Branches of anthropology


Anthropology is the science that is dedicated to the study of the human being from an integral perspective, including its biological and cultural features. Its name comes from the union of the Greek words Anthropos (“human”) and logos (“knowledge, knowing”). Anthropology its branches and importance
He is interested in the social, political, and cultural practices of humanity, as well as in the processes of encounter and interaction that lead to them. Their approach, therefore, is necessarily multiple, since human existence is complex and multi-faceted. Anthropology aspires to produce and organize the specialized knowledge of each one of them.

Those who dedicate themselves to this type of study are known as anthropologists.

Anthropologists have a fairly diverse field of work because they are specialists in the interpretation of the internal and external processes of societies. They are trained to intervene positively in social conflicts, in educational, cultural, or political reforms.

In addition, they can be part of NGOs, International Cooperation Organizations, and public institutions. As teachers, they can work in museums, universities, academies, depending on their specific training.

How did anthropology originate?

As a science endowed with a unique and independent field of study, anthropology has existed since the 19th century.

In other words, it is one of the youngest sciences that emerged around the interest of the moment regarding the human being.

The explorer François Péron is credited with using the term for the first time, to name an essay of his on the natives of Tasmania.

However, he was not the first researcher in history to be interested in the complexity of the social, cultural, and political manifestations of the human being. This origin linked the nascent anthropology with the paternal gaze of the great European empires with respect to the rest of the world, during the colonial era. Anthropology its branches and importance

For that reason, classical anthropology research (that prior to 1960) was based mostly on ethnographies from Asia, Oceania, Africa, and America. This perspective was revolutionized with the emergence of social or cultural anthropology in the mid- 20th century.

What does anthropology study?

There is still a debate regarding the more precise definition of the object of study of anthropology. Broadly speaking, the purpose of discipline is to produce and manage knowledge concerning human beings and society human, which implies a very broad perspective.

Disagreement occurs when defining the approach to the subject. For example, it is possible to analyze humanity according to its linguistic, historical, biological, or behavioral life. One way to settle this debate is to consider as an object of study the reactions of human beings to their sociocultural and interpersonal environment.

Branches of anthropology

The traditional conception of anthropology recognizes four major branches of the discipline, which are: Anthropology its branches, and importance

1-Cultural or social anthropology

Also called ethnology, it directs its study of the human being to aspects commonly considered as “culture“: its beliefs, rituals, ceremonies, customs, norms, representations, and values.

2-Physical or biological anthropology

 It is characterized by approaching the study of humanity emphasizing its evolutionary history, its biological variability, and other aspects related to its body or its functioning as a species.


His approach to humanity has to do with the reconstruction of its past, through the encounter, recovery, and analysis of the existing traces of past civilizations and cultures, already extinct or not.

4-Anthropological linguistics. 

It consists of the approach to human languages from a genetic and human development point of view. That is, it studies the human being through the linguistic manifestations of which it is capable in its cultural, social, and idiomatic diversity.

Sub-branches of anthropology

Just as the branches organize the areas of interest of anthropology into four large groups, the sub-branches of each one further delimit the focus of the discipline, focusing on very specific issues, such as Anthropology its branches and importance

1-Urban anthropology

It studies the conditions of human life in the context of cities, from an ethnographic and cross-cultural point of view. It is the most common and popular sub-branch of anthropology today.

2-Philosophical Anthropology

It focuses on the problem of human existence, turning to philosophy to inherit arguments and knowledge, especially of the ontological type. Among other things, try to answer “what is it to be human?”

3-Forensic anthropology

Hand in hand with biology and forensic sciences, he deals with the study and identification of skeletal human remains, trying to reconstruct their conditions of death or to obtain important conclusions about the culture to which he belonged in life.


He focuses his interest on the hominid ancestors of humans (or Homo sapiens ) to understand the process of human evolution.

5-Underwater archeology

Apply the techniques of terrestrial archeology, adapting them to the underwater or underwater context.

Why is anthropology important?

Anthropology is the main tool for humanity to know itself. It is a multidisciplinary science that tries to give a comprehensive understanding of what humanity means.

To achieve his goal, he attends any type of exhibition: arts, history, archaeological sites, pieces of language, etc. Without it, our understanding of who we are as a species would be much more limited. Anthropology its branches and importance

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