Is anthropology a science or an art?

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ANTH 230: Sociocultural Anthropology
Response Paper #4 Prompt
Over the past few weeks, we have looked at some of the fundamental questions that have
preoccupied anthropologists over the past few decades. For this response paper, you should
formulate your own opinion about one of the questions raised in class, by responding to one of
the questions below:
• How deep does cultural relativism go — should anthropologists take “practical rationality” for
granted in their interpretations of cultural practices?
• Should anthropologists be involved in the Human Terrain System project?
• Should anthropologists use different analytical methods when studying up vs. studying down?
• Should anthropologists take political action on behalf of their informants?
• Which is more important for anthropologists to do: study their own cultures or study other
cultures?
• Which is it easier to for anthropologists to study: their own cultures or other cultures?
• Is anthropology a science or an art?
Note: there isn’t a “correct” answer to any of these questions; you’ll be graded based on how
thoughtfully you argue your case and how well your argument is grounded in the concepts we’ve
covered this quarter, not on which side you choose to argue!

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