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Define/ what is Anthropology - Anthropology is the scientific study and analysis of human beings and humanity. Anthropologists seek to understand the world's cultures, customs, artifacts, knowledge, habits, history, etc.
Anthropology grew primarily out of natural history initially, and has since come to depend upon archaeology, paleontology, biology, psychology, the humanities, social science, and other areas. Since World War II, anthropology has increasingly modeled itself after the natural sciences, relying more on empirical evidence and less on subjective analysis.
To define anthropology in laymen's terms: anthropology is the study of anything and everything 'human', form the way we procured food 10,000 years ago to the way we drive our cars today, and everything in between. Basically, if it has to do with humans, it is anthropological in nature.

Details of Anthropology

  • The term Anthropology has been derived from two Greek terms namely 'anthropos' which means human and 'logos' means study. Thus Anthropology is the study of human beings in its absoluteness
  • Anthropology is a science, which studies the origin and the physical, social and cultural development and behavior of mankind, especially various human cultures, human civilizations, their traditions and customs.
  • It not only studies the biological evolution of human beings and the socio-cultural linguistic development of humans, but also their physical and cultural diversity at different ages, places and environments. Anthropology is about people, their relationships, and how they live together as members of society.
  • It contributes to the understanding and explanation of socio-cultural behaviour. Anthropologists study human societies worldwide with reference to kinship, political organisation, religion, legal system, economy, language, education, health care and art, in other words people's lifestyle or culture.
  • Thus social problems like birth control, labor unrest, juvenile delinquency, mortality rate can be dealt with the help of information gathered from anthropological studies.
  • Anthropology involves archaeological study of human relics to know the biological and cultural history of the human species over the last four million years, the cultural patterns of people from around the world down to even those who happen to live next door to you, and the techniques and ideas people have used both to exploit and protect natural resources and the environment.
  • To know the origin and physical, cultural, and social development of human beings, Anthropologists as social scientists study the language, traditions, beliefs, possessions, and values of people in various parts of the world and formulate hypotheses to explain their research and findings. They examine, analyze report on, and compare different cultures and how they grow, develop, and interact.


There are various branches of Anthropology

  • Physical or Biological Anthropology - This branch deals with the biological evolution of human beings and linkage of humans with their primate ancestors. Differences between various races, human genetics, and adaptations to various climatic conditions also come under this branch. Researchers in this field can study human evolution, physical variations between modern human populations, forensic anthropology, osteology, and a variety of related topics.
  • Socio-cultural Anthropology - This branch deals with the socio cultural developments of human race from their origin. It involves the study of human cultures and societies, and it encompasses topics like linguistics, studies of minority populations, studies of social norms, and studies of specific types of social groups. Different methods of forming communities, difference in culture of various clans, cross cultural communication and such other topics form the subject of study under this branch. Cultural anthropologists are particularly well suited to work in professions involving people, such as teaching, law, medicine, social work, and journalism.
  • Prehistoric Anthropology - This branch can also be called archeology as it deals with bones, relics and artifacts dug up and tries to reconstruct the chronological sequence of history on the basis of these findings. It focuses on the reconstruction of early history and per-historic social customs. Anthropologists with specialisation in pre-historic anthropology are the most sought after people by museums, art houses, archeological organisations and archives where they work as historians, museum curators etc.
  • Applied Anthropology - Social problems like birth control, labor unrest, juvenile delinquency, mortality rate are dealt with the help of information gathered from other fields. This is the main job of this branch of Anthropology.
  • Linguistic Anthropology - It is the branch of anthropology that studies human through the languages that they use. Linguistic anthropology deals with subjects such as socio-linguistics. The origin and evolution of all written as well as unwritten languages and dialects are dealt with under this branch of anthropology. Linguistic anthropologists work as linguists.

Importance of Anthropology

  • It is important for us as human beings to understand our origins and also to understand the cultures in the world outside of our own.
  • Anthropology is the only social science that really emphasizes the comparative approach or comparing things across different cultures.
  • Anthropology is also important from the point of view of studying about human nature and the rituals and customs practiced by different tribes and clans of people. Some practices that are taboo in certain cultures might be accepted as normal in others. It is this bridging of the gap between our innate sense of our own culture and the other cultures is the reason for the importance of Anthropology.
  • Linguistic anthropology studies languages and how they have developed and evolved over time.

Opportunities/Scope/ Career in Anthropology:

  • Scope in India: Anthropology is best suited for candidates who have deep interest in history and who love to travel to various places of historic importance. Anthropology has more opportunities in research scholar, scientists and lectureship. Other than these jobs one can opt for jobs with NGOs working in underdeveloped areas. Anthropologists can also be hired by organizations like the UNESCO, UNICEF and WHO. Other jobs available for students of anthropology are teachers in colleges and universities, urban planners, tour guides, culture resource managers. You will find anthropologists addressing social and cultural consequences of natural disasters, equitable access to limited resources, and human rights at the global level.
  • Scope in Abroad: Anthropology as a subject has far better scope in countries in the west. Anthropologists are hired in the west in the field of medicine, law, business and other professional institutions. Anthropologists are absorbed in community development programs and public service programs as well.

Courses in Anthropology
Undergraduate in Anthropology

  • B. Sc Anthropology
  • B.A Anthropology
  • B. A Sociology

Postgraduate in Anthropology

  • M. Sc Anthropology
  • M.A Anthropology
  • Ph. D degree in Anthropology
  • Ph. D in Population Genetics
  • Ph. D sociology
  • M. A in Women Studies
  • M. A Sociology
  • M.A Population Studies
  • Master in tribal Studies
  • Ph. D folklore and Tribal Studies
  • Ph. D in Habitat
  • M. A in Ancient India history & Archeology

Diploma in Anthropology

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Sociology

Certificate Course

  • Certificate in Applied Sociology

Related Links
Anthropology institutes in India
Anthropology institutes in Abroad
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