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[eth-nol-uh-jee] /ɛθˈnɒl ə dʒi/

a branch of anthropology that analyzes cultures, especially in regard to their historical development and the similarities and dissimilarities between them.
(formerly) a branch of cultural anthropology dealing with the origin, distribution, and distinguishing characteristics of human societies.
the branch of anthropology that deals with races and peoples, their relations to one another, their origins, and their distinctive characteristics

1842, from ethno- + -logy. Related: Ethnologist.
ethnology [(eth-nol-uh-jee)]

The study of contemporary cultures, in order to develop a theoretical framework for analyzing human society. Cultural anthropologists generally study societies by living among the people, observing, interviewing, and participating in their activities. More than simply describing the customs of these societies, anthropologists attempt to uncover underlying patterns and structures of cultural characteristics, such as language, mythology, gender roles, symbols, and rituals.


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  • Ethnomania

    noun a passion for ethnic or racial autonomy, esp. excessive devotion to one’s own people Word Origin ethno- ‘culture’ + mania

  • Ethnomedicine

    /ˈɛθnəʊˌmɛdɪsɪn/ noun 1. the study of different cultural approaches to health, disease, and illness, and of the nature of local healing systems

  • Ethnomethodology

    [eth-noh-meth-uh-dol-uh-jee] /ˌɛθ noʊˌmɛθ əˈdɒl ə dʒi/ noun 1. the sociological study of the rules and rituals underlying ordinary social activities and interactions. /ˌɛθnəʊmɛθəˈdɒlədʒɪ/ noun 1. a method of studying linguistic communication that emphasizes common-sense views of conversation and the world Compare phenomenology

  • Ethnomusicology

    [eth-noh-myoo-zi-kol-uh-jee] /ˌɛθ noʊˌmyu zɪˈkɒl ə dʒi/ noun 1. the study of folk and primitive music and of their relationship to the peoples and cultures to which they belong. /ˌɛθnəʊmjuːzɪˈkɒlədʒɪ/ noun 1. the study of the music of different cultures

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