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Career option in Anthropology

Career option in Anthropology

Sentinel Digital Desk

Ranjan K Baruah

There are many career options around us and if we can choose our career with proper planning and passion, then life is always rewarding. One of the careers related to growth and progress of mankind is Anthropology. The term Anthropology has been derived from two Greek terms, namely 'anthropos' which means human and 'logos' means study. Thus Anthropology is the study of human beings in its absoluteness.

Anthropology is the study of various aspects of humans within past and present societies. Social anthropology and cultural anthropology study the norms and values of societies. Linguistic anthropology studies how language affects social life. Biological or physical anthropology studies the biological development of humans. Archaeology, which studies past human cultures through investigation of physical evidence, is thought of as a branch of anthropology in the United States, while in Europe, it is viewed as a discipline in its own right, or grouped under other related disciplines such as history.

Anthropology is a global discipline involving humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. It builds upon knowledge from natural sciences, including the discoveries about the origin and evolution of Homo sapiens, human physical traits, human behavior, the variations among different groups of humans, how the evolutionary past of Homo sapiens has influenced its social organization and culture, and from social sciences, including the organization of human social and cultural relations, institutions, social conflicts, etc. Early anthropology originated in Classical Greece and Persia and studied and tried to understand observable cultural diversity. As such, anthropology has been central in the development of several new (late 20th century) interdisciplinary fields such as cognitive science, global studies, and various ethnic studies.

It is science which deals with human civilizations, traditions, cultures, etc. In simple words, we can say that it is the study through which we can find changes that happened in the past and how people have progressed since early ages. Anthropology is about people, their relationships, and how they live together as members of society. It contributes to the understanding and explanation of socio-cultural behaviour. Anthropologists as social scientists study the language, traditions, beliefs, possessions, and values of people in various parts of the world and formulate hypotheses to explain their research and findings.

Anthropologists take a broad approach to understanding the many different aspects of the human experience. They consider the past, through archaeology, to see how human groups lived hundreds or thousands of years ago and what was important to them. They consider what makes up our biological bodies and genetics, as well as our bones, diet, and health. Anthropologists also compare humans with other animals (most often, other primates like monkeys and chimpanzees) to see what we have in common with them and what makes us unique.

Anthropologists also try to understand how people interact in social relationships (for example with families and friends). They look at the different ways people dress and communicate in different societies. Anthropologists sometimes use these comparisons to understand their own society.

There are several branches of anthropology that deals with various aspects of human development i.e. Physical or Biological Anthropology, Socio-cultural Anthropology, Prehistoric Anthropology, Applied Anthropology, Linguistic Anthropology, etc. Students after passing senior secondary may opt for courses in Anthropology. To be a professional Anthropologist one has to qualify B.Sc in Anthropology. The minimum qualification for B.Sc in Anthropology is 10+2 pass with science subjects. Some universities/colleges also offer B.A and M.A courses in Anthropology. There are many universities that offer courses in Anthropology in India.

Anthropological Survey of India: It is a premier national institution of repute and is the only institute of its kind in the world where one can pursue Anthropological research in a governmental setup. The Anthropological Survey of India's genesis was from the Zoological and Anthropological section of the Indian Museum, which became the Zoological Survey of India in 1916. In 1945, Anthropology section of the Zoological Survey was carved out to become the Anthropological Survey of India. The head office was shifted from Benaras to Calcutta in 1948.

New Emerging Options:


During childhood we were fascinated by puppet shows. This is still popular in many places of the country. It is one of the oldest forms of entertainment and it is much more than just playing with puppets. It is also an important medium of education and many schools and institutes use puppets to teach students about various topics. Several stage shows and performances have helped in putting the spotlight on puppetry. This can be an alternate media for generating social awareness amongst the masses. This medium is very useful when we try to generate social awareness. In Assam and other parts of the Northeast, this can be an interesting medium and students may opt for learning about puppetry. We shall mention about some more emerging options in our forthcoming edition.

(Ranjan K Baruah is a social activist and career mentor who has conducted career awareness programme in different parts of Assam and Northeast India and can be reached at or 8473943734 for any career related queries.)

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