Anthropology is the study of humans and their behaviour at a more individualistic level.
In turn, sociology studies the ways in which groups of humans interact with each other and how their behaviour is influenced by social structures, categories (religion, gender) and institutions
The similarities they share are that they both study human behaviour but the focus is different.
Anthropology studies human behaviour at the micro-level of an individual which an anthropologist will take an example of the larger culture.
Sociology, on the other hand, tends to look at the bigger picture, often studying political movements, and the power relations of different groups with each other.
Both terms are important within the context of the IAS Exam.
This article will further highlight the differences between Anthropology and Sociology
The difference between the Anthropology and Sociology is highlighted in the table below:
Differences between the Anthropology and Sociology
|Emphasis on culture and its physical and social characteristics (kinship, language, religion, gender, art, etc.)||Emphasis on society and its origins and development (social classes, institutions and structures, social movements)|
|Has its historical basis in studying non-Western cultures or||Has its historical basis in studying industrialized Western societies|
|Micro-level focus – studies how individuals, families, and communities engage with the larger society and social trends||Macro-level focus – studies how the larger society and social trends affect individuals, families, and communities|
|Incorporates material/physical culture (archaeology, biophysical evidence)||Incorporates economics and statistics to a larger degree|
|Natural Science||Social Science|
|Anthropology relies on qualitative data to come to a conclusion||Sociology relies on quantitative data to arrive at a conclusion|
|Anthropologist make use of a smaller sample size for immersive and localized data collection||Sociologist make use of a broader, larger sample size|
|It is done to understand different cultures||It is done to solve contemporary social problems|
|Anthropology became more professionalised following as a social science in the early 20th century||The term ‘sociology’ was coined by Auguste Comte in the 1850s when he published the “Treatise on Sociology”|
If you have decided to choose anthropology as an optional in the UPSC Mains exam, the following links will help
For those that have chosen sociology as an option the following links will be of immense help:
- Sociology for UPSC Exams
- UPSC Sociology Preparation Strategy
- Sociology Syllabus
- Difference Between Sociology and Psychology
- Difference Between Sociology and History
- Difference Between Sociology and Economics
Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology – Download PDF Here
Frequently Asked Questions about Sociology and Anthropology
What is the importance of studying Anthropology and Sociology?
What is the main focus of anthropology?
Familiarise yourself with the general pattern of the UPSC Exams by visiting the UPSC Syllabus page. For more articles and exam-related preparation materials, refer to the links given in the table below: