Considering the pros and cons of each anthropological theoretical framework, is it better to use only one framework or to use them together? 

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Theoretical frameworks describe society and relationships within society through specific perspectives that seek to explain what occurs in anthropological dynamics and to explain how and why it occurs as various problems in or aspects of the discipline are analyzed. The benefit of using a theoretical framework is that it presupposes a system of assumptions and methodologies that inform investigation and analysis.

In that theoretical frameworks provide a set of assumptions, a system of methodologies, and a range of questions to ask, it may be said that one framework may limit research and analysis. Yet the variety of frameworks makes agreement with all virtually impossible. A useful moderate course to insure breadth of understanding is to use frameworks that are compatible with the one(s) you assess as the most viable theoretic frameworks.

To illustrate the question of compatibility between theoretical frameworks, here are a few present anthropological theoretical frameworks:

  • Functionalism
  • Cognitive Anthropology
  • American Materialism
  • Culture and Personality
  • Structuralism
  • Social Evolutionism