Ethnology is the study of humans as cultural beings. It explores how cultural patterns are constructed, preserved, and changed in various times, places, and social contexts. Peoples’ cultural behaviors and expressions are examined through both contemporary analysis and historical reconstruction. Qualitative methods dominate and the empirical material is derived from various sources, such as archives, interviews, observations, questionnaires, artifacts, print and nonprint media, or the Internet.
The term “ethnology” derives from the Greek ἔθνος (ethnos) meaning people. As defined in various ways, the subject has developed along separate paths of inquiry and pedagogical principles (i.e., social and cultural anthropology and folkloristics). Ethnology (or folklife research) has been considered an academic field since the late eighteenth century,...
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