Social anthropology  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Social anthropology is the branch of anthropology that studies how currently living human beings behave in social groups.

Contents

History

Social anthropology has historical roots in a number of 19th-century disciplines, including ethnology, folklore studies, and Classics, among others. (See History of anthropology.) Its immediate precursor took shape in the work of Edward Burnett Tylor and James George Frazer in the late 19th century and underwent major changes in both method and theory during the period 1890-1920 with a new emphasis on original fieldwork, long-term holistic study of social behavior in natural settings, and the introduction of French and German social theory.

1920s-1940

Modern social anthropology was founded in Britain at The London School of Economics and Political Science following World War I. Influences include both the methodological revolution pioneered by Bronisław Malinowski, Alfred Radcliffe-Brown and Durkheim.

Other intellectual founders include W. H. R. Rivers and A. C. Haddon, whose orientation reflected the contemporary Volkerpsychologie of Wilhelm Wundt and Adolf Bastian, and Sir E. B. Tylor, who defined anthropology as a positivistic science following Auguste Comte. Edmund Leach (1962) defined social anthropology as a kind of comparative micro-sociology based on intensive fieldwork studies. There was never a settled theoretical orthodoxy on the nature of science and society but always a tension between several views that were seriously opposed.

1940s-1980s

Following World War II, sociocultural anthropology as comprised by the fields of ethnography and ethnology diverged into an American school of cultural anthropology while social anthropology diversified in Europe by challenging the principles of structure-functionalism, absorbing ideas from Claude Levi-Strauss’s structuralism and from Max Gluckman’s Manchester school, and embracing the study of conflict, change, urban anthropology, and networks.

1980s to present

A European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) was founded in 1989 as a society of scholarship at a meeting of founder members from fourteen European countries, supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. The Association seeks to advance anthropology in Europe by organizing biennial conferences and by editing its academic journal, Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Social anthropology" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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