Ethnology is a comparative science dedicated to the study of the cultural and social diversity of human life, which is why it is also called social and cultural anthropology. The research fields of anthropology range from traditional fields such as kinship, religious, political, and economic anthropology to topics such as medicine, the environment, migration, identity, and the study of science and technologies themselves.
The roots of ethnology lie in antiquity, and the discipline has always been characterized by its critical self-image. Thus, the dark sides of the discipline's history, such as colonialism and National Socialism, have repeatedly been the starting point for reflexive professional discussions about the role of ethnology and have shaped its theories and methods, which are applied in almost all humanities today.
Ethnologists were the first scholars to understand, in their research in different regions of the world, the necessity that the key to understanding cultures lies not only in language, but in sharing life with the people one wants to understand and research. This participatory aspect enables anthropologists to achieve qualitative results through differences, commonalities and the inclusion of historical developments, which are of fundamental importance for science, civil society and politics.