The profession of the social and cultural anthropologist is multifaceted, like anthropology itself.
The social and / or cultural anthropologist is a scientist, researcher, practitioner and mediator.
The anthropologist is doing research. He mainly uses the so-called “qualitative” rather than “quantitative” methods in the social sciences and humanities. They are related to ethnography and methods such as observation, participation, conversation, interviewing and description. Such is, for example, the field ethnographic study that many other sciences borrow. It can be involved (doing things the way the people you talk to and watching them do), involved (getting involved in parts of people’s daily lives), it can be long-term – months, a year or more. Another method of research is the case study. It is characterized by concentrating on one case – a person, a small group, an event or process and the people involved in them, which are considered from different points of view and in detail. In the last 10 years, autoethnography has been of great importance, in which the anthropologist constantly questions his influence on the community or group, as well as his own change during and after the study.
The anthropologist has a code of ethics that shapes his professionalism. Responsibility to the surveyed communities. Responsibility to science. Responsibility to students and trainees. Responsibility to sponsors. Responsibility to the institutions.
Responsibility to society. The anthropologist learns to understand and convey messages. Field work teaches the anthropologist to listen actively, to understand cultural codes and values, to interpret symbols, not to take a position – all this turns him into a mediator. A specialist who is able to hold positions and explain different points of view.
Anthropologist is trained to see details and to adapt to different situations and environments.
In their training in social and cultural anthropology, each student is encouraged to be curious and look at situations, processes and relationships from different perspectives. It is looking at the details that is connected with immersion in and understanding the everyday life of others. It is essential for the anthropologist to trust him, which is a two-way process of understanding and acceptance. Trust is a long process in which both parties adjust to each other until they reach the stage of building a relationship of trust. The anthropologist is trained in empathy, which he/she applies both in his/her work and life. Empathy is about our ability to understand and empathize with the feelings of others. The field work meets the anthropologist with various characters and different opinions, the perception of which is directly related to his/her sensitivity as a person, but also to his/her professionalism as a social and cultural anthropologist.