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Participant observation is one of the principle research methods of cultural anthropology. It relies on the assumption that the best way to understand a group of people is to interact with them closely over a long period of time. Historically, the group of people being studied was a small, non-Western society. However, today it may be a specific corporation, a church group, a sports team, or a small town. This allows the anthropologist to develop trusting relationships with the subjects of study and receive an inside perspective on the culture, which helps him or her to give a richer description when writing about the culture later.

Observable details like daily time allotment and more hidden details like taboo behavior are more easily observed and interpreted over a longer period of time, and researchers can discover discrepancies between what participants say—and often believe—should happen the formal system and what actually does happen, or between different aspects of the formal system; in contrast, a one-time survey of people's answers to a set of questions might be quite consistent, but is less likely to show conflicts between different aspects of the social system or between conscious representations and behavior.

Interactions between an ethnographer and a cultural informant must go both ways. To establish connections that will eventually lead to a better understanding of the cultural context of a situation, an anthropologist must be open to becoming part of the group, and willing to develop meaningful relationships with its members. Before participant observation can begin, an anthropologist must choose both a location and a focus of study.

It can also be helpful to know what previous research has been conducted in one's chosen location or on similar topics, and if the participant observation takes place in a location where the spoken language is not one the anthropologist is familiar with, he or she will usually also learn that language. This allows the anthropologist to become better established in the community. The lack of need for a translator makes communication more direct, and allows the anthropologist to give a richer, more contextualized representation of what they witness.

In addition, participant observation often requires permits from governments and research institutions in the area of study, and always needs some form of funding. The majority of participant observation is based on conversation. This can take the form of casual, friendly dialogue, or can also be a series of more structured interviews. A combination of the two is often used, sometimes along with photography, mapping, artifact collection, and various other methods.

This helps to standardize the method of study when ethnographic data is being compared across several groups or is needed to fulfill a specific purpose, such as research for a governmental policy decision. One common criticism of participant observation is its lack of objectivity. Who the ethnographer is has a lot to do with what he or she will eventually write about a culture, because each researcher is influenced by his or her own perspective.

However, these approaches have not generally been successful, and modern ethnographers often choose to include their personal experiences and possible biases in their writing instead. Participant observation has also raised ethical questions, since an anthropologist is in control of what he or she reports about a culture. In terms of representation, an anthropologist has greater power than his or her subjects of study, and this has drawn criticism of participant observation in general.

Simply by being present, a researcher causes changes in a culture, and anthropologists continue to question whether or not it is appropriate to influence the cultures they study, or possible to avoid having influence.

Race, Nature and Culture: An Anthropological Perspective

In the 20th century, most cultural and social anthropologists turned to the crafting of ethnographies. An ethnography is a piece of writing about a people, at a particular place and time. Typically, the anthropologist lives among people in another society for a period of time, simultaneously participating in and observing the social and cultural life of the group. Numerous other ethnographic techniques have resulted in ethnographic writing or details being preserved, as cultural anthropologists also curate materials, spend long hours in libraries, churches and schools poring over records, investigate graveyards, and decipher ancient scripts.

A typical ethnography will also include information about physical geography, climate and habitat. It is meant to be a holistic piece of writing about the people in question, and today often includes the longest possible timeline of past events that the ethnographer can obtain through primary and secondary research. Boas' students such as Alfred L. Kroeber , Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead drew on his conception of culture and cultural relativism to develop cultural anthropology in the United States.

Simultaneously, Malinowski and A. Whereas cultural anthropology focused on symbols and values, social anthropology focused on social groups and institutions.

Globalization, differentiation and drinking cultures, an anthropological perspective

Today socio-cultural anthropologists attend to all these elements. In the early 20th century, socio-cultural anthropology developed in different forms in Europe and in the United States. European "social anthropologists" focused on observed social behaviors and on "social structure", that is, on relationships among social roles for example, husband and wife, or parent and child and social institutions for example, religion , economy , and politics.

American "cultural anthropologists" focused on the ways people expressed their view of themselves and their world, especially in symbolic forms, such as art and myths. These two approaches frequently converged and generally complemented one another. For example, kinship and leadership function both as symbolic systems and as social institutions. Today almost all socio-cultural anthropologists refer to the work of both sets of predecessors, and have an equal interest in what people do and in what people say.

One means by which anthropologists combat ethnocentrism is to engage in the process of cross-cultural comparison. It is important to test so-called "human universals" against the ethnographic record. Monogamy, for example, is frequently touted as a universal human trait, yet comparative study shows that it is not. Since , its mission has been to encourage and facilitate worldwide comparative studies of human culture, society, and behavior in the past and present.

The second database, eHRAF Archaeology , covers major archaeological traditions and many more sub-traditions and sites around the world. Comparison across cultures includies the industrialized or de-industrialized West. Cultures in the more traditional standard cross-cultural sample of small scale societies are:. Ethnography dominates socio-cultural anthropology. Nevertheless, many contemporary socio-cultural anthropologists have rejected earlier models of ethnography as treating local cultures as bounded and isolated. These anthropologists continue to concern themselves with the distinct ways people in different locales experience and understand their lives , but they often argue that one cannot understand these particular ways of life solely from a local perspective; they instead combine a focus on the local with an effort to grasp larger political, economic, and cultural frameworks that impact local lived realities.

Looking at culture as embedded in macro-constructions of a global social order, multi-sited ethnography uses traditional methodology in various locations both spatially and temporally. Through this methodology, greater insight can be gained when examining the impact of world-systems on local and global communities. Also emerging in multi-sited ethnography are greater interdisciplinary approaches to fieldwork, bringing in methods from cultural studies, media studies, science and technology studies, and others.

In multi-sited ethnography, research tracks a subject across spatial and temporal boundaries. For example, a multi-sited ethnography may follow a "thing," such as a particular commodity, as it is transported through the networks of global capitalism. Multi-sited ethnography may also follow ethnic groups in diaspora , stories or rumours that appear in multiple locations and in multiple time periods, metaphors that appear in multiple ethnographic locations, or the biographies of individual people or groups as they move through space and time.

It may also follow conflicts that transcend boundaries. An example of multi-sited ethnography is Nancy Scheper-Hughes ' work on the international black market for the trade of human organs. In this research, she follows organs as they are transferred through various legal and illegal networks of capitalism, as well as the rumours and urban legends that circulate in impoverished communities about child kidnapping and organ theft. Sociocultural anthropologists have increasingly turned their investigative eye on to "Western" culture.

Also growing more popular are ethnographies of professional communities, such as laboratory researchers, Wall Street investors, law firms, or information technology IT computer employees. Kinship refers to the anthropological study of the ways in which humans form and maintain relationships with one another, and further, how those relationships operate within and define social organization.

Race, nature and culture : an anthropological perspective (Engelsk)

Research in kinship studies often crosses over into different anthropological subfields including medical , feminist , and public anthropology. This is likely due to its fundamental concepts, as articulated by linguistic anthropologist Patrick McConvell:. Kinship is the bedrock of all human societies that we know. All humans recognize fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, husbands and wives, grandparents, cousins, and often many more complex types of relationships in the terminologies that they use.

That is the matrix into which human children are born in the great majority of cases, and their first words are often kinship terms. Throughout history, kinship studies have primarily focused on the topics of marriage, descent, and procreation. There are stark differences between communities in terms of marital practice and value, leaving much room for anthropological fieldwork.

For instance, the Nuer of Sudan and the Brahmans of Nepal practice polygyny , where one man has several marriages to two or more women. The Nyar of India and Nyimba of Tibet and Nepal practice polyandry , where one woman is often married to two or more men. The marital practice found in most cultures, however, is monogamy , where one woman is married to one man. Anthropologists also study different marital taboos across cultures, most commonly the incest taboo of marriage within sibling and parent-child relationships.

It has been found that all cultures have an incest taboo to some degree, but the taboo shifts between cultures when the marriage extends beyond the nuclear family unit. There are similar foundational differences where the act of procreation is concerned. Although anthropologists have found that biology is acknowledged in every cultural relationship to procreation, there are differences in the ways in which cultures assess the constructs of parenthood. For example, in the Nuyoo municipality of Oaxaca , Mexico , it is believed that a child can have partible maternity and partible paternity.

In this case, a child would have multiple biological mothers in the case that it is born of one woman and then breastfed by another. A child would have multiple biological fathers in the case that the mother had sex with multiple men, following the commonplace belief in Nuyoo culture that pregnancy must be preceded by sex with multiple men in order have the necessary accumulation of semen.

In the twenty-first century, Western ideas of kinship have evolved beyond the traditional assumptions of the nuclear family, raising anthropological questions of consanguinity, lineage, and normative marital expectation. The shift can be traced back to the s, with the reassessment of kinship's basic principles offered by Edmund Leach , Rodney Neeham , David Schneider , and others.

This shift was progressed further by the emergence of second-wave feminism in the early s, which introduced ideas of marital oppression, sexual autonomy, and domestic subordination. Other themes that emerged during this time included the frequent comparisons between Eastern and Western kinship systems and the increasing amount of attention paid to anthropologists' own societies, a swift turn from the focus that had traditionally been paid to largely "foreign", non-Western communities.

Kinship studies began to gain mainstream recognition in the late s with the surging popularity of feminist anthropology, particularly with its work related to biological anthropology and the intersectional critique of gender relations. At this time, there was the arrival of " Third World feminism ", a movement that argued kinship studies could not examine the gender relations of developing countries in isolation, and must pay respect to racial and economic nuance as well. This critique became relevant, for instance, in the anthropological study of Jamaica: race and class were seen as the primary obstacles to Jamaican liberation from economic imperialism, and gender as an identity was largely ignored.

Third World feminism aimed to combat this in the early twenty-first century by promoting these categories as coexisting factors. In Jamaica, marriage as an institution is often substituted for a series of partners, as poor women cannot rely on regular financial contributions in a climate of economic instability. In addition, there is a common practice of Jamaican women artificially lightening their skin tones in order to secure economic survival.

These anthropological findings, according to Third World feminism, cannot see gender, racial, or class differences as separate entities, and instead must acknowledge that they interact together to produce unique individual experiences. Kinship studies have also experienced a rise in the interest of reproductive anthropology with the advancement of assisted reproductive technologies ARTs , including in vitro fertilization IVF.

These advancements have led to new dimensions of anthropological research, as they challenge the Western standard of biogenetically based kinship, relatedness, and parenthood. According to anthropologists Maria C. Inhorn and Daphna Birenbaum-Carmeli, "ARTs have pluralized notions of relatedness and led to a more dynamic notion of "kinning" namely, kinship as a process, as something under construction, rather than a natural given".

There have also been issues of reproductive tourism and bodily commodification, as individuals seek economic security through hormonal stimulation and egg harvesting, which are potentially harmful procedures. With IVF, specifically, there have been many questions of embryotic value and the status of life, particularly as it relates to the manufacturing of stem cells, testing, and research.

Current issues in kinship studies, such as adoption, have revealed and challenged the Western cultural disposition towards the genetic, "blood" tie. Kinship, as an anthropological field of inquiry, has been heavily criticized across the discipline. One critique is that, as its inception, the framework of kinship studies was far too structured and formulaic, relying on dense language and stringent rules. Schneider proposes that kinship is not a field that can be applied cross-culturally, as the theory itself relies on European assumptions of normalcy.

He states in the widely circulated book A critique of the study of kinship that "[K]inship has been defined by European social scientists, and European social scientists use their own folk culture as the source of many, if not all of their ways of formulating and understanding the world about them". Polish anthropologist Anna Wierzbicka argues that "mother" and "father" are examples of such fundamental human concepts, and can only be Westernized when conflated with English concepts such as "parent" and "sibling".

A more recent critique of kinship studies is its solipsistic focus on privileged, Western human relations and its promotion of normative ideals of human exceptionalism. In "Critical Kinship Studies", social psychologists Elizabeth Peel and Damien Riggs argue for a move beyond this human-centered framework, opting instead to explore kinship through a "posthumanist" vantage point where anthropologists focus on the intersecting relationships of human animals, non-human animals, technologies and practices.

The role of anthropology in institutions has expanded significantly since the end of the 20th century. The two types of institutions defined in the field of anthropology are total institutions and social institutions. The types and methods of scholarship performed in the anthropology of institutions can take a number of forms. Institutional anthropologists may study the relationship between organizations or between an organization and other parts of society.

In all manifestations of institutional anthropology, participant observation is critical to understanding the intricacies of the way an institution works and the consequences of actions taken by individuals within it. Common considerations taken by anthropologists in studying institutions include the physical location at which a researcher places themselves, as important interactions often take place in private, and the fact that the members of an institution are often being examined in their workplace and may not have much idle time to discuss the details of their everyday endeavors.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans. For the publication, see Cultural Anthropology journal. Outline History. Archaeological Biological Cultural Linguistic Social. Social Cultural. Research framework. Key concepts. Key theories. Actor—network theory Alliance theory Cross-cultural studies Cultural materialism Culture theory Diffusionism Feminism Historical particularism Boasian anthropology Functionalism Interpretive Performance studies Political economy Practice theory Structuralism Post-structuralism Systems theory.

Anthropologists by nationality Anthropology by year Bibliography Journals List of indigenous peoples Organizations. Main article: Cultural relativism. Main article: Boasian anthropology. Main articles: Clifford Geertz and David M. Anthropology of art Cognitive anthropology Anthropology of development Ecological anthropology Economic anthropology Anthropology of gender and sexuality Historical anthropology Kinship and family Legal anthropology Multimodal anthropology Media anthropology Medical anthropology Political anthropology Political Economy Psychological anthropology Public anthropology Anthropology of religion Cyborg anthropology Transpersonal anthropology Urban anthropology Visual anthropology.

Main article: Participant observation. Main article: Ethnography. Main article: Kinship. Age-area hypothesis Bibliography of anthropology Ceremonial pole Community studies Communitas Cross-cultural psychology Cultural psychology Culture change Culturology Digital anthropology Dual inheritance theory Engaged theory Ethnobotany Ethnomusicology Ethnozoology Guilt-Shame-Fear spectrum of cultures Human behavioral ecology Intangible cultural heritage Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck's values orientation theory Nature versus nurture Nomads.

Primitive Culture. Vol 1. New York: J. Putnam's Sons. March Annual Review of Anthropology. Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews. Guns, Germs and Steel. Annual Review of Political Science. Archived from the original on Retrieved American Anthropologist. London: The Free Press. Constance Farrington.

New York, Grove Weidenfeld. The Interpretation of Cultures. Cultural Transmission happens every day, all the time, without any concept of when or where. Everything people do and say provides cultural transmission in all aspects of life.

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In everyday life, the most common way cultural norms are transmitted is within each individuals' home life. With every family, there are traditions that are kept alive. The way each family acts and communicates with others and an overall view of life are passed down. Parents teach their kids every day how to behave and act by their actions alone.

Outside of the family, culture can be transmitted at various social institutions. Places of worship, schools, even shopping centers are places where enculturation happens amongst a population.

Social institutions are a framework of social relationships that link an individual to the society, through participation. The forms of these social relationships can vary greatly across political, economic, religious, and familial platforms. Cross culturally, these relationships require understanding of the norms, values, and traditions that make them functional. Cultural transmission takes place within these relationships throughout an individual's lifetime.

Examples of these relationships range from marriage to participating in church.

Cultural Anthropology/Introduction

The complexities that govern this relationship are unique and highly culturally bound. Often external factors such as economics and health issues come into play. Studies were done in rural Malawi that discuss these issues further: [5]. A symbol is an object, word, or action that stands for something else, depending on the culture. Everything one does throughout their life is based and organized through cultural symbolism, which is when something represents abstract ideas or concepts. Symbols can represent a group or organization that one is affiliated with and mean different things to different people, which is why it is impossible to hypothesize how a specific culture will symbolize something.

Some symbols are gained from experience, while others are gained from culture. One of the most common cultural symbols is language. For example, the letters of an alphabet symbolize the sounds of a specific spoken language. Hawaiian culture presents a good example of symbols in culture through the performance of a Lua which is a symbol of their land and heritage through song and dance [6].

Symbols can have good or bad meanings depending on how others interpret them. For example, the Swastika shown on the German Flag back in World War 2 means good fortune in some religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism and often used on designs, but after World War 2 the meaning of the Swastika shifted to a negative side among Americans. Street gangs have used colors and gang signs to show their affiliation to a gang. Symbols are also extremely common and important in religion.

Churches, mosques and temples are places where people gather to practice a shared belief or faith and establish relationships based on this commonality, but many of these individuals will spend most of their time at school, work or other places where they are not amongst people with the same belief so they often wear a symbol of their religion to express belief. For example, a cross is usually associated with Christianity as churches often have them on their buildings to identify it as a setting of Christian worship.

Some Christians wear the cross in the form of jewelry and in some cases in the form of a body tattoo. Other religions make use of symbols as well such as the Star of David in Judaism. Language is the most used form of symbolism.

There are 6, known living languages. Such diversity in languages is caused by isolation. Most languages have a different "symbol" for each letter, word, or phrase. The use of symbols is adaptive , which means that humans can learn to associate new symbols to a concept or new concepts with a symbol. An example may be drawn from two populations who speak different languages that come into contact with one another and need to communicate.

They form a language that has a large degree of flexibility in using either language's symbols in this case patterns of sound or a hybrid set of symbols to communicate messages back and forth. This contact language, or pidgin gradually gives way to a creole with a more formal set of symbols words , grammatical rules for their organization, and its own native speakers who transmit the language from generation to generation.

It is important for anthropologists to consider their own cultural background when looking at symbolism in a different culture. This is because many symbols, though similar in appearance, can mean drastically different things. These symbols can best be understood or interpreted through the eyes of the culture that they pertain to, otherwise they may lose their unique significance. This symbol is almost identical to the Nazi Swastika, and therefore brings a negative response from many Americans.

Although the Native American symbol has nothing to do with Nazi or Germanic symbolism, this design is rarely used on blankets today because of misinterpretation of the symbol. Ethnocentrism is the term anthropologists use to describe the opinion that one's own way of life is natural or correct.

Some will simply call it cultural ignorance. Those who have not experienced other cultures in depth can be said to be ethnocentric if they feel that their lives are the most natural way of living. Some cultures may be similar or overlap in ideas or concepts. However, some people are in a sense, shocked to experience differences with individuals culturally different than themselves. In extreme cases, a group of individuals may see another culture's way of life and consider it wrong, because of this, the group may try to convert the other group to their own ways of living.

Fearful war and genocide could be the devastating result if a group is unwilling to change their ways of living. Ethnocentrism is seen in parts of Asia , where they use chopsticks with every meal. These people may find it unnecessary to find that people in other societies, such as the American society, eat using forks, spoons, knives, etc. Since these countries use chopsticks to eat every meal, they find it foolish for other cultures to not use utensils similar to chopsticks; however, they do accept the fact that they use different utensils for eating.

This example is not something extreme that could lead to genocide or war, but it is a large enough gap between these cultures for people to see their way of eating as the natural or best way to typically eat their food. Another example of ethnocentrism is colonialism. Colonialism can be defined as cultural domination with enforced social change.

Colonialism refers to the social system in which the political conquests by one society of another leads to "cultural domination with enforced social change". A good example to look at when examining colonialism is the British overtake of India. The British had little understanding of the culture in India which created a lot of problems an unrest during their rule. Ethnocentrism may not, in some circumstances, be avoidable. We often have instinctual reactions toward another person or culture's practices or beliefs.

But these reactions do not have to result in horrible events such as genocide or war. In order to avoid conflict over culture practices and beliefs, we must all try to be more culturally relative. Ethnocentrism is one solution to the tension between one cultural self and another cultural self.

Affect on Anthropology: In many instances Anthropologist have allowed ethnocentrism to determine research and influence analyses. For example Ajami is a language created centuries ago by Islamic teachers and used throughout Sub Saharan Africa that combines Arabic script and another language such as Swahili, Wolof, Hausa or Berber.

Numéros en texte intégral

Many African historical documents are in Ajami. However, there are some historians and anthropologist who have refused to acknowledge African history due to ethnocentric views and do not value the information those historical documents may reveal. This is just one of the many examples where personal views have interfered with the understanding of other cultures and societies.

The Cross-Cultural Relationship is the idea that people from different cultures can have relationships that acknowledge, respect and begin to understand each others' diverse lives. People with different backgrounds can help each other see possibilities that they never thought were there because of limitations, or cultural proscriptions, posed by their own traditions. Traditional practices in certain cultures can restrict opportunity because they are "wrong" according to one specific culture.

Becoming aware of these new possibilities will ultimately change the people that are exposed to the new ideas. This cross-cultural relationship provides hope that new opportunities will be discovered, but at the same time it is threatening. The threat is that once the relationship occurs, one can no longer claim that any single culture is the absolute truth. Cultural relativism is the ability to understand a culture on its own terms and not to make judgments using the standards of one's own culture. The goal of this is promote understanding of cultural practices that are not typically part of one's own culture.

Using the perspective of cultural relativism leads to the view that no one culture is superior than another culture when compared to systems of morality, law, politics, etc. This is also based on the idea that there is no absolute standard of good or evil; therefore, every decision and judgment of what is right and wrong is individually decided in each society.

The concept of cultural relativism also means that any opinion on ethics is subject to the perspective of each person within their particular culture. Overall, there is no right or wrong ethical system. In a holistic understanding of the term cultural relativism, it tries to counter ethnocentrism by promoting the understanding of cultural practices that are unfamiliar to other cultures such as eating insects, genocides or genital cutting. Absolute cultural relativism is displayed in many cultures, especially Africa, that practice female genital cutting.

By allowing this procedure to happen, females are considered women and then are able to be married. FGC is practiced mainly because of culture, religion and tradition. Outside cultures such as the United States look down upon FGC as inhumane, but are unable to stop this practice from happening because it is protected by its culture. Cultural relativism can also be seen with the Chinese culture and their process of feet binding. Foot binding was to stop the growth of the foot and make them smaller.

The process often began between four and seven years old. A ten foot bandage would be wrapped around the foot forcing the toes to go under the foot. It caused the big toe to be closer to the heel causing the foot to bow. Because men only wanted women with small feet, even after this practice was banned in , women still continued to do it. To Western cultures the idea of feet binding might seem like torture, but for the Chinese culture it is symbol of beauty that has been ingrained in the culture for hundreds of years.

The idea of beauty differs from culture to culture. The Qualitative Method is an anthropological research method designed to map out detailed descriptions of social activities within a culture. The observation s may include social norms, activities, religious rituals, cultural ideology and etc. The reasons behind the observation can vary depending on the intention of the anthropologist. Anthropologists might also apply the qualitative method to create improvements in a social environment. This can take a variety of forms; such as fighting poverty, improving medical care, building new estates and so on.

Curious anthropologists often take advantage of the qualitative method. While some might actually use the method to resolve social issues, others might use to learn more about a certain society or group. If someone wanted to learn more about a culture, he or she can observe the lifestyle and find out the opinions of the people to retrieve more information.

The word Ethnography comes from these two Greek words:"Ethnos," meaning people and "Graphein," meaning writing. Ethnography is often referred to as "culture writing," and is a type of documentation often employed by Anthropologists in their field work. This genre of writing uses detailed first-hand written descriptions of a culture based on the researcher's immersion in the field. Ethnographies often reflect the anthropological desire for holism , the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. In the case of ethnography, holism refers to the fact that a culture can be best understood through the understanding of as many aspects of the cultural context as possible.

Cultural anthropologists who write ethnographies are called ethnographers and they often use a research method known as participant-observation. Participant Observation is a technique of field research used in anthropology by which an anthropologist studies the life of a group by sharing and participating in its activities. Ethnographic information can take many different forms. Articles, journals, recordings, statistical data, and documentaries are just a few of the many forms that ethnographic information can be conveyed.

A very common form is a book written by the person participating in the research or observation. A great example of a book would be "Waiting For An Ordinary Day" by Farnaz Fassihi because as a journalist traveling to Iraq during the Iraq war, she participates in Iraqi daily life and documents her description of it. Although Fassihi may not consider herself an anthropologist, because of her methods and style of writing, her book Waiting for an Ordinary Day is ethnographic.

Eventually, she turns all of her journalistic notes into a book which describes certain events that help her define the Iraqi culture. She uses the participant-observation method and also uses the concept of holism to explain the whole of Iraqi culture, rather than just small aspects of it. Anthropologists, scientists, philosophers, historians and most social scientists have been reexamining assumptions about what science is and how it works.

They have challenged the traditional distinction between hard sciences such as physics, chemistry, and biology and soft sciences psychology, sociology, and anthropology. They think they have more in common than previously believed. Anthropologists aid in the effort to study and reconsider what science is all about through gathering information about diverse cultural views on the process of explanation gained during participant-observation-based fieldwork.

Ethnology is the comparative study of two or more cultures and often compares and contrasts various cultures. It utilizes the data taken from ethnographic research and applies it to a single, cross-cultural topic. The Ethnology approach can be used to identify and attempt to explain cross-cultural variation in elements such as marriage, religion, subsistence practices, political organization, and parenting.