Ethnology

Ethnology (from the Greek ἔθνος, ethnos meaning "nation"[1]) is the branch of anthropology that compares and analyzes the characteristics of different peoples and the relationships between them (cf. cultural, social, or sociocultural anthropology).[2]

Scientific discipline

Compared to ethnography, the study of single groups through direct contact with the culture, ethnology takes the research that ethnographers have compiled and then compares and contrasts different cultures.

The term ethnologia (ethnology) is credited to Adam Franz Kollár (1718-1783) who used and defined it in his Historiae ivrisqve pvblici Regni Vngariae amoenitates published in Vienna in 1783.[3] as: “the science of nations and peoples, or, that study of learned men in which they inquire into the origins, languages, customs, and institutions of various nations, and finally into the fatherland and ancient seats, in order to be able better to judge the nations and peoples in their own times.” [4]

Kollár's interest in linguistic and cultural diversity was aroused by the situation in his native multi-ethnic and multilingual Kingdom of Hungary and his roots among its Slovaks, and by the shifts that began to emerge after the gradual retreat of the Ottoman Empire in the more distant Balkans.[5]

Among the goals of ethnology have been the reconstruction of human history, and the formulation of cultural invariants, such as the incest taboo and culture change, and the formulation of generalizations about "human nature", a concept which has been criticized since the 19th century by various philosophers (Hegel, Marx, structuralism, etc.). In some parts of the world, ethnology has developed along independent paths of investigation and pedagogical doctrine, with cultural anthropology becoming dominant especially in the United States, and social anthropology in Great Britain. The distinction between the three terms is increasingly blurry. Ethnology has been considered an academic field since the late 18th century, especially in Europe and is sometimes conceived of as any comparative study of human groups.

The 15th-century exploration of America by European explorers had an important role in formulating new notions of the Occident (the Western world), such as the notion of the "Other". This term was used in conjunction with "savages", which was either seen as a brutal barbarian, or alternatively, as the "noble savage". Thus, civilization was opposed in a dualist manner to barbary, a classic opposition constitutive of the even more commonly shared ethnocentrism. The progress of ethnology, for example with Claude Lévi-Strauss's structural anthropology, led to the criticism of conceptions of a linear progress, or the pseudo-opposition between "societies with histories" and "societies without histories", judged too dependent on a limited view of history as constituted by accumulative growth.

Lévi-Strauss often referred to Montaigne's essay on cannibalism as an early example of ethnology. Lévi-Strauss aimed, through a structural method, at discovering universal invariants in human society, chief among which he believed to be the incest taboo. However, the claims of such cultural universalism have been criticized by various 19th- and 20th-century social thinkers, including Marx, Nietzsche, Foucault, Derrida, Althusser, and Deleuze.

The French school of ethnology was particularly significant for the development of the discipline, since the early 1950s. Important figures in this movement have included Lévi-Strauss, Paul Rivet, Marcel Griaule, Germaine Dieterlen, and Jean Rouch.

Izmir Ethnography Museum
Izmir Ethnography Museum (İzmir Etnografya Müzesi) seen from the courtyard.

Scholars

See also

References

  1. ^ "ethno-". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  2. ^ "ethnology". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  3. ^ Zmago Šmitek and Božidar Jezernik, "The anthropological tradition in Slovenia." In: Han F. Vermeulen and Arturo Alvarez Roldán, eds. Fieldwork and Footnotes: Studies in the History of European Anthropology. 1995.
  4. ^ Kollár, Adam František − Historiae jurisque publici regni Ungariae amoenitates, I-II. Vienna., 1783
  5. ^ Gheorghiţă Geană, "Discovering the whole of humankind: the genesis of anthropology through the Hegelian looking-glass." In: Han F. Vermeulen and Arturo Alvarez Roldán, eds. Fieldwork and Footnotes: Studies in the History of European Anthropology. 1995.

Bibliography

  • Forster, Johann Georg Adam. Voyage round the World in His Britannic Majesty’s Sloop, Resolution, Commanded by Capt. James Cook, during the Years 1772, 3, 4, and 5 (2 vols), London (1777).
  • Lévi-Strauss, Claude. The Elementary Structures of Kinship, (1949), Structural Anthropology (1958)
  • Mauss, Marcel. originally published as Essai sur le don. Forme et raison de l'échange dans les sociétés archaïques in 1925, this classic text on gift economy appears in the English edition as The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies.
  • Maybury-Lewis, David. Akwe-Shavante society (1967), The Politics of Ethnicity: Indigenous Peoples in Latin American States (2003).
  • Clastres, Pierre. Society Against the State (1974).
  • Pop, Mihai and Glauco Sanga. "Problemi generali dell'etnologia europea", La Ricerca Folklorica, No. 1, La cultura popolare. Questioni teoriche (April 1980), pp. 89–96.

External links

Anthropology of religion

Anthropology of religion is the study of religion in relation to other social institutions, and the comparison of religious beliefs and practices across cultures.

Band society

A band society, sometimes called a camp or, in older usage, a horde, is the simplest form of human society. A band generally consists of a small kin group, no larger than an extended family or clan. The general consensus of modern anthropology sees the average number of members of a social band at the simplest level of foraging societies with generally a maximum size of 30 to 50 people.

Bride service

Bride service has traditionally been portrayed in the anthropological literature as the service rendered by the bridegroom to a bride's family as a bride price or part of one (see dowry). Bride service and bride wealth models frame anthropological discussions of kinship in many regions of the world.

Bureau of American Ethnology

The Bureau of American Ethnology (or BAE, originally, Bureau of Ethnology) was established in 1879 by an act of Congress for the purpose of transferring archives, records and materials relating to the Indians of North America from the Interior Department to the Smithsonian Institution. But from the start, the bureau's visionary founding director, John Wesley Powell, promoted a broader mission: "to organize anthropologic research in America." Under Powell, the bureau organized research-intensive multi-year projects; sponsored ethnographic, archaeological and linguistic field research; initiated publications series (most notably its Annual Reports and Bulletins); and promoted the fledgling discipline of anthropology. It prepared exhibits for expositions and collected anthropological artifacts for the Smithsonian United States National Museum. In addition, the BAE was the official repository of documents concerning American Indians collected by the various US geological surveys, especially the Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region and the Geological Survey of the Territories. It developed a manuscript repository, library and illustrations section that included photographic work and the collection of photographs.

In 1897, the Bureau of Ethnology's name changed to the Bureau of American Ethnology to emphasize the geographic limit of its interests, although its staff briefly conducted research in US possessions such as Hawaii and the Philippines. In 1965, the BAE merged with the Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology to form the Smithsonian Office of Anthropology within the United States National Museum (now the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History). In 1968, the SOA archives became the National Anthropological Archives.

Cultural Survival

Cultural Survival (founded 1972) is a nonprofit group based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, which is dedicated to defending the human rights of indigenous peoples.

Ethnic groups in Europe

The indigenous peoples of Europe are the focus of European ethnology, the field of anthropology related to the various indigenous groups that reside in the nations of Europe. According to German monograph Minderheitenrechte in Europa co-edited by Pan and Pfeil (2002) there are 87 distinct peoples of Europe, of which 33 form the majority population in at least one sovereign state, while the remaining 54 constitute ethnic minorities. The total number of national or linguistic minority populations in Europe is estimated at 105 million people, or 14% of 770 million Europeans.There are no universally accepted and precise definitions of the terms "ethnic group" and "nationality". In the context of European ethnography in particular, the terms ethnic group, people, nationality and ethno-linguistic group, are used as mostly synonymous, although preference may vary in usage with respect to the situation specific to the individual countries of Europe.

Ethnochoreology

Ethnochoreology (also dance ethnology, dance anthropology) is the study of dance through the application of a number of disciplines such as anthropology, musicology, ethnomusicology, ethnography, etc. The word itself is relatively recent and etymologically means “the study of ethnic dance”, though this is not exclusive of research on more formalized dance forms, such as classical ballet, for example. Thus, ethnochoreology reflects the relatively recent attempt to apply academic thought to why people dance and what it means. It is not just the study or cataloging of the thousands of external forms of dances—the dance moves, music, costumes, etc.— in various parts of the world, but the attempt to come to grips with dance as existing within the social events of a given community as well as within the cultural history of a community. Dance is not just a static representation of history, not just a repository of meaning, but a producer of meaning each time it is produced—not just a living mirror of a culture, but a shaping part of culture, a power within the culture:

“The power of dance rests in acts of performance by dancers and spectators alike, in the process of making sense of dance… and in linking dance experience to other sets of ideas and social experiences.”

Ethnocide

Ethnocide refers to extermination of national culture as a genocide component.Reviewing the legal and academic history of usage of the terms genocide and ethnocide, Bartolomé Clavero differentiates between them in that "Genocide kills people while ethnocide kills social cultures through the killing of individual souls". In addition, "since cultural genocide can only be the cultural dimension of genocide", the idea of ethnocide is more than just "cultural genocide", but also part of broader genocidal process.Because concepts such as cultural genocide and ethnocide have been used in different contexts, the anthropology of genocide examines their inclusion and exclusion in law and policies.

Ethnolinguistic group

An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) is a group that is unified by both a common ethnicity and language. Most ethnic groups have their own language. Despite this, the term is often used to emphasise when language is a major basis for the ethnic group, especially with regards to its neighbours.A central concept in the linguistic study of ethnolinguistic groups is ethnolinguistic vitality, the ability of the group's language and ethnicity to sustain. An ethnolinguistic group that lacks such vitality is unlikely to survive as a distinct entity. Factors that influence the ethnolinguistic vitality are demographics, institutional control and status (including language planning factors).

Ethnotaxonomy

The term ethnotaxonomy refers either to that subdiscipline within ethnology which studies the taxonomic systems defined and used by individual ethnic groups, or to the operative individual taxonomy itself, which is the object of the ethnologist's immediate study.

For example, in many West African languages, the perceptual world of color is classified into the principal categories "Red," "White," and "Black" (finer gradations being secondary). The range of wavelengths that an English-speaker calls blue would be a subcategory of "Black."[1]

The set of categories of familial relationships evinced by the ethnic group's kinship system is another ethnotaxonomy. An example of this might be the Hawaiian kinship system, where all members of a generation of the same sex are referred to by a single term. Both the relationships termed mother and aunt in English fall into the same taxon "Mother-Aunt". This does not mean that the users of this taxonomy are confused about the concept "Birth-Mother," only that it is a subcategory.

Conversely, an ethnotaxonomy such as the Sudanese kinship system or that used in ancient Rome, where no two relationships have the same denotation, may show much more granularity than the English system. Thus the relationship called aunt in English is not fundamental in Latin, but either amita "Father's Sister" or matertera "Mother's Sister" must be chosen. Latin and Sudanese are called a "descriptive systems," and Hawaiian is called a "classificatory" system, but this terminology is English-centered (see Lewis H. Morgan), the difference being one of degree, rather than kind.

Categories of plants, "Useful" and "Harmful," etc., are yet another well-known example. Indeed, in recent years there has been a vogue usage of the term ethnotaxonomy limiting it to ethnobotany and ethnopharmacology, because of the "rediscovery" of the medicinal and commercial value of plants disclosed by examining the botanical ethnotaxonomies of lesser-known cultures.[2]

Folk instrument

A folk instrument is a musical instrument that developed among common people and usually does not have a known inventor. It can be made from wood, metal or other material. Such an instrument is played in performances of folk music.

Institute of Anthropology and Ethnography

The Institute of Anthropology and Ethnography or N.N. Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology (Russian: Институт этнологии и антропологии им. Н.Н. Миклухо-Маклая; abbreviated as ИЭА in Russian and IEA in English) is a Russian institute of research, specializing in ethnographic studies of cultural and physical anthropology. The institute is a constituent institute of the History branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, with its main building on Leninsky Prospekt, Moscow.

The Institute is named after the renowned 19th century ethnologist and anthropologist Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay.

John R. Swanton

John Reed Swanton (February 19, 1873 – May 2, 1958) was an American anthropologist, folklorist,

and linguist who worked with Native American peoples throughout the United States. Swanton achieved recognition in the fields of ethnology and ethnohistory. He is particularly noted for his work with indigenous peoples of the Southeast and Pacific Northwest.

Konkan

Konkan, also known as the Konkan Coast or Kokan, is a rugged section of the western coastline of India. It is a 720 kilometres (450 miles) long coastline. It consists of the coastal districts of the Western Indian states of Maharashtra, Goa, and the South Indian state of Karnataka. The ancient Saptakonkana is a slightly larger region. The region is known as Karavali in Karnataka.

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge

The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, also known as MAA, at the University of Cambridge houses the University's collections of local antiquities, together with archaeological and ethnographic artefacts from around the world. The museum is located on the University's Downing Site, on the corner of Downing Street and Tennis Court Road. In 2013 it reopened following a major refurbishment of the exhibition galleries, with a new public entrance directly on to Downing Street.The museum is part of the University of Cambridge Museums consortium.

Museum of Ethnology, Vienna

The Weltmuseum Wien (former Museum of Ethnology) in Vienna is the largest anthropological museum in Austria, established in 1876. It currently resides in the Hofburg Imperial Palace and houses more than 400,000 ethnographical and archaeological objects from Asia, Africa, Oceania, and America. Since November 2014 the museum was closed due to renovation and was reopened on the 25th of October 2017.

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is a museum affiliated with Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1866, the Peabody Museum is one of the oldest and largest museums focusing on anthropological material, with particular focus on the ethnography and archaeology of the Americas. The museum is caretaker to over 1.2 million objects, some 900 linear feet of documents, 2,000 maps and site plans, and approximately 500,000 photographs. The museum is located at Divinity Avenue on the Harvard University campus. The museum is one of the four Harvard Museums of Science & Culture open to the public.

Tribe

In anthropology, a tribe is a human social group. Exact definitions of what constitutes a tribe vary among anthropologists, and the term is itself considered controversial in academic circles in part due to its association with colonialism. In general use, the term may refer to people perceived by a population to be primitive and may have negative connotations. The concept is often contrasted with other social groups concepts, such as nations, states, and forms of kinship.

In some places, such as India and North America, tribes are polities that have been granted legal recognition and limited autonomy by the national or federal government.

Turco-Mongol tradition

Turco-Mongol or the Turko-Mongol tradition was an ethnocultural synthesis that arose in Asia during the 14th century, among the ruling elites of Mongol Empire's successor states. These elites adopted Islam (from previous religions like Tengrism) while retaining Mongol political and legal institutions.

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