Social Anthropology is the discipline which aims at studying and interpreting issues related to the cultural formation and organization of contemporary societies. Both the unique methodology applied in Social Anthropology and its object of study are considered to be its main contribution. Namely:
- By focusing on the study of symbolic systems and structures as well as issues of “identity” and “diversity”, Social Anthropology is regarded as the main discipline for the study of culture.
- Ethnography (i.e. the long-term systematic fieldwork) is the main methodological tool, which succeeds in “diagnosing”, exploring and understanding social events and ways of living and thinking from an emic perspective, within the historical context.
Through the aforementioned ways, the anthropological research can contribute to the deeper understanding of a variety of social problems and their causes, which would be hard to diagnose without studying them on the spot, thus leading to solutions based on a local, regional and national level. In this respect, the anthropological approach may serve as a link between the local and the national, the informal and the institutional/formal, the ethnic and the global level.