Sociology and Anthropology: 3 Major Differences

In the study of human behavior, the core to analysis is sociology and anthropology. Now, they may be from the same aspect of human study, but the difference between sociology and anthropology is vast.

And if you are interested in the field of social life & culture, then knowing the significance of sociology vs. anthropology is a must. In this article, we’ll explore just that.


Anthropology Vs Sociology: An Overview

The core difference between sociology and anthropology is that sociology spreads its domain over social issues, solutions, interactions, and overall social outlook of the humans.

On the other hand, anthropology does the complete opposite, as it focuses more on the cultural standpoint of different communities, nations, and perspectives.

Even though sociology and anthropology are regarded as the close study of human behavior, they are far apart from each other. As sociology is the close study of society and our social interactions, it requires vast information and a large audience to study over before coming to any conclusion.

But anthropology, on the other hand, doesn’t require an enormous amount of data to work with but requires crucial information that will help to shed light on a culture and its traditions. And both of these topics are also interconnected as a community’s social behavior also becomes a part of its culture sooner or later.


What Is Anthropology?


It is the study of cultures and traditions; more specifically, anthropology is the study of non-western cultures that asks the question: how that culture was and how humans interacted then, and what changed now.

This is a pivotal research as this study states how the human behavioral pattern changed throughout time. And a great deal of discovery also comes along with anthropology.

So, we can state that anthropology is the study that seeks the truth behind human origins. And anthropology solely revolves around physical evidence and material to prove its claim. Anthropology is also directly connected with archeology.


What Is Sociology?


Sociology is a study of human behavior that focuses on the interaction and social standards that humans follow in their day-to-day lives. So, in simple terms, sociology is the study of how people will interact with one and the other in society.

This also has a huge number of branches that tackle different aspects of social life and society.

Sociologists study a great number of subjects and topics that are directly related to society and the social life of a human being. Thus, sociology consists of organization, communication, interaction, social structure, beliefs, cultures, norms, and many more.

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Main Differences Between Sociology and Anthropology

Now, here are the core differences of sociology and anthropology.


The first difference that you will notice when comparing sociology and anthropology is their definition. Sociology is defined as the analysis of human social behavior, patterns in social relationships to find answers to all social issues and problems.

While on the other hand, anthropology is the analysis of previous cultures and traditions to find origins and patterns in human behavior so that we can get a better understanding of our behavioral evolution.


Key Aspects

The key aspects of sociology are focused on how humans behave in society and what triggers this sort of behavior. But for anthropology, the key aspect is exploring cultures and traditions to understand behavioral patterns of humans of that culture.

For this reason, sociology requires data-driven statistics, while anthropology seeks physical material that will connect it directly to a culture’s origin.



Methodology of sociology and anthropology

The methodology for sociology lies in studying and sampling a large amount of data from research conducted on an adequate number of people.

But for anthropology, there is no need for a huge load of data (although it is appreciated). Rather, authentic data that is solid and gives a good insight into the culture or tradition in question is preferred.

This means sociology revolves around quantitative data focused on economy and statistics, while anthropology focuses on qualitative data that is authentic and to the point.


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Anthropology vs Sociology: The Comparison Table


Sociology Anthropology


It can be defined as the analysis of social development, the interaction between groups of people, and the behavioral pattern of the same people.

Anthropology can be defined as the analysis of human behavior throughout time and of a different culture.

Focused Area of the Study

For sociology, the focused area is human behavior in the current society. This means that sociology revolves around social problems & solutions, gender equality, social norms, urban communities, behavioral patterns in families, and a lot more.

The core focus of anthropology has always been the exploration of past cultures, meaning it focuses on the evolution and the history of mankind, their approach to social issues, cultures, traditions, history, myths, etc.

Methodology of the Study

For sociology, the methodology concerns quantitative nature of sampling and studying over large samples of data & groups.

In the case of anthropology, the methodology is more prone towards qualitative data that revolves around ethnology analysis and finding a solid connection to the claims.

Based On

Sociology is based on social science.

Anthropology aligns itself with both social science and natural science.

Study Level of Human Behavior

Sociology’s study level is inclined towards group samples of human behavior.

Anthropology is based more on individual-level human behavior.


The main objective of sociology is to solve the problems of society by gathering and understanding every social matter and the structure of society.

The core objective of anthropology is to understand cultural differences and human diversity throughout the ages.

Historical Basis

Sociology’s historical basis lies in studying industrial societies of western civilization.

Anthropology’s historical basis is focused on non-western traditions and cultures.

Sample Size

Sociology requires a broad sample size to conduct research. Anthropology is fine with a small but immensive sample size to conduct the required research.


Key Takeaways

  • Both sociology and anthropology are a part of the social & cultural study of human nature.
  • Sociology focuses more on the social interactions of groups and individuals, while anthropology studies the culture of a civilization, group, and community.
  • Sociology is more of a macro detail-based structure, but anthropology, on the other hand, focuses on micro-level details & studies.
  • The historical basis of sociology is from western industrial culture, while the historical basis of anthropology is from non-western cultures in general.
  • Sociology depends on quantitative data, but anthropology uses both quantitative and qualitative data, although it depends largely on qualitative data.
  • Sociology is required to solve and understand social issues and problems, but anthropology is used to understand various cultures and traditions.
  • Sociology studies human behavior on a group level, while anthropology focuses more on individual behaviors of persons from different cultures.



The difference between sociology and anthropology is huge, to say the least, but at the same time, they are the opposite sides of a coin as they both focus on finding answers regarding human interactions.

And that’s what makes understanding the concepts of anthropology vs. sociology more important.