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EUROPEAN ANTHROPOLOGY

The history of anthropology of Europe is very important and has been a very debatable topic in the study of anthropology but has resulted in significant strides in the discipline because of all the efforts taken by anthropologists from different countries in Europe. Several studies comment on anthropology of Europe and anthropology in general (Artetxaga, 1997; Belmonte, 2005; Buruma, 2007; Collier, 2008; Le Wita and Underwood, 1994).

The different textbooks on the history of anthropology as well as research by numerous workers could not reach a consensus as to the time point as to when exactly the concept of Europe began. (Harbsmeier, 1995). Almost all textbooks dwell on the fact that social and cultural anthropology originated in the second half of the nineteenth century and this lead to numerous developments in science, democracy and politics. Towards the end of the nineteenth century the important factor of evolutionism in anthropology began to break down. Although the tenets of evolutionism in general was rarely rejected, the focus of research changed when anthropological practice was faced with so many problems which required their solving before further progress was made. The enlightenment seen in the eighteenth century resulted in numerous developments (Harris, 1968). The most pertinent question that has intrigued many a historian studying social and cultural anthropology is the time when the scientific discipline took shape? Many writers come to a consensus about the origin or history of the social anthropologic discipline leading to setting the foundation of the true modern anthropology as being very difficult to trace and possibly started during the seventeenth or the eighteenth century (Evans-Pritchard 1951; Hymes, 1969; Bauman, 1973; Kuper, 1983 and Stocking, 1987). The reason for this question is because there is no definite data on the exact starting point which could suggest that development started from that time. A number of alternatives have been suggested but none of them are complete and give a comprehensive evaluation of the exact beginning of the science. This is important because this discipline is needed to explain the anthropology of Europe. The starting point however is highly variable and hence dependent on a number of factors and would need sound anthropology to come to a conclusion.

Although the idea of unified Europe led to the development of significant uniqueness, it was not a merely physical or an abstract concept. It was more of a realization and belief. The idea of Europe and the steps that occurred to improve and develop it changed during the course of development of world and European history. In the endeavor for perfection, there have been numerous wars within Europe to perfect the unified undercurrent and also for promoting peace within the continent. The struggle to create a unique identity also involved women who chose to strengthen the feminist side against the chauvinistic nature of the government and culture (Aretxaga, 1997). The most important problem faced by Europe was to establish an identity in spite of the struggles and rife existing within its several nationalities (Bellier and Wilson, 2000). Some of the most important events such as dissolution of the Soviet Union, Germany unification and the downfall of communism are significant in European history but in spite of that Europe has survived and maintained a definite identity of its own. At the same time as changes were occurring within Europe, other cultures and religions also influenced Europe, worthy of mention is the killing of Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker by an Islamic extremist which created a stir along the whole of Europe (Buruma, 2007), thus moulding the European outlook to religion, culture and the rest of the world in general.

All these factors led to a concept called "Europeanism" which referred to a unique political trend and a well understood versatile heterogeneous practicality all of which was reinforced by the continuous war waged between conservative, liberalist, revolutionary and democratic ideas. "Europeanism" also refers to the unified Europe on the basis of similarities in the people's thinking, governmental policies, interaction intra and inter state and with other nationalities and as a whole a complete identity far and totally different from the rest of the world. The attempt to unification resulted in a common group structure, systematic political outlook by adoption of democratic measures and increased representation and freedom of the individual. The changes were the result of people's experimentation within their families over issues such as freedom of expression, and to act according to ones beliefs and inclinations (Collier, 2008). The intricacies and the varied nature of the groups led to the development of a unique behavioural pattern and this favored the unification (Le Wita and Underwood, 1994). The creation of a unique identity was further strengthened by powerful leaders who emerged to unify the different groups so formed (Belmonte, 2005). This Europeanism led to unified fervour that ran from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains. A set of common ideas between people led to the development of a common group which led to a unified society and culture which again led to the formation of a related nationalities and finally Europe. The similarities in ideas culminated in the formation of the European Union. All these clashes of ideas from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries resulted in the development of an equilibrium which resulted in a development of a feature and phenomenon that is characteristic and unique of the Europe that we know now. Thus with every step in the advancement of civilization of man, there has been an effort for unification in Europe with the sole aim for establishing a common identity but which is becoming more and more difficult as time passes due to security measures, changing cultures and political boundaries. Since it is becoming more and more difficult to remain unified with advancements it is important that more efforts need to be put casting aside cultural, political and geographical barriers otherwise the European identity will not be unique anymore.

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