Anthropology is the study of humanity and human behavior. Derived from the Greek words anthropos (human) and logia (study), the discipline of Anthropology concerns the study of the cultures, institutions, social behaviors, symbolic structures, and systems. It is the only discipline that offers a holistic approach to human experiences. Anthropological studies focus on patterns of social organization, social interactions, power structures, gender roles, religious behavior and all the varied aspects of culture.Believing in the uniqueness, worth and value of each culture, anthropology discourages socio-cultural prejudices and in doing so appreciates and promotes diversity found in cultures. Given the depth of knowledge and insight facilitated by anthropological and ethnographic research methods, these are now widely being adopted by other disciplines of social sciences. As social scientists, Anthropologists formulate general theories about human social behavior and cultural understanding based on firsthand study of highly localized, indigenous phenomena in contemporary and historical contexts, a field known broadly as ethnography.
Anthropology is one of the many disciplines under the auspices of social sciences. The subject matter of anthropology is ‘human’, the Greek term anthropos means human being, that is the most fascinating of all creations. Anthropology differs from its sister subjects like sociology or psychology because it tries to understand the human beings in a holistic manner; that is to understand the humans from the beginning of the time to date and probably their future and that too for all the diversity they represent – yet maintaining the commonalities. Anthropology tries to understand the nature and nurture of humans across time and space. Anthropology, to achieve the holistic perspective, is divided into four major branches including archaeology, linguistics, physical or biological anthropology and socio-cultural anthropology.
Anthropology is transforming from its historical cultural knowledge base to more applied contributions to resolve contemporary pressing social issues, her research merits are legit to help understand the social and cultural realm in contextual and relative terms. Thus, traditional ethnographic fieldwork is often replaced with a relatively fast paced participatory research methods that enhanced the applicability of anthropological knowledge to rather a great variety of social applications. Anthropology is playing a central role when it comes to any inter-disciplinary research. Anthropologists helping the world to understand diversity and cultures to reduce stereotyping and ethnocentrism. Therefore, anthropology is nothing but ‘an attempt to make the world a better place’.