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Anthropology


Anthropology is the study of various aspects of humans within past and present societies.Social anthropology and cultural anthropology study the norms and values of societies. Linguistic anthropology studies how language affects social life. Biological or physical anthropology studies the biological development of humans.

Archaeology, which studies past human cultures through investigation of physical evidence, is thought of as a branch of anthropology in the United States, while in Europe, it is viewed as a discipline in its own right, or grouped under other related disciplines such as history.

The abstract noun is first attested in reference to history. Its present use first appeared in Renaissance Germany in the works of Magnus Hundt and Otto Casmann. Their New Latin anthropologia derived from the combining forms of the Greek words ánthrōpos (, "human") and lógos (, "study"). (Its adjectival form appeared in the works of Aristotle.) It began to be used in English, possibly via French anthropologie, by the early 18th century.

In 1647, the Bartholins, founders of the University of Copenhagen, defined l'anthropologie as follows:

Anthropology, that is to say the science that treats of man, is divided ordinarily and with reason into Anatomy, which considers the body and the parts, and Psychology, which speaks of the soul.


Africa African sccs cultures.jpg
Circum-Mediterranean Circum-mediterannean sccs cultures.jpg
East Eurasia East eurasian sccs cultures.jpg
Insular Pacific Insular pacific.jpg
North America North american sccs cultures.jpg
South America South america SCCS cultures.jpg

  • the development of systems of medical knowledge and medical care
  • the patient-physician relationship
  • the integration of alternative medical systems in culturally diverse environments
  • the interaction of social, environmental and biological factors which influence health and illness both in the individual and the community as a whole
  • the critical analysis of interaction between psychiatric services and migrant populations ("critical ethnopsychiatry": Beneduce 2004, 2007)
  • the impact of biomedicine and biomedical technologies in non-Western settings
  • That the discipline grew out of colonialism, perhaps was in league with it, and derived some of its key notions from it, consciously or not. (See, for example, Gough, Pels and Salemink, but cf. Lewis 2004).
  • That ethnographic work was often ahistorical, writing about people as if they were "out of time" in an "ethnographic present" (Johannes Fabian, Time and Its Other).
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