Discourse analysis

discoursediscourse analystDiscourse Studies
However, the term first came into general use following the publication of a series of papers by Zellig Harris from 1952 reporting on work from which he developed transformational grammar in the late 1930s. Formal equivalence relations among the sentences of a coherent discourse are made explicit by using sentence transformations to put the text in a canonical form. Words and sentences with equivalent information then appear in the same column of an array.


French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss was arguably the first such scholar, sparking a widespread interest in structuralism. The structuralist mode of reasoning has been applied in a diverse range of fields, including anthropology, sociology, psychology, literary criticism, economics and architecture. The most prominent thinkers associated with structuralism include Claude Lévi-Strauss, linguist Roman Jakobson, and psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. As an intellectual movement, structuralism was initially presumed to be the heir apparent to existentialism.


Chomsky built on earlier work of Zellig Harris to formulate the generative theory of language. According to this theory the most basic form of language is a set of syntactic rules universal for all humans and underlying the grammars of all human languages. This set of rules is called Universal Grammar, and for Chomsky describing it is the primary objective of the discipline of linguistics. For this reason the grammars of individual languages are of importance to linguistics only in so far as they allow us to discern the universal underlying rules from which the observable linguistic variability is generated.

Ferdinand de Saussure

One of his translators, Roy Harris, summarized Saussure's contribution to linguistics and the study of "the whole range of human sciences. It is particularly marked in linguistics, philosophy, psychology, sociology and anthropology." Although they have undergone extension and critique over time, the dimensions of organization introduced by Saussure continue to inform contemporary approaches to the phenomenon of language.

Edward Sapir

SapirSapir, EdwardSapir tradition
At Yale, Sapir's graduate students included Morris Swadesh, Benjamin Lee Whorf, Mary Haas, Charles Hockett, and Harry Hoijer, several of whom he brought with him from Chicago. Sapir came to regard a young Semiticist named Zellig Harris as his intellectual heir, although Harris was never a formal student of Sapir. (For a time he dated Sapir's daughter.) In 1936 Sapir clashed with the Institute for Human Relations over the research proposal by anthropologist Hortense Powdermaker, who proposed a study of the black community of Indianola, Mississippi. Sapir argued that her research should be funded instead of the more sociological work of John Dollard.

Linguistic relativity

Sapir–Whorf hypothesisSapir-Whorf hypothesisPrinciple of linguistic relativity
Linguistic anthropology. Linguistic determinism. Psycholinguistics. Relativism. Terministic screen.

List of University of Pennsylvania people

Alfred Irving Hallowell: anthropologist and past President of the American Anthropological Association; Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. Diane F. Halpern: psychologist and professor at Claremont McKenna College; past President of the American Psychological Association. Marci Hamilton: Paul R. Verkuil Chair of Public Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. Alfred Harbage: 20th-century Shakespeare scholar and professor at Harvard University; General Editor of the Pelican Books edition of the works of Shakespeare. Zellig Harris: linguist.

Structural linguistics

Structural linguistics also had an influence on other disciplines in Europe, including anthropology, psychoanalysis and Marxism, bringing about the movement known as structuralism. First, in America, linguist Leonard Bloomfield's reading of Saussure's course proved influential, bringing about the Bloomfieldean phase in American linguistics that lasted from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s. Bloomfield "bracketed" all questions of semantics and meaning as largely unanswerable, and encouraged a mechanistic approach to linguistics. Those working in more or less the tradition of Bloomfield included Charles Hockett, Robert A. Hall, Jr., and Zellig Harris.

Cultural anthropology

cultural anthropologistcultural anthropologistscultural
Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans. It is in contrast to social anthropology, which perceives cultural variation as a subset of the anthropological constant. Cultural anthropology has a rich methodology, including participant observation (often called fieldwork because it requires the anthropologist spending an extended period of time at the research location), interviews, and surveys.

Linguistic anthropology

linguistic anthropologistlinguistic anthropologistslinguistic
Hymes also pioneered a linguistic anthropological approach to ethnopoetics. Hymes had hoped that this paradigm would link linguistic anthropology more to anthropology. However, Hymes' ambition backfired as the second paradigm marked a distancing of the sub-discipline from the rest of anthropology. The third paradigm, which began in the late 1980s, refocused on anthropology by providing a linguistic approach to anthropological issues. Rather than focusing on exploring language, third paradigm anthropologists focus on studying culture with linguistic tools.


The Archaeology Division of the American Anthropological Association. The Canadian Museum of Civilization – Archaeology. The Society for American Archaeology. The World Archaeological Congress. US Forest Service Volunteer program Passport in Time. World Archaeology News – weekly update from BBC Radio archaeologist, Win Scutt. The Italian Archaeological Mission in Uşaklı Höyük. Comprehensive Database of Archaeological Site Reports in Japan.


Ethnology (from the, ethnos meaning "nation") is the branch of anthropology that compares and analyzes the characteristics of different peoples and the relationships between them (compare cultural, social, or sociocultural anthropology). Compared to ethnography, the study of single groups through direct contact with the culture, ethnology takes the research that ethnographers have compiled and then compares and contrasts different cultures.

Operator grammar

This theory is the culmination of the life work of Zellig Harris, with major publications toward the end of the last century. Operator Grammar proposes that each human language is a self-organizing system in which both the syntactic and semantic properties of a word are established purely in relation to other words. Thus, no external system (metalanguage) is required to define the rules of a language. Instead, these rules are learned through exposure to usage and through participation, as is the case with most social behavior. The theory is consistent with the idea that language evolved gradually, with each successive generation introducing new complexity and variation.

American Ethnological Society

Ethnological Society of New YorkAmerican EthnologistAmerican Ethnological Association
The American Anthropologist is the quarterly journal of the American Anthropological Association. The journal advances the Association's mission through publishing articles that add to, integrate, synthesize, and interpret anthropological knowledge; commentaries and essays on issues of importance to the discipline; and reviews of books, films, sound recordings and exhibits." American Ethnologist is a quarterly journal concerned with ethnology in the broadest sense of the term.


historical recordshistoricalhistoric
In the 20th century, French historian Fernand Braudel revolutionized the study of history, by using such outside disciplines as economics, anthropology, and geography in the study of global history. Traditionally, historians have recorded events of the past, either in writing or by passing on an oral tradition, and have attempted to answer historical questions through the study of written documents and oral accounts. From the beginning, historians have also used such sources as monuments, inscriptions, and pictures.

American Anthropological Association

Political and Legal Anthropology ReviewAAASociety for the Anthropology of North America
Anthropology and the Environment (A&E). The Archaeology Division of the American Anthropological Association (AD). Association for Africanist Anthropology (AfAA). Association for Feminist Anthropology (AFA). Association for Political and Legal Anthropology (APLA). Association for Queer Anthropology (AQA). Association for the Anthropology of Policy (ASAP). Association of Black Anthropologists (ABA). Association of Indigenous Anthropologists (AIA). Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists (ALLA). Association of Senior Anthropologists (ASA). Biological Anthropology Section (BAS). Central States Anthropological Association (CSAS). Council for Museum Anthropology (CMA).

Franz Boas

BoasianBoas, FranzFranz Boaz
These are the hallmarks of Boasian anthropology (which Marvin Harris would later call "historical particularism"), would guide Boas's research over the next decade, as well as his instructions to future students. (See Lewis 2001b for an alternative view to Harris'.) Although context and history were essential elements to Boas's understanding of anthropology as Geisteswissenschaften and Geschichtswissenschaften, there is one essential element that Boasian anthropology shares with Naturwissenschaften: empiricism.

Tree-adjoining grammar

Tree-adjoining GrammarsTAGadjunction grammar
TAG originated in investigations by Joshi and his students into the family of adjunction grammars (AG), the "string grammar" of Zellig Harris. AGs handle exocentric properties of language in a natural and effective way, but do not have a good characterization of endocentric constructions; the converse is true of rewrite grammars, or phrase-structure grammar (PSG). In 1969, Joshi introduced a family of grammars that exploits this complementarity by mixing the two types of rules. A few very simple rewrite rules suffice to generate the vocabulary of strings for adjunction rules.

Society of Anthropology of Paris

Société d'Anthropologie de ParisSociété d’Anthropologie de ParisAnthropological Society of Paris
The Society of Anthropology of Paris (Société d’Anthropologie de Paris) is a French learned society for anthropology founded by Paul Broca in 1859. * * (In French) Leopoldo Batres. Paul Bert. Adolphe Bloch. Paul Broca. Louis-Adolphe Bertillon. Anténor Firmin. Louis Pierre Gratiolet. Abel Hovelacque. Pierre Huard, professor of medicine, rector of the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny from 1964 to 1966. Gustave Lagneau. Pyotr Lavrov (1823–1900, Russian philosopher). Gustave Le Bon (member from 1879 to 1888). Charles Letourneau, general secretary from 1887 to 1902. Léonce Manouvrier. Charles Martin Ploix, president in 1880. Clémence Royer. André Sanson. Paul Topinard. Joseph Deniker.

Cross-cultural studies

comparative studiesworld culturecross-cultural
American Anthropologist. 88(3): 682-686. Cross-Cultural Research. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. World Cultures. Structure and Dynamics eJournal of the Anthropological and Related Sciences. Transtext(e)sTranscultures: Trilingual Journal of Global Cultural Studies. Social Evolution & History. Society for Cross-Cultural Research. Institut d'études Transtextuelles et Transculturelles (IETT), Institute for Transtextual and Transcultural Studies, Lyons, France.

Cultural relativism

cultural relativistcultural relativitymethodological relativism
They concluded that anthropologists must stick to science, and engage in debates over values only as individuals. The debates over the Statement on Human Rights, then, was not merely over the validity of cultural relativism, or the question of what makes a right universal. It forced anthropologists to confront the question of whether anthropological research is relevant to non-anthropologists.

Boasian anthropology

Boas' argumentsBoasianBoasian approach to anthropology
Another important aspect of Boasian anthropology was its perspective of cultural relativism which assumes that a culture can only be understood by first understanding its own standards and values, rather than assuming that the values and standards of the anthropologist's society, can be used to judge other cultures. In this way Boasian anthropologists did not assume as a given that non-Western societies are necessarily inferior to Western ones, but rather attempt to understand them on their own terms.


On a simple level, it may seek through anthropological study to build a better understanding of colonial life from the point of view of the colonized people, based on the assumption that the colonial rulers are unreliable narrators. On a deeper level, postcolonialism examines the social and political power relationships that sustain colonialism and neocolonialism, including the social, political and cultural narratives surrounding the colonizer and the colonized. This approach may overlap with contemporary history and critical theory, and may also draw examples from history, political science, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, and human geography.


Like anthropology scholars, communication scholars often immerse themselves, and participate in and/or directly observe the particular social group being studied. The American anthropologist George Spindler was a pioneer in applying the ethnographic methodology to the classroom. Anthropologists such as Daniel Miller and Mary Douglas have used ethnographic data to answer academic questions about consumers and consumption.