Difference Between Anthropology and Sociology

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: October 17, 2023

       

Difference Between Anthropology and Sociology

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Introduction

In this article, we will discuss the difference between Anthropology and sociology. Both fields deal with learning more about humans. Knowing the difference helps people choose which field to make their career. Anthropology, in simple ways, is the study of humans and how we live. Anthropology is based on examining culture more at the micro-level of the individual as in each human alone, which the anthropologist generally takes as an example of the larger culture or larger group’s collective behaviour. One studies people at the micro level, and the other at the macro level. In addition to this, Anthropology hones in on the cultural specificities of a given group or community. Sociology, on the other hand, tends to look at the bigger picture, often studying human institutions (educational, political, religious), organizations, all kinds of political movements, and the power relations of different groups with each other.

Anthropology focuses on qualitative research methods like ethnography, whereas sociology focuses on both methods of research quantitative as it focuses on studying larger groups of humans. Another difference between the two is that there are four primary sub-fields in Anthropology: archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. Apart from this, people studying anthropology study a different culture apart from their own. Whereas, Sociology has several tenets.

Anthropology vs Sociology

The main difference between Anthropology and sociology is the execution or work done by both departments. Sociology focuses on solutions to human issues. Most of the graduates of sociology end up working in NGOs or organizations that work to resolve humanitarian issues. They also end up becoming politicians, public administrators, etc. Anthropology works on the issue or the root cause instead of the solution the graduates from this field often end up working as Professors, research consultants, demographers, etc. For the sociology majors, there are fewer scopes in the corporate world, but Anthropology majors find jobs in the corporate areas by doing market research and consumer analysis. Apart from this, the major difference that creates the distinction between the two is that Anthropology works on different cultures and human diversity, etc. In contrast, sociologists work to bring a change and a revolution in the social system itself.

Difference Between Anthropology and Sociology in Tabular Form

ParametersAnthropologySociology
MeaningAnthropology focuses on learning about humans their culture and how we live as a community. It focuses on all the previous practices, evolution of humans and how they adapt to changes and their behaviours.Sociology is a study of the human-developed structure and its institutions organisations, human interaction and social structures. it encompasses all forms of social structures from micro family structures to society framework.
Study LevelAnthropology is studied at the individual level like the changes in people and their behaviour, differences in lifestyle and habits etc. Evolution of the individual human.Sociology is studied at a group level as this is the study of human institutions like family systems, various institutions, social organisations, etc.
Study of Literate or Preliterate SocietyAnthropology studies society from the time when it was preliterate to study the evolution that has taken place since then.Sociology is the study of both the preliterate and the literate society as both parts help draw a significant difference between the institutions that were, devised in the preliterate and the literate society. This helps in understanding human interaction and the general method of cooperation.
Science ofAnthropology is the science of human evolution and human have come to be and how humans have adapted to different environmental changes and sustained as a species.Sociology is the study of society it focuses more on how society functions such as the change in the social norms that has come with time. The focus is also on the ways people and institutions were formed in different periods.
Methods of researchThe method of research taken up for anthropology is qualitative research as quantitative research is unlikely to give the desired results when it comes to Anthropology as it studies evolution in Humans,The method of research for sociology is both quantitative and qualitative as this focuses on both the human institutions and to study the changes that have come up in the human institutions there is a need for both types of research.
ObjectivesThis works to build information on human evolution and changes brought up from the past.This focuses on studying different institutions to bring about changes in the social systems and social norms for the betterment of society.
BranchesAnthropology has four different branches archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology.Sociology has several tenets. the specific of each is different from the last.

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology, in simple words, is the study of human beings based on their physical characteristics, environmental and social relations, and their culture. Anthropology focuses on culture and its characteristics. Different areas of human interest like art, language, gender, culture and religion are all studied under anthropology. In anthropology, all communities, cultures, and traditions are also studied and researched. Anthropologists also study how all individuals, families, and communities engage with each other in the larger society and social trends. The characteristics of one group of people are often compared to another to mark a basic difference between the two and identify the factors that are the reason behind the difference.

Anthropology focuses on unraveling the mystery surrounding the origin of man and the evolution and changes that the origin has brought out in the present society. This field researches the ancestry of humans and the calamities behind the end of the old civilizations. This focuses on the development of humans, the culture, and the society devised by humans.

There are various branches of Anthropology:

  • Cultural anthropology focuses on the study of all cultural variations among different groups of humans. Like rituals followed in diverse civilizations in the same period, the way of living of the people at that time, what their diet consisted of, and the type of human relations that society consisted of at that time.
  • Linguistic anthropology focuses on the influence of language on society. The development pace of society often gets impacted by the development of languages and affects trade as well. This also considers the form of nonverbal communication that took place in the past as well as its effect on social culture and religion.
  • Biological anthropology is a scientific discipline. This focuses on the biological and behavioural aspects of human beings like the effect of climate and diet on their body and the anatomical, genetic and physiological differences between the past and present human populations and the changes that we have come to adapt with time.
  • Anthropology focuses on qualitative data. One of the interesting things about the field is that anthropologist usually study cultures and regions different from their own.

What is Sociology?

Sociology is an academic field which has focused on human institutions, interactions, social structure, and social organisation. It studies areas of work like development, organizational structure, basic units, institutions formed, and social roles of different individuals based on their status, etc. The subject matter of sociology ranges from studying at the basic micro levels, such as individual and family, to the macro level of systems and social structures like the society as a whole.

 It discusses all the Social classes, the distinctions or the social stratification, their social mobility, the law practised, etc. These are the areas which are mainly focused on in sociology. It also often focuses on fields like the development of medicine, religion, and agriculture in the area to the prosperity of the society. Sociology makes use of both kinds of data, quantitative and qualitative data collected through surveys and sampling. The main focus of sociology at first was on the old institutions in Western society, as most of the sociologists were Europeans.

Main Focus Areas of Sociology

  • Law has been one of the major focus areas in sociology as most of the governing and conduct of the society is reflected by the law as the law defines what is acceptable for the people to do. This helps sociologists create a clear demarcation between the relationship of people to the social institutions and the level of freedom in the society can also be judged by the severity of punishments given upon the breaking of law and the enforcement of the laws.
  • Medical development is an important focus area in sociology as this helps in understanding the state of the society as well as the prosperity and the culture, habits and race of the people that formed the society and the level of development could also be judged by how often people fell sick and this further reflected their resources as well.
  • Culture and diversity is a focus area of sociology which helps to understand how open and welcoming the people of the society were to foreign cultures and new developments and changes. This also gives a glimpse into the social power structure of the society.
  • Gender and society are other important factors in the social structure of society, and gender equality helps in understanding the family structure and business dynamics of the society. Further, this impacts the dynamics of society like maternity, divorce, fertility and mortality, etc.

Sociology focuses on studying all these human institutions and the structure of different human societies to draw conclusions and find ways to improve the present social structures and a solution to contemporary social issues. Anthropologists work closely with various institutions like the UN to work on social structure. They work to form policies and laws for fields like education, poverty, crime, etc.

Difference Between Anthropology and Sociology in Points

  • Focus Area: Anthropology focuses on individual behavior and the evolution of humans and society. The major focus is on the anatomy and growth of the individual human from the past to contemporary times. Sociology focuses on society, social structure, human institutions, and the working norms of a society to understand civilization, and this is done on a group level to find solutions to treat the social issues of the present and positively improve the society structure.
  • Based on: Anthropology is a study that focuses on the evolution of humans on individuals and individual changes. Therefore, it focuses more and more on material evidence compared to this. Sociology takes into consideration a major focus on quantitative data like statistics of certain things like childbirths or deaths in an era, etc.
  • Emphasis on: Anthropology has a major focus on culture and its impact on individuals, physical and social characteristics. Sociology, at most, is focused on the society’s origin and the social structure formed in the society.
  • History focus: Anthropologists focus on the study of non-western parts of the world and all such non-western civilizations as anthropologists focus on studying civilizations that are other than their own. Sociologists focus more on the study and research of Western institutional organizations.

Conclusion

In this article, we have established the importance of Anthropology and Sociology as a field of study. The importance of the work of Anthropologists to research the origin of the evolution of humans and the culture as well as social structure developed in past societies. The important part of anthropology is to help people understand the difference between the present and contemporary times. Sociology, on the other hand, focuses on social norms and cultures as well as social status and social institutions that worked in the past civilisations. Furthermore, it helps in getting data related to medical, cultural, and social information like gender and diversity, etc. All this information and data helps in finding a way to tackle present social issues and forming functioning social institutions that work in the favour of society. Social class, social stratification, social mobility, law, etc. are the areas which are majorly focused in sociology which helps in devising the way of tackling issues related to this. The expansion of the field of sociology has enabled sociologists to take up jobs in corporate sectors along with anthropologists to work on consumer behaviour and consumer demands along with helping create a brand image by perceiving the culture of the particular target section.

References

  • https://www.forbes.com/advisor/education/sociology-vs-anthropology/

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"Difference Between Anthropology and Sociology." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 19 Apr. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-anthropology-and-sociology>.



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