Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology

Key difference - sociology vs. anthropology

Sociology and anthropology are both fields that study human society and humans. The main difference between sociology and anthropology is the approach taken in each discipline. Anthropology examines human societies and cultures and their development. Sociology studies the development, structure and functions of human society.

What is sociology

Sociology is an academic field that focuses on human interactions, social structure, and social organization. In this field, areas such as development, structures, organizations, units, institutions and social roles of individuals etc. are examined. The subject of sociology ranges from micro levels such as the individual and family to macro levels of systems and social structures.

Social class, social stratification, social mobility, law, etc. are the areas traditionally focused in sociology. It has now expanded to other disciplines like medicine, politics, education, military, etc.

Sociology uses both quantitative and qualitative data collected through surveys and samples. In addition, sociology has traditionally focused on industrialized Western societies.

Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology

What is anthropology?

Anthropology is the study of humans in terms of physical characteristics, ecological and social relationships, and culture. Anthropology focuses on culture and its properties. Areas such as art, gender, language, religion are examined in anthropology. In anthropology, communities, their cultures, traditions are closely observed. Anthropologists study how individuals, families, and communities deal with wider society and social trends. The characteristics of one group of people are often compared to another.

There are different areas in anthropology. For example, cultural anthropology focuses on the study of cultural variations between different groups. Linguistic anthropology deals with the influence of language on society. Biological anthropology is a scientific discipline that focuses on the biological and behavioral aspects of humans.

Anthropology mainly uses qualitative data as it studies culture and communities. Anthropology has traditionally focused on non-Western countries, but that practice is now changing.

Key difference - sociology vs. anthropology

Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology

definition

Sociology deals with the development, structure and functioning of human society.

Anthropology is the study of human societies and cultures and their development.

focus

Sociology deals with social problems and institutions.

Anthropology focuses on culture and community.

data

Sociology uses quantitative and qualitative data.

Anthropology uses qualitative data.

Areas

Sociology studies areas such as social class, social stratification, social mobility, law, etc.

Anthropology studies areas such as art, gender, language, and religion.

story

Sociology has traditionally focused on Western societies.

Anthropology has traditionally focused on non-Western societies.

Subfields

Sociology is divided into various sub-areas such as gender studies, criminology, social work, etc.

Anthropology is divided into various sub-areas such as linguistic anthropology, archeology, forensic anthropology, etc. Difference between sociology and anthropology - infographic

Image courtesy:

“Sociology” by By Tamaric1997 - Сопствено дело, (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia

“Anthropology” by Antony Stanley from Gloucester, United Kingdom - Coatlicue statue in the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia

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