Ethnology

ethnology (ĕthnŏl´əjē), scientific study of the origin and functioning of human cultures. It is usually considered one of the major branches of cultural anthropology, the other two being anthropological archaeology and anthropological linguistics. In the 19th cent. ethnology was historically oriented and offered explanations for extant cultures, languages, and races in terms of diffusion, migration, and other historical processes. In the 20th cent. ethnology has focused on the comparative study of past and contemporary cultures. Since cultural phenomena can seldom be studied under conditions of experiment or control, comparative data from the total range of human behavior helps the ethnologist to avoid those assumptions about human nature that may be implicit in the dictates of any single culture.

See R. H. Lowie, The History of Ethnological Theory (1938); E. A. Hoebel, Man in the Primitive World (1949, 2d ed. 1958); M. Mead, People and Places (1959); B. Schwartz, Culture and Society (1968); C. Geertz, The Interpretation of Culture (1973); E. Hatch, Theories of Man and Culture (1973).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Culture & Ethnology
Robert H. Lowie.
Peter Smith, 1929
The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays
Clifford Geertz.
Basic Books, 1973
Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology
Clifford Geertz.
Basic Books, 2000 (3rd edition)
Introduction: Units for Describing and Analyzing Culture and Society
de Munck, Victor.
Ethnology, Vol. 39, No. 4, Fall 2000
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Distributional Instability and the Units of Culture(1)
Gatewood, John B.
Ethnology, Vol. 39, No. 4, Fall 2000
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Anthropology and Human Behavior
Anthropological Society of Washington.
Anthropological Society of Washington, 1962
Conquests and Cultures: An International History
Thomas Sowell.
Basic Books, 1998
Social and Cultural Anthropology: A Very Short Introduction
John Monaghan; Peter Just.
Oxford University Press, 2000
Social Anthropology and Other Essays
E. E. Evans-Pritchard.
Free Press, 1966
The Idea of Social Structure
George Park.
Anchor Books, 1974
Language, Culture, and Communication
Joseph Greenberg.
Stanford University Press, 1971
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Linguistics and Ethnology"
The Classic Southwest: Readings in Archaeology, Ethnohistory, and Ethnology
Basil C. Hedrick; J. Charles Kelley; Carroll L. Riley.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1973
One Europe, Many Nations: A Historical Dictionary of European National Groups
James B. Minahan.
Greenwood Press, 2000
Dictionary of Concepts in Cultural Anthropology
Robert H. Winthrop.
Greenwood Press, 1991
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