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
Walter E. Little
As Eric Wolf notes in “Anthropology,” his 1964 essay, anthropology is “the most scientific of the humanities, the most humanist of the sciences.” Anthropologists have commonly taken into consideration the human condition—that which makes us distinctly human. However, maintaining balance between anthropology as a science that is concerned with causation, structure, function, and the predictability of human and cultural variation and anthropology as a humanity that is concerned with the function of human minds and how humans create their social and cultural worlds has not been easy. Historically, this has created a tension within anthropology, as anthropologists tend to conduct research toward one of these poles. At the same time, this underlying dichotomy propels the discipline and makes it distinct from both the natural sciences and the humanities. From the earlier research of Ruth Benedict and Robert Redfield to the more recent research of Ruth Behar and Edith Turner, cultural ...