Anthropology Answer Writing Practice 2018 - Week 4 - Question 4

90 Days Anthropology Answer Writing Practice Question 2 for 05-Dec-2018

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05-Dec-2018 - Question 2

Write a note on analytical phase of indian anthropology. 250 words

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Model Answer

In order to divide the growth of indian anthropology into time periods, various attempts have been made. Among those, Vidyarthi and Majumdar’s classification is widely accepted. Both of them adopted TK Perryman’s framework of division of anthropology into time periods. While Majumdar’s classification does not possess analytical phase, Vidyarthi's classification has it. Hence, latter is widely accepted. Vidyarthi divided growth of Indian anthropology into three times periods


  1. Formularotry period (1774-1919)

  2. Constructive period (1920-1949)

  3. Analytical period (1950 onwards)


According to Vidyarthi, analytical period of Indian anthropology starts when village studies were initiated in India i.e. 1950. Around the same time India became independent and the influence of British anthropologists declined. On other hand, influence of American anthropologists increased as it emerged a superpower after world war II.


During the analytical phase, Indian cultural anthropology achieved great successes. Much of the concepts given at this time were offshoots of and influenced by American anthropologists. For instance, greater and little traditions were studied to invent universalisation and parochialisation. Folk-Urban continuum  of Redfield led to invention of tribe-caste continuum. Vidyarthi’s concept of sacred complex was a tribute to his teacher Redfield. And his concept of nature-man-spirit complex was influenced by Julian Stewart. Sol tax introduced action anthropology which was taken up by Bhowmick in India. Redfield's village studies in Mexico 1930 were brought to India by many of whom MS Srinivas is a pioneer.


After 1950, many Indian anthropologists started visiting American Universities and vice versa. Americans arrived in India for their researches on indian tribes and to test their hypotheses. Vidyarthi has summed up the major works of analytical phase as follows.

  1. Village and case studies for e.g. the coorgs of South India and the maler of Bihar etc.

  2. Action research was carried out by Dubey and Bhowmick.

  3. Socio-psychological research under the guidance of Guha to study culture and personality of many tribes.

  4. Folklore researches e.g. Patriot Babu kunwar of Bihar.

  5. Structure of power and leadership: In this regard, vidyarthi’s 'Dynamics of tribal leadership in Bihar’ 1973 is worth mentioning.


Vidyarthi died in 1985 leaving behind the analytical phase open. But in the opinion of Contemporary indian anthropologists, the analytical phase had already ended in 1978. Critical phase has begun since then.


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