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Opinion on Anthropology Beyond Books: A Survey on the Importance of Anthropology

Simon Lawrence Dein*

University College London, UK

*Corresponding Author:
Simon Lawrence Dein
University College London, UK
Tel: 077-7831-5964
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: July 2, 2014; Accepted date: July 4, 2014; Published date: July 9, 2014

Citation: Simon Lawrence Dein (2014) Opinion on Anthropology Beyond Books: A Survey on the Importance of Anthropology . Anthropol 2:128. doi:10.4172/2332- 0915.1000128

Copyright: © 2014 Simon Lawrence Dein this is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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These authors provide an important paper on why students study anthropology and their satisfaction with doing so. They present data from a study of 100 students both undergraduates and postgraduates. Their findings indicate that students perceive anthropology to be holistic, not only studying all of mankind, but also men past, present and insights into the future. They further assert that anthropology provides good competency for employment.

The highest ranking in terms of the research assessment exercise are Cambridge and Oxford Universities. The Royal Anthropological Institute describes anthropology as a study of people throughout the world, their evolutionary history, how they behave and adapt to different environments, communicate and socialize with each other. The study of anthropology is concerned with the biological features that makes us human and with social aspects. It notes that Anthropologists are interested both in every day and the more dramatic and exotic aspects of people’s lives. It emphasizes that anthropology allows us to explore what makes us uniquely human and understand each other and ourselves at the same time. These ideas are reflected in the websites of the different anthropological departments which emphasize the importance of anthropology in understanding other people and its holistic nature.

How Satisfied are Anthropology Students With Studying Anthropology and What are the Benefits?

Although there have been no formal studies of this in the UK, analysis of two internet sites suggest that students find anthropology beneficial and interesting. Furthermore studying anthropology is beneficial in terms of gaining employment after university. An examination of the London School of Economics’ anthropology department, a major department of anthropology in London, suggests that students find anthropology useful and has led them to go on to gain employment [2]. Student statements include:

“Studying anthropology has really helped me work in multicultural settings and understand others culture and mind. It also gave me skills like writing, thinking critically and the ability to understand complicated policy issues.”

“Anthropology teaches us to critically assess human dynamics and so in many ways the skills are transferrable”.

“What I have gained from anthropology is the ability to explore, research and understand situations in a very holistic way before making any decisions on what can be done to address it”.

“Anthropology managed to satisfy my curious mind and certainly kept me busy by forcing me to challenge what we take to be everyday social and norms of our life. Your world, your society diminishes when you realize just how small you are in comparison to the many complex and rich cultures which surround you”.

“Your eyes are opened to different ways of perceiving the world which renders questions of wrong and right or difficult to answer”.

“An MSc social anthropology group in 1998 fundamentally engaged my intellectual curiosity, showing me how what I considered normal was actually quite peculiar and how the bizarre can become quite familiar”.

What do Students do Following their Anthropology Degrees?

Another study from the LSE anthropology students suggests that in 2012/13, 91% of undergraduate leavers and 90% of postgraduate leavers from the Department of Anthropology are in employment, completing further studies or taking time out for six months after graduation [3].

According to the Guardian Newspaper of the anthropology graduates who left university in 2008, 51% were in employment after six months in a diverse range of careers such as advertising and sales (8%), business and finance (6%), public or private sector management (12%). A large number were working in catering (15%) or in clerical roles (20%). This is probably a reflection of the current scarcity of graduate level jobs. While only a tiny proportion of graduates become anthropologists as academics or researchers, a relatively high number of 2008 anthropology graduates did go onto study further (21%). Courses included law, industrial relations, teaching, journalism, criminology and marketing. Some of the students did go on to study a master degree in some areas such as International Development and medical anthropology or sociology and economics. Craig Scott mentions that anthropology graduates enter a variety of professions [4]. Their employability will increase no doubt as the world becomes more globalized.


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