What is Anthropology?
Anthropology is the study of human beings in terms of origin, physical, development, behavior, and social development. It aims to answer questions on how humans evolved from primitive species. It deals with how the people of the past lived and interacted with each other. It also seeks to understand human behavior and cultures of the past and their relation to human problems of today. With help from other fields of discipline like history and biology, Anthropology seeks to put meaning to human existence.
Anthropology has four fields of study. These are Social or Cultural Anthropology, Physical or Biological Anthropology, Archaeology, and Linguistic Anthropology.
Social or Cultural Anthropology aims to connect how people lived in the past and how this relates to the present. Social patterns and practices are studied across different cultures and environment. This field seeks to define what things are common and what things differ among different societies or groups of people. Research on this field usually involves some culture-immersion, wherein the researcher will try to “live the life” of his/her subjects to have first-hand information and experience.
Biological or Physical Anthropology on the other hand covers human origins, how we evolved, and how we changed through time. This field involves studying of fossils, other primates, and heredity among others.
Archaeology deals with studying the remains of humans in the past including clothing, household items, materials for houses built, and other items to come up with a picture on how cultures were formed and how people interacted with the environment.
Linguistic Anthropology involves the study of human languages and how it evolved into different forms. It explores how language is related to cultures, group behavior, and social identity.
In general, many researchers specialize in one field of Anthropology study due to the complexity of the subject matter, which is the human race. Understanding the broader picture of human existence would mean absorbing all information from all four fields.