Anthropology Syllabus For UPSC Prelims & Mains Examination

Anthropology Syllabus for IAS Mains Part 1 

Meaning and development of Anthropology along with its Scope.

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

1.3 Main branches of Anthropology, their scope and relevance:

(a) Social- cultural Anthropology.

(b) Archaeological Anthropology.

(c) Biological Anthropology.

(d) Linguistic Anthropology.

1.4 Human Evolution and the emergence of Man:

(a) Biological and Cultural factors in human evolution.

(b) Synthetic theory of evolution; Brief outline of terms and concepts of evolutionary biology (Doll’s rule, Gause’s rule, Cope’s rule, parallelism, convergence, mosaic evolution and adaptive radiation.

(c) Theories of Organic Evolution (Pre- Darwinian, Darwinian and PostDarwinian).

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

1.6 Phylogenetic status, features and geographical distribution of the following:

(a) Plio-Pleistocene hominids in East and South  Africa – Australopithecines.

(b) Homo erectus: Africa (Paranthropus), ), Asia (Homo erectus javanicus, Homo erectus pekinensis, Europe (Homo erectus heidelber-genesis).

(c) Rhodesian man.

(d) Homo sapiens – Cromagnon, Grimaldi and Chancelade.

(e) Neanderthal Man- La-Chapelle-auxsaints (Classical type), Mt. Carmel (Progressive type).

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

1.8 (a) Principles of Prehistoric Archaeology. Chronology: Absolute and Relative Dating methods.

(b) Cultural Evolution– Broad Outlines of Prehistoric cultures:

(i) Paleolithic

(ii) Chalcolithic

(iii) Mesolithic

(iv) Neolithic

(v) Copper-Bronze Age

(vi) Iron Age

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

2.2 The Nature of Society: Concept of Society; Social groups, Society and Culture; Social Institutions; and Social stratification.

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

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

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

  1. Economic organization: Meaning, relevance and scope of economic anthropology; Substantivist and Formalist debate; Principles governing production, distribution and exchange (redistribution, reciprocity and market), in communities, subsisting on hunting and gathering, swiddening, fishing, pastoralism, agriculture and horticulture; globalization and indigenous economic systems.
  2. Social Control and Political organization : tribe, Band, kingdom and state ,chiefdom, concepts of power, authority and legitimacy; law and justice, social control in simple societies.
  3. Religion: Anthropological approaches for the study of religion ( psychological ,evolutionary and functional); monotheism and polytheism; myths and rituals ,sacred and profane; forms of religion in tribal and peasant societies (animism, animatism, naturism ,fetishism, and totemism); religion, magic and science distinguished; magico- religious functionaries (priest, medicine man shaman, sorcerer and witch).

Anthropological theories:

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

  1. Culture, language and communication: Origin, nature and characteristics of language; social context of language use, verbal and non-verbal communication

Research methods in anthropology:

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

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

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

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

9.4 Chromosomal and Chromosomes  aberrations in man, methodology. (a) Numerical and structural aberrations (disorders). (b) Autosomal aberrations – Down syndrome, Patau, Edward and Cri-duchat syndromes (c) Sex chromosomal aberrations – Klinefelter (XXY), Turner (XO), Super female (XXX), intersex and other syndromic disorders.. (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 metric and non-metric characters. Racial criteria, racial traits in relation to heredity and environment; biological basis of racial classification, race crossing and racial differentiation  in man.

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

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

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

  1. Concept of human growth and development:all stages of growth – pre-natal and natal, infant, childhood, adolescence, senescence, maturity. – Factors affecting growth and development genetic, biochemical, environmental, nutritional, cultural and socio-economic. – Ageing and senescence. Theories and observations – Human physique and somatotypes, biological and chronological longevity.. Methodologies for growth studies.

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

11.2 Demographic theories– related to biological, cultural and social .

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

  1. Applications of Anthropology:Nutritional anthropology, Anthropology of sports, Anthropology in designing of defence and other equipments, Forensic Anthropology, Principles and Methods of personal identification and reconstruction, Applied human genetics – Paternity diagnosis, genetic counseling and eugenics, , serogenetics and cytogenetics in reproductive biology,DNA technology in diseases and medicine.


Anthropology: Syllabus for IAS Main Examination Paper – II 

1.1 Evolution of the Indian Culture and Civilization – Prehistoric (Mesolithic, Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Neolithic – Chalcolithic). Protohistoric (Indus Civilization): Harappan, Pre and Post  Harappan cultures. Contributions of tribal community cultures to Indian civilization.

1.2 Palaeo – anthropological evidence from India with special reference to Narmada and Siwaliks basin (Sivapithecus, Ramapithecus and Narmada Man).

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

  1. Demographic profile of India –Linguistic and Ethnic elements in the Indian population and their distribution. Indian population – factors affecting its structure and growth.

3.1 Traditional Indian social system : Its  structure and nature : Purushartha, Varnashram, Karma, Rina and Rebirth.

3.2 Caste system of India- structure and characteristics, Varna and caste, Theories of origin of caste system, , Caste mobility, Dominant caste, Future of caste system, Tribecaste continuum,  Jajmani system,

3.3 Sacred Complex and Nature– ManSpirit Complex.

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

Emergence and growth of anthropology in India–

Study of Contributions of the 18th, 19th and early 20th Century scholars and administrators. Contributions of Indian anthropologists to caste and tribal studies.

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

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

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

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

6.2 Problems of the tribal Communities – poverty, land alienation, indebtedness, low literacy, poor educational facilities, underemployment, unemployment, health, and nutrition.

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

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

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

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

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

8.2 Concept of Tribe and nation-state – a comparative study of tribal communities in India and also with other countries.

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

9.2 Role of anthropology in rural and tribal development.