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BANC-134: Fundamentals of Archaeological Anthropology

BANC-134: Fundamentals of Archaeological Anthropology

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

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Assignment Code: BANC-133/ASST /TMA/2021-22

Course Code: BANC-133

Assignment Name: Fundamentals Of Social and Cultural Anthropology

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


There are three Assignments. All questions are compulsory.


Assignment – A


Answer the following in about 500 words each. 20X2= 40


Q a. Discuss the relevance of social and cultural anthropology.

Ans) There is a lot of overlap between ‘social' and ‘cultural' anthropology. Although there are differences in emphasis, there is no clear and fast differentiation between them. Cultural anthropology, in its broadest sense, refers to an approach – particularly popular in the United States and associated with pioneers like Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict – that emphasises the coherence of cultures, including their rules of behaviour, language, material creations, and worldviews – and the need to understand each on its own terms. 'Social anthropology,' on the other hand, has mostly developed in the United Kingdom since the early twentieth century. It has been profoundly impacted by intellectual traditions from continental Europe, particularly France, throughout history. It has a proclivity for emphasising social institutions and their interconnections. It has undergone numerous theoretical shifts over the last century, but its focus, like that of cultural anthropology, remains on what has been referred to as the ‘deep structure' of social relations in a given society: the organising principles of social life that may govern individual behaviour but may also be challenged and broken down in certain circumstances. We'll use the term "social anthropology" to refer to both.


Social anthropologists use a variety of methods to conduct their study, but the one most associated with the discipline is fieldwork based on "participant observation." This usually entails living as close to the group being researched as possible for a lengthy period of time (a year or more); learning the language if necessary; sharing everyday activities; monitoring and participating in the texture of social interactions; and discovering underlying trends. The anthropologist hopes to get a comprehensive understanding of how society functions, including its inherent tensions and contradictions, through analysing this experience and exchanging ideas with members of the community. Typically, social anthropologists provide their findings in the form of 'ethnographies,' which are extensive accounts of the society in question, developed and informed by the anthropologist's research questions. These questions frequently shift throughout fieldwork when new information shows deeper concerns that need to be investigated. Social anthropologists can often make comparisons across societies and draw up bigger assumptions about human life in society using this profound understanding of very local conditions as a foundation.


Many people believe that social anthropologists only study small-scale communities in "far-flung" locations. Many classic studies are of this type, and social anthropologists continue to conduct study in communities outside of major cities. However, it has long been recognised that interactions between global patterns and local communities have complex effects that lend themselves to anthropological study; and that anthropological inquiry methods can easily be applied to sectors and components of industrial and post-industrial societies. Social anthropologists are now just as likely to be found conducting study in corporations, educational institutions, hospitals, or government agencies as they are in more conventional "remote locales." In recent years, the relationship between the social anthropologist and people he or she examines has shifted dramatically, moving away from one of privileged observer to the "other" being studied and toward one of equals.


Q b. Write a note on fieldwork traditions in anthropology.

Ans) Anthropology is commonly referred to as a "field science." This is because it relies on genuine experiences and knowledge to authenticate its data in its social and biological studies of humans. This reality is captured by first-hand knowledge rather than suppositions and assumptions. This is when fieldwork as a method of research comes into play.


Concept of Fieldwork

Fieldwork is an important part of anthropology research. The term "field" traditionally refers to the location where the members of the group under investigation live. Today's "field" could be the internet, a museum, a school, a library, a hospital, a lab, a market, an urban eatery, a virtual location, and so on. The "outdoor" becomes a ready-made laboratory for the researcher. Fieldwork is an anthropological inquiry in which the researcher stays in or visits the region of examination for a lengthy period of time, usually at least a year, to get first-hand experience and collect data. “Anthropology is the trade of the naturalist,” Luhrmann explains, “you sit and watch and learn from the species in its natural environment.”


Fieldwork is essential for sociocultural anthropologists, physical anthropologists, and archaeology anthropologists alike. Because of the wonderful awareness it brings, they use it in their various branches throughout their academic careers. Fieldwork is the most important source of valid data for anthropologists. It's because, as Srivastava puts it, "fieldwork yields a lot of data on people's lifestyles and the meaning they give to their acts when compared to other methodologies." Fieldwork also teaches the difference between "what people think," "what people say," "what people do," and "what people claim they should have done," among other things."


History of Fieldwork in Anthropology

In terms of fieldwork expertise, anthropology may now occupy a prominent position. This, however, was not always the case. When anthropology first emerged as a respectable subject, its forerunners were enthusiastic to learn about how people lived around the world, but not so keen to go out and study on their own. These nineteenth-century European scholars tended to rely on enquiries made by missionaries, voyagers, traders, administrators, and others who were stationed locally in their areas of interest, which were largely colonies. Armchair anthropologists were the term for such researchers.


Boas, known as the "Father of American Anthropology," passionately opposed the half-baked generalisations made by early nineteenth-century anthropologists based on sparse data obtained from others. To theorise for Boas, proper ethnographic evidence had to be obtained first hand. All fields of anthropology, according to Boas, must be explored in order to obtain correct data and present a viewpoint. As a result, Boas pioneered new approaches to fieldwork in anthropology, emphasising ethnographic fieldwork, cultural relativism, and the participant observation method. His cultural relativism added fresh perspectives to the study of anthropology by shifting the focus away from the researching anthropologist's reasoning and toward the perception and interpretation of the culture's responders. This was done in order to eliminate objective concepts of one culture being superior to another or being more correct than the other.


Women like Mary Douglas rose to prominence in the late 1940s, undertaking fieldwork in the Congo and became famous for her writings on ceremonial purity and impurity, as well as symbolism. These women included feminism and sexuality into their works as a result of their research, providing a much-needed twist to the anthropology conducted at the time. These milestones in anthropology's history paved the way for rigorous fieldwork methods and established anthropology as a valid field science. This succinct historical account now takes us to the existence of fieldwork as an anthropological tradition.


Assignment – B


Answer the following in about 250 words each. (Write Short Notes) 10X3=30


Q a. Symbolism

Ans) Symbolic anthropology, also known as symbolic and interpretive anthropology, is the study of cultural symbols and how they can be utilised to better understand a community. "Believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he has spun," Clifford Geertz writes, "I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be not an experimental science in quest of law but an interpretive science in search of meaning." In theory, symbolic anthropology assumes that culture is based on people's interpretations of their surroundings, and that it does not exist outside of them. Furthermore, the culturally established symbols shape the meaning given to people's actions. Symbolic anthropology seeks to fully comprehend how people give meaning to things, resulting to cultural expression. The interpretive approach and the symbolic approach are the two most widely acknowledged methods to the interpretation of symbolic anthropology. Clifford Geertz (interpretive) and Victor Turner (conceptual) are the authors of both techniques (symbolic). David M.Schneider, another important figure in symbolic anthropology, does not fit neatly into any of the schools of thought. Symbolic anthropology has a literary foundation rather than an empirical one, which means it is less concerned with scientific objects like mathematics or logic and more concerned with tools like psychology and literature. That isn't to imply that symbolic anthropology doesn't perform fieldwork; it does, but the research interpretation is evaluated on a more ideological basis.


Clifford Geertz, Max Weber, David M. Schneider, Victor Turner, and Mary Douglas are among well-known figures in symbolic anthropology.


Q b. The British and American Schools of Anthropology.

Ans) The continued development of anthropology in its British version, as well as the creation of what became known as the American Cultural Tradition, demonstrates the discipline's fundamental association with colonisation. The academic foundations of the British structural-functional school can be traced back to Durkheim's functionalism, which was associated with the French school of sociology. Classical evolutionists were chastised by the structural-functional school for their speculative notions. They moved away from deductive evolution ideas and toward empiricism, developing the field study method that has become the hallmark of anthropology today.


The structural-functional school of thought held that every society had a structure in the form of social ties, and that each portion of this structure has a functional logic that contributes to the total. The fundamental assumptions of structural functionalism were based on the axiom of cultural relativism, which said that civilizations were not greater and lower manifestations of the same culture, but rather functional wholes in plural. Each culture was intertwined and might be compared to a living organism, with each part contributing to the overall health of the body. As a result, rather than studying parts of cultures, such as religion and kinship, using the comparative method as was done in classical evolutionary theory, a society had to be studied in its entirety and in depth, with the functional relationship between its parts established through close and intimate interaction with the people concerned.


The British anthropologists who pioneered this approach used it to research civilizations under Crown rule that needed to be regulated in order to maintain a stable equilibrium. The administrators' desires were reflected in the academic presumptions to some extent.


Q c. Discuss institutions within the ambit of social and cultural anthropology

Ans) The study of social relationships and what we refer to as social institutions, such as family, kinship, political institutions, and economic institutions, is the focus of social anthropology. They research social norms and conventions, as well as the systems that make up society.

Symbols and meaning systems are studied by cultural anthropologists, as are values and beliefs, as well as the underlying principles that underlie conduct. Despite their similarities, the two groups emphasise different features and take different approaches to their subjects. For example, if one is researching political institutions from a social perspective, one will look at the institutional structure of the political system, such as a Panchayat's personnel structure, rights and responsibilities, hierarchy, and norms and principles of interaction, among other things. When researching the political arena from a cultural viewpoint, one will not focus on structural characteristics but rather on power discussions, strategies, and methods by which power is used and exploited. From a cultural standpoint, the focus should be on the processes that lead to these positions, rather than the beliefs themselves. The focus of cultural anthropologists would be on the symbols that manifest power and the delicate usage of meanings in expressing and preserving power.


Following the French School of Mauss, Hubert, and Durkheim, the social anthropological perspective was established in Britain and the European continent. The focus of social anthropological analysis is hierarchy, cooperation, and affiliation, as well as formal standards of behaviour and interaction norms. While cultural components such as meanings and values are considered in a social relational approach, they are overshadowed by the concentration on structures. With the same way, in a cultural perspective, structures serve as a backdrop against which meanings and symbols are contextualised.


Assignment – C


Answer the following questions in about 150 words each. 5X6=30


Q a. Rapport Building

Ans) Rapport building is one of the most crucial aspects of fieldwork, as it allows anthropologists to get entry to a community or universe and bring back facts and knowledge. The goal of rapport is to have a peaceful and cordial relationship with others. Creating rapport aids in the development of trust, belief, and confidence between two or more people, allowing for the free flow of information in both directions. The question now is how to establish rapport.


Building rapport is a two-way process in which the fieldworker is observed and questioned by the people in the field. It is at this time that the researcher attempts to learn the people's customs, manners, and way of life in order to walk freely among them. Many anthropologists strive to learn the local language during the phase of rapport building. Building rapport with respondents is a constant process, and it is necessary to try to establish a connection of trust and understanding with them during the fieldwork period. The most effective rapport-building results in a scenario of empathy, in which one can understand the other without having to ask questions or speak.


Q b. Caste and Tribe

Ans) In Hindu South Asia, caste is a societal organising element. M.N. Srinivas considered caste to be the Hinduism's "structural principle." Hindu holy texts are used to justify the system. Each caste is given particular responsibilities and is not required to shift jobs. Caste endogamy is the practise of members of a caste marrying within their caste.


The tribe is defined as a group of families who live together, or have lived together, in the same territory and share a same language, culture, religion, and way of life. A politically autonomous community is one in which each tribal tribe has its own political leader and all disputes are addressed internally. Because a tribal community is generally cut off from the rest of the world, knowledge of other cultures is not required for its comprehension. Because of this, a tribal group has come to be known as a "cultural isolation," meaning that it has its own distinct culture that makes its bearers proud, and they are willing to defend it against any external attack or criticism.


Q c. Contemporary theories

Ans)  Contemporary social theory is defined as a collection of general social ideas as well as theories of modernity and the present.



The theory of Key Symbols was developed by Ortner. Every civilization, she claims, employs a central symbol as a fulcrum around which to form its identity. More complex cultures may have multiple significant symbols representing diverse areas of society, such as the national flag, which is a symbol of political identification for anybody who belongs to a nation-state. Every religion may have its own distinctive emblem, such as the Cross for Christians or the Swastika for Hindus.


Interpretative Theory

According to Clifford Geertz's view, entire cultures are nothing more than systems of meaning that are bound together because the meanings of one element can only be explained by the meanings of another, and all are contextualised within the larger system of meanings. As a result, humans are caught in webs of meaning that they have built and reproduced but no longer control. We are born within a system of meanings, which we absorb through the enculturation process.


Q d. Marriage

Ans) Marriage exists in practically every human society, however the pattern, rituals, and customs may differ. The question of when marriage came into being and became a part of society is currently being debated. Early social philosophers theorised that in the early stages of human existence, people lived in a state of promiscuity, with no such thing as marriage to one person. There were no regulations or rules in place. As a result of all males having access to all women, the children born became the responsibility of the entire society. This gave led to group weddings, which eventually gave way to solo marriages.


“Marriage is a partnership between a man and a woman in which the woman's children are recognised as both parties' legitimate offspring.” So, in a nutshell, marriage is a social sanction that allows a man and a woman to have a relationship and provides them the social sanctity to have children or adopt children. Let us now see if this definition still holds true in today's world, as well as try to comprehend the numerous forms of marriages that exist. To begin, consider the various forms of marriages that exist in today's society.


Q e. Survey method

Ans) A survey is defined as the process of asking a group of people a series of questions at a specific time. The majority of the surveys are completed in a short amount of time; however, others are spread out over a longer period of time. A trend or panel research could be used as a survey method. There is a difference between a panel study and a trend study. A panel study is when the same group of people is interviewed at different times to discover if their opinions change. A trend study is when different people are interviewed over time to see how changes in people's opinions are occurring.


The questionnaire is the most common survey instrument (tool), which is a group of questions relevant to a specific study topic. The questionnaire is referred to as a "mailed (or emailed) questionnaire" when it is sent by mail or email; nevertheless, it is referred to as an "interview schedule" when it is administered in a face-to-face interview environment.


Q f. Report Writing

Ans) The writing step can be approached in two ways. One in which we begin writing in a free-flowing manner with the facts gathered in the field and later arrange it in a sequence, also known as writing up. The easiest way to begin is to go back to the field and write about incidences and events that we believe are relevant for the presentation in our field notebook.


Many researchers begin by describing their first impressions of the field. This can then be arranged into a series, and a report flow can be constructed. The other option is to first create a framework and then begin writing in the writing down pattern. Regardless of the method used, the writing should begin with an introduction, followed by aims and objectives, fieldwork and methods, data analysis, and a conclusion.

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