Sociology and Anthropology: Differences and Similarities

Anthropology has a broad paradigm that no other discipline can compare in its entirety. Any other discipline can only be related to one of its four components at a time. In this respect, sociology can be compared with socio-cultural anthropology.

Both disciplines study culture and are therefore closely intertwined. In fact, some people refer to anthropology as ‘comparative sociology.’

Sociology and Anthropology: Differences and Similarities
Image: Sociology and Anthropology

A few decades ago, both disciplines had two major variations based on –

  1. Subject Matter

Sociologists used to examine both rural and urban societies, while anthropologists concentrated on tribal societies. This was due to the fact that tribal communities were many and anthropologists were few. As a result, it was important to study the rapidly evolving tribal society.

However, anthropologists have now included rural and urban cultures in their field. Similarly, sociologists are interested in tribes. As a result, the distinction in this regard is rapidly diminishing.

  1. Fieldwork Methods

Previously, sociologists relied on secondary methods such as schedules and questionnaires, while anthropologists preferred participant observation. Many sociologists have embraced participant observation since realising its benefits. As a consequence, this distinction has also faded.

Nowadays, following an international, interdisciplinary approach, we do not compare different subjects. Rather, we put them together on a single forum so that each will learn from the other.

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