Cultural anthropologists have become some of the most interesting and insightful writers around. It stands to reason that Cultural Anthropology and its methods should be applied to individuals working in the arts as a means of understanding their work in ways which are more empirical, based on field work and theories already used in the scientific study of humanity. I see no reason why these principles may not be used to focus on specific individuals as a means to understand their work without having to rely on their own interpretation and on those of other Art professionals; a group of people notoriously prone to obfuscation. This has already been achieved by visual anthropologists and art anthropologists but in broader contexts, not necessarily focusing on one particular individual, so correct me if I am wrong. Any further information on the subject would be appreciated. Wikipedia:
Cultural anthropology is one of four fields of anthropology (the holistic study of humanity) as it developed in the United States. It is the branch of anthropology that has developed and promoted "culture" as a meaningful scientific concept; it is also the branch of anthropology that studies cultural variation among humans.
The anthropological concept of "culture" reflects in part a reaction against earlier Western discourses based on an opposition between "culture" and "nature", according to which some human beings lived in a "state of nature". Anthropologists argue that culture is "human nature," and that all people have a capacity to classify experiences, encode classifications symbolically, and teach such abstractions to others. Since humans acquire culture through learning (the processes of enculturation and socialization), people living in different places or different circumstances may develop different cultures. Anthropologists have also pointed out that through culture people can adapt to their environment in non-genetic ways, so people living in different environments will often have different cultures. Much of anthropological theory has originated in an appreciation of and interest in the tension between the local (particular cultures) and the global (a universal human nature, or the web of connections between people in distinct places/circumstances).
Parallel with the rise of cultural anthropology in the United States, social anthropology, in which "sociality" is the central concept and which focuses on the study of social statuses and roles, groups, institutions, and the relations among them, developed as an academic discipline in Great Britain. Some anthropologists have drawn on both traditions and identify themselves as socio-cultural anthropologists.
Some Cultural Anthropologists you might want to read: Jared Diamond, "Guns, Germs and Steel", and "Collapse", a less succesfull book by the same author but still worth reading. Jack Weatherford, "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World", and the "History of Money".