Anthropology: Study, Excavate and Investigate, a Very Fascinating Field!

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There are many great reasons why studying anthropology should be considered by undergraduate and master's students. First, the material is intellectually exciting. Additionally, anthropology prepares students for excellent jobs and opens doors to various career paths

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology as a discipline studies the evolution of human beings, and how they interact with the world. They believe in a holistic approach as they focus and study the problems of human affairs stretched across various disciplines ? economic, political, biological, social, and cultural. As they focus on a number of factors when studying human beings, therefore, they are considered to be holistic.

The subject material of anthropology is very broad; hence it is divided into various branches. These branches are- Archaeology, Linguistic Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology and Biological Anthropology. Each of these fields makes use of distinct skills. So, let?s look at each one of them, a little more closely.

Specializations in Anthropology

1. Archaeology: This discipline deals with earlier human civilizations & societies, based on their physical remains. They study how humans lived in the past and the objects left behind by them. Learn more about Archaeology as a career in India

2. Linguistic Anthropology: This discipline focuses on how language reflects and influences our social life. Professionals in this field study the origin of language and how words were developed. Their focus is on the development of speech over the period of time which shapes communication. For example, how words were adopted from a language, how dialects came into being, the methodology of word adoption, etc.

3. Cultural Anthropology: The domain deals with cultural variation among humans by focusing on the human culture, societies and their development. This includes the study of race, class, gender, kinship and a variety of other cultural elements.

4. Biological Anthropology: This is concerned with the biological and behavioural aspects of humans. They look at the evolution of humans, how they deal with the environmental stresses over the period of years such as disease, disasters, war, population, etc and overcome them

Education & Training for an Anthropologist

To become an anthropologist you usually have to complete a degree in science, arts, social science or international studies at university with a major in anthropology (preferably at honours level), followed by a postgraduate qualification in anthropology.

Higher studies

There are now four major fields of anthropology: biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archaeology. Each focuses on a different set of research interests and generally uses different research techniques.

What does an anthropologist do?

Anthropologists and archaeologists study the cultures, languages, archaeological remains, and physical characteristics of people across the world and through time. Typically, they conduct research to answer questions and test hypotheses about human behavior and culture.

Scope of Anthropology in India

Education Sector: After completing your master?s degree, you can teach in the Department of Anthropology, at various colleges & universities. To do so, you will be required to qualify the UGC-NET examination. The option of research is always there. Anthropological Survey of India conducts fellowship programs for carrying out research for the young and promising scholars.

Advertising and Market Research: Now that businesses are going global, it becomes imperative to be up-to date with the changing marketplace and consumer behaviour. Socio-cultural anthropologists are extensively involved in research and field work. They study the market place ? how people live and what products do they use etc.

Art Galleries, Publishing Houses, and Museums: With their understanding of ethnography (people, their culture, custom, habits, etc) and multicultural study, anthropologists provide educational content to museums, publishing house, and art galleries. They also act as a critic with regard to histories, biographies, and another related form of content being displayed.

Non-Profit Organizations: Anthropologists in the social sector/ NGOs help in many ways. They design and implement a wide variety of programs for tribes and other backward communities. They help in designing programs that focus on social issues such as public health, education, social welfare, urban planning, etc., and thus help in providing better service delivery. Many anthropologists work in local, community-based settings for non-profit agencies and also work for established organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNESCO, etc.

Criminal Investigation Department: Forensic Anthropologist works closely with the police department for investigating a crime. They use their knowledge of human osteology , ability to identify a physical characteristic of the victim (gender, age, stature, etc) and anatomy, to help medical examiners reconstruct the crime scene and identify the cause of death of the victim.

Entertainment Industry: Anthropologist, use their knowledge of different cultures, custom, habits, etc and help scriptwriter, film- maker create a powerful narrative that informs, inspire a large number of audience.

Final thoughts

Having said that, if you are fascinated by various cultures and customs of communities, and possess good language skills and research ability, and ready to travel in far-flung areas, then you can surely look forward to making a career in this field.

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