Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology: Anthropology vs Sociology

By Aarna Tiwari|Updated : January 29th, 2023

The difference between Sociology and Anthropology lies in how both studies are performed. Sociology involves studies in which how groups of humans interact with each other is analyzed, while Anthropology involves the study of humans and their behavior at a more individualistic level. Sociology and Anthropology are two branches of social sciences that study human behaviour.

Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology PDF

While anthropology examines human behaviour and culture at the micro-individual level, sociology studies societies 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 through this article.

Table of Content

Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology

Sociology and Anthropology difference lies in how they look at society. While sociology looks at how a larger group affects an individual, anthropology studies how individuals have evolved to adapt to changing social trends. Look at the Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology based on various factors gathered in the tabular form below.

Anthropology vs Sociology

Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology

Basis of Difference

Sociology

Anthropology

Definition

Sociology studies society's structure, development, interaction, and function.

Anthropology studies human evolution, culture, and 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, its 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 affects 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.

Sociology and Anthropology

The relationship Between Sociology and Anthropology is that Sociology and Anthropology both conduct methodical studies related to social lifestyle and culture. It helps to understand the reasons and results of human activities.

Anthropologists and sociologists examine the structure and procedures of conventional and modern culture and industrial communities in Western and Non-Western civilizations. To Compare and Contrast Anthropology vs Sociology, one must understand Sociology and Anthropology meanings in depth.

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology studies 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.

Anthropology UPSC

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 group behaviour patterns 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, sociologist Emile Durkheim established sociology as a formal academic discipline in the 19th century.
  • Sociology generally studies social problems and tries to find solutions to them.

Sociology UPSC

Conclusion:

Key Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology

The key Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology is that Sociology examines human actions shaped and created by economic, political, and social pressures, whereas, Anthropology studies humans through the lens of cultural diversity. Sociology and Anthropology are two branches of social science that help us understand human behaviour more dynamically.

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FAQs on Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology

  • 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 humankind's evolution, culture, and communication.

  • Anthropology vs Sociology differs in their methodology in way that Sociology uses a quantitative method for data collection and analysis, whereas anthropology uses qualitative methodologies to analyze.

  • In India, sociology first began in 1919, and the first sociology department was founded at Bombay University in the same year. Many well-known intellectuals contributed to the advancement of sociology, and their efforts may be observed in their writings.

  • There is a clear difference between Sociology and Anthropology in terms of objectivity. Sociology aims to resolve social issues through policies. In contrast, anthropology aims to study human diversity and cultural differences.

  • Anthropology and Sociology are among the favourite subjects or Optional Subjects of the UPSC Toppers.

    • Before selecting any of the two subjects, one should analyze the previous year's question papers, the UPSC Syllabus, and UPSC Exam Pattern.
    • Having researched well, the candidate can make a clear choice.
  • The Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology perspectives 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.

  • Anthropology in organizational behaviour helps apprehend what functions and does not, how people use technology and tools in their day-to-day job, and how workers draw meaning from their profession. Business anthropology lets one know what is occurring and why in an organization.

  • There is a significant difference between Sociology and Anthropology goals. The primary objective of sociology is more solution-oriented to settle social problems through policy, while anthropology is to comprehend human diversity and cultural disparities.

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