The Contemporary World Of The 20th Century Essay example

1440 Words Dec 8th, 2014 6 Pages
The contemporary world is in a constant process of transforming and revising its previous ways of functioning. However, for much of the 20th century, contemporary anthropology was still highly effected by its colonial past. Despite various anthropologists making strides towards improvement of anthropological study, anthropology’s colonialist foundations still disseminated into contemporary work. Yet, in the late 20th century, numerous anthropologists made direct efforts to reject racialized methodologies, and, into 21st century anthropology, entire forms of perception began to considerably shift. According to Stephan Feuchtwang, early British social anthropology sought “knowledge of total systems or structures from small-scale social units by direct personal observation with as little participation as possible” (1973:72). By applying minimal and misconstrued knowledge imbued with personal biases onto complex social systems, early anthropologists left much of their proposed evidence up to assumption. Using comparative methods, numerous early anthropologists focused on unilineal evolution and classified societies as progressing through stages from primitive to civilized. Wrought with racism, misunderstanding, and assumption, these types of studies continually reinforced misconceptions of the Other as less civilized, primitive, and inferior. Thus, early anthropological work readily maintained Colonialist ventures by perpetuating the superior-inferior dichotomy between…

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