Mothers' Brother In South Africa, Term Paper

Length: 2 pages Subject: Family and Marriage Type: Term Paper Paper: #55397668 Related Topics: South Africa, Africa, Analogy, Physical Anthropology
Excerpt from Term Paper :


In "On the concept of function in social science," the author considers what purpose social institutions serve. He starts by looking at Durkheim's definition, and then draws parallels between social life and organic life. He interprets the word "needs" as things that are "necessary conditions for existence." Thus, he views social institutions as directly related to survival. He suggests that societies should be analyzed in terms of morphology, physiology, and evolution or development, just as organisms can be studied in that way. The morphology, or structure, defines the inter-relations within the social institution. The physiology would describe what each component provides for the institution, and the development, how the institution continues itself in time. He notes some problems with this analogy. In particular, a social institution can change its structure in a relatively short period of time while a biological organism cannot. Thus this analogy does not describe how social structure can change. Another problem is that when biological organisms get sick we can make very clear distinctions between health and vocabulary as he did in the other essays, but in this one has a strong difference of opinion with another anthropologist regarding whether or not the author belongs to the "functional school of social anthropology, something the author argues does not really exist. He defines social anthropology as the "theoretical natural science of human society," by which he means the investigation of social phenomena by methods essentially similar of those used in physical and biological sciences." (p. 189) Throughout the article, he connects social anthropology to hard sciences such as biology. He describes, in detail, how his view of social anthropology differs when compared to other anthropologists. Since methodology is dictated by what the anthropologist believes is necessary, his distinctions are…

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