METHOD OF ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDY;- Comparative Method

July 24, 2016

The method of anthropological study is the comparative method by which

anthropology aims to know whether all societies are alike or each one is

unique. Anthropology studies social, cultural, economic, political and

biological aspect of man with comparative approach. At social level, topic

such as marriage, family, kinship, tribe and caste, Tribe and band, varna

and caste are studied with comparative approach. At cultural level, the

difference between

 Culture and civilization

 Religion and magic

 Animism and animatism

 Primitive religion and world religion are studied.

At economic level: the difference between primitive economy and modern

economy, between economics and Economic anthropology are studied. At

political level, differences regarding state and stateless political system and

comparing the legal system of simple and complex societies are studied.

Thus from method point of view, Robin Fox has rightly remarked:-

“Anthropology is comparative study of societies and cultures”

However anthropology has outgrown from its traditional concern of

showing similarities and differences or showing unity and diversity among

human beings/societies. Now the goal of anthropology is to stress on unity

among human being. The goal of anthropology as expressed by Franz Boas,

pioneer of American anthropology: “Mankind is one, civilizations are

many”. John Beattie in book “other culture” said people all over the world

are fundamentally alike. This goal of anthropology is also reflected in the

following generalisation:-“Genetic similarities far outweigh, the racial

differences among men”asked as a question inUPSC 1981

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© 2016 by Vijay Prasad 

singh