The Pros And Cons Of Anthropology

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The curiosity of why we humans do what we do has been around for ages. In fact, there is a science based specifically on the study of humans. This study is anthropology. Anthropology, to me, is the studying of human kind and what brings us to do what we do. Anthropologists study every group and try to figure out the ancestral culture that brings specific groups to their current rituals, traditions, and everyday activities. Studying culture can be difficult because everyone's idea of culture and how to properly study it is different. So, what is culture? To me, culture varies from people to people and is based off of the history of a group of people. Traditions are passed down from elders creating a general system of beliefs and day to day…show more content…
This is where anthropology comes in. There are four fields of anthropology: cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, biological anthropology, and archeology. Within these four fields, there are methods of anthropology; these consist of travel journals or treatises, armchair anthropology, and ethnography based on field work. To me, the most reliable and accurate depictions of culture can be made through the anthropological work of ethnography based on fieldwork. I put this over the "armchair" anthropology in which scholars use the comparative method and analyze the works of others. The armchair method leaves more room for interpretation and there for more room for mistakes in describing exactly how a culture works. If the anthropologist gets all the information first hand in field work they are able to explain the ins and outs of a culture meticulously. This is helpful for individuals, like myself, who are reading the passages of works and trying to form our own…show more content…
For example, in Bourgois' Righteous Dopefiend the field workers are exposed to disease, illegal drugs, hiding from the law, and people under the influence of heroin. Not only is this scary for them, but they still must approach the culture in an unbiased manner and participate in the ways of the culture to get the information they needed. They needed to know who to trust and when to run, when to give and when to say no. The perfect balance of these things prevents their presence from influencing the culture and prevents them from being ostracized from the group all while keeping them safe. This careful equilibrium is seen again in the antropological film "A Man Called Bee". In this film anthropologist N. Chagnon works through the systems of trade to gather his information. He knows that if he does not add something to their group he will be foreced to leave, but he also knows that if he just gives stuff away there will be greed and unfairness spread throughout the village. He may not want the things he is trading for the stuff he brought but this method keeps the relationship between the anthropologist and the group being studied civil. Besides physical things, Chagnon also shared a respect for what the culture does in terms of medicine. He would heal them with his medicines when the people asked

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