HOLISTIC APPROACH

Anthropology is a holistic science. The holistic approach of Anthropology
allows understanding humankind in terms of the dynamic interrelationships
of all aspects of human existence. The holistic nature in anthropology is
evidenced in a number important ways. The anthropological research approach
involves both biological and cultural (bio-cultural approach) aspects of
humanity. In a bio-cultural approach, human beings are viewed as biological,
social and cultural entities in relation to the environment. Thus anthropologists
study human life in totality.
Anthropology explores the entire panorama of the human experience from
human origins to contemporary forms of culture and social life.
Anthropological research is conducted around the globe on all varieties of
people wherever they may be found.
Social anthropologists conduct research on different aspects of human
experience, for example, marriage, family, kinship, customs, beliefs,
religion, language, art, socio-economic conditions, tribes, rural people,
conflict resolution, and livelihoods.
Biological anthropologists conduct research on human adaptation, human
genetics, human palaeontology, health and nutrition, epidemiology and
other biological aspects of human beings.
In ethnographic studies anthropologists try to be holistic by integrating and
studying all the possible aspects of a culture in the total cultural context.
Different aspects of culture and society exhibit patterned interrelationships
(e.g., political economy, social configurations, religion and ideology).
Culture cannot be divorced from biology and adaptation, nor language from
culture. Contemporary societies cannot be understood without considering
the historical and evolutionary processes. Anthropologists such as Malinowski,
Radcliff Brown, Margaret Mead, Evans Prichard, Franz Boas, L.H. Morgan,
and Ruth Benedict conducted their research in holistic perspective.
These days most anthropologists have become specialized and focused
because the information is so vast. The research is focused on particular issues and problems of the society and culture. This focused approach is
termed as problem-oriented research approach. To illustrate, one
anthropologist may focus on marital pattern of tribals, another may concentrate
on farming and land use patterns. Despite the recent trends towards
specialization, anthropologists persistently indulged in analysing their findings
within wider cultural context. Moreover, when all the specialized aspects
within the discipline are viewed together, they represent a very comprehensive
or holistic view of the human condition (Ferraro and Andreatta, 2010).

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