (The Guardian 4.3.1995). Anthropology is therefore divided in different fields and these include, Physical Anthropology which is based on human behaviours, Evolution, Forensic and Genetics. Another field of Anthropology is Linguistic which is based on different types of languages. Archaeology Anthropology is the way anthropologists use to collect peoples remains and materials whereas Social Anthropology is the one that is based on peoples? beliefs, customs and relationships according to the way they live in different societies.

Relevance of Anthropology in the modern world

Anthropology today is more relevant than ever before. Society is in a continuous state of flux, whether due to globalisation, conflict, natural disasters, modernisation and other factors. The many applications of the discipline are extremely diverse, e.g. heritage, commerce and industry, medicine, criminology. In addition, it develops skills that are easily transferable to other career fields. In today's world, ethnographic methods are equally applied to humanitarian issues as in business and are increasingly important in informing decision-making in the public sector, industry and NGOs.

Salvage anthropology, provides us with a link to the past, through the preservation of cultural heritage, e.g. museums, art, archaeology, etc. of disappearing peoples and changing societies. In the field of applied anthropology governments increasingly employ anthropologists for commercial or humanitarian purposes. As in the restitution of land to Aboriginal people in Northern Australia, where "legal changes in the past quarter century, which by recognizing traditionally defined Aboriginal rights to land, have created a demand for the services of anthropologists and made their options consequential" Anthropology today (1998). Economic development agencies use the aid of anthropologists to better interpret the needs of the people receiving aid. Another valuable contribution, in this era of multi-ethnic urban societies, is in the field of racial relations, within and between communities; also in areas of war and conflict, to help in understanding behaviour in extreme situations. In business, ethnographic methods help in the development of new products, by identifying for example, how different groups of people use technology.

In addition to such diverse applications, ethnographic training is particularly well suited to the 21st Century job market. In an increasingly international economy where workforces and markets are more diverse, anthropology provides multi-cultural training and develops such skills as critical thinking, writing and communicating, observing, interviewing, collecting oral histories, reviewing literature, writing research reports and analysing data. It helps students of the discipline understand the inter-connectivity of knowledge about people and their ...
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