Anthropology entails the present or past studies of humans. Anthropology obtains and builds upon knowledge from biological and social sciences as well as the physical sciences to comprehend the complexity and full sweep of cultures across all of history of human. The primary goal of anthropologists is the application of knowledge to the solution of the problems facing humans. Anthropologists are trained in one of the four areas; physical anthropology, linguistics, archaeology and socio-cultural anthropology. In many instances, anthropologists often combine the different perspectives of several of these ideas into their research, professional and teaching lives.

Branches of anthropology

Firstly, socio-cultural anthropology; this is the study and examination of social practices and patterns across cultures, with emphasizes on how people live in particular places and how they govern, organize and create meaning. The primary goal of socio-cultural anthropology is its concern with differences and similarities, both among and within societies, and its attention to sexuality, race, nationality gender and class.

Research in socio-cultural anthropology is differentiated from others by its emphasis on participant observation, which entails positioning oneself in the research context for a long period to establish a first-hand of how local knowledge is put into practice in addressing every day’s practical problems and with fundamental philosophical problems of truth, knowledge, justice and power. Work, health, environment and ecology, agriculture, education and social change are some of the socio-cultural concern topics.

Secondly, biology/physical anthropology; it seeks to understand how cultural and biological work in unison to shape growth, behaviour and development, how humans adapt to various environments, and what causes early death and disease. Also, it is concerned with human biological variations, origin and evaluation. For the understanding of these processes, biological anthropologists study the fossil records, other primates, the biology and generic of living people and the prehistoric people.

Thirdly, linguistic anthropology; this is the comparative study of how language influences and reflects social life. It explores several means in which language practices formulate categories of group membership and social identity, define patterns of communication, organize large-scale cultural ideologies and cultural beliefs and equip people with common cultural representation of the social and natural worlds.

Applications of Anthropology

At the start of the 21st century, the need and demand for anthropological approaches, methodologies and understanding outside academic departments is changing and shifting. Anthropology has a vast professional application beyond educational applications in areas such as the media, forensic science, heritage works, culture industry, teaching, galleries and museums, refugee work, travel industry and intercultural relations and occupations such as social work, banking, law, the armed forces, retailing, management and human resources.