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Anthropology and Disability: Studies and Information

Updated/Revised Date: 2023-01-12
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Additional References: Anthropology and Disabilities Publications

Synopsis: Information including recent discoveries, related anthropological news, and scholarly articles pertaining to anthropology and disability studies. Any review of written or oral history, or archaeological skeletal population, large or small, allows us to identify many individuals for whom a physical or mental impairment played a significant role in daily life. People with disabilities constitute a significant part of the human family. Sociocultural Anthropology draws together the principle axes of cultural anthropology and social anthropology. Cultural anthropology is the comparative study of the manifold ways in which people make sense of the world around them, while social anthropology is the study of the relationships among persons and groups.

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Main Document

A Broad Definition of Anthropology

Anthropology is defined as the study of various aspects of humans within past and present societies.

In Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries, the British tradition of social anthropology tends to dominate. In the United States, anthropology has traditionally been divided into the four field approach:

These fields frequently overlap, but tend to use different methodologies and techniques.

The three famous pyramids located at Giza, Egypt: From left to right the pyramids are called; Menkaure, Khafre, and Khufu. The far pyramid is known today as the Great Pyramid.
The three famous pyramids located at Giza, Egypt: From left to right the pyramids are called; Menkaure, Khafre, and Khufu. The far pyramid is known today as the Great Pyramid.

Sociocultural Anthropology:

Draws together the principle axes of cultural anthropology and social anthropology.

Cultural anthropology is the comparative study of the manifold ways in which people make sense of the world around them, while social anthropology is the study of the relationships among persons and groups.

Cultural Anthropology:

Related to philosophy, literature, and the arts, while social anthropology is more related to sociology and history in that it helps develop understanding of social structures, (such as minorities, subgroups, dissidents, etc.).

These categories also overlap to a considerable degree.

Medical Anthropology:

An interdisciplinary field which studies "human health and disease, health care systems, and biocultural adaptation". Currently, research in medical anthropology is one of the main growth areas in the field of anthropology as a whole. It focuses on the following basic fields:

Other subjects that have become central to medical anthropology worldwide are violence and social suffering, as well as other issues that involve physical and psychological harm and suffering that are not a result of illness.

Anthropology and Disability

Any review of written or oral history, or archaeological skeletal population, large or small, allows us to identify many individuals for whom a physical or mental impairment played a significant role in daily life. People with disabilities constitute a significant part of the human family. One estimate places the number of significantly disabled individuals with serious hearing, vision, mobility, or cognitive impairments, as high as one in every ten persons.

Scholarly Articles

Introduction: Anthropology in Disability Studies:

Devva Kasnitz, Ph.D., Mary Switzer Fellow, Russell P. Shuttleworth, Ph.D.; San Francisco State University.
http://www.dsq-sds.org/article/view/289/327

Disability Worlds:

Faye Ginsburg and Rayna Rapp; Department of Anthropology, New York University, New York, NY. Historically, anthropological studies of disability were often intellectually segregated, considered the province of those in medical and applied anthropology. We show the growing incorporation of disability in the discipline on its own terms by bringing in the social, activist, reflexive, experiential, narrative, and phenomenological dimensions of living with particular impairments. We imagine a broad future for critical anthropological studies of disability and argue that as a universal aspect of human life this topic should be foundational to the field.
http://as.nyu.edu/anthropology.html

Anthropological Theories of Disability:

Allison Ruby Reid-Cunningham; School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, California. The field of anthropology has contributed to knowledge about cultural relevance, cultural relativity, and defined the meanings of culture (Klotz, 2003). The concept of culture is important to anthropological study of disability because the lens of culture may be applied to disability in a variety of ways: Disability may be considered a culture, culture may be considered a disability, and cultural norms and values influence conceptions of disability (McDermott & Herve, 1995).
http://web.mnstate.edu/robertsb/306/Anthropological%20Theories%20of%20Disability.pdf

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Subtopics and Associated Subjects


Latest Anthropology and Disabilities Publications
Humans Still Understand Chimpanzee and Bonobo Gestures thumbnail image.Humans Still Understand Chimpanzee and Bonobo Gestures thumbnail image.
The discovery of gestures used by great apes provides evidence of intentional communication outside human language; over 80 such signals have now been identified.
Publish Date: 2023-01-24 - Updated: 2023-01-25
Unique Human DNA Evolution Was a Balancing Act thumbnail image.
Changes to the genomes of early humans had opposing effects from each other, possibly because of a delicate balance between improved cognition and psychiatric disease risk.
Publish Date: 2023-01-14
Dinosaur and Bird Fossils Reveal Diversity of Prehistoric Patagonia thumbnail image.Dinosaur and Bird Fossils Reveal Diversity of Prehistoric Patagonia thumbnail image.Dinosaur and Bird Fossils Reveal Diversity of Prehistoric Patagonia thumbnail image.
A study provides a glimpse into dinosaur and bird diversity in Patagonia during the Late Cretaceous, just before the non-avian dinosaurs went extinct.
Publish Date: 2023-01-12
Evolution Disabled Human Body Hair Genes thumbnail image.
Research reveals that humans have the genes needed for a full coat of body hair, but evolution has disabled them.
Publish Date: 2023-01-06 - Updated: 2023-01-17

Additional Anthropology and Disabilities Publications

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