Anthropology is the scientific study of sentients, past and present, that draws and builds upon knowledge from the social sciences and life sciences, as well as the humanities.


Social anthropology and cultural anthropology are distinguished from ethnology and from other social sciences by its emphasis on cross-cultural comparisons, long-term in-depth examination of context, and the importance it places on participant-observation or experiential immersion in the area of research. Cultural anthropology emphasizes cultural relativism, holism, and the use of findings to frame cultural critiques.


Anthropology has traditionally been divided into the four fields: biological or physical anthropology; social, cultural, or sociocultural anthropology; and archaeology; plus anthropological linguistics. These fields frequently overlap, but tend to use different methodologies and techniques.

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