4 Cultural Anthropologist Perspectives

A perspective is:
‘A particular attitude towards or way of regarding something’ Oxford Languages
An anthropologist’s perspective is a particular approach an anthropologist takes when studying human culture and society.

What Are The Main Perspectives? 

The four main anthropological perspectives are:
  1. Holistic
  2. Relativism
  3. Comparative
  4. Fieldwork.

1. Holistic

The holistic approach to anthropology takes in the ‘whole’ of humanity and how communities, the environment, and other factors interact. The standard view is that researchers cannot fully grasp what it means to be human by studying one area in isolation. Taking this approach anthropologists are able to identify how social, cultural, biological, and environment combine to affect the communities being studied.

2. Cultural Relativism 

Cultural relativism seeks to understand another person’s beliefs and behaviors from the perspective of their culture. It is important to ensure that communities are not judged by the values held by anthropologists see ‘ethnocentrism’ below.  The anthropologists’ approach is to understand and explain people’s beliefs within the community.

Ethnocentrism is the opposite of relativism where a person views their own culture as the most important. They use their own understandings, beliefs, and biases to evaluate all other cultures by. Many people are ethnocentric believing that their ways of thinking and acting are the ‘right’ ways and better than others.

3. Comparative

Comparison is used to identify the communities differences and similarities between communities.

A cultural anthropologist may compare common systems, and practices between different communities. For example: looking at the role, religion, marriage, or gender plays within a given society. Anthropologists may compare small sub-groups and whole societies, as well as carry out comparisons between humans and primates to identify the range of possible responses to various situations and problems.

4. Fieldwork

Anthropologists conduct their research in the field. They observe, record, and interact with their research groups. Ethnography, (‘Ethno’ = people. ‘Graphy’ = writing) is both the process and result of cultural anthropological research.

This research method includes observation fieldwork. Observing the research subject, taking field notes carrying out interviews and surveys which provide the research data.

More Cleverness:

What is Anthropology?

What Is Cultural Anthropology?

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Posted in Cultural Anthropology.