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Anthropology is concerned with everything that is human, in all
parts of the world, both present and past. It is unique among the
social sciences in the breadth of its scope. Most disciplines focus
only on modern civilization or concentrate on single aspects of
life, such as government or the economy. Anthropology is interested
in all human societies and views life as a complexly integrated
whole that is more than the sum of its parts. It is the human
experience as a whole that anthropology seeks to understand.
The breadth of anthropology is reflected in its four subfields.
Physical anthropology studies biological evolution
and how heredity conditions that ways we conduct life.
Cultural anthropology, by studying the enormous
diversity of lifeways in contemporary cultures throughout the
world, attempts to explain both differences and similarities in the
way different peoples carry out the process of living.
Archaeology explores the human past far beyond the
range of written records, using specialized techniques to probe
Linguistic anthropology investigates the nature of
language and the critical role it has played in developing our
unique intellectual capabilities and behavior. The central concept
in anthropology is culture, and it is this vital idea which binds
the subfields into an integrated discipline.