Unit 1: Theory and Method in the Anthropological Study of Culture.


While anthropology is defined as the comprehensive study of the human species it especially focuses on the subject matter of culture and how it affects human institutions and behaviour.

As a scientific endeavour, anthropology is interested in data collection and theoreitcal analysis, which leads to two major activities:

  • Ethnography - the collection and description of information on individual cultures and cultural practices
  • Ethnology - the comparision of different cultures and explanation of why similarities and differences occur among them.

Questions to be considered in this unit.
  1. What is culture?
  2. How do anthropologist record and describe cultures and cultural institutions?
  3. How do anthropologists explain cultural variations?