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Anthropology

societies social behaviors particular

Anthropology, study of the origins, evolution, and development of human beings and their various cultures and societies. Physical anthropology is concerned with human beings as physical organisms, the place of Homo sapiens in the framework of evolution, and the classification of early humans based upon the study of fossil remains. Cultural anthropology examines the specific knowledge, values, and behaviors that are characteristic of members of a particular society, emphasizing the uniqueness of cultures while attempting to compare them. Cultural anthropology shares with social anthropology an emphasis upon understanding behaviors within a particular context and rejects any attempt to classify or explain particular behaviors in the abstract. Social anthropology studies the structures of a society through the detailed and direct examination of patterns of relations among its classes, generations, and religious and political institutions. One of the major contributions of social anthropology has been to discredit the idea that preliterate societies are lacking in complexity or that the peoples in them lack the same intellectual abilities as peoples in industrialized societies.

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