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For many thousands of years, travel, trade and exploration have brought people of different languages and cultures into contact with each other, generating tales of strange and exotic peoples and their customs. What is a universal human trait, curiosity, evolved through the centuries into intellectual speculation and philosophical theories about "the other" and later still, became the scientific study of mankind. Although the roots of anthropology can be traced to antiquity, it only emerged as a scientific discipline in the 19th Century. Two distinctive fields are Biological Anthropology, which studies man as an organism and his physical evolution, and Social and Cultural Anthropology, the comparative study of cultural variation through the myths, ritual, kinship patterns, political and economic systems in particular societies or social groups. In this paper I will attempt to define what is anthropology in general but mainly look at the background and development of Social and Cultural Anthropology and its relevance to the modern world, in addition to considering how students of anthropology develop such varied skills as critical thinking, writing and communicating, decision-making, all well suited to the 21st Century job market. History and background. The etymology of the word derives from the Greek, anthropos: human and logos: reason, thus it would mean knowledge about humans. Levi-Strauss (1983, p.49), the prominent 20th Century anthropologist said that "Anthropology has humanity as its object of research, but unlike other human sciences, it tries to grasp its object through its most diverse manifestations" Or as expressed by Eriksen (2001) anthropology studies the differences between people while at the same time trying to find out in what sense all humans have something in common. The main aim of anthropology is to understand the common constraints within which human beings operate as well as the differences that are evident between particular societies and cultures. Research encompasses many specialized sub-fields such as ethnology, linguistics, musicology, and archaeology. Traditionally anthropologists studied "primitive" and remote people, in small social groups, however, today that is no longer the case as anthropologists are as likely to work amongst their own societies and in urban settings, thus the focus of anthropology can be said to be global. As a scientific discipline it is based on participant observation and fieldwork, which attempts to account for cultural variation as well as develop a theoretical view of society and culture. Major changes such as new forms of transport and communication, industrial expansion and colonialism had a profound effect on society that shaped philosophical thought and scientific theories in the western world. In particular, Darwin's theory of natural selection had a great influence on scientific inquiry and social theory. Evolutionists theories, based on Darwin's model of biological evolution, were adapted by social theorists to help them understand the changes happening at a social and cultural level. The evolutionist approach had a fundamental influence on anthropological thinking up until the early twentieth century when new notions emerged to contradict them and the focus of anthropological research shifted from meaning to function. Some influential figures of the time, in Britain, were Edward Tylor, (1832-1917) who wrote the Golden Bough (1890), an ambitious comparative study of myth and religion and James Frazer, a student of Tylor's, who held the first chair of Anthropology in Britain. By the early twentieth century, as stated by Eriksen (2001) there was a transition from evolutionist theory and grand syntheses to more specific, detailed and empirically founded work. Two distinctive approaches emerged, Cultural Relativism in the USA and Functionalism in Europe. Relativist theories, maintain that every culture is unique and must be understood in its own context, in contrast to Structuralism, which stresses the importance of inter-dependence among behavior patterns and institutions within a social system. Until this time, most studies were based only on written resources, such as the accounts of travelers and missionaries, with little or no fieldwork. According to Eriksen (2001) it was Bronislaw Malinowski, a Polish immigrant, (1884-1942), known as the founder of modern British Anthropology, who was the first to set rigorous standards for ethnographic data collection which are still applied today and stressed the need for fieldwork in order to learn "from within". In the late twentieth century social and political changes, such as the rise of feminism, globalization and environmental concerns, continued to contribute to the development of new anthropological perspectives, which according to RAI (Royal anthropological Institute) "included the study of language and meaning and a new awareness of the importance of gender in understanding society and culture". Anthropology is no longer confined tothe study of "exotic" societies but includes the industrialized world. What remains largely unchallenged though is the standard for ethnographic data collection as established by Malinowski. Methodology. Ethnography (f. G. ethnos: nation, graphe: write) means recording other people's way of life and is both the method and process, used by anthropologists to research and document the study of culture and society, through interaction and immersion in the community. There are many ways of doing research, but the basic principle established by Malinowski, is Participant Observation, which consists of taking part intimately in the community studied and interpreting social and cultural life from the point of view of the participants. The research includes a range of formal and informal techniques, which are qualitative and quantitative. Sources of quantitative information might include interviews, historical records, statistical data and censuses. Unlike other social science research traditions, the personal experience of the participant-observer, plays a central role and becomes the primary means of interpretation, thus the anthropologist himself is the instrument of research in fieldwork, the source of the qualitative research. "Ethnography exploits the capacity that any social actor possesses for learning new culture, and the objectivity to which this process gives rise" Hammersley (2003). This process of doing research teaches many transferable skills, such setting and meeting goals, decision-making, analyzing data, interpersonal skills and communication. 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 globalization, conflict, natural disasters, modernization 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 behavior 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 workforce's 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 analyzing data. It helps students of the discipline understand the inter-connectivity of knowledge about people and their culture. Ethnographic perspectives and skills are particularly useful in fields that require planning, managing, analyzing and evaluating large volumes of data. Anthropology is the comparative study of man in its biological and cultural aspects and the aim of anthropologists is to achieve understanding of similarities as well as the differences between different societies it provides us with tools for understanding the multicultural, international and global issues that are fundamental for our continued existence. Anthropology asks questions about humanity that span and bridge the biological and the cultural, the international and the local, the present and the past. It uncovers the essence of other cultural groups, which exposes us, to formerly hidden aspects of our own culture, and allows for critical reflection on our own life. As an inter-disciplinary structure Anthropology builds intellectual dialogue between humanitarian and exact disciplines and provides a level of understanding of human practices that cannot be found within the framework of any other science. Anthropology is the only contemporary discipline that approaches questions about humanity from such diverse perspectives, historical, biological, linguistic, and cultural. Due to the unique methods and principles of ethnography it enables solutions to diversified problems: from reconstruction of ancient history to the development of new technology. Furthermore, it provides a wide range of skills and resources well suited to this age of global economy and the ability to operate in a culturally heterogeneous environment. The global and holistic knowledge that anthropological perspectives bring, are equally valuable within the profession as outside it, the skills and resources it develops, are easily transferable to other fields, not only those particularly concerned with people, such as law, medicine and education, but also business and technology. Finally, Anthropology is a promising means of answering questions of concern to humanity and has the potential to shape better futures for all peoples through cultural understanding and non-judgmental acceptance of diversity.
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Social and Cultural Anthropology and its relevance to the modern world
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Social And Cultural Anthropology And Its Relevance To The Modern World

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              For many thousands of years, travel, trade and exploration have brought people of different languages and cultures into contact with each other, generating tales of strange and exotic peoples and their customs. What is a universal human trait, curiosity, evolved through the centuries into intellectual speculation and philosophical theories about "the other" and later still, became the scientific study of mankind. Although the roots of anthropology can be traced to antiquity, it only emerged as a scientific discipline in the 19th Century. Two distinctive fields are Biological Anthropology, which studies man as an organism and his physical evolution, and Social and Cultural Anthropology, the comparative study of cultural variation through the myths, ritual, kinship patterns, political and economic systems in particular societies or social groups. In this paper I will attempt to define what is anthropology in general but mainly look at the background and development of Social and Cultural Anthropology and its relevance to the modern world, in addition to considering how students of anthropology develop such varied skills as critical thinking, writing and communicating, decision-making, all well suited to the 21st Century job market.
             
             
              History and background.
             
              The etymology of the word derives from the Greek, anthropos: human and logos: reason, thus it would mean knowledge about humans. Levi-Strauss (1983, p. 49), the prominent 20th Century anthropologist said that "Anthropology has humanity as its object of research, but unlike other human sciences, it tries to grasp its object through its most diverse manifestations" Or as expressed by Eriksen (2001) anthropology studies the differences between people while at the same time trying to find out in what sense all humans have something in common. The main aim of anthropology is to understand the common constraints within which human beings operate as well as the differences that are evident between particular societies and cultures. Research encompasses many specialized sub-fields such as ethnology, linguistics, musicology, and archaeology. Traditionally anthropologists studied "primitive" and remote people, in small social groups, however, today that is no longer the case as anthropologists are as likely to work amongst their own societies and in urban settings, thus the focus of anthropology can be said to be global. As a scientific discipline it is based on participant observation and fieldwork, which attempts to account for cultural variation as well as develop a theoretical view of society and culture.
             
              Major changes such as new forms of transport and communication, industrial expansion and colonialism had a profound effect on society that shaped philosophical thought and scientific theories in the western world. In particular, Darwin's theory of natural selection had a great influence on scientific inquiry and social theory. Evolutionists theories, based on Darwin's model of biological evolution, were adapted by social theorists to help them understand the changes happening at a social and cultural level. The evolutionist approach had a fundamental influence on anthropological thinking up until the early twentieth century when new notions emerged to contradict them and the focus of anthropological research shifted from meaning to function. Some influential figures of the time, in Britain, were Edward Tylor, (1832-1917) who wrote the Golden Bough (1890), an ambitious comparative study of myth and religion and James Frazer, a student of Tylor's, who held the first chair of Anthropology in Britain.
             
              By the early twentieth century, as stated by Eriksen (2001) there was a transition from evolutionist theory and grand syntheses to more specific, detailed and empirically founded work. Two distinctive approaches emerged, Cultural Relativism in the USA and Functionalism in Europe. Relativist theories, maintain that every culture is unique and must be understood in its own context, in contrast to Structuralism, which stresses the importance of inter-dependence among behavior patterns and institutions within a social system. Until this time, most studies were based only on written resources, such as the accounts of travelers and missionaries, with little or no fieldwork. According to Eriksen (2001) it was Bronislaw Malinowski, a Polish immigrant, (1884-1942), known as the founder of modern British Anthropology, who was the first to set rigorous standards for ethnographic data collection which are still applied today and stressed the need for fieldwork in order to learn "from within".
             
              In the late twentieth century social and political changes, such as the rise of feminism, globalization and environmental concerns, continued to contribute to the development of new anthropological perspectives, which according to RAI (Royal anthropological Institute) "included the study of language and meaning and a new awareness of the importance of gender in understanding society and culture". Anthropology is no longer confined tothe study of "exotic" societies but includes the industrialized world. What remains largely unchallenged though is the standard for ethnographic data collection as established by Malinowski.
             
              Methodology.
             
              Ethnography (f. G. ethnos: nation, graphe: write) means recording other people's way of life and is both the method and process, used by anthropologists to research and document the study of culture and society, through interaction and immersion in the community. There are many ways of doing research, but the basic principle established by Malinowski, is Participant Observation, which consists of taking part intimately in the community studied and interpreting social and cultural life from the point of view of the participants. The research includes a range of formal and informal techniques, which are qualitative and quantitative. Sources of quantitative information might include interviews, historical records, statistical data and censuses. Unlike other social science research traditions, the personal experience of the participant-observer, plays a central role and becomes the primary means of interpretation, thus the anthropologist himself is the instrument of research in fieldwork, the source of the qualitative research. "Ethnography exploits the capacity that any social actor possesses for learning new culture, and the objectivity to which this process gives rise" Hammersley (2003). This process of doing research teaches many transferable skills, such setting and meeting goals, decision-making, analyzing data, interpersonal skills and communication.
             
              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 globalization, conflict, natural disasters, modernization 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 behavior 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 workforce's 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 analyzing data. It helps students of the discipline understand the inter-connectivity of knowledge about people and their culture. Ethnographic perspectives and skills are particularly useful in fields that require planning, managing, analyzing and evaluating large volumes of data.
             
              Anthropology is the comparative study of man in its biological and cultural aspects and the aim of anthropologists is to achieve understanding of similarities as well as the differences between different societies it provides us with tools for understanding the multicultural, international and global issues that are fundamental for our continued existence. Anthropology asks questions about humanity that span and bridge the biological and the cultural, the international and the local, the present and the past. It uncovers the essence of other cultural groups, which exposes us, to formerly hidden aspects of our own culture, and allows for critical reflection on our own life. As an inter-disciplinary structure Anthropology builds intellectual dialogue between humanitarian and exact disciplines and provides a level of understanding of human practices that cannot be found within the framework of any other science.
             
              Anthropology is the only contemporary discipline that approaches questions about humanity from such diverse perspectives, historical, biological, linguistic, and cultural. Due to the unique methods and principles of ethnography it enables solutions to diversified problems: from reconstruction of ancient history to the development of new technology. Furthermore, it provides a wide range of skills and resources well suited to this age of global economy and the ability to operate in a culturally heterogeneous environment. The global and holistic knowledge that anthropological perspectives bring, are equally valuable within the profession as outside it, the skills and resources it develops, are easily transferable to other fields, not only those particularly concerned with people, such as law, medicine and education, but also business and technology.
             
              Finally, Anthropology is a promising means of answering questions of concern to humanity and has the potential to shape better futures for all peoples through cultural understanding and non-judgmental acceptance of diversity.
Anthropology Essay 
Eriksen, Thomas Hylland (2001 2nd ed.) Small Places, Large issues, An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology. London. Pluto Press

Hammersley, M. & Atkinson, P. (1983) Ethnography: Principles in Practice. Routledge

Keesing, R M & Strathern, A J. (1998 3rd ed) Cultural Anthropology; A contemporary perspective. Harcourt brace

Levi-Strauss, Claude (1983) Le Regard eloigne. Paris. Plon. (English ed: The View from Afar. New York. Basic Books 1985)

WWW.THERAI.ORG.UK The Royal Anthropological Institute UK. Anthropology Today, Vol. 14, No. 5, October 1998
Accessed 22-06005
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