email   Email Us: phone   Call Us: +1 (914) 407-6109   57 West 57th Street, 3rd floor, New York - NY 10019, USA

Lupine Publishers Group

Lupine Publishers

  Submit Manuscript

ISSN: 2690-5752

Journal of Anthropological and Archaeological Sciences

Review Article(ISSN: 2690-5752)

New challenges and Developments in Anthropological Research Volume 3 - Issue 3

Weihong Cui*, Leilei Shi and Liping Li

  • Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

Received: November 25, 2020   Published: January 05, 2021

Corresponding author:Weihong Cui, Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

DOI: 10.32474/JAAS.2021.03.000162


Abstract PDF


The contents, methods and theories of traditional anthropology will be enriched and improved with the social development. Scientific and technological innovation has become an important driving force to promote the development of society and productivity. With the development of information technology, network technology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and aerospace technology, human society is rapidly transiting from the era of industrial economy to the era of knowledge economy, which is an important new opportunity, new challenge and new development for anthropology. In terms of economic globalization, artificial intelligence, urbanization and “one belt and one road”, we discussedthe big demands and challenges of anthropology.

Keywords:Anthropology; Economic Globalization; Artificial Intelligenceurbanization; One Belt and One Road


In the 1920s, professor Wu Wenzao, founder of anthropological research of China, developed and organized the study of cultural change, and applied the study of anthropology and sociology. Professor FeiXiaotong put forward the concept of pluralism to guide the integration of cultures. After China’s reform and opening-up, research of anthropology in China has strengthened exchanges with world anthropology, and Chinese anthropologists have summarized the characteristics of anthropology as four aspects: application, history, minority studies and ethnic traditions. Chinese has witnessed dynamic changes around the world, paid attention to the process of globalization, combined tradition and modernity in an original way, and studied inter-cultural interaction, communication and merges [1].
Anthropology, as a discipline, originated in Europe in the 19th century when it was the colonial period. European scientists focused on the study of classical ethology according to the needs of the development of Western colonial history, which formed a system for academic theories and research methods of regional anthropology. Ethnosphere research is related to Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia and Latin America, and these studies provide the basis for social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and geosciences, as well as for cross-disciplinary boundaries and multidisciplinary research. Scientific and technological innovation has become an important driving force to promote society and productivity. After World War II, with the rapid development of information technology, network technology, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and aerospace technology, the era of industrial economy was rapidly changed to the era of knowledge economy. The research contents, methods and theories of traditional anthropology will be enriched and improved, and the research of modern anthropology will face new opportunities, challenges and new developments. Here we discuss the new opportunities and challenges from four aspects [2].

The Economic Globalization

Economic globalization is the need and inevitable result of the development of the world economy. The development of capitalism is constantly seeking to maximize profits, under the premise of the sustainable development of the market economy, to expand to the world, and gradually form the trend of economic globalization.
Economic globalization is driven by two major factors, one is the discovery of America by Columbus and Asia by Portuguese, space conditions for globalization by Magellan’s round-the-world navigation; the other is the steam engine industrial revolution, which has created material conditions for industrial development and commodity exports, which have created conditions for the development of economic globalization, and then from the steam age to the electrical age. The unprecedented increase in productivity provided a major impetus for economic globalization. The revolution in new technologies such as aerospace technology, microelectronics, new energy, biomedical and new materials has promoted the further development of economic globalization. The operation of the world economy is becoming more and more standardized and regularized, and economic globalization has really arrived [3].

a) In order to meet the economy globalization, the global economy is facing the necessary transformation, organizations, such as the European Union, the African Union, the Shanghai Organization, the Southeast Asian Group, etc. are moving from bilateral contacts to multilateral cooperation. Global organizations play an important and active role, e.g., the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization and the Global Climate Organization. The Paris conference proposed the global warming of no more than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, the European Union and China proposed to achieve global climate neutrality by 2050 and 2060. The world is united to combat the climate change.
b) The global resources are unfairly distributed and the stage of economic development is different. Under this circumstances of economic globalization, the gap between rich and poor is fast growing.
c) The wave of immigration has become a major problem in many regions. On the one hand, immigration has become an important way for some people to get rich; on the other hand, rich countries need to solve the problem of labor shortage. But a large number of immigrants, with different ethnic cultures, different religions, might form new contradictions and challenges.

The Development of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence is developing towards the information industry and marketization, It could rapidly increase productivity, promote economic automation and social intelligence, and has a significant impact on human culture, social structure, thinking and behavior, as well as material civilization and spiritual civilization [4].

A. Employment

With the artificial intelligence taking the place of human’s work, including mental and physical ones, some people has to change their jobs. This even could cause unemployment.

B. Changes in human thinking and ideas

Artificial intelligence will influence the traditional ideas and modes of thinking. Traditional knowledge is printed on books, while artificial intelligence knowledge is constantly updated and modified. The human mind has to change with the modern knowledge.

C. Changes in the structure of human society

The current structure of human society is man-machine, while the structure of artificial intelligence is man - intelligent machine - machine. Human beings have to learn to adapt to get along with intelligent machine.

D. Changes in human culture

Artificial intelligence will improve human knowledge and human language. Human beings will use artificial intelligence or concepts for cultural exchange.

Urbanization and the Development of Urban Clusters

The proportion of urban population of the whole population is an important index of contemporary social development. In China, for example, the urban population accounted for only 10.64% of the total population in 1949, 42.9% in 2005, 60.6% in 2019. It is with an annual increase of 15 million which could lead to the urban population 80%. Urban clusters have also developed rapidly. With large cities as the center, a number of small and medium-sized cities around, such as London, New York, Moscow, or a number of large and medium-sized cities form a multi-core urban group, such as Germany’s Rhine-Ruhr, China’s Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Bay Area (CourBation). The development of cities has brought great changes in regional and environmental physical structures. New challenges emerged on how human culture adapts, human behavior changes and ways of thinking and sense of worth [5].
Urban clusters have developed into one-hour traffic circles, cultural transmission in the 5G era has developed to timely multipoint transmission, video conference, online and offline, shopping online even cross-border. Human culture will be integrated and developed in the new physical conditions, and will also be a major challenge to traditional anthropology.

The development of One belt & One road

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the idea of “Building a New Silk Road Economic Belt” and a “Maritime Silk Road”, which deepens the integration of ancient Silk Road spiritual civilization with the characteristics of a new era. More than 100 countries and international organizations have been involved. However, differences between languages, cultures, histories and religions in different countries have a great impact on cross-border economic and cultural exchanges [6].
The Belt and Road initiative involves four major civilizations, including the pharaoh culture of ancient Egypt, the culture of the two river basins of Babylon, the culture of ancient India and Chinese culture. Ancient Egyptian culture has broken down, the ancient Athens civilization is the origin of western civilization. The Babylon culture has long disappeared into the desert. Cuneiform text has no way to spread. Ancient Indian culture has passed through many civilizations, especially from the Aryan invasion establishing a caste system, the Muslim invasion establishing the Moon Empire, and the British colonial India. Ancient Indian culture has become a history. Only the Chinese civilization, after 5000 years of heritage and preserved to date. But for the belt and road construction, it is urgent to understand the elements of the major civilizations, regional changes, cultural differences, behavior principles and social systems, otherwise it is difficult to achieve common development. This is also a new opportunity and challenge for modern anthropology, so it is necessary to:

Emphasize the integration of the four major civilizations and cultures to reduce cultural conflicts

With the deepening of the construction of the Belt and Road, the micro-operation problems caused by ethnic and cultural differences in the countries along the route still exist. The compatibility of cultures in different countries or regions greatly affects the project and market analysis, and even the success or failure of the project or investment. For example, a steel enterprise in Peru invested 300 million U.S. dollars in iron and steel mining projects. But due to lack of understanding of the local ethnic cultures and laws, it met serious labor disputes, and ultimately increased labor costs significantly, and went into a phased loss. In fact, cross-border economic exchanges need people to understand better each other’s national and cultural characteristics and differences, and integrate the partner’s national culture. The integration of the four civilizations plays an important role in trans-national economic activities. It is a part of the economy but not a subsidiary part [7-9].

Emphasize the stability of employees in various countries under the multi-cultural environment

The development of the Belt and Road, facing the problem of employee stability under the integration of multi-cultural, in the cooperation project, many employees are from foreign countries, employees are annoyed by cultural differences, resulting in instability, which leads to a higher turnover rate. With the lack of integration of language, habits and values, the phenomenon of frequent replacement after short-term tenure affects internal efficiency and cross-regional anthropological and cultural research, which helps to integrate differences in language, habits, customs and ideas, and helps to strengthen innovation and improve efficiency and reduce mistakes.

Emphasize the advantages of the integration of the four major civilizations and cultures, innovative models

The different cultural backgrounds and unique cultures and ways of thinking of the countries along the Belt and Road should pay attention to the differences and integration of cultures, help to get rid of the bad side of culture, make the decision-making more innovative and improve international competitiveness.
Traditional anthropology was developed on the basis of tribal and slave societies. It is currently a post-industrial society with the economic globalization and urbanization and with the support of networking, informatization and intelligence. It is a great opportunity and a new challenge for the development of modern anthropology. Researchers carry out innovative research on anthropological development and multi-angle and multi-model research to create conditions for global economic development and win-win cooperation among countries. We recommend to have an international anthropology academic conference to stimulate the communication, exchange research results and discuss the development of anthropology in the new era.


  1. Billig S Michael (2000) Institutions and culture: Neo-weberian economic anthropology. Journal of Economic Issues 34: 771-788.
  2. Cyrus Teresa L (2012) Cultural distance and bilateral trade. Nephron Clinical Practice 12.
  3. Flores Ricardo G, Aguilera Ruth V (2007) Globalization and location choice: An analysis of US multinational firms in 1980 and 2000. Journal of International Business Studies 38: 1187-1210.
  4. Hofstede G (1993) Cultural constraints in management theories. Academy of Management Perspectives 7: 81-94.
  5. Kogut Bruce, Nath Raghu (1988) The effect of national culture on the choice of entry mode. Journal of International Business Studies 19: 411-432.
  6. Lankhuizen Maureen BM, De Groot Henri LF (2016) Cultural distance and international trade: A non-linear relationship. Letters in Spatial & Resource Sciences 9: 19-25.
  7. Strang Veronica, Busse M (2012) Ownership and appropriation. Australian Journal of Anthropology 23: 127-128.
  8. Yin, Hua Fang (2011) Cultural distance and foreign direct investment flows: The S-curve hypothesis. South China Journal of Economics 29: 26-38.
  9. Zhou, Da Ming (2004) Applied anthropology and its practice in China. Journal of Sun Yatsen University. 44(6): 133-138.