Cultural anthropology

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In the current era, cultural anthropology is considered one of the four basic fields of anthropology, the other three being physical anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archaeology.

Also called socio-cultural anthropology, the discipline consists of the investigation, often through long term, intensive field studies (including participant-observation methods), of the culture and social organization of a particular people: language, economic and political organization, law and conflict resolution, patterns of consumption and exchange, kinship and family structure, gender relations, childrearing and socialization, religion, mythology, symbolism, etc. (U.S. universities more often use the term cultural anthropology; British universities have tended to call the corresponding field social anthropology, and for much of the 20th century emphasized the analysis of social organization more than cultural symbolism.) In some European countries, socio-cultural anthropology is known as ethnology (a term coined and defined by Adam F. Kollár in 1783[1] that is also used in English-speaking countries to denote the comparative aspect of socio-cultural anthropology.) Subfields and related fields include psychological anthropology, folklore, anthropology of religion, ethnic studies, cultural studies, anthropology of media and cyberspace, and study of the diffusion of social practices and cultural forms.

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.


  1. Han F. Vermeulen, "The German Invention of Völkerkunde: Ethnological Discourse in Europe and Asia, 1740-1798." In: Sara Eigen and Mark Larrimore, eds. The German Invention of Race. 2006.
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