Document Type

Other

Date of this Version

1985

Publication Source

Encyclopædia Iranica

Volume

2

Issue

1-2

Start Page

107

Last Page

116

Abstract

ANTHROPOLOGY (New Persian mardomšenāsī), social and cultural, in Iran and Afghanistan (see also Afghanistan iv). Anthropology as an Iranological discipline evolved from a Western interest in non-Western and especially non-literate societies; over the past fifty years it has developed a holistic and relativistic approach to the ethnographic description of life in small, largely face-to-face communities, and to the analysis and explanation of variation in human experience generally. Iranians who have turned to anthropology more recently, primarily as a framework for the study of life in their own country, have tended to treat it as a branch of sociology and apply it only to the study of tribes and of rural material culture. The terms “social” and “cultural” derive from the historical distinction between focuses on interaction (behavior) and ways of thinking (culture), though they are not always easily distinguishable in recent work. The term “ethnology,” used mainly in Europe, is identified with a tradition that has paid particular attention to material culture. For convenience, in this article the simple and comprehensive term “anthropology” is used for work from all three traditions. (Physical anthropology is not included here.)

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Date Posted: 12 December 2016