ethnology

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ethnology

(ĕthnŏl`əjē), scientific study of the origin and functioning of human cultures. It is usually considered one of the major branches of cultural anthropologyanthropology,
classification and analysis of humans and their society, descriptively, culturally, historically, and physically. Its unique contribution to studying the bonds of human social relations has been the distinctive concept of culture.
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, the other two being anthropological archaeology and anthropological linguistics. In the 19th cent. ethnology was historically oriented and offered explanations for extant cultures, languages, and races in terms of diffusion, migration, and other historical processes. In the 20th cent. ethnology has focused on the comparative study of past and contemporary cultures. Since cultural phenomena can seldom be studied under conditions of experiment or control, comparative data from the total range of human behavior helps the ethnologist to avoid those assumptions about human nature that may be implicit in the dictates of any single culture.

Bibliography

See R. H. Lowie, The History of Ethnological Theory (1938); E. A. Hoebel, Man in the Primitive World (1949, 2d ed. 1958); M. Mead, People and Places (1959); B. Schwartz, Culture and Society (1968); C. Geertz, The Interpretation of Culture (1973); E. Hatch, Theories of Man and Culture (1973).

ethnology

the comparative historical study of peoples and cultures within their environments.

In the USA and parts of Europe ‘ethnology’ has sometimes served as an all-encompassing concept for human studies, including various mixes of archaeology, study of material culture, linguistics, sociology together with social, cultural, and physical anthropology, which may also include sociology as a sub-part.

There has been resistance to such an overarching view. British social anthropology for example, has usually distanced itself from the all-encompassing ‘grand’ historical view implied by the ethnological enterprise. RADCLIFFE-BROWN and others advocated ethnographic studies of the social organization of peoples in the ‘here and now’ as a methodological departure from ethnologies, and historicism, although retaining a concern for comparative study.

In contrast, American cultural anthropology, following the lead of BOAS and of Kroeber (Anthropology: Race, Language, Culture, Psychology, 1923) has championed the ambitious all-encompassing broad sweep of ethnological enquiry alongside ethnographic studies, as nothing less than the classification and taxonomization of the ‘total’ history of humankind in all its physical, material and cultural manifestations.

ethnology

[eth′näl·ə·jē]
(anthropology)
The science that deals with the study of the origin, distribution, and relations of races or ethnic groups of humankind.

ethnology

the branch of anthropology that deals with races and peoples, their relations to one another, their origins, and their distinctive characteristics
References in periodicals archive ?
There is a good reason why ethnologists and folklorists, whether they go by one, two, or many names in their individual countries, have joint meetings in Europe and share institutions and societies in many of its countries: it is because their fields and their fortunes are two sides of one coin.
With such a breadth of material, it is interesting to consider why, in an age when ethnology was largely conducted through surveys, Richards escaped the attention of ethnologists such as Alfred Howitt, Edward H Curr and RH Mathews, none of whom refer to, or cite, Richards in their published works.
By inviting ethnologists to read the debate in this context, Wendling might also be opening the door to challenging perception of intellectual posterities, especially that of Huizinga.
Despite Maori dismay and the vigorous denunciation of ethnologists, The Arrival of the Maoris in New Zealand has secured a firm hold on the mechanisms of perpetual fame.
He found it necessary to defend himself from the attacks of literary romantics as well as ideologically prejudiced ethnologists.
Convinced that the scientific racialism of the American School's ethnologists was being put to the service of legitimating racial hierarchies in the United States, Douglass proclaimed that "the whole argument in defense of slavery, becomes utterly worthless the moment the African is proved to be equally a man with the Anglo-Saxon" (Papers 2: 506).
Actually, it is less an evaluation of his life and works than a defence of Leenhardt against presumed attacks, attributed mainly to Alban Bensa and Roger Boulay, two French contemporary ethnologists with whom Guiart violently disagrees.
It will appeal to a wide audience, as it has something to say to historians, ethnologists, musicologists, and the occasional psychologist-cantor.
Inkonze further relies on the insights of ethnologists, explorers and historians who speak to such matters as migration and trading patterns, Chipewyan origins, evidence of the strong Cree presence, Cree war and domination, the arrival of the thunderstick and 18th century smallpox.
Ethnologists are people who study human cultures and describe how they run.
Ethnologists work in general at the level of the village and, if they speak of 'groups' or 'societies', they rarely define them.
Ethnologists observe that, while not all groups have their devils, many do have their own "little people," such as the Welsh miners' "Tommyknockers," who warn of impending cave-ins.