Anthropologists are the rightful heirs to the throne. These descendants of Early Cretaceous anthropods have developed subtle ways of exploring the inner workings of cultures. These skills often return amazing results and bland platitudes useful to all. A major reason Anthropologists have been successful is their love of dogs. Dogs are a social lubricant.
What is Anthropology?
Anthropology comprises linguistology, primetime anthropology, totally-sweet-shit anthropology, and guns. The precise methods of anthropologists are mysterious to the uninitiated, but anthropology is a social science concerned with the study of societies and cultures through minute observation of the social life of people, including their everyday interactions, their rituals, ceremonies, artifacts, stories and songs. The difference between rich people who occasionally like to 'slum it' for a laugh and anthropologists is that anthropologists take notes. Then, when they have a full notebook, they go home, collect the output of their trained typewriter-using monkeys, and pay hundreds of dollars to read this gibberish in front of their peers. Once they are done reading, they then must sit down, and listen to several of their peers do the same thing. Needless to say, Anthropology requires massive quantities of social lubricants to function properly, and therefore many are addicted to alcohol, caffeine, or kittens.
Anthropologists may sometimes read your newspaper over your shoulder on the bus. They have also been known to abduct young children and force them to labor in salt mines while reading excerpts from the painfully dull, pretentious, and utterly dilettantish works of Arjun Appadurai, Philippe Bourgois, and, worst of all, Valentina Napolitano.
The Typical Anthropologist
Most anthropologists are interesting people. The profession attracts many free-thinkers, and its fair share of nuts. While many anthropologists are incredibly smart and talented, the field of anthropology as a whole seems to be bogged down by a wide array of bullshitters, idiots, megalomaniacs, hopeless idealists, people who misread Marx, and just plain a-holes. Because of this, it is difficult for one to make progress in the area, as they wade through waist-high bullshit. Anthropologists can therefore be separated into two camps. On camp consists of richly dressed people with large smiles and even larger bankrolls from their book deals. These are known as the corporate anthropologists, or "big-time bullshitters." The other camp consists of poorly dressed individuals, looking haggard after months in the field, or trapped in a classroom. They have tight grimaces on their faces, and even tighter budgets, which are funded mainly by recycling cans, and looking for change left in payphones and vending machines on their college campuses, along with a few dollars from the sale of their textbooks. These are known as the teachers and field workers, or "small-time bulshitters." Somewhere far outside both camps, and definitely away from the conventions, are a few other people, called the interesting people, or "Can't stand the smell of bullshitters."
History of Anthropology
Anthropology was created in 1867 by French scientist Jaques Ober. Ober was a Man-Queef so when he attempted to scientifically prove that the French were better than everyone else, he died twice. He did this by intensely studying the habits of other cultures, mostly by sneaking into peoples' homes at night and watching them sleep. His research paper was simply entitled "Anthropology" because the years of study had driven him mad and he was just typing random letters at that point. After Ober's death, his work was thrown out as utter ducks, but scholars liked the idea of studying human behavior. (They were running low on thongs to study, so studying each other was a logical step.)
Anthropology in the early days consisted largely of very overweight scholars reading the accounts of missionaries and adventurers and seeing if there were any patterns. They became known as the Armchair Scholars: they tended occasionally to drop sheets of paper they were reading into the cushions of their jaguars, which caused them to fish through the said cushions. Thus, they were humorously accused of studying the chair rather than the text (this appears to be one of those "You had to be there" -jokes). The downside of this was that the accounts of these scholars were typically suspect in accuracy. For instance, adventurer Allen Treyman's autobiographical work, Right Against Might: My Heroic Struggle Against the Filthy, Filthy Savages was the primary basis of our understanding of South American knowledge gap for decedes. Not until the genesis of field work would we realize that South American peoples did not eat their prisoners of war, use their own babies as weapons or worship Allen Treyman as a god after he impregnated all of their most beautiful princesses.
Eventually, anthropologists realized that if you want a job done right you have to do it yourself, and the practice of field work emerged. While a decided loss for the European upholstery industry, field work allowed anthropologists to finally know what they were talking about. Today in Africa (and in sections of Asia) you can't swing a cat without hitting an anthropologist or his camera crew.
Later on, it was realized that merely doing fieldwork wasn't good enough. People had to know what you had learned out there. This led to the invention of anthropological associations, conventions, and meetings, where people sit in cheaply made mass-produced chairs, and leaf through the work of other anthropologists. The European Armchair union is still trying to be allowed admission to these groups, after which, all progress can once again cease.
Types of Research
Anthrozoology: Those who play with animals all day and call it research.
Archaeology: Pretty much anyone who worshipped Indiana Jones or that guy from "The Mummy" who digs up things pertaining to ancient civilizations or just anything old that relates to humans.
Biomedical Anthropology: Biology + Medicine + Anthropology.
Ethnography: The study of people by actually getting up off your ass and looking at them. Listening to their stories is also an important component. The creation of ethnography has been widely documented as an attempt for socially awkward, unattractive, mousy pedants to gain free passage to a foreign country on the dollar of a taxpayer funder university in order to sleep with the young passport hunting girls of whichever exotic country they have chosen. This "scientific" study has been debunked by those who choose not to engage in a strange holding-pattern that is approximately between star-gazing and navel-watching and who do not believe in extreme forms of relativism which are lazily thrown out in serious debate in much the same way that a young child says "uh uh."
Ethnology: Ethnography for the lazy. Involves trying to piece together things about a culture just by reading about it. Not dissimilar to writing fanfiction. Armchair optional.
Ethanology: The fine art of consuming and appreciating ethanol including beverages of all ages. Snobbism optional.
Ethology: Ethnography for the anti-social. The same thing as Ethnography except with animals. Cultural assimilation optional.
Ehology: A combination of Ethology and Ethnology. Involves reading Jane Goodall's books and seeing if you think she missed anything obvious.
Eolgy: Involves no actual research, but simply reading the scientific reports of other anthropologists and laughing at their spelling and grammatical errors (e.g. 'dreven', 'Europian' and 'componant', above). Makes you feel like a big man.
Egy: Do absolutely nothing but fill seats at anthropological summits. Acting interested optional.
Forensic Anthropology: The fine observation of human osteology (or bones in layman's terms) in legal settings that normally are associated with criminal investigations. The show Bones on FOX best portrays what a Forensic Anthropologist does. Too bad the idiots that wrote the page on Uncyclopedia are uneducated idiots or angry Psychologists.
Paleopathology: Figuring out which disease killed the pile of ancient bones you're examining.
Primatology: Study of those cute furry fellers that are closely related to us.
Sociocultural Anthropology: Glorified sociologists.
Archaeologists <-> Anthropologists
Archaeologists and Anthropologists are not long time bitter rivals, fighting many bloody wars, including the 7 Year Itch War. They are actually one in the same on many levels. Archaeology is a specialty that a person studying Anthropology can choose to pursue. Other fields in Anthropology are Linguistics, Kinship Family Systems, Cultural, and Psychological Anthropology. So, in reality... Archeologists ARE Anthropologists, but an Anthropologist ISN'T ALWAYS an archeologist.
Archaeologists of course get all uppity when Anthropologists point this out. Then they backpedal, claim they went to Europe for school and are therefore Historians, not Anthropologists, or that they are some sort of "Earth Scientist." When asked to see their college degree, they spin around in a huff, and talk crap about the conventions that Anthropologists have to go to... Of course, Anthropologists sometimes do the exact same thing in this sort of situation, so who can blame them?
'Controversy' is the favorite song of most Anthropologists.
Anthropology As A Career
“It's a man's life in the hi dumby if you are reading this and you believe it you are an idiot Royal British Anthropology Corps!”
Anthropology may be a career for you. However, since the recent research funding policy decision that health and medicine are the only topics social science need concern itself with, all future academic appointments will be in medical anthropology only. Sorry. (Related article: Biotech, section 5: The Future of Life Sciences in Higher Education)
Famous Anthropological Studies
- 12 year old girl theory
- Brobdingnag (documented by Jonathan Swift)
- Ewoks (documented by George Lucas)
- Hobbits (documented by J.R.R. Tolkien)
- Office Workers (documented by Ricky Gervais)
- Pirates (documented by R.L. Stevenson, Bronislaw Malinowski & Bruce Chatwin)
- The Moomins (documented by Juhani Suomi)
- The Smurfs
- The Taliban (documented by Roland Barthes)
- White People
- Witches (documented by William Shakespeare & Terry Pratchett)
- Wombles (documented by Elisabeth Beresford)
Famous anthropologists (fictional)
- Alan Moore
- Bronislaw Malinowski
- Bruce Chatwin
- Bruce Parry
- C.S. Lewis
- E.E. Evans Pritchard
- J.R.R. Tolkien
- Jean LaFontaine
- Jonathan Swift
- Marilyn Strathern
- Peter Jackson
- Pitt Rivers
- Ron Jeremy
- Bones aka Temperance Brennan
- Franz Boas
Famous anthropologists (real)
- Alan Quatermain
- Desmond Morris
- Doug McClure
- Joseph Conrad
- Lemuel Gulliver
- Pliny the Elder
- Professor Challenger
- The Doctor