Difference Between Anthropology vs Sociology

Difference Between Anthropology vs Sociology

Today’s post is designed to clear up the difference between anthropology and sociology for those who are perhaps interested in gaining a firmer understanding of these subjects at University or for those who are simply interested in either subject.

They are certainly both very closely related in that they involve studying humans, but one studies them in a far more general sense whereas one focuses largely on one element of human beings alone. Read on for everything you need to know.

Definition of Anthropology

The definition of anthropology is: “The study of cultural progression, evolution, and origin across every area of the world.”

When we’re summarizing anthropology, we’re talking largely about analyzing human cultural evolution in a very general sense. We’re tracing back to the roots of humanity and looking at how we came to be in our modern incarnation.

After diving into our origins, this field of study then stems out further to dive into the details of exactly how we progressed and evolved into the modern day incarnations of human beings as we now know them. This includes the study of how humans developed in each area of the world.

It’s when we finally start to observe different regions and countries that we then also start to dive into different cultures and the social behaviours and traditions that were created as we evolved in each respective location. Where the difference between sociology and anthropology comes into effect is in the framework of the material.

As the name implies, sociology concerns the social behaviours of humans in the present day (whilst drawing reference to past social interaction frequently too) whereas anthropology touches upon this aspect of our development and behaviour far more generally. Sociology is only one part of anthropology as a whole, whereas many of the subjects covered in anthropology are unlikely to feature when studying sociology.

Definition of Sociology

The definition of sociology is: “A subject focusing on the study of human social behaviours.”

It’s worth mentioning when we provide a summary for the sociology vs anthropology debate that though the former subject studies social behaviours as they are currently this doesn’t mean that past behaviours are never mentioned.

The past is just typically drawn upon to help articulate a point or widen understanding of modern day behaviours in this instance whereas it features extensively in anthropological study.

When comparing anthropology vs sociology even though we’re studying humans in both respects, with the latter we’re primarily looking at human behaviour whereas with the former we’re studying human development including behaviour.

This means that you are likely to find reference to elements of both subjects when learning about either as there is quite a large degree of crossover between them. With that said, you’ll always look at social behaviours more with sociology. The easiest way to summarize the two is to say that a wider area of topics in anthropology, whereas sociology largely covers one.

Main Differences Between Anthropology vs Sociology

We’ll now observe the main variations between these two human study systems in a super-accessible table:

Basis of ComparisonAnthropologySociology
Type of scienceBelongs to natural scienceBelongs to social science
Involves the study ofHuman evolution and regional evolutionary characteristicsHuman behaviour, mainly in the present day
PurposeHelps us to understand different culturesHelps us to resolve and understand social issues
How is data gathered for research?Data samples are usually gathered from one isolated areaData is gathered over a wider field based on several samples from several different subjects or individuals
Where is the emphasis placed?Mainly on culture and evolutionMainly on society
Number of areas analyzedVarious topics relating mainly to cultural evolutionMainly socially orientated topics relating to human social behaviour

Difference Between Anthropology and Sociology: Conclusion

We hope that you’re now finally in a better position to both summarize and understand these study fields comprehensively enough to be able to find your personal or professional studies easier.

Always remember in summary that anthropology covers many different aspects of human development, whereas sociology covers largely only the social aspects. This will always help you to set them apart.