Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Cultural anthropology is the study of human patterns of thought and behavior, and how and why these patterns differ, in contemporary societies. Cultural anthropology is sometimes called social anthropology, sociocultural anthropology, or ethnology. Cultural anthropology also includes pursuits such as ethnography, ethnohistory, and cross-cultural research. Cultural anthropology is one of the four subdisciplines of anthropology. The other subdisciplines include biological anthropology, archaeology, and linguistic anthropology. Some anthropologists include a fifth subdiscipline, applied anthropology, although other anthropologists see applied anthropology as an approach that crosscuts traditional subdisciplinary boundaries rather than as a subdiscipline itself. In the United States, the subfields tend to be unified: Departments of anthropology include all of the subfields within their academic structures. In Europe, however, subdisciplines often reside in different academic departments. These differences between American and European anthropology are due more to historical than philosophical differences in how the discipline developed. The central organizing concept of ...