Social Anthropology: European Colonialism


European Colonialism is the term used to exemplify the progression when some of the European countries subjugated and ruled different parts of the world by maintaining colonies but staying under the rule of their home lands. (Coundouriotis, 95-96) This is the structure which therefore demonstrates the way that Europeans challenged their new masters with unstable degrees of aggression and also shows the new forms of power, work and knowledge which was introduced in the occupied colonies. It was this period that some European countries for example Britain, Portuguese, Spain, Italy moved into other parts of the world like Kenya, Uganda, Australia, Caribbean and many more.

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Cultural Relativism is the term that require to research different peoples’ stories in order to recognize their cultures and traditions. In other words, it is the awareness to be open minded about some thing and to have your own say about it. This is therefore the system that is desired to gather confirmation to listen to different stories thus understanding them. For example, in between 1994-2000s, a civil war occurred in Rwanda because of tribalism. Two different tribes hated and started hating each other. Many people lost their lives and properties too until after a long time, they started understanding each others and the war ended. For example, when some Muslim women dress up with their faces covered up or when Muslim men grow up big beards, some people are inclined to consider that men are terrorists or murders.

The purposes for the European colonization were political, financial or economical and the colonizers used strength or different techniques for conquering. During the colonial rule, many victims lost their properties and some lost their lives because they were turned into slaves. This happened for example in Africa where goods were traded in return for men who were later taken to the Caribbean to work on the sugar, coffee and tobacco plantations who were never paid at all and this shows that the new generation are challenging for the pay back on behalf of their ancestors who were affected throughout slave trade.

Social anthropology is a branch of anthropology which covers a diversity of subjects and it is divergent to the other branches of anthropology, a few things that social anthropology covers are history of society which may be a particular society or relationships between a society, philosophy, racism, conflicts of culture, religions, misunderstandings of culture or tradition etc. (Horvath, 45-57) Ethnocentrism can be defined as: making false assumptions about others’ ways based on our own restricted experience. Food preferences are perhaps the most common example of ethnocentrism. Every culture has developed preferences for certain kinds of food and drink, and negative attitudes toward others cultures food and drink for something can taste delicious until we are told what it is, where it comes from and what sort of people use it. European colonialism refers to time which began around A.D. 1400 when the leaders of dominant European countries sent explorers to find new lands and forge new trade routes.

European Colonizer were not dependants of Anthropology, This is evidenced to the reality that the colonizers were involved into conquering colonies and were not studying the different traditional and cultural customs of the non Europeans but the Anthropologists were fascinated in the studying of the non European humanities and also attended to their cultures and traditions to the current societal change. (Andrew, 110-12)

Works Cited

Andrew J. Strathern and Roger M. Keesing Cultural Anthropology: The Guardian Saturday, 2005: 110-12.

Coundouriotis, Eleni. Claiming History: Colonialism, Ethnography, and the Novel. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004. 95-96.

Horvath, Robert J. “A Definition of Colonialism”. Current Anthropology 13.1 (2002): 45-57.

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