Taking the name simply, anthropology comes from the Greek 'anthropos' (man) and 'logia' (study) and in its basic form really is the study of humans and human culture. The discipline is as broad as it gets in terms of its versatility, which is largely why I was attracted to it in the first place, and I cannot do justice to its many forms in this one blog post. However, what I hope to convey is that anthropology is useful. Power comes from knowledge and knowledge comes from study. Therefore anthropology can be a way of generating the power of understanding, communication and the ability to change lives for the better, between cultures and individuals. When I started my degree I blissfully ignorant of what anthropology really was and why I was doing it, but luckily I had an understanding of its offshoots and moving away from home to study for a degree in it turned out to be the best decision I could have made. Even after three years of study and graduating with a Bachelors degree I cannot condescend to having some higher knowledge or understanding of humans or the study of the species, which ranges in culture from Amazonian tribes to Wall Street stock market traders. What I have gained, through experiencing and living the degree, is an ability to think critically and break down life's curiosities into some sort of comprehendable answer. Why do some men in the Western world wear clothing that reveals part of or all of their underwear? How do humans develop as the result of environment and genetics? How universal is status and hierarchy in society? Anthropology might not have all the answers but its discussions hint at the location of the key.
Carpe Diem xx