Research techniques that were used in the study of

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research techniques that were used in the study of nonWestern peoples to explore diverse subjects such as re ligious movements, street gangs, refugee settlements, land rights, conflict resolution, corporate bureaucracies, social media, and health care systems in Western cultures. Ethnology Largely descriptive in nature, ethnography provides raw data needed for ethnology—the branch of cultural anthro pology that involves crosscultural comparisons and theo ries that explain differences or similarities among groups. Intriguing insights into one’s own beliefs and practices may come from crosscultural comparisons. Consider, for exam ple, the amount of time spent on domestic chores by indus trialized peoples and traditional food foragers—people who rely on wild plant and animal resources for subsistence. Anthropological research has shown that food for agers work far less time at domestic tasks and other sub sistence pursuits compared to people in industrialized societies. Despite access to “laborsaving” appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers, vacuum cleaners, food processors, and microwave ovens, urban dwellers in the United States who are not working for wages outside their homes put 55 hours a week into their housework. In contrast, Aboriginal women in Australia devoted 20 hours a week to their chores (Bodley, 2008, p. 106). Nevertheless, consumer appliances have become important indicators of a high standard of living in the United States due to the widespread belief that household appliances reduce housework and increase leisure time. By making systematic comparisons, ethnologists seek to ar rive at scientific explanations concerning the function and operation of cultural practices in all times and places. Applied Cultural Anthropology Today, cultural anthropologists contribute to applied an thropology in a variety of contexts ranging from business to education to health care to governmental interventions to humanitarian aid. For example, anthropologist Nancy ScheperHughes has taken her investigative work on the global problem of illegal trafficking of organs and used it to help found Organs Watch, an organization dedicated to solving this human rights issue. Linguistic Anthropology Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the human species is language. Although the sounds and gestures made by some other species—especially apes—may serve functions comparable to those of human language, no other ani mal has developed a system of symbolic communication as complex as
that of humans. Language allows people to preserve and transmit countless details of their culture from generation to generation. Linguistic anthropology, the branch of anthropol ogy that studies human languages, investigates their struc ture, history, and relation to social and cultural contexts. Although it shares data, theories, and methods with the more general discipline of linguistics, it differs in that it in cludes distinctly anthropological questions, such as, how does language influence or reflect culture? And how does

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