What is the difference between Sociology and Anthropology?

(1) The primitive, pre-literate people and their culture from the subject matter of anthropology. The whole human society is the basis of its investigation. It not only studies the physical characteristics of the human race but also studies the influence itself.

Anthropology: A Continental Perspective, Wulf, Winter, Hamilton

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On the other, hand, sociology takes note of the influence of the human race exerts on social relations, and it deals with people and their culture in the present context. Nor is it all. It focuses the attention of sociologists on some of the particular aspects of society.

Thus it is quite obvious that the subject-matter of sociology is not the concern of anthropology. In respect of subject-matter both anthropology and sociology differ from each other.


(2) Anthropology has for its subject-matter the small and static culture of people who belong to the pre-literate period. In sharp contrast to anthropological concern with small and static cultures, sociology investigates the culture of society which, to say the least is very vast and dynamic in nature.

(3) It is really curious that sociologists can easily manage with the second-hand information, while anthropologists cannot but depend upon the first-hand knowledge.

(4) Anthropology is concerned with the past where as sociology is concerned with the present. The future of social institutions does not worry anthropologists, because anthropology is not at all concerned with it but same cannot be said about sociology as it is deeply concerned with the future of social institutions.

Social Anthropology, which is the branch of anthropology proper, makes on investigation of ancient human societies and pre-historic archaeology, the other branch studies the ancient cultures. Sociology and Anthropology alone studies the human society as it exists.


(5) Finally, Sociology and Anthropology have dissimilar methods since their subject-matter differs. It has been seen that sociologists in their study of man and society make use of statistics, documentary evidences, etc. The anthropologists especially social anthropologists use functional methods in their study of the primitive man and his culture.

It is not possible for an anthropologists to complete his research project without living with those people of a particular society whom he has chosen for his investigation. On the whole anthropology employes the methods used by natural sciences, while sociology uses the methods of social-science.

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