Strengths And Importance Of Anthropology

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Ruth Benedict once wrote, “The adequate study of culture, our own and those on the opposite side of the globe, can press on to fulfillment only as we learn today from the humanities as well as from the scientists.” (Benedict 2011). Anthropology, as a discipline, is concerned with what it means to be human and seeks to address this study by understanding past and modern cultures across the globe, as well as language, human biology, and our evolutionary history. Considering the rather holistic approach anthropology takes when studying the human condition, it provides anthropologists with certain strengths and skills that put them in a special position to be greatly beneficial to research studies. But why should people—be they scholars, policymakers, funders, service providers, or the greater community—trust anthropologists? To address this question, this paper will discuss the ways in which research epistemology, methodologies, and confidence measures contribute to the quality and credibility of anthropological research, as well as how anthropology as a whole benefits and enhances other disciplines in research endeavors. According to Schweizer, epistemology is a “subdiscipline of philosophy concerned with the nature and validation of knowledge,” and in the realm of cultural anthropology it “addresses the scope and justification of factual knowledge” gained through fieldwork and comparative studies (1998, 39-40). Common epistemological frameworks in anthropology include:

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