AnthropologyIs the academic study of humanity. It deals with all that is characteristic of the human experience, from physiology and the evolutionary origins to the social and cultural organization of human societies as well as individual and collective forms of human experience.
It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos (ἄνθρωπος), "man", understood to mean humankind or humanity, and -logia (-λογία), "discourse" or "study."
Anthropology's basic concerns are the definition of human life and origin, how social relations among humans are organized, who the ancestors of modern Homo sapiens are, what the characterizations of human physical traits are, how humans behave, why there are variations among different groups of humans, how the evolutionary past of Homo sapiens has influenced its social organization and culture and so forth.
Anthropology originated in the colonial encounter between Western people and colonized non-western peoples, as Europeans tried to understand the origins of observable cultural diversity. Today anthropology is a global discipline, and anthropologists study both Western and non-Western societies.
In the United States, where anthropology was first defined as a discipline, the field is traditionally divided into four sub-fields: cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology.
Europe the discipline originated as ethnology and was originally defined as the study of social organization in non-state societies, later redefined as social anthropology. Socio-cultural anthropology is considered anthropology proper in most of Europe, and in the parts of the world that were influenced by the European tradition.
Socio-cultural anthropology has been heavily influenced by structuralist and post-modern theories, as well as a shift toward the analysis of modern societies. During the 1970s and 1990s, there was an epistemological shift away from the positivist traditions that had largely informed the discipline. During this shift, enduring questions about the nature and production of knowledge came to occupy a central place in cultural and social anthropology. In contrast, archaeology and biological anthropology remained largely positivist. Due to this difference in epistemology, anthropology as a discipline has lacked cohesion over the last several decades.
SubfieldsIn the United States, anthropology is traditionally divided into four sub-fields, each with additional branches: biological or physical anthropology, social anthropology or cultural anthropology, archaeology and anthropological linguistics. These fields frequently overlap, but tend to use different methodologies and techniques.
More details : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropology