Humans and their behaviour within their societies is always a subject of study for many researchers, especially for the sociologist and anthropologist. Anthropology is a branch of knowledge in which we learn about humans and their evolution, with respect to culture, physical traits, interactions, language, behaviour, etc.
Anthropology is a broad field of study, whose subject matter is ‘Man’, both past and present. Many think that sociology is same as anthropology, but the fact is sociology is a sub-domain of anthropology.
Sociology is a social science which studies organized groups, their functions, origins, interactions, problems etc. In this article excerpt, we are going to discuss the differences between anthropology and sociology.
Content: Sociology Vs Anthropology
|Basis for Comparison
|Sociology is a discipline which studies the development, structure, interaction and operation of the human society.
|Anthropology is a discipline which studies human beings and their predecessors over time, concerning their evolution, culture, characteristics, relations, etc.
|Science of Society
|Science of human evolution
|Human Behavior is studied at
|To remove the social issues through policy.
|To know about human diversity and cultural difference.
|Both preliterate and literate society
|Qualitative and Quantitative
Definition of Sociology
Sociology is a behavioural science which deals with the social lives, changes, interaction, causes and outcomes of human behaviour. Basically, sociology studies how people interact with one another in society, as well as how an individual’s behaviour is swayed according to the social structure, categories, etc.
The sociologists study the structure, patterns, processes, organization, culture and behaviour of society by observing and surveying the changes in the significant elements of organized groups such as communities, societies, etc.
Sociology is a scientific field of study in which, we get to know about human society, social behaviour, interactions, structure, processes, the pattern of relationships and its forms. The individuals who study sociology are called as sociologists. The social facts collected by the sociologists include the attitudes, values, beliefs, norms, traditions, institutions and so forth, constituting the social order.
Sociology helps in addressing a number of social issues such as community belief and practices, social mobility, stratification, changes, disorder/unrest, etc.
Definition of Anthropology
Anthropology refers to a methodical study of human beings concerning their evolution and development, the way they behave and communicate, the culture they follow, how they adapt to the dynamic environment, how they socialize, etc. physically, socially and culturally.
Further, it also deals with the prehistoric origins, the distinctiveness of human beings as species, and modern human diversity. In finer terms, anthropology is the study of a ‘man’ in terms of biological and sociocultural facets.
The individual who studies anthropology is known as an anthropologist. Anthropologists attempt to explore more about human origin and antiquity, as to what makes us human beings. And they do so by researching our ancestors by way of archaeological survey and by analyzing the culture around the world.
Branches of Anthropology
- Physical Anthropology: The subject matter of physical anthropology is the human body, ancestral characteristics and status of a man in a group. It is divided into five sub-branches:
- Human genetics
- Human palaeontology
- Cultural Anthropology: The terminology itself suggests, cultural anthropology as a branch of anthropology whose subject matter is human culture. It studies the history, evolution and development of culture. Culture implies the shared customs, morals, norms, traditions, values, beliefs, signs, symbols, language, religion, science, literature, etc. of a group. Cultural Anthropology is divided into two subcategories:
- Prehistoric Archaeology
- Social Anthropology
Key Differences Between Sociology and Anthropology
The difference between sociology and anthropology can be drawn clearly on the following grounds:
- Sociology refers to a social science which studies society, its structure, the pattern of relationship, interactions, etc. of day to day life. On the contrary, Anthropology is a social science which studies of human beings, with respect to their origin, development and behaviour.
- Sociology is concerned with the people living in interdependence, i.e. the society. Conversely, anthropology deals with human beings and their ancestors, as to how they evolved, how they adapt themselves, how they interact with each other and how they differ from other species.
- While sociologist studies the behaviour of humans, with respect to the causes and consequences at a group level or societal level, anthropology studies the same at the individual level.
- Sociology aims at removing the social issues, through policies. On the other hand, the primary aim of anthropology is to know about human diversity and cultural difference.
- Sociology studies both preliterates and literates, i.e. modern and ancient societies. As against, Anthropology studies only preliterates, i.e. uncivilized, ancient and primitive society. Here preliterate denotes a society or culture that has not developed the use of writing as a medium of communication.
- Sociologists use both qualitative and quantitative method for research purposes. In contrast, anthropologists use only qualitative method.
In a nutshell, anthropology is the study of a ‘man’. It studies all aspects and characteristics of human beings, including sociology of the ancestors. On the other hand, in sociology, we study patterned and shared behaviour of human beings, and their social lives, social change, social mobility etc.