Studying humans

By Ranjan K Baruah

There are many career options and if we can choose our career with proper planning and with our passion then life would always be rewarding. One of the careers related to growth and progress of mankind is Anthropology. The term has been derived from two Greek words — anthropos, which means human, and logos, which means study. Thus Anthropology is the study of human beings in its absoluteness.
Anthropology is the study of various aspects of humans in past and present societies. Social anthropology and cultural anthropology study the norms and values of societies. Linguistic anthropology studies how language affects social life. Biological or physical anthropology studies the biological development of humans. Archaeology, which studies past human cultures through investigation of physical evidence, is thought of as a branch of anthropology in the US, while in Europe, it is viewed as a discipline in its own right, or grouped under other related disciplines such as history.
Anthropology is a global discipline involving humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. It builds upon knowledge from natural sciences, including the discoveries about the origin and evolution of Homo sapiens, human physical traits, human behaviour, the variations among different groups of humans, how the evolutionary past of Homo sapiens has influenced its social organisation and culture, and from social sciences, including the organisation of human social and cultural relations, institutions and social conflicts.
Early anthropology originated in Greece and Persia. As such, anthropology has been central in the development of several new (late 20th century) interdisciplinary fields such as cognitive science, global studies and various ethnic studies.
It is science that deals with human civilisations, traditions, cultures etc. In simple we can say it deals with study through which we could find changes that happened in the past and how people have progressed since early ages. Anthropology is about people, their relationships and how they live together as members of society. It contributes to the understanding and explanation of socio-cultural behaviour. Anthropologists as social scientists study the language, traditions, beliefs, possessions and values of people in various parts of the world and formulate hypotheses to explain their research and findings.
Anthropologists take a broad approach to understanding the many different aspects of the human experience. They consider the past, through archaeology, to see how human groups lived hundreds or thousands of years ago and what was important to them. They consider what makes up our biological bodies and genetics, as well as our bones, diet, and health. Anthropologists also compare humans with other animals (most often, other primates like monkeys and chimpanzees) to see what we have in common with them and what makes us unique.
Anthropologists also try to understand how people interact in social relationships (for example with families and friends). They look at the different ways people dress and communicate in different societies. Anthropologists sometimes use these comparisons to understand their own society.
There are several branches of anthropology that deals with various aspects of human development i.e. Physical or Biological Anthropology, Socio-cultural Anthropology, Prehistoric Anthropology, Applied Anthropology, Linguistic Anthropology, etc. Students after passing senior secondary may opt for courses in Anthropology. To be a professional Anthropologist one has to qualify BSc in Anthropology. The minimum qualification for BSc in Anthropology is 10+2 pass with science subjects. Some universities/colleges also offer BA and MA courses in Anthropology. There are many universities that offer courses in Anthropology in India. It brings more opportunity in north east as there is cultural and other diversity amongst different communities.

(The author is a career mentor, skill trainer and motivational speaker and can be reached at or 8473943734 for any career related queries)

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