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Sociology and Anthropology FS 317

Notes
Exam Questions Centered
BFS 2nd Year

Compiled and Collected By


Anoop Khatiwada
BFS II
Oscar International College
What are sociology and anthropology. Define and describe.
Differences of sociology and anthropology.

The word sociology is derived from socio and logos i.e logical study of society. The
meaning of sociology is therefore, to understand how a society works , what are the
relationships between an individual and his society. It thus , is a study of human behavior,
social structures and the relationship between the agency and the structure. The initial
purpose of the sociology was to find the “universal laws of society” and the “universal
laws of human behaviors” so that the societies can be run on the basis of these laws in
order to bring happiness, peace and prosperity. These laws were to be implemented so as
to reduce the negativity , superstitions, myths, etc from the society and hence , the
classical sociologists or the founding fathers of the discipline were called positivists.
They considered sociology as a “science” of human behavior.

Anthropology is “Science of Man”. “Anthropos” is derived from Greek language, means


“man” and “logy” means “science” and put together, anthropology is science of man.
The subject of anthropology includes biological and cultural activities of man in time and
space through evolutionary perspective. It covers all aspects of biology and culture of
man. While biology of man includes evolution of humans through genetic mechanisms,
and culture of man embraces all social aspects, like, modes of life through time, nomadic
lifestyle, settlement patterns, tribal, rural and urban ways of life. Further, cultural
anthropology includes other areas like, archaeology, education, language, religion and
such others.

Difference Between Sociology and Anthropology


Sociology is the study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society.
Anthropology is the study of human societies and cultures and their development.

Sociology focuses on social problems and institutions.


Anthropology focuses on culture and community.

Sociology uses quantitative and qualitative data.


Anthropology uses qualitative data.

Sociology studies areas like social class, social stratification, social mobility, law, etc.
Anthropology studies areas like art, gender, language, and religion.

Sociology traditionally focused on western societies.


Anthropology traditionally focused on non-western societies.

Sociology is divided into different sub-fields such as gender studies, criminology, social
work, etc.
Anthropology is divided into different sub-fields such as linguistic anthropology,
archaeology, forensic anthropology, etc.

Similarities between sociology and anthropology:


Sociology and Anthropology both study human society, how societies are organized and
how humans interact and behave within them.

Explain nature of Sociology.


v Sociology like any other discipline have its own area of study and not fully
dependent on other discipline.
v Social sciences focus on various aspect of human society while physical sciences
deal with natural phenomena. Thus Sociology is a social science as it deals with
man and his social activities.
v It is only interested in ‘what is’ and not ‘what should be’ or ‘ought to be’.
v As a Pure science it is only interested in acquisition of knowledge, it has nothing
to do with application of that knowledge. Like Physics is a pure science while
engineering is its application.
v It studies the society in theoretical not physical way. Like, Sociology is not
interested in particular families but in family as a social institution that exists in
all societies.
v Sociology is not interested in particular events rather it studies events in a general
way. Example: History study French Revolution but Sociology will be interested
in revolutions in general.
v Like Economy or Political Science, Sociology does not focus on only one aspect
of human activity. As it has to deal with society it includes all aspects of human
life in a general way.
v It studies the social phenomena in scientific way. It is based on reason (logic),
observation and experimentation.

What are scopes of Sociology.


Broadly speaking, Sociology studies all aspects of Human society, viz.,
Social Behaviour
Social Relationships
Social Structure
Social Institutions
Social Processes
Social Control
Social Change
Social Stratification
Social System etc.
From the above discussion, we come to know that Sociology is a growing science.
Therefore, it is neither possible nor desirable to restrict its scope.

Nature and Scope of Anthropology.


Anthropology is a branch of sociology. It always describe human, human behavior and
human societies around the world. It is a comparative science that examines all societies.
The term anthropology comes from Latin world ‘anthrop’ means man or human and
‘logos’ means science or study. So the term anthropology means scientific study of man
or human beings.
Anthropologists have defined anthropology in many ways. Some of them are given
below.
Definition of Anthropology:
“Anthropology the study of human kind everywhere, throughout time , seeks to produce
useful generations about people and their behavior and to arrive at the fullest possible
understanding of human diversity” (Havilland, W. A.1975).

“Anthropology is the study of people and all the things they do, think, say and make"
(Gwynne and Hicks, 1994).
“Anthropology is the study of human beings, divided into the branches of biologically
oriented, physical anthropology and social oriented, social anthropology” (Jary and Jary,
2005).

Characteristics:
study of human beings.
scientific process.
explain human diversity.
Tendency to make generalization.
Finally, we can say that anthropology describe the distinctive feature of different culture ,
organization, fundamental similarity among human being around the world.

Nature, Scope and Fields of Anthropology;


Different anthropologist concentrates on different characteristics of the anthropology.
Some Anthropologist has given emphasized on the physical characteristic and others have
given the cultural characteristics of the anthropology. The main fields of anthropology
can be shown by the fowling figure__

A. Physical/ Biological Anthropology:


The systematic study of human as a biological organism. It studies the present day human
variation in the world.

B. Cultural Anthropology :
Cultural anthropology mainly focuses on human behavior. It can be divided into the area
of archaeology, linguistic anthropology and ethnology. Although each has its own
interests and methods, all deals with cultural data.
a) Archaeology:
The study of material remains usually from the past to describe and explain human
behavior.
b) Linguistic Anthropology:
Linguistic anthropology is the study of languages, ancient and modern written form,
talking style etc.
c) Ethnology:
The systematic description of a cultural based on first hand observation.

Conclusion: in the above discussion, we can say that the fields/ scopes of the
anthropology are very board.

Define and explain norms, institution, role and status with examples.

Norms:
Norms are a fundamental concept in the social sciences. They are most commonly
defined as rules or expectations that are socially enforced. Norms may be prescriptive
(encouraging positive behavior; for example, “be honest”) or proscriptive (discouraging
negative behavior; for example, “do not cheat”). The term is also sometimes used to refer
to patterns of behavior and internalized values. Norms are important for their contribution
to social order.

Institution:
Sociologists have long noticed that communal life is often orderly. This observation
motivates the idea of “institution.” One definition is that institutions are stable patterns of
behavior that define, govern, and constrain action. Another definition is that an institution
is an organization or other formal social structure that governs a field of action.
Sociologists have a long-standing interest in institutions because they wish to explain
social order.

Role:
The position or the situation that a person occupies in society is called status. As a result
of that status and position he is expected to discharge certain functions. These functions
are known as roles. In life, we have a great variety of roles - father, mother, businessman,
shop assistant, consumer, bus-driver, teacher, voter, and politician and so on. These roles
are an integral part of group behavior.

Status:
Social status, also called status, the relative rank that an individual holds, with attendant
rights, duties, and lifestyle, in a social hierarchy based upon honour or prestige. Status
may be ascribed that is, assigned to individuals at birth without reference to any innate
abilities or achieved, requiring special qualities and gained through competition and
individual effort. Ascribed status is typically based on sex, age, race, family relationships,
or birth, while achieved status may be based on education, occupation, marital status,
accomplishments, or other factors.

What is visual anthropology and what are its scope?


Visual anthropology is a subfield of social anthropology that is concerned, in part, with
the study and production of ethnographic photography, film and, since the mid-1990s,
new media. More recently it has been used by historians of science and visual culture.
Although sometimes wrongly conflated with ethnographic film, Visual Anthropology
encompasses much more, including the anthropological study of all visual representations
such as dance and other kinds of performance, museums and archiving, all visual arts,
and the production and reception of mass media. Histories and analyses of
representations from many cultures are part of Visual Anthropology: research topics
include sand paintings, tattoos, sculptures and reliefs, cave paintings, scrimshaw, jewelry,
hieroglyphics, paintings and photographs. Also within the province of the subfield are
studies of human vision, properties of media, the relationship of visual form and function,
and applied, collaborative uses of visual representations.

Conflict Theory:
Conflict Theory, developed by Karl Marx, purports that due to society’s never-ending
competition for finite resources it will always be in a state of conflict. The implication of
this theory is that those in possession of wealth and resources will protect and hoard those
resources, while those without will do whatever they can to obtain them. This dynamic
means there is a constant struggle between the rich and the poor.

Conflict theory examines any social phenomenon through the lens that there is a natural
human instinct towards conflict. Marx is not saying that conflict is good or bad, but
instead that it is an unavoidable aspect of human nature and helps explain why things are.
For example, conflict theory can be used to look at wars, violence, revolutions, and other
forms of injustice and discrimination by explaining that there is a natural disparity in a
society that causes these problems.

In terms of financial resources, governments seek to manage conflict by reallocating


resources between the rich and the poor. Governments have several mechanisms for
influencing the distribution of resources including taxes, minimum wages, incentives,
special programs, social assistance, and regulations.
The theory is that if the wealth gap becomes too wide, social unrest will ensue. If the
government doesn’t help reduce the degree of inequality, conflict will run out of control
and protests, movement, or even civil wars will break out.

Functionalism Theory:
"Functionalist theory is the concept that everything in society has a function. When one
function fails, the rest of the functions within society are all interrupted. According to
functionalism, society is a system of interconnected parts that work together in harmony
to maintain a state of balance and social equilibrium for the whole.”

Functionalist theory stemmed from the original works of Emile Durkheim, who “was
especially interested in how social order is possible or how society remains relatively
stable”. Within this theory he describes that functionalism interprets each part of society
in terms of how it contributes to the stability of the whole society.
Society is more than the sum of its parts and that it is rather each part of society is
functional for the stability of it’s entirety. Durkheim envisioned society as an organism
(keeping in ties with my ecosystem analogy), and just like within an organism, each
component plays a necessary part, but none can function alone. If one experiences a crisis
or fails, other parts must adapt to fill the void in some way.

Social Stratification:
Social stratification refers to a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a
hierarchy. It is perfectly clear that some groups have greater status, power, and wealth
than other groups. These differences are what led to social stratification. Social
stratification is based on four major principles:
Social stratification is a trait of society, not simply a reflection of individual differences.
Social stratification persists over generations.
Social stratification is universal (it happens everywhere) but variable (it takes different
forms across different societies).
Social stratification involves not just inequality but beliefs as well (inequality is rooted in
a society's philosophy).

Structural functionalists argue that social inequality plays a vital role in the smooth
operation of a society. Social stratification has beneficial consequences for the operation
of society. The most difficult jobs in any society are the most necessary and require the
highest rewards and compensation to sufficiently motivate individuals to fill them.
Certain jobs, like mowing grass or cleaning toilets, can be performed by almost anyone,
while other jobs, such as performing brain surgery, are difficult and require the most
talented people to perform them.

In order to lure the most talented people away from less important work, a society must
offer those people rewards and incentives. Any society can be equal, but only to the
extent that people are willing to let anyone perform any job.

Factors of Socio-Cultural Changes:


Economy
The mode of change in a subsistence economy and economic pattern may bring a change
in the existing sociocultural pattern. For e.g the primitive hunting and gathering culture
has been transformed into modern industrial civilization due to process in the economic
system of the ever existing society. In all these social systems there are obvious changes
in the socio-cultural structure of the society. There is a deep relation between economic
structure and social and cultural change. When the economic status of the society is
changed there will be a change in the every aspect of life. The economic factors have
played an important role for economic progress of any society. The economic
development of a society also gives rise to the technological and industrial development
of the society.

Technology
Technology is the systematic knowledge which is put into practice that is to use tools and
machines to serve human purposes. In an attempt to satisfy human wants, fulfill his needs
and to make his life more comfortable, man build civilization. Hence technology is a
product of civilization. The modern age is often called the technological age. The
technological development has given rise to industrialization, urbanization, development
of transportation and communication, modernization, changes in the social institution and
so forth. Technology and social change are intimately connected where rapid
technological and social change goes hand in hand.

Education
Education is one of the intervening variables in a phenomenon of social change. It can
also be understood as a factor of social change. The role of education as an agent of
social change and development is widely recognized too. Education can initiate social
change by bringing about change in the outlook and attitudes of man. It brings change in
the pattern of social relationship and thereby it may cause socio-cultural changes. The
changing purpose of education is to change man and his life and living style. To change a
man is to change society. Further more education has brought about phenomenal changes
in every aspect of man’s life. It has widened our vision and removed our narrow idles,
prejudices and misunderstandings.

Demography
Demography refers to the human populations mainly in qualitative or numerical term. It
establishes reliable estimates of total population numbers and compositions. It also
analyses the rate of fertility, mortality, and migration as well as the interrelationship
which exist between different variables such as age, sex, social class, ethnic origin etc.
The broad area of social demography is concerned in general with the relationship
between population and social process and has link with ecology and other aspects.

Cultural Ecology:
The Cultural Ecology theory considers how environmental forces influence humans and
how human activities affect the biosphere and the Earth itself.
Cultural Ecology focuses on how cultural beliefs and practices helps human populations
adapt to their environments and live within the means of their ecosystem. It contributes
to social organization and other human institutions. Cultural Ecology also interprets
cultural practices in terms of their long-term role in helping humans adapt to their
environment. For example, about 10 million Yaks live on the Tibetan plateau and are
therefore commonly used in Tibetan culture for transportation and subsistence needs. The
Cultural Ecology theory can be used to analyze the distribution of wealth and power in a
society, and how that affects behaviors of exchange. For example, the potlatch tradition
of the Pacific Coast native cultures encourages people to redistribute their belongings
within the community. This tradition increases prestige and social bonds while meeting
the community’s subsistence needs. Cultural Ecology views culture as evolutionary-the
cultural adaptations have come as the result of a changing environment. However,
Steward looks at the evolution as multi-linear, as opposed to the early anthropological
theories that saw societies as uni-linear and working towards one main goal: civilization.
It recognizes that each environment requires different adaptations and that not every
culture is working towards the same “norm”.
Also, on the conceptual as well as methodological level, cultural ecology has steadily
made an effort to combine both the ideas and the approaches of the natural and social
sciences. In this way, cultural ecology seeks to explain the social sciences by the means
of the natural sciences. It uses the environmental pressures as explanations for cultural
change. It therefore recognizes the ways in which different societies adapt differently not
as a result of intelligence, but as a result of their climate.

Marriage and its Functions:


Marriage in the real sense is the acceptance of a new status with a new set of obligations
recognized by other people. Wedding ceremonies are held for the tie of marriage.
Marriage is a socially recognized universal institution which is found is every society. It
is a social contract of two opposite sexes for the satisfaction of physical, biological,
social, psychological and spiritual needs of males and females. It leads to the formation
of family and the procreation of children. Sexual relationship and production of children
are the basic aim of marriage. It is a Latin word which means the connection of two
opposite human sexes for the satisfaction of basic needs.

Functions of Marriage
Procreation of children
Sex regulation
Children socialization
Provide legal parents to children
Give economic security to women
Provide social security to women
Increase man power
Establishes joint fund
Fulfillment of basic needs
Perpetuation of the lineage