Ethnology's / cultural anthropology's areas of interest

What the Anthropological Story Tells Us. How 'Natives' Think. Understanding the Other. Myth, Magic and Religion. Does God Have a Body? Forest of Symbols. Totemism. Purity and Danger. Anthropology of the Body. Sexual life of Savages. Cadaver. Taboo Versus Paradigms of Ethnology. Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches. Shamanism. Primitive Economy of the Polynesians. Political Systems in Africa. Nations and Nationalism. Development of Family and Marriage in Europe. Portraits of 'a Stranger'. Don't fear the Gypsy. Image of the Jew in Polish Folk Culture. Peasant is Power and That's It. Anthropology of a Nineteenth-Century Polish Village Culture. Kiss in the Life of a Villager. Home in the Imagery and Rituals of Eastern Slavs. Bloody Revenge. Importance of the Our Lady of Częstochowa Icon. Anthropo-Spectre Monsters, Vampires and Other Beasts. Sociotechnics. Between Magic and Analogy. Mafia, Anti-Mafia and Problems of Culture on Sicily. Public Toilets in Ukraine. Folklore on the Internet.

The above is only a sample of the theses that have been written by ethnologists and cultural anthropologists, a sample that shows that their interests lie in understanding: 'savages' (non-European cultures, 'primitive cultures' and 'tribal societies'); 'the people' ('domestic savages' i.e. traditional non-elite social strata, primarily in rural cultures); contemporary popular culture (in 'native' terms, with subjects of research including 'Cars in American culture', 'The stock market in Shanghai' and 'Andrzej Lepper in Polish politics'); and, last but not least, understanding ethnography, ethnology and cultural anthropology themselves (i.e. how our knowledge and ethnography are created - in other words, we treat ourselves as another type of 'savage' to create our own local knowledge).

Clearly, ethnology and cultural anthropology are the most extensive and versatile of the empirical sciences about human beings as an area of cultural interest. In turn, culture may be commonly understood as the rules of good behaviour. Persons with bad manners are said to be uncultured, while those with an aristocratic manner are associated with culture (i.e. art, 'belles-lettres', theatre, opera, etc.) In other words, culture is something uncultured people can live without. We prefer to talk about culture as plural. In a concrete manner, we describe a particular culture (e.g. the culture of the Māori, Inuits, peasants in 19th-century Galicia, youth groups in Poland) as a specific instance of articulating the world and, at the same time, a unique programme of social behaviour. All of these areas are what we wish to discuss based on ethnographic field research and each ethnographer's experience coming from their meeting with the Other. No other science exists in which the path from experiment (ethnography) to theory (ethnology and cultural anthropology) is so long, problematic and fascinating.

Ethnology has a unique status in Western culture (a culture that owes its existence to its ability to question itself) and among the academic fields of the humanities and social sciences, because of the broad scope of issues and subjects addressed by the ethnology together with its aim of maintaining the relationship between experience (ethnography) and theory (cultural anthropology). Ethnology is dedicated to those elite few who find interest in the theories of culture and religion, sociology, history, philosophy and literature, and those who wish their studies not to be limited to lecture halls and libraries, but to constitute experiencing other lifestyles and becoming familiar with different cultures.