Anthropology vs. Sociology: What's the Difference?

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Anthropology vs. Sociology: What's the Difference?
The debate between anthropology vs. sociology is a matter of perspectives of human behavior. The first examines culture at the micro-level, while the second focuses on larger group dynamics.


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It is the study of humans and the ways they live. The goal is to understand human diversity and cultural differences. The four primary sub-fields:

  • Archeology focuses o...



It studies the ways groups of people interact with each other and how their behavior is influenced by social structures, categories, and institutions. It has many tenets:



Anthropology and sociology careers 

Anthropology and sociology degrees can lead to a career as a teacher, public sector employee, or academic. The degree can be a stepping stone to a career in politics, public administration, or law....



Multicultural people

Multicultural individuals commonly think, perceive, behave, and respond to global workplace issues in more complex ways than monocultural individuals.

Some multicultural individuals translate...

Multicultural minds

People can be categorized as multicultural by:

  • Having the ability to function in many cultures with ease.
  • Knowing multiple languages.
  • Having a multicultural mind, and can think in different ways.

Multiculturalism within Individuals

Multiculturalism within individuals can be defined as the degree to which they know, identify with, and internalize multiple cultures.

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Social structure

Social structure

Social structure is the organized set of social institutions and patterns of institutionalized relationships that together make up a society.

Social structures are not immediately vis...

The Macro Level of Society

The major social institutions include family, religion, education, media, law, politics, and economy. These are separate institutions that are interrelated and interdependent. Together they form the overarching social structure of a society.

There usually is a hierarchy to these relationships, which results in a power differential. The organization and operation of these social institutions result in other aspects of social structure, including socio-economic stratification.

The Meso Level

The meso level can be seen in the social networks that are organized by social institutions and institutionalized social relationships.

Our social networks also show up in social stratification, where relations are structured by class differences, differences in educational attainment, and differences in levels of wealth. In turn, it may shape the kinds of opportunities available and foster behavioral norms that determine the direction of our lives.

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Describing culture

Describing culture

Culture refers to the practices of exchanging information across generations and peers by means that are not genetic. It includes behavior and symbolic systems.

The way we ...

Culture and Relativism

Cultural relativists claim that no culture has a truer worldview than any other - they are just different.

The anthropological conception of culture is the most productive terrain for cultural relativism. For example, some societies have a clear-cut gender and racial division, while others do not.

Studying culture raises difficult questions

To study culture, you have to distance yourself from it, which means the only way to study a culture is by not sharing it. The study of culture ask difficult questions about human nature:

  • To what extend can you really understand yourself?
  • To what extent can a society assess its own practices?
  • What grounds does the anthropologist have to better understand the dynamics of a society than the members of the society themselves?