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Discuss the relevance of anthropology to addressing social problems. Talk about how...

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aha1 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted December 14, 2011 at 3:10 AM via web

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Discuss the relevance of anthropology to addressing social problems. Talk about how anthropology can aid understanding in education, business, or any other occupation.

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted December 14, 2011 at 7:02 AM (Answer #1)

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The study of human beings, especially their development into societies, is often the starting point for arguments regarding what is meant by “human nature” as a motivation for individual human actions. “Of course, he did XXXX – it’s human nature.”  Since anthropology deals with the history of Man, present-day social problems can be linked to survival techniques (this is called Social Darwinism).  For example, the “fight or flight” instinct is said to have derived from the ability of those who had it to live long enough to procreate, thereby passing the instinct along.  As for business (and there is a business model based on Darwin’s theories of evolution), consider the anthropological basis of supply and demand; one branch of Mankind literally survived and another perished based on food surplus or scarcity.  The anthropological tracing of the formation of tribes, communities, cultures, even races, can give insights into modern predilections.

When addressing modern social problems, anthropology can explain, for example, the formation of gangs, and subsequently, ways to successfully deal with or eliminate them. Prison societies, when studied from an anthropological standpoint, may offer solutions to recidivism rates.  On a more positive note, the study of how populations have migrated in the past could help predict population shifts in the future or help solve immigration problems.  The point is that the modern sociologist can find many historical events to serve as models to avoid or follow.  Anthropology is the library of human experiences that sociologists can consult for solutions today.   How Man became educated in the past, how he coped with changing conditions, how he progressed from caves to high-rise condos -- in short, how Man went from "the Raw to the Cooked" can serve the 21st-century social scientist.

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