Social Anthropology

Career Objectives

Study the evolution and development of the human civilization from its beginnings, understanding its cultural processes and making sense of history, in order to use this grasp in the implementation of sociocultural change policies.

Professional Profile

This professional wants to explain and understand the social and cultural phenomena of society. To this effect, he studies cultural manifestations of human societies, both present and past, such as their ways of living, language, culture, customs, social hierarchies, rituals, art, myths, etc; including all these aspects; perceiving that all of them are connected to each other and that some sway others; in order to achieve a coherent and integrated vision (forming a body) of society.

He gathers information from an *empirical basis of *social contexts and real cultures, tracing traditions and popular customs in the whole world.

Societies reflect their particular beliefs and values about the world around them through the material constructions of their different groups, such as experiences, clothing, food, crafts, etc. and their spiritual productions such as religions, myths, legends, legal systems, economic, educational, etc.

With this information, he tries to unravel the ideas that generate those cultural expressions, the hidden meanings within those expressions.

Anthropological research tries to understand Man in all his dimensions, not only in the *paleontological or *ethnographic context, but also in his ways to communicate, his process of knowing and understanding and the means by which he expresses his symbols.

After comparing very different social organization systems, anthropologists stopped considering the world as an immutable *objective reality to talk about multiple *subjective constructions of reality.

They proved that good and bad, beauty and ugliness, like many other social values, are not universal but exclusive from each group; call it tribe or nation, which is often convinced of the superiority of their own system and, frequently, tries to impose it on others.

The topics of anthropological interests cover all the human behavior areas, so there are anthropologists devoted to biological anthropology, economic, political, forensic, urban, rural, of gender, medical, etc.

His apprenticeship relates to sociology, but the anthropologist is connected with pure science more than the applied one and he devotes himself to the origins of current cultures more than vanished ones.

Specific tasks or activities carried out in the profession 

The anthropologist is educated mainly to investigate. The work of research has two stages:

The first stage is “fieldwork”, which usually consist on taking part in the sociocultural *context to be investigated.

Fieldwork or field trip is to live for a long time with some culture which manifests solid; the idea is to know their customs and understand them from within.

In fieldwork, you have to wake up early and participate in the life of the group you are investigating.

You have to interview, take pictures or film, take notes all the time, organize and reread previous notes. Meet new and different people. You must try to be a native. Think theoretically about what’s happening, to have an analytic approach.

The second stage is to produce an academic knowledge as of the fieldwork experience and deliver it as books, articles, photographic exhibitions, films, mountings for museums, etc.

Anthropological Methods:

Participant Observation: Immersion in culture, community, organization or in the market depending on what you are researching.

Field Diary: Record of data collection or ideas.

Active Listening: Observation of values and analysis of discourses, taking distance from them for a better objectivity.

Conflict Mediation: It establishes an ordered sequence of the stages in conflict resolution and its solution itself.

Empathy: Perceive the global relations of the community, distinguishing their parts.

Focus Group: Analysis of discourses imparted and perception of interests of the parts involved. Conflict resolution.

Cultural Analysis: Consideration of the community’s culture to determine the change management needed to work on it.

Transcultural Analysis: Cultural analysis related to what is beyond the boundaries of the community, for example, for tasks of designing *immigration policies, international trade, international marketing, etc.

In-depth Interview: It is done to collect key data and perceive power relationships.

Participatory Action Research: To accomplish the active participation of the groups concerned in problem resolution.

Social Network Analysis: Statistical study of the relationships and connections between individuals or groups.

Work of Anthropologists in social development tasks:

He studies contemporary human groups, defining a research problem and the interaction with that people will solve that problem.

The *ethnographic methods and tools are substantially *qualitative and close to people.

The anthropological methodology can be complemented jointly with statistical or *quantitative methods more of disciplines like Sociology.

The anthropologist applies or disseminates knowledge generated by himself or his colleagues in teaching or in practical contexts which intends some change in a particular sociocultural field.

He develops himself through interdisciplinary teams in the implementation of policies of sociocultural change, health, housing and education programs.

He can carry out studies of the social behavior such as customs and manners, power relationships, social distinctions, waste management, in all of them covering details and connections needed to reach a better understanding of that behavior.

Research of the cultural phenomena such as *aesthetic codes, moral values, beliefs, structure of thought and reasoning, education and cultural transmission, prohibitions, emotion management, *gender distinction.

Study of the historical processes such as colonialism and postcolonialism, migrations, economic or political changes, *ethnocide and *genocide, modernization.

Study of the biocultural aspects, such as biocultural evolution, racial differences, culture-bound syndrome, *demography.

Research in cultural problems that emerged by modernity.

Study of *integration policies of native communities.

Applied anthropologists have created public policies to fight against racism.

Study of the connections and social networks between issuing countries and immigrant-receiving countries, to fight against the creation of mafias and cultural conflicts, since the generalization of communications has opened the channels for the increase of migratory flows.

Cultural anthropologists make cultures find their place in globalization without being destroyed.

Anthropologists of gender are essential to put into practice policies on gender-related violence prevention in local communities.

Cultural anthropologists, specialized in ethnicity and nationalism, have been basic to define cohesion policies in the process of the European Union formation.

Forensic anthropologists, in numerous places of South America, have been the only option to find victims, give back the name of the deceased ones and bring peace of mind to their families.

Anthropology in Business

Anthropologists in business are fundamental to understand the relations within companies and the behavior of markets and consumers outside them.

For instance:

Marketing –Obtain a clear idea of the habits, desires, beliefs of the *potential segment of the population, as well as the product use (change, prestige, relations, etc.), so that the marketing is tailored to the consumers and their gender, class and ethnic relations.

E-commerce –Obtain the following information: how electronic commerce is used? Who offers e-commerce, who employs it and for what purpose?

How does it affect your life, your social sphere, your network (physical and virtual)? How does it affect your job?

Which uses do you make of electronic media (private during work, for instance)? How does it affect your ways of relating, your family and affective life?

Which differences of gender, class, income, sociocultural or ethnic stratum influence the consumer behavior?

Human Resources –Analyze use of time, power relationships that are traditional tools to identify the problems of human relations, to improve the work climate, find the most suitable pathways of motivation, reduce work accidents and sick absence, redesign the organization, change the (real) culture of the company and create new appropriate human resource instruments for each organization.

Transculturality –Internationalization of the enterprise, the proliferation of mergers and acquisition of new companies require a special training in the cultural change produced to identify the most appropriate strategies for penetration of new markets, motivation of local workers, etc.

In the realm of mergers and acquisitions, the integration of two or more cultures with their subcultures, power structures, etc. is fundamental to ensure a harmonious change, preventing resistance, boycott, etc.

Occupational Field

Research Centers



Ministry of Education

Ministry of Health

Ministry of Planning

Ministry of Women


Regional Governments

Non-governmental organizations



Consultancies in public or private bodies, national and international; in tasks such as:

-Advice in the management of cultural and social policies.

-Advice in the development of environmental impact studies.

-Advice in the application of technologies.

-Advice in *sustainable development studies.

Estimated time of College years:

5 years

Main courses considered in the syllabus.

Basic Training Courses

Introduction to Social Science

Epistemology of *Social Science

Social Statistics

Human Communication

Statistics and Software

Society and Culture

Society and Modernity

Professional Training Courses

Introduction to General *Anthropology

General Archeology

Sociocultural Anthropology

Materialist and Ecological Theories

Social Research Methods and Techniques I,II,III

Philosophical Anthropology

General *Ethnography

Psychosocial Theories

Native Peoples in America and the country

Urban field practicum

Biological and Cultural History of the species

Main theories in Social Science

Human Geography

*Ethnography of rural areas

Theories about modernity and globalization

Urban and Rural Anthropology

Anthropology and health

Anthropology of *gender

Anthropology, education and development

Social Development of Latin America and the country


-Anthropology of Religion, of *Gender, of Health, Economic, Political, of Art, of Knowledge, Linguistic, etc.

Vocation, Skills and Interests required in the candidate to this career


-Interest in the study of man and human relations as well as the cultural and social phenomena in general.

-Curiosity for social theories.

-Interest in other cultures.

-Appreciation for scientific methodology.

-Interest in coming near to other way of thinking and acting, a different way to interpret the world.

-Motivation for social sciences referred to the human being origin and development over time.

-Varied social interests, and interest in integrating these disciplines and make it coherently.

-Interest in generating knowledge in the social area.

-Curiosity for the world, for the human world in itself.

-He is struck by why there are so many different beliefs, why people think the way they do, want to learn about this, without judging intentions.

-Taste for travelling, being in other contexts, meeting different people and customs.

-Curiosity for ancient civilizations and everything related to primitive peoples.



Analysis, synthesis, reasoning, abstraction, interpretation and induction (all these terms are explained in the -aptitudes- section of this website)

Communication skills


-Humanization of the Earth.

-Because human being is led towards a positive evolution.

Or any specific dream or longing which feels involved or oriented towards this direction.

Candidate Personality

Sense of empathy

Respectful for diversity of life and the environment

Critical spirit

Ability to work in multidisciplinary teams

Openness, tolerance and respect towards the way of thinking of others

Ease to engage with people, live together and participate in what they do.

Work Scope

Work in diverse physical environments. Relate to people with a way of thinking and customs different from your own.

Related Careers

Sociology, Physical/Biological Anthropology, Archeology

*Glossary of Terms

*Anthropology: Science which studies the origins and fundamentals of a discipline.

*Aesthetic Codes: Signs or symbols which makes up a language to express beauty or feelings.

*Social Contexts: Scope or circumstances in which a social fact is developed.

*Qualitative: *Qualitative methods: Procedures and analysis strategies of the reality characteristics.

*Quantitative: *Quantitative methods: Procedures to express typical features of reality through numbers.

*Demography: Quantitative study of the human population.

*Sustainable Development: Development that can be sustained over time.

*Empirical: Based on experience.

*Ethnic: Relative to a nation or race.

*Ethnocide: Destruction of the culture of a race.

*Ethnographic: Ethnography: Science which studies, describes and classifies races or peoples.

*Gender: Relative to female or male.

*Genocide: Systematic extermination of an ethnic, racial or religious group.

*Immigration: Population movement from a foreign country to their own.

*Linguistics: Study of the evolution of languages, their development and their distribution around the world.

*Objective: It refers to what really exists, regardless of the personal appreciation.

*Paleontological: Paleontology: Study of fossils.

*Potential segment of the population: Part of the population in which a determined fact could happen.

*Subjective: Personal appreciation of an object, concerning your likes.