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Introduction to Sociology and Anthropology:

Introduction to Sociology and Anthropology

Learning Objectives:
1. Origin, Meaning, Definition and Scope of Sociology
2. Sub-division of Sociology
3. Origin, Meaning, Definition and scope of Anthropology
4. Sub division of Anthropology
5. Similarities and differences between Sociology and anthropology
Factors contributing to the emergence of sociology::
Three factors led to the development of sociology
1. Industrial Revolution
2. Travel
3. Success of Natural Sciences
Scientific and technological advances are applied to agriculture, transportation,
and industry.
The Europeans had been successful in obtaining colonies Their colonial
empires exposed them to radically different cultures Startled by these
contrasting ways of life, they began to ask questions why cultures differed
Success in natural sciences:
Newtons laws explained the movement of everything visible in the universe
(from planets to buildings) It seemed logical to discover the laws underlying
social phenomena
The Development of Sociology:

Sociology emerged as a separate discipline in the nineteenth century. This was

a time of great social upheaval due largely to the French and Industrial
Revolutions Several early sociologists shaped the direction of the discipline

Pioneering founders of sociology:

Auguste Comte: The Father of Sociology:

Responsible for coining the term sociology Set out to develop the science of
man that would be based on empirical observation Focused on two aspects of
society: Social Statics forces which produce order and stability Social
Dynamics forces which contribute to social change
Harriet Martineau (1802-1876):
Authored one of the earliest analyses of culture and life in the United States
entitled Theory and Practice of Society in America Translated Comtes Positive
Philosophy into English Harriet Martineau
Herbert Spencer (1820-1903):
Authored the first sociology text, Principles of Sociology Most well known for
proposing a doctrine called Social Darwinism Suggested that people who
could not compete were poorly adapted to the environment and inferior This is
an idea commonly called survival of the fittest
Karl Marx (1818-1883):
Marx is the father of conflict theory Saw human history in a continual state of
conflict between two major classes: Bourgeoisie owners of the means of
production (capitalists) Proletariat the workers Predicted that revolution
would occur producing first a socialist state, followed by a communist society

Emile Durkheim (1858-1917):

Durkheim moved sociology fully into the realm of an empirical science Most
well known empirical study is called Suicide , where he looks at the social
causes of suicide Generally regarded as the founder of functionalist theory
Emile Durkheim
Max Weber (1864-1920):
Much of Webers work was a critique or clarification of Marx His most famous
work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism directly challenged
Marxs ideas on the role of religion in society Weber was also interested in
bureaucracies and the process of rationalization in society

Meaning of sociology:
One of the youngest social science Composed of two word, Socius meaning
companion or associate and logos meaning science or study. The
etymological, literal definition of sociology is that it is the word or speaking
about society.
Sociology is not social studies but queen of all science. Sociology is the study of
human social life, groups and societies which encompasses elements of other
social science, but views society in a holistic way.
Definition of Sociology:
Sociology is a debunking science; that is, it looks for levels of reality other
than those presented in official interpretations of society and peoples common
sense explanations of the social world. Sociologists are interested in
understanding what is and do not make value judgments. -Soroka
Sociology is a science of social relationship -A.W Small Sociology as the
science of social phenomenon subject to natural and invariable laws, the
discovery of which is the object of investigation. -Auguste Comte
Is Sociology a science?:

Sociology deserves a scientific character: Society is an open laboratory

Experimentation Comparative methods Prediction Predict the future social
behaviour with different social problems and social life Generalization
Generalization social aspects after a research
B. Sociology does not deserves a scientific character: Open laboratory: human
society is always changeable and dynamic Experimentation: cannot applied
scientific formula and principles in human society Comparative methods: less
reliable in natural science Prediction : difficult to predict human behaviour
Generalization: In the case of sociology study, this case may not necessary
build up the theory
Nature of sociology:
Independent science A social science and not a physical science A categorical
and not a normative discipline A pure science and not a applied science
Relatively an abstract science and not a concrete science A generalizing and not
a particularizing science Both a Rationale and an Empirical science Enlisted by
Robert Biersteadt in his book The social order

Subject matter of sociology:

The subject matter of sociology is complex and varied. However, sociology seeks
find explanation for these basic question: 1. How and why societies emerge? 2.
How and why societies persist? 3. How and why societies change?
A general outline of the fields of sociology on which there is considerable
agreement among sociologist could be given below:

Sociological Analysis
Studies primary unit of social life
Study of basic social institutions
Study of social process
Method of Research
Concepts, propositions and theories
Specialization in study

Scope of sociology:
There are two main schools of thought regarding the scope of sociology:
1. Specialitic or formalistic school of thought Sociology studies one specified
aspect of social relations. A comparison is drawn between the social
relationships and a bottle. George Simmel, A.W. Small, Max Weber & F.
Tonnis as its main advocate
2. Synthetic school of thought The Synthetic school want to make sociology
a synthesis of the social science or general science Emile Durkheim, Hob
House, Sorokin and Ginsberg has been the chief exponent of this school
Specific Sub-division of sociology:
criminology; demography; human ecology; political sociology; medical
sociology; Sociology of the family; sociology of sports; rural sociology; economic
sociology; industrial sociology. sociology of development; social psychology;
socio- linguistics; sociology of education; sociology of religion; sociology of
knowledge; sociology of art; sociology of science and technology; sociology of
law; and urban sociology
Most important fields of Sociology:
The Field of Social Organization and Theory of Social Order Social Control
Social Change Social Processes Social Groups Social Problems World Book
Encyclopedia, 1994: Vol. 18; Pp. 564-568

Levels of analysis in sociology:

Micro-sociology: Analyzing small scale social phenomena Macro-sociology:
analyzing large-scale social phenomena Meso-sociology: analysis of social
phenomena in between the micro- and macro- levels.

History of Anthropology:

Even though anthropology, as a discipline of study, did not appear until the
16th century. Most of the early philosophers who carried anthropology related
research were Greek, like Herodotus in 500 BC, Aristotle in 400 BC and Strabo
in 100 BC.
Historians of anthropology often claim that anthropology as a discipline
originated during, and due to, the period in history known as the Renaissance.
The term 'anthropology' was coined in 16th century Germany, by German
university professors.
The most revolutionizing works in anthropology were written by Charles
Darwin. He wrote The Voyage of the Beagle, that was published in 1845 AD,
and On the Origin of Species, that appeared in 1859 AD. 'Histoire Naturelle'
written by French naturalist Georges Buffon is an encyclopedia in which 2 of
the 44 volumes have been dedicated to anthropology.
The German anthropologist, Johann F. Blumenbach, played a highly
instrumental role in the development of the branch of anthropology known as
physical anthropology. Modern-day anthropology has been highly influenced by
the works of American cultural anthropologist, Margaret Mead, during the
middle of the 20th century.
Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942) and Franz Boas (1858-1942) developed the
method of participant observation, and lived among other cultures for
extended periods. They were both emphatically opposed to social evolution.
Anthropology becomes more grounded in cultural relativism. Anthropologists
stop focusing on the origins of religions to: How religions spread through
DIFFUSION, the mixing of cultural elements from one society to another
through contact over time. What FUNCTIONS religions serve in society.
SIR EDWARD B. TYLOR Father of Anthropology:
A social evolutionist. He asserted that the development of religions from one
stage to the next is universal throughout the worlds cultures:
ANIMISM: Belief in souls, and that all things in the world are endowed with a

TOTEMISM: Religious practices centered around animals, plants, or other

aspects of the natural world held to be ancestral or closely identified with a
group and its individuals.
POLYTHEISM: Belief in more than one, or many gods.
MONOTHEISM: Belief in one god.

CHARLES DARWIN 1809 to 1882:

The Origin of Species , 1859. "Much light will be shed on the origin of man (sic)
and his history .Darwins biological studies of evolution paralleled an interest
in social evolution that produced a body of knowledge that supported social,
economic, and political policies.
Meaning of Anthropology :
Derived from two Greek word, Anthropos which means man and logos
means study or science.
Thus, Anthropology is the science of man and his works and behaviour.
British Anthropologist E.B. Tylor is called the father of anthropology.
Another British scholar Charles Darwin is also believed to be major
contributors in the fields of anthropology.
Anthropology, a uniquely holistic and comparative discipline, is the scientific
and humanistic study of human species, of human biology and cultural
diversity and its immediate ancestors. Simply, Anthropology is a historical
study which explores the origin of and changes in human biology and culture.
Anthropology is the study of man and his works, races, and customs of
human life. -EN Hobble Anthropology is the science of groups of men and
their behaviour and production -A.L. Krober
Characteristics of Anthropology:

1. Anthropology is Holistic. Holism refers to the study of the whole of the

human condition: past, present, future; biology, sociology, language and
culture. It is also the study of humans immediate ancestors (person from
whom one is descended).
2. Anthropology is also Comparative and Cross-Cultural. It is a comparative
field that examines all societies- ancient and modern; simple and complex. It
systematically compares data from different populations and time periods.
However, the other social sciences tend to focus on a single society whereas the
anthropology offers a unique cross-cultural perspective by constantly
comparing the customs of one society with those of others.

Short description on division and sub-division of Anthropology:

A. Physical Anthropology: Deals with bodily characteristics of early man and
our primitive contemporaries. And for an appropriate and scientific study
of these aspects, physical anthropology is divided into various branches,
these are:
1. Human genetic: In which we compare inherited genetic character as
well as the pattern of the change in the human gene.
2. Human paleontology: Study the human fossils both inside and
outside the surface of the earth which are found in different parts.
3. Anthropometry : It is the comparative study of physical body.
4. Biometry: study the biological aspects like birth, growth, death etc
and analyses statistically.
B. Cultural anthropology: Which investigate the cultural remains of early
man and of the living cultures of some of the primitives contemporaries.
It is divided into various subdivision they are:
1. Archaeology: Describes past human behavior, cultural (social,
economic, religious, political) patterns by studying material remains,
usually of prehistoric populations.

2. Ethnology: Ethnology examines, interprets, analyzes, and compares

the results of Ethnography the data gathered from different societies.
3. Linguistics: studies language in its social and cultural context, across
space and over time
4. Applied anthropology : application of anthropologic data, perspectives,
theory, and methods to identify, assess, and solve contemporary social
5. Social anthropology: concerned with the cultures and ways of life of all
the worlds societies in both the present and recent past - from remote
tribal communities to industrial societies.
Scope of Anthropology:
The scope of anthropology consists the origin of human evolution, racial
variation. How the physical structure is made, and how variation occurred
during a span of life.
Physical variations among human species & primates and between animals
and human. What kind of ancestors of man was emerged in places, how they
shifted to other places and how they collapsed etc.
Subject matter of racial variation Subject matter of physical variation,
variations among species & the change
Study of human fossils Genetic effect and the state of change in man Biological
study of birth, growth, diseases and death of man Culture those developed in
various periods evolution and change etc Subjects related to the origin and
developments of social cultural, ethnic and political organization and
institutions Subjects related to development, variation and changes in language
Tendencies like conflicts, cultural collapses racial differentiation and poverty
those appeared in the changing society. System, tradition , laws, working
procedure etc of a society Marriage, kinship, family, politics are also the scopes
of anthropological study
Similarities and differences between anthropology and other sociology :

1. Similarities : Cultural anthropology and sociology share an interest in social relations, - organizations, - behavior, - race, ethnicity, - social class, gender, power relations in modern nations. As the modern system grows,
sociologists do research in 3rd world countries. Also, as industrialization
spreads, many anthropologists work in industrial nations.
2. Difference : Initially sociologists focused on the industrial west;
anthropologists on nonindustrial societies. Different methods on data collection
and analysis emerged to deal with these different kinds of societies. To study
large-scale, complex nations, sociologists came to rely on questionnaires and
other means of gathering masses of quantifiable data. For many years,
sampling and Statistical techniques have been basic to sociology, where as
statistical training has been less common in anthropology. Traditional
ethnographers studied small and non-literate populations and relied on
methods appropriate to that context such as, close observation, records,
engaging in the daily life of another culture, writing accounts of this culture,
emphasizing descriptive details and participant observation (taking part in the
events one is observing, describing, and analyzing).