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Anthropology

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Anthropology is the study of cultures and people across the world. How one culture can endure struggles and continues to stay alive while others fall. It is these people and cultures that tell us where we originated as a species, how we have evolved and similarities we all possess. Some of the key research methods of Anthropology are: Participant observation, Cross-culture comparison, survey research, interviews, archival research, media analysis, and historical analysis. These principals are the backbone to our knowledge of our past and the destiny of our future. Participant observation involves a researcher, or researchers, living within a given culture for an extended period of time. They take part in daily rituals trying to do research and experience the culture from within. Cross-culture comparison uses field data from many societies to examine human behavior. This cross-examination test hypotheses about human nature, behavior, and culture. Where as survey research is specific questions and data that is collected to do case studies on one or more cultures. Interviews, archival research, media analysis, and historical analysis all study cases, individuals or groups. There is a lot to be learned by the individuality of all cultures that ties us into the universal human bonds such as eating, drinking, sleeping, homes, religions, and politics. The list is endless because within all cultures there are defining similarities. Anthropologist use all these tools to dig up our past and to study what many have been forgotten, because of their efforts we have learned more and more about the lives of others and the prosperity within the silence.

Participant observation can open up generations of misunderstanding. To live within a culture and be accepted as their own, it then becomes a part of daily life. You forget that you are a scientist studying people but rather an individual living within your own culture. To live within a culture for periods of time you can identify with them and understand their daily rituals. In the film “Margaret Mead: An observer Observed”, Margaret Mead was an “oracle” this woman not only studied people but was deeply involved in cultures and places that most people wouldn’t venture to. She ventured to many civilizations one of which being Pango Pango on the Samoan island of tutaril there she studied the language to deal directly with the people. Although she did not live within the homes of these people she learned the ways and the culture of Samoans. She studied mostly within the adolescent groups her research showed that adolescent were less aggressive, less rebellious and less violent because in Samoan culture they are raised in a different way. The ideals of Samoans are lighter and focused more on life, love and open relationships. Her field study later known as “coming of age in Samoa,” was one of the first ethnographic books that flew off the shelves and was listened to. In this book Mead taught us that we all have the power to change. Her message was simple “humans weren’t just determined by their biology, instead we all had it in our power to change our lives.” Margeret Mead was a participant observer,

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