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BANC-131: Anthropology and Research Methods

BANC-131: Anthropology and Research Methods

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

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Assignment Code: BANC-131 / ASST / TMA . 2021 - 2022

Course Code: BANC-131

Assignment Name: Anthropology and Research Methods

Year: 2021 - 2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

There are three Assignments. All questions are compulsory.

Assignment – I

Answer the following in about 500 words each. (20)

Q 1. Define Anthropology and its various branches.

Ans) Anthropology is a multi-faceted and integrative subject that studies man as a whole. It looks at man not only as a component of nature, but also as a living being with biological and social characteristics. Anthropology is holistic because it studies all areas of culture and society, such as religion, social life, politics, health, and technology, in a comprehensive and integrated manner.

The four branches of anthropology are:

1. Physical/Biological Anthropology

The oldest branch of anthropology is physical anthropology, sometimes known as biological anthropology. Physical anthropology is the study of the human body, genetics, and man's place in the world of living things. It investigates man's physical traits, as the name implies. It employs general biological principles as well as data from anatomy, physiology, embryology, zoology, and palaeontology, among other disciplines. Physical anthropology is defined by the prominent biologist Paul Broca as the "science whose purpose is the study of humanity as a whole, in its parts, and in relation to the rest of nature." The process of human evolution, which reveals how the human body has evolved through several stages, is another important subject of research in physical anthropology.

2. Socio-Cultural Anthropology

The comparative study of human culture and society is the subject of socio-cultural anthropology, the second main field of anthropology. Socio-cultural anthropology encompasses the in-depth study of social behaviour, typical patterns in human behaviour, mind and feelings, and the organisation of social groups. In the United Kingdom, socio-cultural anthropology is known as social anthropology, while in the United States, it is known as cultural anthropology. Similar studies were referred to as ethnology in the nineteenth century.

3. Archaeological Anthropology

The recovery and examination of material remains and environmental data are used in archaeology to study human cultures. Tools, pottery, hearths, and enclosures that remain as remnants of former cultural practises, as well as human, plant, and animal remains, some of which date back 2.5 million years, are among the material items examined by archaeologists. Archaeology is best known as the science concerned with the recovery and study of human artefacts from the past; it has its own methodologies, of which excavation is merely one, albeit a highly specialised and essential one. “The science devoted to the study of the complete body of physical remnants pertaining to the origin, antiquity, and progress of man and his culture,” according to Nelson. Although archaeology is a distinct discipline, it is linked to anthropology in its study of humans, making it a humanistic science.

4. Linguistic Anthropology

Linguistic anthropology is a branch of anthropology that studies human languages. The link between language and culture behaviour is of interest to a linguist anthropologist. Language is a crucial part of human behaviour, and civilization has only been transmitted through language. As a result, language is frequently referred to as the "carrier of culture." Man's ability to maintain previous traditions and plan for the future is made possible through language. Linguistic anthropology is the study of how languages arise and diverge across time. Initially, this branch was concerned with the study of language origins, evolution, and development, as well as the preservation of languages on the verge of extinction.

Q 2. Describe fieldwork tradition in Anthropology.

Ans) History of significant transition in fieldwork traditions from armchair anthropology to fieldwork, where human beings' day-to-day activities are observed and recorded.

Criticism Of Arm-Chair Anthropology

Contemplation or inventive thinking are not used in anthropological research. In the early days of anthropology, those scholars who did not conduct their own empirical research and instead depended solely on information gathered by others, often haphazardly, were referred to as "armchair anthropologists." It meant that instead of addressing reality, they were simply imagining it to be what they felt was theoretically feasible, or could have been possible at one point, based on skewed, exaggerated, and prejudiced information obtained by untrained, ordinary people. Their goal was frequently to shock the western world by revealing the presence of strange and unusual traditions among non-western cultures. After the tradition of "armchair anthropology" was discarded, the first-hand study of a community emerged as a viable option. It meant that the anthropologist was also a data collector, rather than only an analyst and interpreter of previously obtained material.

Anthropologists nowadays acquire data from actual communities. They live among the people in their natural habitats, collecting, analysing, and interpreting data in order to gain a better knowledge of society's structure and function. This real-time understanding of society is also necessary for any form of social change. Before we consider the changes that are likely to be implemented, we must first understand the reality - the state of the society. Many transformation programmes and creative projects (some of which appeared to be promising) have been rejected in the past because they were not in accordance with people's habits and practises and did not reflect their ambitions and demands. As a result, individuals immediately rejected the suggested or implemented changes due to their foreign nature. When the state and change-producing agencies discovered that people were unresponsive, they assumed that they were inert and passive, oblivious of the long-term benefits of the changes, and that they would only embrace the changes and innovations if they were forced upon them. In some circumstances, coercion was seen as a fair way to get individuals to change.

Anthropologists were vehemently opposed to this viewpoint, believing that improvements were rejected because they were implemented without awareness of the people's social lives. The best programmes, implemented with the best intentions, were doomed to failure unless the pressing needs and requirements of the people were addressed.

The Importance of Fieldwork

Fieldwork, which has become important to social anthropological work, is the finest approach to get to know people and their realities. In terms of fieldwork methodology, social anthropology has made a significant contribution to various disciplines of knowledge, not only in social but also in natural and biological sciences. Fieldwork is a data gathering strategy in which the researcher lives among the people in their natural environment and learns from within by becoming a member of that community.

Assignment – II

Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. (10)

Q 3. Discuss the relationship of biological Anthropology with allied fields

Ans) Anthropology investigates both human biology and cultural diversity; both are equally significant and vital since anthropology investigates biological characteristics such as human origin, evolution, and variation, as well as socio-cultural features such as society and culture.

1. Relationship with Health Sciences

Because children's growth and body dimensions at all ages reflect an individual's or population's general health and welfare, anthropometry can be used to predict performance, health, and survival. Obesity, overweight, body fat distribution, and health effects have all been studied using anthropometric measures in epidemiologic and pathophysiologic studies.

2. Relationship with Genetics

Anthropological genetics is a hybrid science that applies genetics tools and theories to anthropologists' evolutionary questions. An emphasis on smaller, reproductively isolated, non-Western groups, as well as a larger, bio-cultural viewpoint on evolution and complex disease causation and transmission, distinguishes anthropological genetics from human genetics.

3. Relationship with Chemical Sciences

Pollution is a global issue with significant potential to affect human populations' physiology. Many studies have discovered that certain contaminants have negative impacts on human growth, especially prenatal growth. Lead, a heavy metal often present in human populations, has been linked to smaller human babies at delivery, with studies reporting decrements of up to 200 grammes.

4. Relationship with Nutrition

Over the last 20 years, nutritional anthropology has arisen as a new discipline of applied anthropology, and its approaches are having a significant impact on nutrition survey and nutritional epidemiology methods. Nutritional anthropology has advanced at a quick pace, giving strong data for researching essential elements of individual, family, and community nutrition.

Q 4. Explain the development of Archaeological Anthropology.

Ans) Archaeology is the study of former human cultures through the study of their material remains and archaeological records. The third sector, which includes archaeology as a component of anthropology, is concerned with previous people and cultures. This stream's topics include both the earliest evidence of human cultures and their recent past.

Though archaeology as an anthropology presupposes basic human continuities throughout time and place, it also acknowledges the uniqueness of each human culture as a product of its own time and space. In Europe, archaeology is either considered a separate subject or a component of historical studies, whereas in America, it is considered an important aspect of anthropology.

Archaeology provides a system and approach for understanding societies through prehistoric material remains. The lives of early hunter-gatherers and subsequent farming groups is also referred to as prehistory. It discusses the rise of civilizations as a result of centralised human communities. Prehistory does not end with these societies; it also looks at the cultural systems that remained to live in a hunter-gatherer or pastoral way of life despite technical progress in other parts of the world.

Prehistoric archaeology, often known as archaeological anthropology, is a systematic approach that includes a variety of sophisticated methods of investigation. Given the length of the prehistoric period, the lack of such a mechanism would have rendered the system useless. Palaeoarchaeology is another term for prehistoric archaeology. The word "palaeo" comes from the Greek word "palaios," which means "ancient." Archaeological examinations of ancient eras, but not necessarily of the prehistoric era, are referred to as palaeoarchaeology. The Culture-Historical Paradigm was the foundation for prehistoric archaeology. The primary goal of this paradigm was to comprehend the prehistoric cultural sequence of a given region, as well as the origin and dispersal of that prehistoric population. The advent of radiometric dating techniques in the second half of the twentieth century was a significant breakthrough in prehistoric archaeology.

Q 5. Write note case study method.

Ans) In his ethnographic work, Herbert Spencer was the first sociologist to employ case material. A case study is an in-depth investigation of a specific event, incident, or phenomenon involving or affecting a community or a group of people.

Let us consider the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, which occurred on December 3, 1984 in Bhopal. The aftermath of the catastrophe can be studied in terms of either of the following:

  1. physical issues

  2. biological issues,

  3. psychological issues

  4. medico-legal issues.

The group's homogeneity is explained in terms of its link with the tragedy and how the members relate to the catastrophe in such a study. The human mind has a way of recalling events and happenings that are personal to it. As a result, case studies of different persons are related to the incident directly or indirectly when they can provide information on the same context but from different perspectives or levels of memory and comprehension of the event.

A case study is a comprehensive strategy for gaining a comprehensive understanding of a particular incident or occurrence. The extended case technique was devised by several anthropologists, including Max Gluckman and Van Velson. This was commonly used in the examination of conflicts, legal disputes, and cases, and consisted of tracking a case or an event through time in order to gain insight not just into structures and norms, but also into social processes.

Assignment – III

Answer the following questions in about 125 words each. (5)

Q 6. Write short note on ethnographic approach.

Ans) Cultures are assumed to be full units that may be grasped or comprehended in the traditional anthropological approach. Traditional ethnographers live in small groups and study habits, behaviour, beliefs, social life, economic activities, politics, and religion as well as other aspects of their culture.

The holistic ethnographic approach involves:

1) A summary of a society's natural setting, including its geographic location, climate, vegetation, and fauna (what in anthropology is called habitat).

2) The description of material culture, i.e., the methods and means used by local people to make a living, as well as specific technologies, which are also known as elements of infrastructure and economic life, in the context of the fact that they are largely determined by the previously described environmental conditions.

3) The spoken language, along with its history and dialects, social structures (family relations, rules determining an individual's status based on gender, age, clan membership, and criteria of association between individuals), explicit and implicit rules of social behaviour, religious ideas and rituals, customs, and certitudes are all examples of non-material culture.

Q 7. What is Emic and Ethic approach?

Ans) The emic approach is an insider's perspective that attempts to characterise another culture in terms of the people being studied's categories, conceptions, and perceptions. Between the ethnographer's insider and outsider perspectives, there is a narrow line.

An ethnographer's first guideline is to put himself in an emic perspective. The etic approach, on the other hand, refers to an outsider's perspective, in which anthropologists explain the culture under examination using their own views and notions.

An anthropologist's "emic" method entails taking a "from the inside" perspective, that is, describing the subject's behaviour, customs, ideas, and beliefs through the eyes of a person who behaves or thinks similarly to the subject. An "etic" approach, on the other hand, refers to an external description of the same behavioural or conceptual features "from the outside," i.e. in objective terms, from the researcher's perspective, and using universal and culturally neutral ideas.

Q 8. Anthropometry.

Ans) Anthropometry is the measuring of a person's height, weight, and height. It has been used for identification, for the goals of understanding human physical variation, in paleoanthropology, and in numerous attempts to correlate physical with racial and psychological qualities since its inception in physical anthropology. Anthropometry is the systematic measurement of the physical properties of the human body, primarily dimensional descriptors of body size and shape.[citation needed] Because commonly used methods and approaches in analysing living standards were insufficient, historians turned to anthropometric history to answer their questions.

Today, anthropometry is utilised to optimise goods in industries such as industrial design, garment design, ergonomics, and architecture, where statistical data on the distribution of body dimensions in the population is used. Changes in population lifestyles, nutrition, and ethnic composition result in changes in body dimension distribution, necessitating continuous update of anthropometric data collections.

Q 9. Excavation.

Ans) In archaeology, excavation is the exposure, processing and recording of archaeological remains. An excavation site or "dig" is the area being studied. Excavation, in archaeology, the exposure, recording, and recovery of buried material remains. In a sense, excavation is the surgical aspect of archaeology: it is surgery of the buried landscape and is carried out with all the skilled craftsmanship.

Excavation involves the recovery of several types of data from a site. This data includes artifacts (portable objects made or modified by humans), features (non-portable modifications to the site itself such as post molds, burials, and hearths), ecofacts (evidence of human activity through organic remains such as animal bones, pollen, or charcoal), and archaeological context.

Excavations can be classified, from the point of view of their purpose, as planned, rescue, or accidental. Most important excavations are the result of a prepared plan—that is to say, their purpose is to locate buried evidence about an archaeological site.

Q 10. Note on evaluative phase of Social Anthropology in India.

Ans) Evaluative Phase (1990 onwards): New areas of Anthropology, as well as sub-fields within existing topics, have emerged in recent years. Since the 1990s, Indian anthropology has been preoccupied with difficulties in its own society, both factual and normative. The concepts, methodologies, and theories are constantly moulded and reshaped when new forms of data are encountered. Indian anthropology has never been more unique than it is now, thanks to new ways of looking at new forms of data. Unlike in Western countries, India has always had a close link between sociology and social anthropology. Because of the size and density of the Indian people, such proximity between the two disciplines has been possible.

The present phase of anthropology in India has brought sociology much closer; both the disciplines go on investigating the tribal, agrarian and industrial socio-cultural systems.

Q 11. Cultural relativism.

Ans) Cultural evolution, like human evolution, was assumed to have progressed in stages from simple to complex cultural and sociological characteristics. This led to the notion that most tribal societies around the world are at an earlier stage of cultural evolution, and that they will eventually evolve to the level of western civilizations and civilisation. As a result, there was an ethnocentric prejudice. This bias, which favoured the superiority of the white western ‘race,' fueled colonialism, as it was thought that it was the responsibility of the ‘white man' to civilise the ‘primitive' societies. This concept was utilised to solidify western colonialism in Africa and Asia in the past.

Malinowski was an outspoken opponent of the notion that simple social structures are inferior to complicated ones. He was a firm believer in the concept of basic wants, which are shared by all humans and constitute the basis for the formation of many social institutions.

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