Social Anthropology

Anthropology is defined as the scientific study of the human race, including its different types and its beliefs, social habits and organization. Social anthropology studies peoples everywhere. Social anthropologists make in-depth descriptions related to customs and a way of life. Anthropologists compare various cultures as well as societies in order to see both similarities and differences. In order to understand human nature, anthropologists also produce texts dealing with theories of historians, social scientists as well as philosophers.

Anthropology texts can be of several types dealing with:

  • Expository texts;

  • Journal articles;

  • Theories;

  • Essays.

There are reading strategies for anthropology texts. If you read an anthropology material, these strategies help you in both comprehension and retention of the reading material. The appropriate strategies include:

  • Highlighting and summarizing;

  • Outlining;

  • Reading grids;

  • Margin notes.

More than that, before reading you should:

  • Skim the entire article;

  • Examine the article abstract;

  • Review you reading notes.

When you finish reading, you should think about the questions left unanswered and other issues not addressed. Everyone should feel encouraged to develop their critical thinking when reading an anthropological text, being attentive to the author’s vision concerning the fieldwork, the notion of culture within a text, the political and ethnical perspectives perceived in such a writing or the deep construction of the text.

As far as social anthropology is concerned, the notion of culture should be referred to. In order to introduce the notion of culture, one can mention that culture offers to all the members of a society a guide to all life circumstances. Each society has a different way of perceiving life, and the notion of culture refers to a global way of living, characteristic to any society. Culture is therefore the configuration of learned behavior and its results, while the component elements are shared between the members of a given society.

Social anthropology uses both practical and empirical methods in order to investigate issues related to the human nature in society. Different theoretical approaches have been developed within social anthropology. These theories include concepts such as society, culture, and gender as well as kinship organization. Moral and religious ideas as well as ritual practices have been explored. As for rituals, a distinction should be drawn between community rites which represent the subject of anthropology and interpersonal rituals which are both socially and culturally integrated, being the subject of communication sciences. The community rites take place in a formal setting whereas the interpersonal rituals are part of an informal frame represented by the ordinary daily life.