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Sociology and anthropology involve the systematic study of social life

and culture in order to understand the causes and consequences of human

action. Sociologists and anthropologists study the structure and processes of
traditional cultures and modern, industrial societies in both Western and
non-Western cultures. They examine how culture, social structures (groups,
organizations and communities) and social institutions (family, education,
religion, etc.) affect human attitudes, actions and life-chances.

Sociology and anthropology combine scientific and humanistic perspectives

in the study of society. Drawing upon various theoretical perspectives,
sociologists and anthropologists study areas such as culture, socialization,
deviance, inequality, health and illness, family patterns, social change and
race and ethnic relations. Combining theoretical perspectives with empirical
research allows students an opportunity to develop new insights and a
different perspective on their own lives. This combination also helps students
to understand everyday social life as a blend of both stable patterns of
interaction and ubiquitous sources of social change.

The sociology curriculum prepares the student for both academic and applied
research careers in sociology and anthropology. It offers an essential liberal
arts background for many careers and professions, including public service
and administration, communications and public relations, law, business,
medicine, journalism, arts management, environmental science, and other
professions. In addition to offering a major in sociology, the department also
offers a minor in sociology. Beyond the department itself, the faculty are
centrally involved in the black studies, women's studies, environmental
studies, and international studies programs.

Our aim is to provide students with communicative and interpretative skills

that will allow them to understand the meaning and consequences of human
actions and relationships in society. Students will learn to use theoretical
and methodological tools to analyze culture, human behavior, and social
institutions and to understand the relationship between individual
biographies and the functioning of institutions.

The theoretical and methodological courses in the curriculum provide

intensive instruction in the analytical integration and critical application of
sociological and anthropological theories and methodology. The theoretical
courses provide an intensive examination into the various sociological
perspectives on human social behavior and on the social systems we create.
They evaluate the different ways we use these sociological perspectives to
gather and utilize evidence to make inferences about the world in which we
live. The department also offers extensive instruction and experience in
research design and methodology, including courses in research methods,
qualitative and survey methodologies, social statistics, and computer
approaches in social research.

Special Programs
The department offers many other opportunities for interested students to
engage in research and practice outside of the classroom. The field study
and internship programs provide opportunities for disciplined sociological
exploration and application of the theoretical and methodological principles
learned in the classroom. These programs encourage the student to explore
careers that they feel may interest them and give them valuable experience
that may help them gain employment after college. Both courses are highly
recommended for students planning to do graduate work.

The program also offers study abroad courses to Ghana and South Africa.

The sociology and anthropology major gives you the intellectual ability to put any facet of modern
society under the microscope by providing critical thinking and research skills. The benefit of
studying sociology and anthropology courses is that students learn fascinating insights into how
society works, by examining the way we live now, and the wide variety of different societies and
cultures that have existed over millennia.

By 'making the normal look strange', sociologists and anthropologists interrogate the way traditions
and inequalities reproduce within societies undergoing the processes of rapid change.
What is Sociology?
The study of sociology illuminates human behaviour by looking for the links between individual
experience and the social context in which we live, work and play. Courses within this major involve
questioning common sense views and personal opinion by asking you to consider the social
influences that shape our lives. A sociological imagination questions the way things are, in order to
think about the way things could be.
What is Anthropology?
Anthropology is the study of humans and cultural differences, in both the past and present. To
understand the full extent and complexities of cultures, and cultural understandings across all of
human history, anthropology draws and builds upon knowledge from the social and biological
sciences, the humanities and physical sciences. A central concern of the anthropology major is the
application of knowledge to the solution of human problems.
What jobs can you get with a major in Sociology and
A major in sociology and anthropology will provide you with key skills that are very attractive to
employers in a labour market increasingly driven by communication technology, information and
networks. These include research skills which build capacity in areas such as survey design and
statistical interpretation; interview and focus groups; ethnography and observation; media analysis;
and writing research reports.

By studying sociology and anthropology courses, you could explore a career in:

 community development
 human resources
 policy analysis
 advisory roles
 program management and project coordination
 education
 research
 marketing and PR
 media, journalism and IT
 statistics
 health and welfare services
Suitable for arts and humanities students with:
 An interest in grappling social and cultural issues, such as socialisation, identity, race and gender.
 Goals to learn how to conduct a social analysis and apply their research to real world situations.
 A commitment to ethically leveraging multiple social research methodologies.
Relationship Between Sociology
and Anthropology – Essay
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Relationship Between Sociology and Anthropology – Essay – The relation between

Sociology and Anthropology is widely recognised today.
In fact, anthropologist Kroeber pointed out that the two sciences are twin sisters. Robert
Redfield writes that “viewing the whole United States, one sees that the relations
between sociology and anthropology are closer than those between Anthropology and
Political Science that is partly due to greater similarity in ways of work”.

Anthropology, Anthropology is a general science like sociology. The word Anthropology

is derived from two Greek words —Anthropology meaning ‘man’ and logos meaning
‘study’. Thus, the etymological meaning of ‘Anthropology’ is the study of man.

More precisely, it is defined by Kroeber as ‘the science of man and his works and
behaviour’. Anthropology is “concerned not with particular man but with man in groups,
with races and peoples and their happenings and doings”.

Though the youngest of the traditional social sciences, it has developed and gone
ahead of many of them. It has made outstanding contributions to the study of man.
Sociology, in particular, has been immensely enriched by the anthropological studies.

Anthropology seems to be the broadest of all the social sciences. It studies man both as
a member of the animal kingdom and as a member of the human society. It studies the
biological as well as the cultural developments of man. Anthropology has a wide field of
study. Kroeber mentions two broad divisions of anthropology: (i) Organic or Physical
Anthropology and (ii) the Socio- cultural Anthropology.

(i) Physical Anthropology:

Physical Anthropology studies man as a biological being, that is, as a member of the
animal kingdom. Here, anthropology accepts and uses the general principles of biology;
the laws of heredity and the doctrines of cell development and evolution.

Also, it makes use of all the findings of anatomy, physiology, zoology, paleontology and
the like. Its business has been to ascertain how far these principles apply to man, what
forms they take in his particular case.

Physical Anthropology is concerned with the evolution of man, his bodily characteristics,
racial features, and the influence of environment and heredity on the physical
characteristics of man. It has two main branches: (i) Human paleontology which
concentrates on the study of fossils, and (ii) Cosmetology which deals with the human
body in particular.

(ii) Sociocultural Anthropology:

Sociocultural Anthropology, more often referred to as ‘Cultural Anthropology’, studies
man as a social animal. This branch of anthropology which is concerned with the more-
than-merely-organic aspects of human behaviour seems to be more interested in
ancient and savage and exotic and extinct peoples.

The main reason for this is a desire to understand better all civilisations, irrespective of
time and place, in the abstract, or as generalised principles as possible. (Social
Anthropology and Cultural Anthropology are often treated as two separate branches).

Sociocultural Anthropology’s main concern is, of course, culture. It deals with the origin
and development of man’s culture. It also studies various social institutions of primitive
communities of the past as well as that of the present. It has three sub-divisions:

(i) Ethnology-the science of peoples and their cultures and life histories as groups,
irrespective of their degree of advancement.

(ii) Archaeology-the science of what is old in the career of humanity, especially as

revealed by the excavations of prehistorically importance, and

(iii) Linguistics—the study of language in its widest sense, in every aspect and in all its
varieties, but with its main accent on the languages of the primitive peoples.
The Relationship between the Two Sciences:
According to Hoebel, “Sociology and Social Anthropology are, in their broadest sense
one and the same”. Evans Pritchard considers social anthropology a branch of
sociology. Sociology is greatly benefited by anthropological studies.

Sociologists have to depend upon anthropologists to understand the present-day social

phenomena from our knowledge of the past which is often provided by anthropology.
The studies made by famous anthropologists like Radcliffe Brown, B. Malinowski, Ralph
Linton, Lowie, Raymond Firth, Margaret Mead, Evans Pritchard and others, have been
proved to be valuable in sociology.

Sociological topics such as the origin of family, the beginning of marriage, private
the genesis of religion, etc., can better be understood in the light of anthropological
knowledge. The anthropological studies have shown that there is no correlation
between anatomical characteristics and mental superiority. The notion of racial
superiority has been disproved by anthropology.

Further, sociology has borrowed many concepts like cultural area, culture traits,
interdependent traits, cultural lag, culture patterns, culture configuration etc., from socio-
cultural anthropology.

The knowledge of anthropology, physical as well as socio-cultural, is necessary for a

sociologist. An understanding of society can be gained by comparing various cultures,
particularly, the modern with the primitive.

Anthropology as a discipline is so closely related to sociology that the two are frequently
indistinguishable. Both of them are fast growing. The socio-cultural anthropologists
today are also making a study of the present peoples and their societies. In a number of
universities anthropology and sociology are administratively organised into one

The conclusions drawn by sociologists have also helped the anthropologists in their
studies. For example, anthropologists like Morgan and his followers have come to the
conclusion regarding the existence of primitive communism from the conception of
private property in our modern society.

Sociology is the study of social life and the social causes and consequences of
human behavior. In the words of C. Wright Mills, sociology looks for the "public
issues" that underlie "private troubles." Sociology differs from popular notions of
human behavior in that it uses systematic, scientific methods of investigation and
questions many of the common sense and taken-for-granted views of our social
world. Sociological thinking involves taking a closer look at our social world and
recognizing that most often things are not necessarily what they seem. A sociologist
understands unemployment, for example, not as the problem of one person who can't
find a job, but as the interaction of economic, political, and social forces that
determine the number of jobs and who has access to them.


Anthropology is a broad, holistic study of human beings and includes the subfields of
archaeology, physical anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic
anthropology. Anthropologists study human beings from a very broad and
comparative perspective. We are interested in human experience around the
world, past and present. Cultural anthropologists study cultures—from our own
culture to those different from our owns—by living in the culture and gaining the
insiders' point of view.


Notice that while sociology and anthropology have different emphases—one

examines social structures, the other focuses on culture—there is much that they
have in common.

Both look at the "big picture," are interested in the way society influences people's
lives, and strive to promote understanding. Recognizing these similarities, our major
blends the two areas of study. For those with a strong interest in one discipline or the
other, it is possible to select courses with a primary focus in either, but we encourage
our majors to explore and draw on the insights from both disciplines.

Having two disciplines in one department allows us to offer unique learning

situations. Our curriculum includes a number of courses that combine sociological
and anthropological thinking, including courses on social movements, health and
healing, global interdependence, religion, family, and social justice. There are a
number of opportunities at Gustavus to develop a better understanding of the social
world we live in through a variety of study abroad, internship, and volunteer activities.