What is the meaning of Ethnology? Concept and Definition of Ethnology

Definition of Ethnology


1. Concept of Ethnology

Ethnology is the social science that studies and compares the different peoples and cultures of the ancient and modern world. Some authors consider it a discipline and method of research of anthropology.
Ethnology studies systematically and seeks to establish comparative relationships among the characteristics of the different peoples of the human from different aspects such as:
1. Cultural diversity: the Ethnology conceived culture as a plurality and in opposition to nature. Thus, the study of culture requires analysis of relations that unite and separate both dimensions in human societies and also to clarify what is universal in man and what is arbitrary in their behavior, creating a reflection about the links that unite the natural laws with the cultural rules.
2. Relationship between different societies and their influences.
3 Subsistence and economic systems, cultures or civilizations.
4 Religion and momentous symbolic expression.
5. Family organization, social and political systems.
How to understand and conceive Ethnology has varied according to the historical moment, the place and the theoretical schools which have investigated it.
A few years ago the Ethnology was considered the study of societies "no writing" or "without machining", let "primitive"... But immediately rejected the term "primitive" by its pejorative connotations and because the thought of 19th-century authors linking the idea of companies close to the State of nature, "savages" or "barbaric"... Since the "primitive" disappears from the vocabulary of the human sciences and peoples who so qualify are disappearing, one wonders if the object of study of the Ethnology is still valid
Lombard, 1997 (p. 17-18).
So, today is going to relate to the Ethnology, rather, with the field of society and foreign cultures, small communities, etc. Usually traditional rural societies. According to Mª Jesús Buxó (in Aguirre Batzan, 1993 p. 275) "it is the study of how and why different ethnic groups resemble or differ in their ways of thinking and acting in the past and at present".

• Kunz Dittmer: which considered it as ability to capture the strange phenomenon of people and different cultures, focused in a practical way because it serves to contribute to the understanding and respect of those foreign cultures. In addition emphasis much in the study of history to perceive the Ethnology.
• Marcel Mauss: If Dittmer hits history, this author (which later speak) is associated with the field of sociology. And it takes as a field of study societies that inhabit the French colonies and societies at a similar stage of development.
• Levi-Strauss: grant Ethnology and anthropology to begin worrying about wild or primitive societies. Adding other sciences to share this interest (downloading to the Ethnology of the monopoly of that responsibility) and a curious and strange phenomenon occurs: anthropology developed as wild societies disappear.

2. Definition of Ethnology

Ethnology, studies the man as being social, producer of a culture and a civilization through space and time. Its construction is not now holds since 1840/50 approximately and contributes to this evolution and applied to many materials. The main promoter of cultural evolutionism was Tylor.
From the cultural historical current, they made great definitions of all peoples who were meeting and were then classifying them into a kind of wheel to view or compare the degree of evolution. Their goal was to establish the history of the evolution of the culture to go seeing as it was developing. They also served these studies such as studies on prehistory, were living examples of Prehistory (the backward peoples).
In the first investigation researcher for the Cabinet works with reports of Geographers, historians, sailors, etc...
In the theoretical approach, it consisted of reconstructing the evolutionary line followed by man socially and culturally from the origins to Western civilization. Another factor contributing to this are the discoveries and travel of century XIX, in this is well known all the coasts of the world but there are some sites that are still virgins, in the middle of the century will come on these sites, it comes into contact with those peoples who were not known, studied and classified.
All what is known in the 19th century encourages reflections, also produced the search for the reasons of all things and the theory of the progress of mankind. All this led to the evolution of disciplines.
Reaction in the 20th century, the reverse process occurs, the anthropology attracted especially to the functionalist school. This functionalist school from 1900 in the Anglo-Saxon world are opposed to evolutionism. Some that make it up are Rodcliff - Brown' and Halincwski. They defend the work on the ground and they should not enter into the historical considerations, the new discipline will be called cultural or social anthropology.
The Anglo-Saxon world (were at this time in the Victorian era), had many colonies and these will be important and will have a leading role in these studies. From the 19th and 20th centuries, primitive peoples are studied in different ways, the methodology will change, characterized in:
These were of the view that serious work only could do when living with the people. Before working with reports of rulers who sent them by letter to anthropologists, and they made a summary and worked with the data sent from a given moment are given account that is best to live in that place and see it. The time period should be at least the minimum one year to study his work parties, etc...
These peoples were far away and help the learning of languages (anyone who was going to those peoples should know to speak its language for better understanding). Also it was important to live like them, become identified with the group. These cultures tended to disappear and had to do a study of emergency because they were progressing and developing. These anthropological studies that were performed were very important from the point of view of the policy of colonialism.

3 Meaning of Ethnology

Ethnology is the science that studies human groups currently or who lived in the past (in a principle only the object of study were considered primitive or pre-State societies) and classifies them taking into account their cultural guidelines (language, customs, religion, symbols, ideology, economics, technology, art, science, family, social and political organization, etc). It then proceeds to compare them, establishing similarities, differences, the causes that originated such diversities, the influences between different cultures, and their contradictions. Worry especially those societies that appear as peculiar or different from what we are used to see. When you study the present societies their object of study is confused with Cultural Anthropology.
It is not only descriptive of the observed phenomena, through field work, as it is the Ethnography, which is installed in the place for experiencing the cultural traits, but is comparative, explanatory and can establish laws based on generalizations. It uses described by ethnography, as theoretical basis, but it gives you a practical scope. Many authors classify it as a branch of anthropology.
The father of Ethnology, can be considered the Franciscan Friar Bernardino de Sahagún (1499-1590), who wrote "General history of the things of new Spain" because he studied the ethnic features of groups, with scientific criteria. He made a bilingual work, because in addition to write it in Spanish, he did it in the native language, nahuatl. However, some authors criticize him, accusing him of contributing to destroy the native culture.

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