Differences between Anthropology and Sociology

Anthropology and Sociology are considered as social sciences that study different aspects of the human being and there is a great overlap between anthropology and sociology. Yes, both anthropology and sociology deal with the study of man, his behavior, culture, and interactions with society. Anthropologists focus on tribes and cultures of colonized peoples; sociologists work in urban societies. There are many similarities and differences between these two fields within the domains of the social sciences and it is the differences between anthropology and sociology that we will address in this article.

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology studies man in his entirety . There are broad classifications of the area in archeology, physical anthropology, linguistics and cultural anthropology . Of course, physical anthropology is more concerned with the study of man’s physical characteristics, such as his height, skin color, and body and head shape, etc. Archeology is the part of anthropology that tries to dig artifacts under the surface of the earth that reveal a lot about the man of those times and his interactions with society. She is involved in making deductions and inferences from the analysis of artifacts and tools. Cultural anthropology is the closest to sociology and, even here, there are differences in approach and methodology that justify the segregation of these two social sciences.

Anthropology is concerned with the study of less advanced cultures, such as tribes in Africa and Asia, while sociology is more concerned with understanding social structure in our societies. Anthropology is a broader social science, as it studies various aspects of human beings from their physical characteristics to the study of their artifacts (archeology). However, it is when we speak of social anthropology , also called cultural anthropology, that sociology and anthropology begin to become confused. Now let’s move on to understanding sociology.

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What is Sociology?

Anthropology and Sociology try to answer questions related to man and his behavior in his society. However, unlike anthropology, in sociology   society is the focus of study. Looking basically, it appears that sociology is the scientific study of societies and social relations. The main objective of sociologists is to have an insight into human behavior. How and why human beings behave in a particular way in a society is the central question in any sociological debate. Changes in an individual’s behavior as a result of being a member of a family, group, society, and a religion are studied deeply in sociology. Why human beings behave the way they do in societies is something that sociologists try to unravel.

In sociology, the complex social processes and the role of social institutions are being studied. The idea of ​​social order and its maintenance, the impact of social institutions, not only on the people of a society, but also on the very idea of ​​social stability are being discussed. In sociology, research plays a fundamental role in exploring and understanding social constructions, as well as the subjective meanings that people associate for the understanding of society. This shows that sociology is different from anthropology, although there is a tendency for disciplines to merge in certain situations.

What is the difference between Anthropology and Sociology?

  • There are many differences regarding the object, approach and methodology of sociologists and anthropologists
  • Although there are subdivisions in anthropology such as physical anthropology, linguistic anthropology, archeology and cultural anthropology, sociology focuses on studying the effect of society on the individual and the relationships of human beings and their societies.
  • The fundamental difference between sociology and anthropology is that, while sociologists study societies, anthropologists study cultures.


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