The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Applied anthropology

Applied anthropology is a subdiscipline of cultural anthropology that tries to use the practices and theory of anthropology to solve immediate problems about human beings and their culture.

This is a contrast to more academic socio-cultural anthropology, which may be more concerned with creating theoretical models which correspond to its units of analysis, e.g. social inequality, performance, exchange, meaning, and so forth. Sometimes the research that falls within the applied field is referred to as "applied" in contrast to academic research, which is referred to as "basic."

Anthropologists have used participant observation, survey research, textual analysis and other empirical methods to inform policy or to market products. A person engaged in applied anthropology is more likely to be employed in a non-academic setting.

Examples of questions that an applied anthropologist would attempt to solve might be:

  • If an American buys diapers at 2AM on a Saturday in a grocery store, what is likely to be his/her next purchase?
  • How can public health authorities promote condom use amongst members of a particular subculture?
  • What measures could be taken to make sponge diving more safe for Greek sponge divers?
  • Why do people migrate to XYZ place or from PQR place?

The premiere journal in the US of applied anthropology is Human Organization .

Last updated: 02-07-2005 13:15:32
Last updated: 04-25-2005 03:06:01