Anthropology is the study of human diversity around the world. The field analyses the past and present of humans to understand their evolution, social relations, beliefs, and cultural traditions. The subject, however, is not much popular in our country owing to the lack of attention from the authorities and absence of well-defined jobs. In the first world countries, there are more takers of Anthropology.
“Very few funding agencies in India have dedicated funds for Anthropologists. As a result, an Anthropology student or researcher competes with scholars of other disciplines for common grant opportunities. Besides this, during the last few decades the government has entirely shifted the focus on STEM research which discourages scholars of Anthropology from pursuing the subject,” says Roumi Deb, director, Amity Institute of Anthropology, Amity University.
Anthropologists in other parts of the world, especially first world countries have been getting greater grant opportunities and recognition from an undergraduate level, she adds.
What is Anthropology
A discipline in Anthropology teaches aspirants about the varied kind of people in different societies and cultures. The students learn that people across time, age and region have different notions of what is normal, moral, valuable, good and legal. It helps them to get over their prejudices, says Swargajyoti Gohain, head, Anthropology, Ashoka University.
“In our highly data-driven society, anthropology helps us sift through the piles of data and find meaning through stories about people in ordinary and exceptional circumstances. It helps us to find the patterns in society through in-depth study over time,” she adds.
Branches of AnthropologyThe broad field of study can be pursued in four different branches- Socio-cultural Anthropology, Physical/ Biological Anthropology, Archaeology and Linguistic Anthropology.
“Socio-cultural anthropology deals with the study of present-day cultures around the world. Linguistic anthropology studies communication practices of the contemporary world. Archaeology is concerned with learning about earlier cultures by examining the artefacts that the ancient people left behind and Physical anthropology considers learning about humans’ biological aspects by examining their skeletal and other physical remains,” explains Deb.
Scope of the fieldA degree in Anthropology can open opportunities in various fields such as research, health, forensic investigations, NGO, Human Rights, among others.
“The curriculum of Biological Anthropology creates scope in the field of health care, Genome Research with special reference to Bioarchaeology, Evolution and Migration. Forensic Anthropology is applicable to crime research organisations. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) area employs Social Anthropologists to fulfil the social and governmental commitments of various industries,” highlights Deb.
Development agencies like United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Organisation (UNO), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, ActionAid among others employ Social Anthropologists as researches in Rural Development, Indigenous Knowledge, Social and Tribal Health, Social inclusion, and Exclusion practices to make culturally appropriate policies, adds Deb. Anthropologists also work as Policy Researchers, Research Analysts, Evaluators, Managers, Planners, Impact Assessors, Consultants in various government agencies.