As an Indian Anthropologist I think it must have been common experience for all of us having to explain what is the subject. Some of them form weird notions regarding it or after you return from your field work you must have had to hear from most of your non-anthropologist friends “Hey you how was your excursion”? and when you try explaining them that a field work is different from an excursion , their “whatever” reaction must make you feel like plucking out all your hair. Today we will be discussing about the misconceptions some of the Indians have regarding Anthropology. We will be starting with few of the less weirder notions and then proceed to the ones that gives an eerie feeling.
- Anthropology is part of Sociology.
Both the subjects are part and parcel of each other, but not the same.
- Is it part of Humanities or Sciences?
It belongs to Social Science.
- Anthropologists are only meant to draw bones? (heard this from one of my friend)
Well we do sketch bones but not for artistic purposes, rather it is for comparison or sometimes for forensic purposes.
- Anthropology is a hybrid of all subjects .
Those who think this, are partially correct but you will have to understand , that when we study humans holistically in all space and time, we will have to follow every aspect including- Economy, Politics, Religion, Health of the population or even study their relationship with their ancestors. Because here we are reconstruct a society or a population to understand the situation.
- A very stupid notion that some people have is- Anthropology is a female oriented subject.
I don’t know how this notion came to be, but a subject is a subject whether or a male studies it or a female.
- Not many discoveries take place in Anthropology .
I might have to be a bit rude here , but the individuals who think this are the ones with little knowledge related to the subject, other wise they would have known that we are as updated as any other subject . Besides , we study humans not microbes, plants or animals which have a smaller lifetime. A micro level change in a population takes a few years to occur and for a macro level evolution it would be more than a few hundred years. So discoveries in Anthropology are not frequent though, but they do happen.
Now time for our Crore Rupees thoughts on fieldwork.
- Field work means excursion or study tour?
It is neither of them. We don’t visit fields to roam around and enjoy our time leisurely. Field work being an integral part of Anthropology is the practical work or the applied portion of a course work which we can never conduct in a lab, because of ethical issues. Moreover, what would be better than to study the community in their own ecological habitat.
- Field work is survey.
Nope, survey is a part of field work.
This was all I could find out about the misconceptions. I hope you guys can add in to it. Please share us your experience with these misconceptions. See ya until next time.