Cultural or social anthropology is when the social groups and behavior patterns are studied. The studies include the relationships of families, the law, politics, ideology, religious beliefs and the way that things are produced and the way that people consume them.
Studies in gender and an emphasis are placed on learning about cultural groups by living within the group that is being studied. Cultural anthropology focuses on living societies and theories are applied to help study cultures around the world.
Cultural anthropology emerged out of the constant need that we have to understand. By watching how people interact with each other it is believed we can achieve a better understanding of why they react to each other the way that they do. There are several theories in cultural anthropology.
Materialism is the theory in cultural anthropology that basically says human beings want to accumulate as many material goods as they can. The amount and type of material things that are obtained or attempted to obtain will depend in large part upon the community in which a person places themselves.
Cultural Particularism focuses on studying individual cultures alone and forgetting about the outside environments. The big picture is ignored in favor of the smaller picture in this particular study of the social societies.
Functionalism is the practice with in cultural anthropology in which cultures are studied by living within them. It is thought that adequate conclusions can not be drawn without fully experiences an environment. Merely watching from the outside will not lead to an in depth enough understanding of the practices within a particular society. The parts of the society itself are picked apart and analyzed individually from the whole in order to get a deeper understanding of the individual society being studied.
Structuralism is just that. The theories are applied to how social groups are made up in society and how people and their identities develop due to the social structure around them. Basically it is how one's environment affects them and their personality.
Feminist Approaches study the behavior of the gender of society and the cultural practices along with power issues that arise.
Interpretive Approaches are the practices of interpreting the data gathered on cultures though the analysis of the gathered data. It is an attempt to reach a deeper understanding through the deduction of facts.
Theories are formed and then either confirmed or denied through complete studies of varies aspects of cultural societies.