1. Standard memberPalynka
    Upward Spiral
    Halfway
    Joined
    02 Aug '04
    Moves
    8702
    08 Apr '10 14:22
    From another forum:
    The word anthropology is something I can't dissociate with colonial history as it's a discipline that originated from a position of western dominance. In my view, "anthropology" is an outdated concept for a scientific field which only really made sense from the perspective of a dichotomy between the "more civilized" versus the "less civilized". The assumption was that other cultures were closer to a "state of nature". I think that recognition that other cultures are equally valid requires a reassessment of the previous (condescending) view.

    So now modern so-called anthropologists are really fragmenting into other fields (archaeology, linguistic, sociology,etc.), which is a natural consequence of the collapse of that central assumption.


    Does anthropology still have a place today or is it just a leftover from imperialistic times? What insights does anthropology have to offer that other fields (including humanities along with sciences) do not?
  2. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    08 Apr '10 17:11
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Does anthropology still have a place today or is it just a leftover from imperialistic times? What insights does anthropology have to offer that other fields (including humanities along with sciences) do not?
    From the Wikipedia page on Anthropology I would say that it is very relevant today and is not outdated or based on the assumptions mentioned here at all. Whether or not some anthropologists are out dated and make those assumptions is another matter.
  3. Standard memberPalynka
    Upward Spiral
    Halfway
    Joined
    02 Aug '04
    Moves
    8702
    08 Apr '10 17:32
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    From the Wikipedia page on Anthropology I would say that it is very relevant today and is not outdated or based on the assumptions mentioned here at all. Whether or not some anthropologists are out dated and make those assumptions is another matter.
    In what way do you find it relevant?
  4. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    09 Apr '10 06:39
    Originally posted by Palynka
    In what way do you find it relevant?
    From Wikipedia:
    Anthropology is the study of humanity.

    How can that not be relevant?

    And further:
    Anthropology's basic concerns are "What defines Homo sapiens?", "Who are the ancestors of modern Homo sapiens?", "What are humans' physical traits?", "How do humans behave?", "Why are there variations and differences among different groups of humans?", "How has the evolutionary past of Homo sapiens influenced its social organization and culture?" and so forth.
    How can those not be relevant?
  5. SubscriberAThousandYoung
    West Coast Rioter
    tinyurl.com/y7loem9q
    Joined
    23 Aug '04
    Moves
    24791
    09 Apr '10 06:45
    There's biology and chemistry, so why do we need biochemistry, chemical biology and molecular biology?

    It seems like a similar situation.
  6. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    09 Apr '10 08:20
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    There's biology and chemistry, so why do we need biochemistry, chemical biology and molecular biology?

    It seems like a similar situation.
    Biochemistry could be seen as a specific branch of either chemistry or of biology.
  7. SubscriberAThousandYoung
    West Coast Rioter
    tinyurl.com/y7loem9q
    Joined
    23 Aug '04
    Moves
    24791
    09 Apr '10 08:381 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Biochemistry could be seen as a specific branch of either chemistry or of biology.
    Biology. Molecular Biology is also Biology. Chemical Biology though is chemistry for some reason.

    Actually it exists, now that I think about it, so the Chemistry Department could have biochemistry in it's own department.

    It's all the same thing in the end I think, kinda like Nuclear Chemistry vs Nuclear Physics. There are differences, but not many I think.
  8. Standard memberPalynka
    Upward Spiral
    Halfway
    Joined
    02 Aug '04
    Moves
    8702
    09 Apr '10 10:12
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    From Wikipedia:
    Anthropology is the study of humanity.

    How can that not be relevant?

    And further:
    Anthropology's basic concerns are "What defines Homo sapiens?", "Who are the ancestors of modern Homo sapiens?", "What are humans' physical traits?", "How do humans behave?", "Why are there variations and differences among different groups o ...[text shortened]... ocial organization and culture?" and so forth.
    How can those not be relevant?
    It's all a bit vague or dealt with by other sciences. What defines a species (Homo Sapiens) must obviously be biology. Same for ancestors of HS or physical traits. How do humans behave and how these arise is covered by a host of other fields from sociology to linguistics.

    What does anthropology offer that they do not? It seems to me they just fragment into other fields because their raison-de-etre was a misplaced assumption.
  9. Standard memberPalynka
    Upward Spiral
    Halfway
    Joined
    02 Aug '04
    Moves
    8702
    09 Apr '10 10:20
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    There's biology and chemistry, so why do we need biochemistry, chemical biology and molecular biology?

    It seems like a similar situation.
    Not really, because anthropology seems nowadays to include things from truly different sciences (e.g. archaeology, linguistics and biology, for example). You are mixing humanities, social sciences and hard sciences into an umbrella term which seems quite superfluous. Especially if you look at the history of anthropology it seems clear to me that this fragmentation comes from the loss of its original central assumption and a need to find "anything" that vaguely fits the vaguest form of its description.
  10. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
    Joined
    28 Dec '04
    Moves
    52619
    09 Apr '10 13:26
    Originally posted by Palynka
    In what way do you find it relevant?
    Let's suppose you were in charge of all the world's sciences. What would you do with anthropology? Fire every one? Force them to get a REAL degree? What?
    Also, how can you be so arrogant as to suppose some real knowledge may be gained by this branch of science in the future, or are you so sure of yourself that you already know the full future of this branch of science?
  11. Standard memberPalynka
    Upward Spiral
    Halfway
    Joined
    02 Aug '04
    Moves
    8702
    09 Apr '10 13:49
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Let's suppose you were in charge of all the world's sciences. What would you do with anthropology? Fire every one? Force them to get a REAL degree? What?
    Also, how can you be so arrogant as to suppose some real knowledge may be gained by this branch of science in the future, or are you so sure of yourself that you already know the full future of this branch of science?
    Yes, I'd fire everyone or assign them to the relevant field. Until someone is able to tell me what is a holistic study of humanity then I don't see what they are doing. If a researcher publishes papers that are archaeology or sociology then why not be frank about it and call it the same and let them compete for publications in dedicated journals?
  12. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
    Joined
    28 Dec '04
    Moves
    52619
    09 Apr '10 18:08
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Yes, I'd fire everyone or assign them to the relevant field. Until someone is able to tell me what is a holistic study of humanity then I don't see what they are doing. If a researcher publishes papers that are archaeology or sociology then why not be frank about it and call it the same and let them compete for publications in dedicated journals?
    I am not sure what your gripe is. There are already respected journals for this research. For instance, here is a brand new discovery about a possible human ancestor and published in Paleontology and Archaeology journal and reported by esciencenews:

    http://esciencenews.com/articles/2010/04/09/human.fossil.discovery.evidence.new.homo.species

    This is what I think of when the subject of Archaeology and such comes up, do you have a gripe with that? If so, expand on it, don't just say they are biased and just assuming our modern civilization is superior. The archaeologists I know think pretty much the opposite. Check out Yigal Zan, a good friend recently retired did 27 years in Guam researching those 'inferior' cultures. I think you are generalizing about your perceived bias of maybe a few individuals and such bias is not confined to just sociology I might remind you.
  13. Standard memberPalynka
    Upward Spiral
    Halfway
    Joined
    02 Aug '04
    Moves
    8702
    09 Apr '10 18:251 edit
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    I am not sure what your gripe is. There are already respected journals for this research. For instance, here is a brand new discovery about a possible human ancestor and published in Paleontology and Archaeology journal and reported by esciencenews:

    http://esciencenews.com/articles/2010/04/09/human.fossil.discovery.evidence.new.homo.species

    This is w f maybe a few individuals and such bias is not confined to just sociology I might remind you.
    Thanks for confirming my point and being unable to find an anthropology article that doesn't fit squarely into other fields (in this case Archaeology).
  14. SubscriberAThousandYoung
    West Coast Rioter
    tinyurl.com/y7loem9q
    Joined
    23 Aug '04
    Moves
    24791
    09 Apr '10 18:59
    What field studies uncontacted or newly contacted societies?
  15. Joined
    16 Jul '02
    Moves
    11136
    09 Apr '10 19:35
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Thanks for confirming my point and being unable to find an anthropology article that doesn't fit squarely into other fields (in this case Archaeology).
    You could equally argue that a lot of disciplines oriented themselves towards subjects that were tradionally covered by anthropology. The question is whether those disciplines provide the same insights as anthropology does. I don't think they do.

    But anthropology is too broad a term. What are you referring to when you use it? Social and/or cultural anthropology? The four fields approach? One of those four fields? The methods used by anthropologists? The body of theories that originated from it? One or several of the many, many subdisciplines? ...

    David
Back to Top