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What is your definition for the word Holism?Because i would like to know more about it...

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chikazu | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted November 9, 2009 at 4:35 AM via web

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What is your definition for the word Holism?

Because i would like to know more about it before i finish my Anthro class...

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 9, 2009 at 4:51 AM (Answer #1)

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Holism in anthropology is a term that means that anthropologists need to look at societies and phenomena in a holistic way.

Think about holistic medicine.  It argues that you can't just look a person's heart if they're having heart trouble.  Instead, you have to look at their emotional state, their family life, the foods they eat.  In other words, you look at the whole person, not just the affected part.

It's similiar in anthropology.  There, you're supposed to look at societies as complex organisms.  You have to look at the economics of the society, its ideology, its social structure, its history and everything.

So if you're looking at some phenomenon (say, marriage practices in a society) you have to look at all those factors to try to explain why it is that way.

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