Sociology and Anthropology are both branches of social sciences that deal with and analyze the behavior of human beings in a society. Both these fields of study are closely related as they study civilizations and human social hierarchies in depth.
Sociology vs Anthropology
The difference between Sociology and Anthropology is that while sociology deals with and analyses people as a society and their behavior, anthropology sheds more light and focus on their cultures and traditions.
Sociology deals with the study of humans’ social relationships with societies and institutions. While anthropology is the study of the past, present, and future of human beings to analyze various cultural differences that have evolved over the years.
The social nature of man forms the basis of sociology and includes investigating the structure of groups of people, societies, their behavioral patterns, and understanding the way how people interact with each other. While, anthropology focuses more on areas like culture, archaeology, language, and biology that have been evolving.
Comparison Table Between Sociology and Anthropology (in Tabular Form)
|Parameter of Comparison||Sociology||Anthropology|
|Definition||Sociology is the study of the development, interaction, structure of groups, and behavioral changes of an organized group of human beings to analyze their changes.||Anthropology is the study of human beings mainly through their past and their evolutions in terms of cultural, environmental, and biological characters.|
|Areas of Study||Sociology focuses more on social problems, gender, race, ethnicity, and behavioral patterns of families, urban communities, institutions, and many more.||Anthropology focuses on studying the evolution of mankind concerning their cultures, issues, rituals, traditions, history, and even myths.|
|Popularity||Sociology seems to be a more popular course offered by many universities across the globe.||Due to its resemblance to biology and many other fields of study like archaeology, anthropology is not a very sought after or offered program.|
|Methodology||Sociology is viewed as a harder social science as it uses a quantitative methodology of surveying and sampling as its mode of study.||Anthropology is considered to be a softer social science with a more qualitative methodology which includes ethnography as its mode of analysis.|
|Focus Level||Sociology tries to study things at a macro-level, like how the larger society affects individuals and families.||Anthropology focuses on a micro level and studies how individuals and families interact and evolve with social trends.|
What is Sociology?
The term ‘sociology’ was coined by Auguste Conte in 1838 and was taken up by many scholars like Karl Marx and Herbert Spencer. Sociology started becoming a professional and academic subject by the end of the 19th century due to the major sociological work contributions of Emile Durkheim.
Since humans need to interact with each other to co-exist, sociology tries to analyze and interpret the interactive actions of people with each other and society as a whole. It also majorly tries to focus on the result or products of such human interactions like families, cities, organizations, technologies, media, and even religion.
The subject matter of study in sociology deals with the smallest group of people, i.e., from families to organizations, institutions as well as religion, gender, and race. Sociologists usually work on a quantitative research basis by studying large sets of data and samples, and surveying and analyzing them.
Sociology looks for ‘people’s issues’ and finding out solutions to them. For example, for a sociologist, unemployment may not seem like a problem of the unemployed individual, but a result of the interaction of socio-political and economic forces, that show the number of jobs available and the number of people trying to get them.
Sociology generally specializes in areas like families, health, communities, gender, race, caste, crime, and even economics. The historical basis in sociology is in studying industrialized Western societies.
Famous sociologists include Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx, who wrote the famous “Communist Manifesto” and “Das Capital”. Other major contributions to this field include, Herbert Spencer’s “survival of the fittest” theory among many others. The scope of ‘Sociology’ as a career is also huge. It has been anticipated to grow by 18% by the end of 2020. Sociology opens doors to careers like professors, policy analysts, supervisors, researchers, directors, and many more.
What is Anthropology?
Anthropology is the study of the past and present of humans, as per the American Anthropological Association. They are studies of humans regarding their cross-cultural differences, communication styles, cultural beliefs, and their evolution mechanisms.
The term anthropology first appeared in 1593. In 1772, Kant began teaching a course on anthropology. The subject became separated and distinct from biology by the 19th century.
Anthropology mainly focuses on four main areas like culture, archaeology, language, and biology of humans throughout a very long time and creates inferences from them.
In simpler terms, anthropology determines how humans live and their evolution. It examines cultural and traditional rituals and ways of living at a very minute level.
The objects made by humans earlier and their analysis, how humans have biologically adapted to changing environmental conditions till now, hoe humans interact with their surroundings, their folks, arts, and cuisines, how humans communicate across cultures, all these forms the crux of anthropology.
Anthropology analyses humans from a very broad and comparative perspective and uses qualitative methods like ethnography to study humans from past to present. Career options are wide in the field of anthropology, ranging from a Ph.D. and research in anthropological departments to museums to work in government and international agencies and even healthcare centers.
Main Differences Between Sociology and Anthropology
- Sociology is the study of people living together, their behavioral patterns, and reactions, while anthropology is the study of how people have evolved in various terms over the past years.
- Sociology deals with group behavior of people and their relations with society and institutions, while anthropology analyses people at a more micro and individual level.
- The major methodology for the study used by Sociologists is Quantitative methods like survey and sampling, while anthropologists use methods like ethnography and other qualitative methods to analyze and infer.
- The main difference between Sociology and Anthropology is that sociology focuses on things at a macro-level while, anthropology does that at a micro-level.
- Sociology is more solution-oriented and tries fixing social problems, while anthropology tries to understand cultural diversities.
Both these social sciences study human behavior and their surroundings, but what makes a difference between them is the perspective through which they look at society. Sociology tries to understand how the world and social trends affect smaller groups like families and organizations, while anthropology studies how humans have been affected by these changing social trends and how they have evolved to cope up with it.
Anthropology focuses on the cultures and traditions of people and tries to understand how they have come to the present state, their journey of evolution, and their capacity to adapt and change. Sociology talks more about how every behavior of people are inter-related and what causes them to behave in a certain way. Hence, both of these perspectives are very important for human growth and development.