Sociology vs. Anthropology

Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology

Anthropology, sociology and psychology are three areas of social sciences which are used to study different aspects of humanity. While the subject of psychology is clearly defined, there is the partially overlap between anthropology and sociology, so much so that sometimes it is unclear to understand both of them. Sociology and anthropology are used to study the human conduct, culture and reciprocal actions with the company or surroundings. Anthropologists focus on the tribes and cultures of the colonized people, the work of sociologists with Western societies is the study of urbanization. There are many similarities and differences between these two subjects in the realms of social sciences and that the differences will be harped on in this article.

Anthropology and the sociology try to answer questions relating to man and his conduct in society. While anthropology studies the whole man and its development whereas society is at the focus in the study of sociology. There are broad classifications topics like archeology, physical anthropology, linguistics and cultural anthropology. It is clear that physical anthropology is concerned with the study of man’s physical characteristics as height, skin color and body shape and head and there growth in recent times. Archaeology is the part of anthropology which focuses on artifacts unearthed from beneath the surface of the earth that reveal about the character of the man of that time and his relation with the society. This is used in constructing of inferences and drawing inferences from the analysis of artifacts and instruments. It’s cultural anthropology, which is closest to sociology and even here there are differences in approach and methodology that justifies the separation of these two sciences.

Anthropology is concerned with the study of less advanced cultures like the tribes in Africa and Asia, while sociology is concerned with understanding the social structure in our own societies. Sociology and anthropology has there own society.

If you go to the basic principles, we find that sociology is the scientific study of societies and social relations. The main purpose of sociology is to understand human behavior. How and why humans behave in a particular way in a society is the central issue in any sociological discussion. The changes that occur in the conduct of any individual because of the fact that he/she is a member of a society, a group or a family are deeply studied in sociology. Why do humans behave the way they do in societies is what sociologists are trying to find out.

Anthropology is the broadest social sciences as he studies different aspects of human beings in their physical characteristics, the study of their artifacts (archaeology). Yet it is when we speak of social anthropology, cultural anthropology is also there and the distinctions between sociology and anthropology are beginning to blur. The use of language by anthropologists to study human beings has a completely different approach than that adopted by sociologists to deliver there studies.


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  • Rozen Maiden

    A lot of this isn’t kosher. First of all, there is much overlap between sociology and anthropology (the exact reason people probably are looking at this site). Your definitions of sociology, anthropology (esp. physical anthropology) are outdated. And I take offense to the use of ‘less advanced’ societies – they are equally advanced, in terms of ‘complexity’ and ‘chronology’, unless you wish to place your value judgement on them.