In anthropology, the term ethnology explains the social, cultural, and psychological examine of peoples. The letter s in the word individuals is significant, indicating the the topics of ethnology are treated as teams rather 보다 as individuals. In ethnological occupational these groups are usually concerned as tribal, ethnic, national, or various other corporate social entities. Ethnologists study culturally determined practices and environmental values as component of interaction social and also behavioral systems. Ethnography focuses on the descriptive examine of cultures; the analyzes, classifies, and also interprets problems emerging from ethnographic knowledge. These may be comparative, theoretical, economic, social, or other kinds of questions. Ethnology therefore tends towards the systemic and theoretical, while fieldwork-based ethnography is an ext local and informational. In practice, however, there is considerable overlap in between ethnographic methods and ethnological theory. Thick description, artifacts, and also other ethnographic data provide the empirical structures of ethnological analysis.

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Lowie (1937, pp. 3-4) defined society as the accumulation of customs, habits, beliefs, skills, practices, and also norms that individuals acquire, not through their own creative thinking or actions however from your societies and kin. Culture in this sense is an omnibus term definition all that world learn at a aware or unconscious level from others in your surroundings; in ~ the exact same time, culture itself is do by people acting in concert. Franz Boas shifted the ethnological usage of the term away from the nineteenth-century an interpretation of "culture" together a universal human condition found in ~ differing step of development, towards the plural "cultures" together historically particular, unique, local complexes. Talcott Parsons, complying with Max Weber, reinterpreted the principle of society as a symbolic system. Methodological considerations of ethnography and ethnology incorporate recognizing, gathering, and translating ethno-scientific expertise to approximate a check out of culture from the aboriginal viewpoint. Bronislaw Malinowski was the classic exponent of the approach, typically reached through field-work. Previously Victorian "armchair" ethnology had been a museum-based self-control in which scholars usually stayed at home in Europe or America, assessing collections of material culture and folklore brought ago from "the field" by others. Following Boas and also Mali-nowski, the focus shifted to the firsthand experience of fieldwork.

Classical ethnology placed certain emphasis ~ above social organization through the study of kinship relations and also analyses of myth and also ritual. Originally conceived as an offshoot the the natural sciences, ethnology ended up being a society science, however it tilted much more toward humanism throughout the critical three years of the twentieth century. The discipline has generally been caught up in the scholarly tension in between a search for systematic conceptual theories, or predictive models that behavior, and also inductive methodologies based upon extrapolation indigenous empirical data.

Ethnology, philosophically rooted in the eighteenth-century positivism of Auguste Comte, originally came to signify the exploration of psychological regulations of humankind through the examine of society history. Nineteenth-century ethnologists such together Tylor and Morgan taken ethnology as a historical discipline. Although the remote past of antiquity was properly the domain the archaeology, this ethnologists focused on preliterate individuals in historic times in stimulate to build a natural history of man. Come that end they embraced an evolutionary standpoint aimed at revealing successive stages of universal human advance as observed in modern-day primitive societies.

One of the cook concerns around the turn of the twentieth century, when sociology was coming to be a experienced discipline, was the explanation that similar cultural traits found in widely distributed societies. For example, drills for making fire were previously widespread throughout the people in plenty of local variations, working on the exact same principle. The diffusionists favored the spread out of traits native a single origin together an explanatory principle end the possibility of independent invention. They regarded society as contingent top top the specific migrations, explorations, intercourse, invasions, wars, colonizations, and also other exigencies of history. Connected languages, customs, behavioral traits, and also material culture formed so-called culture circles (German: kulturkreis). These areal groupings were created of associative bundles of associated traits. Traits radiated outward in succeeding waves, from centers that so-called high civilization to the external margins of your spheres the influence. The diffusionist rule of centrifugality organized that this centers produced dynamic social changes internally; as their affect spread, the traits relocated farther indigenous the center, widening the circles prefer concentric ripples in a pond. Dif-fusionists postulated that the oldest cultural forms would for this reason be discovered as antiquated remnant traits located at the perimeter of the culture

Eskimos from port Clarence lugged to the United claims by the Reindeer Commission, bureau of Ethnology, 1894. (Library the Congress)

circle. Because that example, postcolonial Francophone societies in Quebec, Louisiana, and the Caribbean have maintained many distinct local aspects of language and society rooted in old French develops that died out in Europe centuries ago.

The weaknesses of diffusionism as an ethnological theory and also historical technique included that bias versus the possibilities of elevation invention and its insistence ~ above a top-down design of imperial cultural drift from the so-called high people to the rest of the world"s peoples, fairly than a dynamic, interactive design of mutual influence and also exchange. Diffusionists to be unable to fully recognize human firm and the ingenious adaptive creative thinking that produces comparable solutions to basic problems in widely varying eco-friendly circumstances.

Adolf Bastian to be a major figure in late nineteenth-century German ethnology. Bas-tian"s ide of an underlying psychic unified of mankind to be used against the polygenist racial formulations that the time, which sought to prove that human races were descended from various species. Boas, who had been schooled in the German tradition, was an essential to the breakthrough of one American style. He characterized ethnology together "the science of the psychical phenomena of man taken into consideration as a member the society, no as an individual" (from the Franz Boas archives, American Philosophical culture Library, Philadelphia). When British anthropology was created as an academic discipline throughout the very first decade the the twentieth century, it differentiated ethnology native sociology. Ethnology was to it is in the mental branch of anthropology (also referred to as anthropogeography), as the research of eco-friendly influences top top humanity and also culture. Its objective was the comparative category of the world"s peoples based no on physical characteristics however on "conditions of material culture, language, and religious and social institutions and ideas" (Kuper, 1996, pp. 2-3). This school tended to donate diffusionist ideas, the contrary the neo-Darwinian social evolutionists that schematized gyeongju of male in taxonomic hierarchies.

Twentieth-century British and also French ethnology (or society anthropology) developed along somewhat various lines indigenous U.S. Ethnology (or social anthropology). Structuralism, functionalism, and structural-func-tionalism stripped away the past-oriented approach of historical reconstruction in favor of current models the living societies as incorporated systems. Cultures are stood for as approximations that internally characterized idealized social forms suspended in a timeless ethnographic present. This technique has the advantage of self-contained explanation, not needing to refer to determinants outside a culture to make feeling of that is practices and also beliefs. Among its disadvantages are the opportunity of yielding static, ahistorical representations. There is likewise the ever-present possibility that this ethnological categories, as abstract idealized forms, room in fact much more the psychological constructions the the anthropologist 보다 internally verifiable principles or principles indigenous come the societies under scrutiny. The structural-functionalism that Rad-cliffe-Brown and also Evans-Pritchard, at an initial closely bound to colonial administration, was a link between knowledge and power in Africa and throughout the brother empire. This strategy elaborates the conceptual underpinnings that societies and cultures, stressing the importance and also complexity of society organization, kinship relations, exchange, and also ritual. During the 1960s the French structuralism the Claude Lévi-Strauss, intellectually rooted in the sociology the Durkheim and Mauss and also the semiological strategy of Saussurean linguistics, brought a systemic, cognitive technique to the research of myth, ritual, and kinship. Structural analyses are based on principles of binary the opposite in type and in mental symbols.

American culture-historical ethnologists, led by Boas, relied ~ above the inductive methodology of very closely observing and accumulating empirical data. They occurred methods of delineating the unique facets of each specific culture, without creating broad, overarching, to compare theoretical frameworks. This resulted in a wealth of ethnographic knowledge, if limiting the synthetic of ethnological knowledge past the specific data in connection with to every society. The influential society and personality school, which consisted of Boas"s college student Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, and Edward Sapir, concentrated on psychological determinants in the individual"s advance in society, emphasizing the research of childhood, learning, family, and socialization. Sapir emphasized the the atmosphere affects each person individually, and also that society is no a reified entity however the accumulation of different human-environment interactions. Gregory Bateson was the kid of wilhelm Bateson, a nineteenth-century biologist that coined the word genetics. The younger Bateson supported the adaptation the deductive herbal science methods to the elusive troubles of expertise psychological forms. Bateson"s cybernetic model of communication applied natural biological principles that symmetry, as found, for example, in the morphological segment of arthropod limbs, to the formal analysis of repetitively regenerated social structures.

The postwar concept of cultural evolution focused not on varieties evolution in the biological sense yet on the view that development in an innovation and the switch of eco-friendly resources into energy are deterministic of culture. Its founder, Leslie White, critiqued the Boasian paradigm because that its absence of either grand manufacturing statements or a an extensive ethnological theory of society organization. Boas"s defenders countered through the discussion that the lack of together generalization is specifically the stamin of historical particularism, which looks for difference, or what makes each civilization and culture unique. Only after taking right into account the diversity of human experience, knowledge, and practice, castle contended, could wider principles that human society and culture be formulated. Cultural ecology, started by Julian Steward, was an influential postwar school of ethnology. That ascribed a greater duty to an imaginative adaptation to environment, natural resources, and social determinants than walk the technical determinism that the social evolution school. Steward"s concept of multilinear development made for a an ext open-ended and also nuanced see than the nineteenth-century teleological formulas he called linear evolution, allowing for polyvari-ate results from comparable causes and a more diverse branching that human social forms. Both social evolution and social ecology prolonged the ability of the kind of ecological ethnology begun during the early on twentieth century by Alfred Kroeber, Robert Lowie, and also Clark Wissler. They attracted on the materialist financial determinism that Marx (although uncited during the elevation of the cold war), in a return to the primacy of environment and economy over mental and spiritual factors. This lineage caused several divergent tendencies, including cultural materialism, a extremely deterministic neo-Marxian paradigm that considered all cultural effects to be explicable as superstructural responses to basic environmental and also economic conditions. The Malinowskian emphasis on economics and also ecology went back to the forefront of ethnology during the 1960s.

For much of the twentieth century, the Chicago institution was very closely allied with British structural-functionalism and the key rival to the miscellaneous Boasian offshoots. Marshall Sahlins (1972) combined structuralism with historic particularism, environmental constraints, and the theory of economic exchange. Raymond Firth applied modern economic theories to preliterate societies. Edmund Leach synthesized one analytic model of culture in which standards of customary habits approximate ideal ideas of social structure, if ecology governs useful economics and rational choices. Because that example, Leach (1954) reasoned that, in highland Burma, the company of village life can be interpreted as a certain adaptation to the environmental constraints of farming fields and also irrigation canals.

In his ethnographic writings on Indonesia and Morocco, Clifford Geertz (1973) helped set standards for particularized rigor in relocating ethnology far from abstraction toward thorough regional knowledge and thick description.

Beginning in the 1960s and acutely because 1980, the ar has undertaken arduous self-examination and critique that its own early american past. Some ethnologists have actually moved away from scientific research models towards an ethnology that reflexive and also literary turns. The ever-expanding field of ethnographic inquiry has led come the proliferation and accelerating fragmentation the ethnological subdisciplines. Poststructural-ism, visual anthropology, social studies, subaltern studies, feminist anthropology, and also queer concept are several of the many ethnological subdisciplines now coexisting as incorporated environmental approaches to the research of culture and society.

Human ecology and also various historical so-called brand-new ecologies, stressing the interaction of people with nature and the function anthropogenic eco-friendly landscapes beat in social company and cultural memory, proceed to gain money at the revolve of the twenty-first century. Biocultural diversity is a relatively new paradigm combining linguistic and also sociocultural methods with eco-friendly science and preservation plan studies. In that is interdisciplinary relation to environmental and also conservation science, ethnology plays a critical role in understanding classic ecosystems and involving local neighborhoods in preservation and also development.

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See also: Anthropology; Coloniality; Ecosystems; Ethnoscience


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History that Ethnological Theory. Brand-new York: Holt, Rine-hart and also Winston; Sahlins, Marshall. 1972. Stone Age Economics. Chicago: Aldine; Steward, Julian H. 1955. Concept of society Change: The Methodology the Multilinear Evolution. Urbana: college of Illinois Press.