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What is Anthropology and Why Study It?

Humans are complex social beings who have the capacity of thought. This capacity has helped them evolve as different cultures speaking different languages. Anthropology is the study of these cultural and biological aspects of human life. How humans interact with each other and with the environment? Why they behave the way they behave? Why they say the different things they say? The study of anthropology helps to deal with people in a better manner.

Humans Are Amazing Animals

All humans have the same physical characteristics. However, with different climates, foods and religions they grow up into different individuals, speaking different languages, and wearing different clothes. The main aim of the study of the anthropology is to understand the basic differences between various cultures and human societies. This makes the subject matter of the study vast. There are several branches of the same discipline. For example, physical anthropologists study about how humans have evolved over millions of years and what kind of genetic or behavioral relationships humans have with their primates. While social anthropologists study about the different beliefs and practices followed by various people in community living and how humans deal with the material world in terms of housing, clothing and craft. Mark Hauser

An Anthropologist’s Job

*A physical anthropology researcher may have to work in a lab to test bones and blood samples. However, the study also involves working in various cultural environments that require them to be sensitive towards cultural values of that particular area. For example, if there is a common illness pertaining to a group of locals, to understand the basic cause of this illness, all the physical as well as socio-behavioral factors will be taken into consideration. It may not be enough to find a scientific or medical cause of the disease, there might be some local factors also. These include local diet, local rituals, and beliefs.

*For a social anthropology student, it is very important to understand the basic culture of the particular part of the world. A social anthropologist may have to travel to different parts of the world and require staying there for as long as a year or more to study the various practices followed by the locals. An anthropologist should have an approach to understand how the locals control their behavior and how their behavior governs their lives.

When you possess a degree in social anthropology, you have the solid foundation to pursue one of the many interesting careers involving communication skills, social research and problem solving abilities. The study gives a detailed perspective on cross cultural thinking. There are well designed courses that improve student understanding of social relationships and improvise their other skills including communicative, organizational and logistical skills. The courses are backed by comprehensive textbooks that impart education. Students who want to save money on textbooks can opt for used or second hand textbooks. These textbooks are available on almost all subjects, online.

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