Social and Cultural Anthropology (SCA)

Project: Research Evaluation 2011

Description

PUBLIC DESCRIPTION
Nationally the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology is the largest research unit in its field, both in terms of the number of active researchers and the variety of research topics and areas of specialization. The research approach of the department emphasizes the global ethnographic comparison of different societies and forms of human activity. Instead of explaining the forms as responses to universal pragmatic problems or social and psychological functions faced by people everywhere, anthropologists use ethnographic comparison as a tool for identifying the social and systematic dimensions of human activity in each society. Comparative analysis is vital for invoking the questions and concepts which are useful for understanding the systematic features and significance of action in each case. While, for instance, the practices and knowledge of every society have political implications, “politics” is a theoretical construct without any uniform match in the diversity of human experience. The comparative analysis practised by anthropologists does not presuppose an underlying similarity of human realities. It works like a lens in revealing the significance of human action and making it intelligible to people in other frameworks of knowledge, helping anthropologists to convert empirical data from a particular society into concepts and arguments of general relevance.
The specializations of teachers and scholars currently in the research community of Social and Cultural Anthropology in Helsinki cover several regions and countries in the most populated continents of the world. They share foundational concepts regarding social relations and cultural systems, and emphasize qualitative (but not to the exclusion of quantitative) methods.

Responsible person: Timo Kaartinen, Department of Social Research

Participation category: 3
StatusActive
Effective start/end date02/03/2011 → …

ID: 51184281