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Approaches of Radcliffe Brown and Evans Pritchard to study comparative methods in Anthropological Research

Radcliffe Brown holds that comparisons can be made for 2 purposes and there are 2 methods. He states only by the study and comparison of many diverse types of culture can we hope to arrive at scientific generalizations in order to formulate universal laws. We must also see the kinds of problems to the solution it is directed. These are of two kinds – synchronic and diachronic. In a synchronic study we are concerned with only a culture as it is at any given moment in its history. The ultimate aim is to define the conditions to which any culture must conform if it is to exist at all. The concern is with the nature of culture and of social life along with the discovery of what is universal beneath the numerous differences that the data present.

In the diachronic study of culture the concern is with the ways in which culture changes and the discovery of the general laws of such processes of change. The study of synchronic problems must necessarily to some extent precede the study of diachronic problems.

In Evans Pritchard's view the purpose of a comparison is to explain differences rather than similarities. He would like to place emphasis on the importance for social anthropology as a comparative discipline of differences.

The cross-cultural comparison is an essential device for the exposition of anthropological argument but it is not and cannot be a disguised form of scientific experiment leading to explanation as the phenomena dealt with are so complex and varied. He also states that the comparative method has been employed for too ambitious ends and that customs rather than quantitative relations between qualities or properties have been compared.

Anthropology of Sports

This is an aspect of applied physical anthropology. Tanner on anthropometry applied to sports has opened an exciting new field for the benefit of athletes. By measuring ,photographing and X raying about 350 athletes during the Commonwealth games and Rome Olympic games in 1960 he had shown that such studies would help in a scientific selection of athletes for different events in improving their performances more effectively on scientific lines and also to a great extent seeing the limits to which they might succeed.

Another aspect of applied anthropology and sports is to study the tribal people and understand their games; sports etc.This helps in understanding how their way of playing games and conduct of sports help development of their physique and attitudes. Each tribe or community has its own specialized type of sport or community play. Their games indirectly stress on the need of cooperation among the members of the team and to take success or defeat with sportsmanship attitude.

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