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Sociology and Anthropology

Sociology concentrates on society, social change, human social behaviour, social causes, patterns of social relations and effects of human behaviour. Anthropology can say that it is what makes us human.

When humans started to evolve, there arose the need to keep track of their social patterns. With the help of various methodologies like empirical investigation and critical analysis, deep knowledge about social order and changes was gained. 

On the other hand, anthropological research is based on internal human changes. The study is concerned with how human behaviour, biology, culture, linguistics, etc. changed over time. The study that deals with human composition or the study of what makes us human is called anthropology. 

Sociology and Anthropology

To formulate a body of awareness about social order and social change, sociology uses several methods of empirical investigation and critical examination. Some sociologists conduct studies that may be related directly to social policy and progress. The study of captive matter can rely on a micro-level examination of society as well as a macro-level analysis. Traditional priorities of sociology involve social class, social stratification, social mobility, law, religious secularisation and gender.

The realm of human activity lies between social pattern and individual agency. Gradually sociology has widened its scope to other subjects and institutions like medicine, health, military, economy, internet, education and the role of social action in the growth of scientific learning. Also, the spectrum of social scientific methods has expanded as researchers navigate a variety of quantitative and qualitative techniques. With holism, which is a different aspect of human nature, anthropologists adopt a comprehensive approach to understanding. They study how humans had lived years ago and what was valuable to them. 

The overall study of humans consists of research at both physical and psychological levels. Sociology deals with the latter one. The former comes under anthropological studies. They mainly focus upon a certain period in the past and base their research on how humans used to conduct their lifestyles back then. The research is constrained and narrowed on an individual level.

Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology

Humans have evolved in all-natural, physical and biological forms from the ancient period. With the change in time, their adaptation and reaction to the changing environment have also changed. These changes are proof of the evolving nature of humans and also the environment. 

Anthropology and sociology are two such studies that deal with changes around us and changes in us. Anthropology studies human behaviour on an individual level, while sociology emphasises cluster behaviour and relations along with social constructions.  

Although both the studies revolve around humans, both have very different areas of work. 

Here are the differences:  



  1. Focuses on human diversity on a micro-level.

  1. Focuses on human interaction and behaviour on a macro-level.

  1. Refers to qualitative data to conclude.

2. Refers to quantitative data to generate results.  

  1. Evolves around the science of human evolution.

    3. Evolves around the science of society. 

  1. The study is concerned with human evolution and development, physical, social and cultural changes. 

    4. Study of social behaviour, interactions, structure, processes, the pattern of relationships and its forms. 

  1. Is concerned with human beings and their ancestors.

    5. Deals with people and society. 

  1. Studies are based upon only uncivilised, ancient and primitive societies. 

6. Studies are based on both modern and ancient societies.

  1. Primary research method is based on participant observation in depth. 

7. Primary research method is based on globalised race, religion, demography. 

  1. The goal is to understand human diversity and cultural differences. 

7. Has a solution-oriented goal and aims at fixing social problems. 

Relation Between Sociology and Anthropology

Society is composed of humans who have evolved over years. The changes were and are ongoing. Each day, some changes are taking place somewhere in this world. These changes and differences are being known to us by the variety of research that is being undertaken. 

Societal changes and physical changes play a vital role in moderating the overall changes in the surroundings. The need for both brought about the existence of anthropology and sociology. Anthropology deals with the studies of human behaviour on an individual level. On the other hand, sociology deals with the study of group behaviours and relations on a group or mass level. 

  • Sociology is the study of social life, its causes and consequences whereas anthropology is the study that deals with individual diversity

  • Sociologists depend upon anthropologists to understand social phenomena

  • As anthropologists use ancient data to arrive at conclusions, sociologists use that data to understand how the current society came into existence

  • Anthropological knowledge is incomplete without the existence of sociological facts like relation, religion, family, and other such social notions

  •  Sociology has expanded its area of study with the help of anthropology, i.e. it gained the idea of many socio-cultural terms like cultural traits, patterns, configurations, etc


Sociologists utilise hypothetical frameworks to compose and understand the social phenomena examined in sociological research. On the other hand, anthropologists try to understand the archaeology of the human structure.

Sociology and anthropology co-exist and are interrelated. None can exist alone; both of the studies involve human concerns and are interdependent.


Frequently asked questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the UPSC Examination Preparation.

Why is the study of anthropology important?

Answer: It helps us learn about how diversified the world culture is. It indirectly builds a sense of respect and encourages curiosity to know abou...Read full

Why is the study of sociology important?

Answer: Sociology helps in building an understanding of socials and their impact upon our lives. It teaches us how to be simple and cultured. It he...Read full

What is the impact of sociology and anthropology on our lives?

Answer: Anthropological studies help us understand different societal organisations around us. It gives us an emotional, economic and political ide...Read full