Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 15, 2022, 6:34

Sociology and Anthropology are two branches of social sciences that study human behaviour. While anthropology examines human behaviour and culture at the micro-individual level, sociology studies societies as a whole and looks at the larger picture.

To understand the Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology, let's take a deeper look at these fields of study.

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the study of human evolution, development, culture and behaviour. It studies both the past and present of human beings. In other words, it is the study of biological and sociocultural facets of man.

The term anthropology was first used in English in 1593 to refer to the natural science of humanity. However, it began to be studied as a distinct discipline in the 19th century.

Anthropology focuses on four primary areas of human studies- archaeology, culture, language, and biology.

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What is Sociology?

Sociology is the study of society at large. Human beings are social animals, and they need to interact with each other to co-exist. Sociology tries to survey and analyze human interactions.

It focuses on patterns of behaviour among groups that may be defined by gender, class, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

The term sociology was first coined in 1838 by August Conte, often regarded as the father of sociology. Scholars like Karl Marx and Herbert Spencer contributed hugely to the subject. However, sociology as a formal academic discipline was established only in the 19th century by sociologist Emile Durkheim.

Sociology generally studies social problems and tries to find solutions to them.

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Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology

Basis of Difference

Sociology

Anthropology

Definition

Sociology is the study of society's structure, development, interaction, and functioning.

Anthropology studies human beings' evolution, culture, environmental, and biological characteristics.

Focus

Sociology focuses on social problems related to gender, race, ethnicity, and behavioural patterns of families, communities, and institutions.

Anthropology focuses on the evolution of mankind, their culture, and communication.

Methodology

Sociology uses a quantitative method for data collection and analysis. Hence it is regarded as a rigorous social science.

Anthropology uses qualitative methodologies as its mode of analysis. Hence, it is considered a softer social science compared to sociology.

Perspective

Sociology studies human behaviour at the macro level. It tries to analyze how society at large effects individuals and families.

Anthropology studies individual behaviour and culture at a micro-level and takes it as an example of the larger culture.

Objective

The objective of sociology is to resolve social issues through policies.

The objective of anthropology is to study human diversity and cultural differences.

Sub-fields

Some of the subfields of sociology are gender studies, criminology, social work, etc.

Some of the subfields of anthropology are archaeology, linguistic anthropology, physical anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology.

The Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology lies in how they look at society. While sociology looks at how a larger group affects an individual, anthropology studies how individuals have evolved over the years to adapt to changing social trends.

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FAQs on the Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology

Q.1. What is the Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology based on focus?

The Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology based on focus is that Sociology focuses on social problems related to gender, race, ethnicity, and behavioural patterns of families, communities, and institutions. On the other hand, anthropology focuses on the evolution of humankind, their culture, and communication.

Q.2. What is the Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology in methodology?

The Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology in methodology is that Sociology uses a quantitative method for data collection and analysis, whereas anthropology uses qualitative methodologies to analyze.

Q.3. What is the perspective Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology?

The perspective Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology is that Sociology studies human behaviour at the macro level, whereas anthropology studies individual behaviour and culture at a micro-level and takes it as an example of the larger culture.

Q.4. What is the Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology in terms of objectivity?

The Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology in terms of objectivity is that the aim of sociology is to resolve social issues through policies, whereas anthropology aims to study human diversity and cultural differences.