An anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of various aspects of humans within past and present societies. Social anthropology, cultural anthropology, and philosophical anthropology study the norms and values of societies. Linguistic anthropology studies how language affects social life, while economic anthropology studies human economic behavior. Biological (physical), forensic, and medical anthropology study the biological development of humans, the application of biological anthropology in a legal setting, and the study of diseases and their impacts on humans over time, respectively.
Anthropologists usually cover a breadth of topics within anthropology in their undergraduate education, and then proceed to specialize in topics of their own choice at the graduate level. In some universities, a qualifying exam serves to test both the breadth and depth of a student's understanding of anthropology; the students who pass are permitted to work on a doctoral dissertation.
Research topics of anthropologists include the discovery of human remains and artifacts as well as the exploration of social and cultural issues such as population growth, structural inequality, and globalization by making use of a variety of technologies including statistical software and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Anthropological field work requires a faithful representation of observations and a strict adherence to social and ethical responsibilities, such as the acquisition of consent, transparency in research and methodologies, and the right to anonymity.
Historically, anthropologists primarily worked in academic settings; however, by 2014, U.S. anthropologists and archaeologists were largely employed in research positions (28%), management and consulting (23%), and government positions (27%). U.S. employment of anthropologists and archaeologists is projected to increase from 7,600 to 7,900 between 2016 and 2026, a growth rate just under half the national median.
Some notable anthropologists include: Edward Burnett Tylor, James George Frazer, Franz Boas, Bronisław Malinowski, Elsie Clews Parsons, Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, Margaret Mead, Zora Neale Hurston, Ruth Benedict, Ella Deloria, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Clifford Geertz, and Paul Rabinow.
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