As an Ethnologist you pick a region where you want to do your research (that can be all over the world, even in your home country), and a topic on which your research is about. This topics can be summarised to subdisciplines of Ethnology, for example political structures, medicine or religion.
Before we go further into the subdisciplines, I’d like to go a step backwards and embed Ethnology in its overarching field. In the US, Ethnology or better known as Social and cultural anthropology is a subfield of Anthropology. Anthropology is the study of human origins, societies and cultures and is composed of four fields:
- bones: Biological anthropology
- stones: Archaeology
- tones: Linguistic anthropology
- thrones: Social and cultural anthropology
Let’s have a closer look to Social and cultural anthropology and accordingly to Ethnology. Ethnology is the study of the characteristics of different people. The focus is primarily on culture. This subfield of Anthropology can be split in various subdisciplines. The most important are economy, political structure, religion, social structure and gender. But there are also others like medicine, origins, music, globalisation and so on.
In the next few blog posts I’d like to give you a little insight of the five main subdisciplines. I hope you’re looking forward to it as I do!