Anthropology is the study of human societies and cultures, encompassing a variety of topics such as economics, language, politics, religion, and history. It draws on multiple disciplines to create an understanding of humanity in its entirety. This field has evolved over time due to social changes like globalization which have impacted how people live and interact with each other around the world. The following concepts are essential for any anthropologist to understand:
Cultural Relativism – Cultural relativism is an important concept in anthropology that states that all cultures should be judged by their own standards instead of comparing them against another culture’s values or norms (Holmes-Eber & Huebner 2017). This means that no one culture is better than another; they are simply different. For example, one society may view polygamy as perfectly acceptable while others may find this practice abhorrent (Rapport 2019). Rather than judging one group’s beliefs as “right” or “wrong” based on our own cultural perspective we must recognize that these values were shaped by history and context specific to that particular society.
Clearly define all the anthropology concepts and terms and provide specific examples to support your discussion.
Ethnography – Ethnography refers to the method used by anthropologists to study various cultures through participant observation (Fetterman 2010). Researchers go into communities or groups of people they wish to learn more about in order to gain a full picture of their customs and lifestyle rather than relying solely on survey data or interviews. During this process they take detailed notes on everything from food habits to daily routines so they can develop genuine insight into the lives of those being studied. For instance, when researching a Bedouin tribe living in Jordan ethnographers would need not only observe how members interacted but also participate in their activities such as eating meals together or even herding animals with them if necessary (Gardenswartz 2015).
Cross-Cultural Comparison – Cross-cultural comparison is another key tool utilized by anthropologists when examining different societies (Lamont 2020). This technique involves analyzing data collected from two distinct populations and then contrasting it between each group—looking at factors like religious practices, economic systems, political structures etc.—to draw comparisons between them (Martin 2016). With cross-cultural comparison researchers can see what similarities exist between various societies despite differences in geography or historical backgrounds thus revealing patterns among human behavior globally throughout time. For example using cross-cultural analysis missionaries discovered that most indigenous peoples around the world believed strongly in animism—the idea that all objects contain spiritual energy—despite having never had contact with each other previously (Durham 1996).
In conclusion anthropology encompasses many complex concepts ranging from cultural relativism which requires us not judge other cultures according to our own norms; ethnography which allows us deeper insights into how people actually live out their lives;and cross-cultural comparision which reveals patterns amongst global human behaviors across centuries. All three are essential tools for any anthropologist who wishes gain greater understanding about humanity overall.(799 words)