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Syllabus of Anthropology Paper - I

1.1. Meaning, Scope and development of Anthropology.

    1.2. Relationships with other disciplines: Social Sciences, behavioural Sciences, Life Sciences, Medical Sciences, Earth Sciences and Humanities.

    1.3. Main branches of Anthropology, their scope and relevance:

    1. Social-cultural Anthropology.
    2. biological Anthropology.
    3. Archaeological Anthropology.
    4. Linguistic Anthropology.

    1.4. Human Evolution and emergence of Man:

    1. Biological and Cultural factors in human evolution.
    2. Theories of Organic Evolution (Pre-Darwinian, Darwinian and Post-Darwinian).
    3. Synthetic theory of evolution; Brief outline of terms and concepts of evolutionary biology (Doll’s rule, Cope’s rule, Gause’s rule, parallelism, convergence, adaptive radiation, and mosaic evolution).

    1.5.Characteristics of Primates: Evolutionary Trend and Primate Taxonomy; Primate Adaptations; (Arboreal and Terrestrial) Primate Taxonomy; Primate Behaviour; Tertiary and Quaternary fossil primates; Living Major Primates; Comparative Anatomy of Man and Apes; Skeletal changes due to erect posture and its implications.

    1.6. Phylogenetic status, characteristics and geographical distribution of the following:

    1. Plio-preleistocene hominids in South and East Africa—Australopithecines.
    2. Homo erectus: Africa (Paranthropus), Europe (Homo erectus (heidelbergensis), Asia (Homo erectus javanicus, Homo erectus pekinensis.
    3. Neanderthal man—La-chapelle-aux-saints (Classical type), Mt. Carmel (Progressive type).
    4. Rhodesian man.
    5. Homo sapiens—Cromagnon, Grimaldi and Chancelede.

    1.7. The biological basis of Life: The Cell, DNA structure and replication, Protein Synthesis, Gene, Mutation, Chromosomes, and Cell Division.

    1.8. (a) Principles of Prehistoric Archaeology. Chronology: Relative and Absolute Dating methods.
    (b) Cultural Evolution—Broad Outlines of Prehistoric cultures:

    1. Paleolithic
    2. Mesolithic
    3. Neolithic
    4. Chalcolithic
    5. Copper-Bronze age
    6. Iron Age

    2.1.The Nature of Culture: The concept and Characteristics of culture and civilization;Ethnocentrism vis-a-vis cultural Relativism.

    2.2.The Nature of Society: Concept of Society; Society and Culture; Social Institution; Social groups; and social stratification.

    2.3.Marriage: Definition and universality; Laws of marriage (endogamy, exogamy, hypergamy, hypogamy, incest taboo); Type of marriage (monogamy, polygamy, polyandry, group marriage). Functions of marriage; Marriage regulations (preferential, prescriptive and proscriptive); Marriage payments (bride wealth and dowry).

    2.4. Family: Definition and universality; Family, household and domestic groups; functions of family; Types of family (from the perspectives of structure, blood relation, marriage, residence and succession); Impact of urbanization, industrialization and feminist movements on family.

    2.5.Kinship: Consanguinity and Affinity; Principles and types of descent (Unilineal, Double, Bilateral Ambilineal); Forms of descent groups (lineage, clan, phratry, moiety and kindred); Kinship terminology (descriptive and classificatory); Descent, Filiation and Complimentary Filiation;Decent and Alliance.

    3.Economic Organization: Meaning, scope and relevance of economic anthropology; Formalist and Substantivist debate; Principles governing production, distribution and exchange (reciprocity,redistribution and market), in communities, subsisting on hunting and gathering, fishing, swiddening, pastoralism, horticulture, and agriculture; globalization and indigenous economic systems.

    4.Political Organization and Social Control:Band, tribe, chiefdom, kingdom and state; conceptsof power, authority and legitimacy; social control, law and justice in simple Societies.

    5. Religion: Anthropological approaches to the study of religion (evolutionary, psychological and functional); monotheism and polytheism; sacred and profane; myths and rituals; forms of religion in tribal and peasant Societies (animism, animatism, fetishism, naturism and totemism); religion, magic and science distinguished; magico-religious functionaries (priest, shaman, medicine man,

    6. Anthropological theories:
    (a) Classical evolutionism (Tylor, Morgan and Frazer)
    (b) Historical particularism (Boas) Diffusionism (British, German and American)
    (c) Functionalism (Malinowski); Structural—Functionlism (Radcliffe-Brown)
    (d) Structuralism (Levi-Strauss and E. Leach)
    (e) Culture and personality (Benedict, Mead, Linton, Kardiner and Cora-du Bois)
    (f) Neo—evolutionism (Childe, White, Steward, Sahlins and Service)
    (g) Cultural materialism (Harris)
    (h) Symbolic and interpretive theories (Turner, Schneider and Geertz)
    (i) Cognitive theories (Tyler, Conklin)
    (j) Post-modernism in anthropology.

    7. Culture, Language and Communication: Nature, origin and characteristics of language; verbal and non-verbal communication; social context of language use.

    8. Research methods in Anthropology:
    (a) Fieldwork tradition in anthropology
    (b) Distinction between technique, method and methodology
    (c) Tools of data collection: observation, interview, schedules, questionnaire, case study, genealogy, life-history, oral history, secondary sources of information, participatory methods.
    (d) Analysis, interpretation and presentation of data.

    9.1. Human Genetics: Methods and Application: Methods for study of genetic principles in man family study (pedigree analysis, twin study, foster child, co-twin method, cytogenetic method, chromosomal and karyo-type analysis), biochemical methods, immunological methods, D.N.A. technology and recombinant technologies.

    Mendelian genetics in man-family study, single factor, multifactor, lethal, sub-lethal and polygenic inheritance in man.

    9.3. Concept of genetic polymorphism and selection, Mendelian population, Hardy-Weinberg law; causes and changes which bring down frequency-mutation, isolation, migration, selection, inbreeding and genetic drift. Consanguineous and non-consanguineous mating, genetic load, genetic effect of consanguineous and cousin marriages.

    9.4. Chromosomes and chromosomal aberrations in man, methodology.
    (a) Numerical and structural aberrations (disorders).
    (b) Sex chromosomal aberration- Klinefelter (XXY), Turner (XO), Super female (XXX), intersex and other syndromic disorders.
    (c) Autosomal aberrations- Down syndrome, Patau, Edward and Cri-du-chat syndromes.
    (d) Genetic imprints in human disease, genetic screening, genetic counseling, human DNA profiling, gene mapping and genome study.

    9.5. Race and racism, biological basis of morphological variation of non-metric and characters. Racial criteria, racial traits in relation to heredity and environment; biological basis of racial classification, racial differentiation and race crossing in man.

    9.6 Age, sex and population variation as genetic marker: ABO, Rh blood groups, HLA Hp, transferring, Gm, blood enzymes. Physiological characteristics-Hb level, body fat, pulse rate, respiratory functions and sensory perceptions in different cultural and socio-ecomomic groups.

    9.7. Concepts and methods of Ecological Anthropology: Bio-cultural Adaptations—Genetic and Non-genetic factors. Man’s physiological responses to environmental stresses: hot desert, cold, high-altitude climate.

    9.8. Epidemiological Anthropology: Health and disease. Infectious and non-infectious diseases, Nutritional deficiency related diseases.

    10. Concept of human growth and Development: Stages of growth—pre-natal, natal, infant, childhood, adolescence, maturity, senescence.

    — Factors affecting growth and development genetic, environmental, biochemical, nutritional, cultural and socio-economic.
    — Ageing and senescence. Theories and observations
    — biological and chronological longevity. Human physique and somatotypes. Methodologies for growth studies.

    11.1. Relevance of menarche, menopause and other bio events to fertility. Fertility patterns and differentials.

    11.2. Demographic theories-biological, social and cultural.

    11.3. Biological and socio-ecological factors influencing fecundity, fertility, natality and mortality.

    12. Applications of Anthropology: Anthropology of sports, Nutritional anthropology, Anthroplogy in designing of defence and other equipments, Forensic Anthroplogy, Methods and principles of personal identification and reconstruction, Applied human genetics—Paternity diagnosis, genetic counselling and eugenics, DNA technology in diseases and medicine, serogenetics and cytogenetics in reproductive biology.

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    Paper - 2

    1.1. Evolution of the Indian Culture and Civilization— Prehistoric (Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and Neolithic-Chalcolithic), Protohistoric (Indus Civilization). Pre-Harappan, Harappan and post Harappan cultures. Contributions of the tribal cultures to Indian civilization.

    1.2. Palaeo—Anthropological evidences from India with special reference to Siwaliks and Narmada basin (Ramapithecus, Sivapithecus and Narmada Man).

    1.3. Ethno-archaeology in India: The concept of ethno-archaeology; Survivals and Parallels among the hunting, foraging, fishing, pastoral and peasant communities including arts and crafts producing communities.

    2. Demographic profile of India— Ethnic and linguistic elements in the Indian population and their distribution. Indian population—factors influencing its structure and growth.

    3.1. The structure and nature of traditional Indian social system—Varnashram, Purushartha, Karma, Rina and Rebirth.

    3.2. Caste system in India— Structure and characteristics Varna and caste, Theories of origin of caste system, Dominant caste, Caste mobility, Future of caste system, Jajmani system. Tribe-case continuum.

    3.3. Sacred Complex and Nature-Man-Spirit Complex.

    3.4. Impact of Buddhism, Jainism, Islam and Christianity of Indian society.

    4. Emergence, growth and development in India— Contributions of the 18th, 19th and early 20th Century scholar-administrators. Contributions of Indian anthropologists to tribal and caste studies.

    5.1. Indian Village— Significance of village study in India; Indian village as a social system; Traditional and changing patterns of settlement and inter-caste relations; Agrarian relations in Indian villages; Impact of globalization on Indian villages.

    5.2. Linguistic and religious minorities and their social, political and economic status.

    5.3. Indigenous and exogenous processes of socio-cultural change in Indian society: Sanskritization, Westernization, Modernization; Inter-play of little and great traditions; Panchayati Raj and social change; Media and Social change.

    6.1. Tribal situation in India— Bio-genetic variability, linguistic and socio-economic characteristics of the tribal populations and their distribution.

    6.2. Problems of the tribal Communities— Land alienation, poverty, indebtedness, low literacy, poor educational facilities, unemployment, under- employment, health and nutrition.

    6.3 Developmental projects and their impact on tribal displacement and problems of rehabilitation. Development of forest policy and tribals. Impact of urbanisation and industrialization on tribal populations.

    7.1 Problems of exploitation and deprivation of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. Constitutional safeguards for Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes.

    7.2 Social change and contemporary tribal societies: Impact of modern democratic institutions, development programmes and welfare measures on tribals and weaker sections.

    7.3 The concept of ethnicity; Ethnic conflicts and political developments; Unrest among tribal communities; Regionalism and demand for autonomy; Pseudo-tribalism. Social change among the tribes during colonial and post-Independent India.

    8.1 Impact of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and other religions on tribal societies.

    8.2 Tribe and nation state— a comparative study of tribal communities in India and other countries.

    9.1 History of administration of tribal areas, tribal policies, plans, programmes of tribal development and their implementation. The concept of PTGs (Primitive Tribal Groups), their distribution, special programmes for their development. Role of N.G.O.s in tribal development.

    9.2 Role of anthropology in tribal and rural development.

    9.3 Contributions of anthropology to the understanding of regionalism, communalism and ethnic and political movements.

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    Previous Year UPSC Questions

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    1. Write notes on the following in about 150 words each:
      a). Scope and relevance of Social and Cultural Anthropology
      b). Cultural impact of Iron Age.
      c). Race and Ethnicity.
      d). Customary laws and Environmental conservation.
      e). Gene expression.
    2. Answer the following:
      a). Discuss major species of Australopithecus discovered from South and East Africa. Describe the discovery, physical features and significance of Taung baby.
      b). Discuss the Paleolithic environment in light of available evidences with special reference to India.
      c). Elucidate the different forms of malnutrition. Describe protein–calorie malnutrition with suitable examples.
    3. Answer the following:
      a). What is hominization process? Discuss the major trends in human evolution with the help of suitable examples and illustrations.
      b). How did Clifford Geertz look at religion. Differentiate between anthropological and psychological approaches to the study of religion.
      c). What is mixed-longitudinal method of studying human growth. Discuss its merits and demerits.
    4. Answer the following:
      a). Discuss the role of marriage regulations in traditional societies in India for strengthening social solidarity.
      b). Discuss various methods of personal identification based on skeletal remains.
      c). Identify the major Mesolithic sites and describe the typo-technological features with special reference to India.


    1. Write notes on the following in about 150 words each:
      a). Polygenic Inheritance
      b). Prehistoric significance of Rakhigarhi
      c). Glottochronology
      d). Menopausal symptoms
      e). William Ogburn and Cultural lag
    2. Answer the following:
      a). Critically discuss the controversies related to fieldwork of Bronislaw-Malinowski and Margaret Mead.
      b). Discuss the impact of globalization on the economic systems of indigenous communities.
      c). Describe the practical applications of DNA technology in the current scenario.
    3. Answer the following:
      a). Describe various methods of qualitative data analysis. Highlight some popular computer softwares used in qualitative analysis.
      b). What assumptions must be met for a population to be in genetic equilibrium. Explain the importance of genetic equilibrium.
      c). Discuss political and methodological aspects of national character studies. Elucidate the contemporary relevance of such studies.
    4. Answer the following:
      a). Critically examine Arjun Appadurai's conceptualization of the global cultural economy.
      b). Describe the causes of structural abnormalities of chromosomes with suitable examples. 15
      c). Critically discuss A.L. Kroeber's contribution to kinship studies.



    1. Write notes on the following in about 150 words each:
      a). Material culture and archaeology
      b). Interface between Purushartha and Ashrama
      c). Jajmani system : continuity and change
      d). Prehistoric rock arts from Uttarakhand
      e). Religious pluralism and social solidarity
    2. Answer the following:
      a). "Tribes are backward Hindus." Critically comment with reference to the contributions of G.S. Ghurye.
      b). "Indus Valley was the first settlement of the big civilization." Comment critically.
      c). Discuss the basic tenets of Jainism and its impact on Indian society.
    3. Answer the following:
      a). "Sanskritization is a culture-bound concept." Critically comment to assess the strength and limitation of this concept in developing a theoretical framework to study social change.
      b). Was Mesolithic culture the first step towards a sedentary way of life? Illustrate your answer by citing suitable examples.
      c). Critically examine the impact of modern democratic institutions on contemporary tribal societies. Illustrate with suitable ethnographic examples.
    4. Answer the following:
      a). Elucidate the problems faced by Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups and the major challenges in the formulation of special programmes for their development.
      b). Critically compare Risley's and Sarkar's approaches to the classification of peoples of India.
      c). Is caste mobility a recent phenomenon? Discuss in the light of Indological and Empirical context.


    1. Write notes on the following in about 150 words each :
      a). Scheduled areas 10
      b). Ramapithecus-Sivapithecus debate 10
      c). Village as little republic 10
      d). Dravidian language and their subgroups 10
      e). Karma and Rebirth 10
    2. Answer the following:
      a). Is annihilation of caste possible? Discuss the future of caste system in the light of various proactive measures taken by the Indian State.
      b). Distinguishing between ethnic identity and ethnicity, discuss the factors responsible for ethnic conflict in tribal areas.
      c). "Siwalik deposits show a variety of Neogene fossil primates." Critically examine.
    3. Answer the following:
      a). Elucidate the shifting terrains of India's tribal policies in colonial and post-colonial periods.
      b). Critically examine how the displacement of tribal communities due to hydroelectric river dam projects has affected the women in local context. Illustrate with suitable ethnographic examples.
      c). Elucidate the role of anthropology in nation building. Illustrate with suitable examples.
    4. Answer the following:
      a). Discuss the distribution of tribes in different geographical regions of India. Identify the distinct institutional features of tribal societies of these regions.
      b). Critically evaluate the contributions of S.C. Roy to Indian anthropology.
      c). How are Other Backward Classes identified. Enumerating the important features elucidate the recent changes in their social and economic life.

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