Anthropology and its relevance for General studies paper 4 “Ethics Integrity and Aptitude”

Anthropology and Ethics are closely related in the sense that the central concern of anthropology is culture and ethics is also rooted in the culture of the society.

The study of ethics is concerned with the moral principles or values that determine what is right or what is wrong. However , the value of judging right or wrong is neither absolute nor universal, but depending upon socio- cultural milieu of the society. Here anthropology , by providing knowledge regarding nature of man, society and its values helps students to take decision on an ethical issue “ What ought to be”.

Further anthropological perspective of holism, cultural relativism, insider’s point of view and functionalist equilibrium model help student in solving ethical problems.

The holistic principle requires a student to consider and ethical issue not as an isolated phenomenon, but as a part of society and culture.

The principle of cultural relativism requires a student to adopt the posture of ethical neutrality and respect for the culture and values of all groups.

The insider’s point of view of anthropology requires to consider an ethical issue from the point of view of group or people concerned. The empathic understanding of the problem provides sustainable solution.

The functionist equilibrium model of anthropology also equips students with the skill, Firstly, how to maintain equilibrium in a system such as a factory, a medical institution or an aggregate of institution and secondly to provide restoration of it after a crisis. By using anthropology’s participatory and consensus approach of decision making and building rapport on the principle of human respect, an organization in crisis can be restored to a state of balance.

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