Cultural Anthropology Essay

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As modern anthropology evolves, we may look at specific ways in which culture is evolving. However, many of us do not realize where the beginning of understanding culture through anthropology began. This essay will go through every step of culture as it developed as a main idea through anthropology, and how it has become what it is in today’s society.
Nineteenth-century evolutionism claimed that societies developed along a universal order of cultural evolution. This theory of universal evolution classified different societies as barbarian, savage and civilized. Evolutionists during this time period sent out missionaries into different societies and were told to analyze who they were and how they acted just as anthropologists do today. These missionaries began the very process of fieldwork without even knowing that it would become very integral to what defines anthropology today. However the information that these missionaries brought back to the evolutionists was only second-hand data, because the evolutionists rarely went out into society, shows that they could only make assumptions and generalize how these societies interacted with others outside of their homes. The assumptions that were made applied the general cultural evolution theory to all societies not just the ones that they had observed. They assumed that since western societies had very advanced technology, they regarded them, as the most civilized societies while all the other were either savage or barbaric. They also believed that all humans shared similar characteristics all over the world, meaning that people in their societies went through the same process of development, as did other societies half way across the world.
However inaccurate these assumptions may be in modern times, these evolutionists provided information for anthropologists. Their theories dealt with the development of complex technologies of each society and its progression through time, however their judgment did not include...

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