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International Research Journal of Arts and Social Sciences

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Short Communication - International Research Journal of Arts and Social Sciences ( 2023) Volume 11, Issue 3

The Role of Anthropology in Understanding Culture and Society

Shiya R*
Department of Anthropology, Bhutan
*Corresponding Author:
Shiya R, Department of Anthropology, Bhutan, Email:

Received: 03-May-2023, Manuscript No. irjass-23-98638; Editor assigned: 05-May-2023, Pre QC No. irjass-23-98638; Reviewed: 19-May-2023, QC No. irjass-23-98638; Revised: 23-May-2023, Manuscript No. irjass-23-98638; Published: 31-May-2023, DOI: 10.14303/2276-6502.2023.88


Anthropology is the study of human beings and their societies, cultures, and development throughout history. It is an interdisciplinary field that draws upon concepts from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to understand the complexity of human life and the world in which we live. Anthropologists explore topics such as language, religion, family and kinship, social and political organization, economics, and art. They use ethnographic fieldwork, participant observation, and interviews to gather data and understand the perspectives of the communities they study. Anthropology has made significant contributions to our understanding of human diversity, evolution, and the ways in which societies and cultures change over time. It is a crucial field in addressing issues of social justice and inequality, as it helps us to recognize the value of cultural differences and to challenge assumptions about race, gender, and other forms of social inequality. This paper provides an overview of the field of anthropology, its history, key concepts, and the methodologies used by anthropologists. It also discusses the relevance of anthropology in today's world and the contributions it can make to addressing the challenges facing humanity.


Anthropology, Culture, Gender, History, Humanity, Society, Language, Economics, Politics


Anthropology is the scientific study of human beings, their behavior, and their societies in the past and present. It is a discipline that aims to understand the complexities of human diversity, including cultural, social, and biological aspects (Bornmann L et al., 2008). Anthropologists use various methods and techniques to investigate and document human societies and cultures, including ethnography, archaeology, linguistics, and physical anthropology. The origins of anthropology can be traced back to the 19th century, when the discipline emerged as a response to the challenges of colonialism and the need to understand non-Western societies. Anthropologists like Franz Boas, Bronislaw Malinowski, and Margaret Mead were instrumental in shaping the discipline and establishing its core concepts and methodologies (Daipha P, 2001).

Today, anthropology has evolved into a diverse and interdisciplinary field that encompasses a broad range of topics and research areas. Some anthropologists focus on studying prehistoric societies and cultures through archaeology, while others examine contemporary societies and social issues through ethnographic fieldwork (Da Silva FC et al., 2011). One of the key concepts in anthropology is cultural relativism, which recognizes that different cultures have different values, beliefs, and practices, and that these should be understood and analyzed within their own contexts rather than judged by the standards of one's own culture. This perspective has important implications for understanding issues of power, inequality, and social justice, and has influenced the development of fields such as feminist anthropology, postcolonial studies, and critical race theory (Diamond L, 2006).

Anthropology also has important connections to other disciplines and areas of study. For example, medical anthropology explores the intersections of health, illness, and culture, while environmental anthropology examines the relationships between human societies and their natural environments (Gill TM, 2013). Anthropology has also contributed to the study of language and communication, through linguistic anthropology and semiotics. Overall, anthropology provides a unique perspective on the human experience, emphasizing the importance of cultural diversity, social relationships, and the connections between humans and their environments (Boni MF et al. 2020). Its holistic approach and focus on understanding the complexities of human behavior and society make it a valuable discipline for addressing many of the most pressing social, cultural, and environmental issues of our time.

Anthropology is a vast field that encompasses a variety of subfields and specialties. The four main types of anthropology are physical anthropology, cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archaeology. Physical anthropology focuses on the study of human biological and physical characteristics, including genetics, evolution, and human anatomy (Latinne A et al., 2020). This subfield also examines the ways in which humans interact with their environment, including the effects of climate change on human populations. Cultural anthropology, on the other hand, explores the beliefs, customs, and behaviors of human societies. This subfield studies everything from religious practices and social organization to economics and political systems. Cultural anthropologists often conduct ethnographic research, which involves living among a community for an extended period of time and observing their way of life. Linguistic anthropology studies language and communication in human societies. This includes examining the structures and use of language, as well as the ways in which language shapes culture and social relationships (Andersen KG et al., 2020).

Finally, archaeology involves the study of human history and prehistory through the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains. Archaeologists often work on excavation sites, uncovering and analyzing artifacts to learn more about past societies and cultures (Lau SKP et al., 2007). Each subfield of anthropology offers a unique perspective on human culture and behavior, and together they provide a comprehensive understanding of what it means to be human.

Anthropology is a social science discipline that studies human behavior, culture, and society. It is a broad field that encompasses various subfields, including cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, archaeology, and linguistic anthropology. Anthropologists explore the different ways in which humans interact with one another and with their environment, seeking to understand the complexities of human society and culture. In this short communication article, we will discuss the role of anthropology in understanding culture and society (Ge X-Y et al., 2013). Anthropologists use a range of methods to study human behavior and culture, including participant observation, ethnography, surveys, and interviews. These methods allow them to gain a deep understanding of how people live their lives, their beliefs, values, and traditions, and how these shape their behavior and interactions with others.

One of the key contributions of anthropology is its focus on cultural relativism. Cultural relativism is the idea that different cultures have their own unique values, beliefs, and practices that should be respected and understood on their own terms. This approach has helped to challenge ethnocentric attitudes and promote greater cross-cultural understanding. Anthropology also plays a critical role in addressing social and cultural issues. For example, anthropologists have been instrumental in identifying and documenting human rights abuses, social inequalities, and environmental degradation (Albert Mathieu et al., 2007). By conducting research and providing evidence-based recommendations, anthropologists have helped to bring attention to these issues and promote social justice. Moreover, anthropology is relevant to a wide range of fields, including healthcare, education, and business (Anspach Renee R, 1988). In healthcare, anthropologists have contributed to the development of culturally sensitive and appropriate healthcare practices. In education, anthropologists have helped to improve cross-cultural communication and promote inclusive learning environments (Bassett Andrew Mark et al., 2018). In business, anthropologists have contributed to understanding consumer behavior and developing effective marketing strategies (Beagan Brenda L, 2000).

In conclusion, anthropology provides a unique perspective on culture and society, offering insights into the complexities of human behavior and interaction. Its focus on cultural relativism and social justice has contributed to a more inclusive and understanding society (Beagan Brenda, 2003). Anthropology's relevance extends beyond academia, impacting various fields and industries. As such, it is an important discipline that contributes to the betterment of society as a whole.


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