Anthropology approaches the subject of the human being through the various approaches offered by disciplines such as natural ,social and human sciences .The term originates from the Greek language and comes from anthropos “man” or “human” and logos “knowledge”.
Anthropology means, simply, “ the study of man.” But no anthropologist would claim to study man in all aspects, for the field is a very wide one and in course of time it has become divided into a number of special branches, all of which overlap.
Anthropology taken as a whole involves studies of a biological, historical, and sociological kind. Students of anthropology at English universities are expected to take courses in physical anthropology, prehistoric archaeology, ethnology, comparative technology, social and cultural anthropology, ethnography, and sometimes in other subjects such as general linguistics, geography, economics, sociology, and psychology.
No anthropologist can hope to be a specialist in all branches of his subject. When the student has obtained a general background knowledge of the whole field he usually begins to specialize in one or more of these related studies. In these Lessons it is not possible to cover the whole field. The Course concentrates on that part of the study of man which comprises social anthropology, comparative technology, and ethnography, all of which are closely related to each other.
Branches of Anthropology
Consider, briefly, what the other branches of the subject involve. Physical anthropology is a branch of human biology. It is concerned with man as an animal and with his relations to the rest of the animal kingdom. It studies the evolution of the primates, the group to which man belongs, and more particularly the early evolution of man as deduced from comparative anatomy and the study of fossil remains. (The scientific study of fossils is called paleontology.).
In studying living varieties of man physical anthropology compares the anatomy and physiology of racial types and takes account of sex differences, heredity, environment, nutrition, etc. It makes use of the various biological sciences such as genetics, anatomy, physiology, and pathology, but it emphasizes the comparison of populations rather than individuals. In most respects, therefore, physical anthropology has closer relations with the biological sciences than with the social sciences and humanities, to which the rest of anthropology belongs.
Reconstruction History of Anthropology
The aim of prehistoric archaeology is to reconstruct the history of peoples from their remains which can be excavated from geological deposits. In practice it forms a separate science with its own theory, methods, and techniques.A considerable part of the anthropologist’s time is spent in collecting and describing his material, and this part of the work is usually called ethnography. The anthropologist may, and often does, use the material collected by other ethnographers, but in practice he is usually an ethnographer himself and most anthropologists spend a part of their life doing fieldwork: that is, living in the community which they are studying and observing it at close quarters. Ethnography, then, is an essential part of social anthropology.