Anthropology (from the Greek word "man" or "person") consists of the study of humanity. It is holistic in two senses: it is concerned with all human beings at all times and with all dimensions of humanity. The essence of anthropology and its main virtue is its interdisciplinary nature; it is the discipline that brings together natural sciences, humanities and social sciences.
In principle, it is concerned with all institutions of all societies. Anthropology is distinguished from other social-science disciplines by its emphasis on socio-cultural relativity, in-depth examination of context, and cross-cultural comparisons. Some anthropologists have utilized anthropological knowledge to frame social and cultural critiques of colonialism, racism, sexism, chauvinism, nationalism, politics and science.
In practice, anthropology is reducible to four distinct fields of study, although each of them has more sub-fields and specializations. Biological or physical anthropology seeks to understand the physical human being through the study of human biology, morphology, genetics, inherited traits and variations thereof, evolution, adaptation, etc. Socio-cultural anthropology is the investigation, often through long term, intensive field studies, of a culture or sub-culture of particular urban or non-urban groups of people, their languages, economic patterns, kinships, political organizations, or their everyday practices. Linguistic anthropology seeks to understand the processes of human communications, verbal and non-verbal; it identifies the many subtle elements of the world's languages and documents their structure, function and history. Finally, but of no less importance, archaeology is the study of the prehistory and early history of a culture and its development through the exploration, discovery, excavation, dating, and methodological analysis of the material remains of a culture.