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Seven Powerful Research Paper Topics in Cultural Anthropology

Cultural anthropology is a sub-area of anthropology that focuses primarily on the cultural differences in humans. This sub-area of study has been around for a little over a century, with the earliest indication of it appearing in 1897. Because the discipline is fairly new, there a number of unique and exciting topics to write a research paper on. Here are seven great ideas for you to consider:

  1. Marriage and family in a specific cultural group or a comparison across two or more societies. How does history and community play into how the marriage and family structure evolve through the decades? Are certain societies better off following a set structure or would they benefit from adapting different views?
  2. Different types of economic or financial systems across society and how communities are affected. Consider how many societies are patriarchal and will only allow males to run businesses or manage familiar finances. How do these societies do in comparison to others which promote gender equality in economic and financial systems?
  3. Examine the role of females in a particular society of your choosing. This topic is considerably open but allows a lot of room for creativity. Consider things like family or community affairs. What similarities or differences exist with your chosen society and the one you are most familiar with through your own upbringing?
  4. Examining the effects of culture shock and the best methods to work through it. Culture shock greatly affects immigrants in a foreign land. Not only are they experiencing new things but are expected to blend in and adapt to a certain degree? What are the best ways to work through this without causing stress?
  5. Determining innovative field practices in cultural anthropology. As this area of study is relatively new there are a number of new methods of gathering information and researching in the field. Which have been the most effective in gathering accurate data and in what ways can they be improved or expanded upon?
  6. A discussion of the major points of a particular culture of your choosing. Provide a brief ethnography. There are a number of societies that do not have complete ethnographies. Can you add to the discipline by starting to map this out?
  7. The influence of language on culture and language acquisition. How does language and its acquisition affect the way a culture forms or develops over time? Does language have the same influence in other societies?