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Cultural Anthropology Vs Sociology

Cultural Anthropology Vs Sociology

Before choosing cultural anthropology or sociology as your major, it is important to know the differences between the two subjects in terms of what they offer in the study and what kind of job prospects are available in each field. This article will give you a brief insight into the subject of cultural anthropology vs sociology.

Definition of anthropology and sociology

Anthropology is the study of human beings and their forefathers through time with regard to culture, social relations, physical characteristics, and the environment. Sociology is the study of human beings during a particular period of time. Anthropology is focused on culture whereas sociology is focused on society and social relationships.

Sociology is the study of causes and effects of human behavior, the study of social life, and the study of social change. Sociological thinking revolves around the behavior of people as they associate themselves with society, with organizations, with economies, with technologies, with media, with religion, with culture and all other products of human interaction.

The American Anthropological Association definition of anthropology goes like this: it is the study of past and present humans and students pick up anthropological viewpoints based on observations made in cultural differences in communication styles, social institutions, and cultural beliefs.

Focus areas of anthropology and sociology

Anthropologists are concerned with the following four branches:

  • Cultural anthropology

  • Archeology

  • Linguistic anthropology

  • Biological anthropology

They include the perspectives of the above areas into their professional, teaching, and research works. Cultural anthropology focuses on the study of cultures primarily based on ethnography with a special focus on social organization and kinship.

Anthropologists usually specialize in one or more geographical areas such as Latin America, West Africa, North America, Asia, Oceania, etc. Cultural anthropologists focus their study on cultural practices and their topics could include:

  • Pyrennes' Basque cooperatives and their impact on the economy of the area

  • Marriage or funeral rituals in a particular tribal community in their specialized geographical area

  • Linguistic and aesthetic aspects of a tribe in Africa

Anthropologists are intensely curious people and careful observers. They are constantly questioning various aspects of human beings include:

  • Why do human beings behave the way they do?

  • What kinds of environmental and historical pressures shaped the behavior and experience of a certain community?

  • Are there any universal facts that bind all humans together?

Sociologists learn and study the structure of societies, groups, and organizations and the way people interact and respond within these social structures. The study of sociology ranges from the human relationships in an intimate family to the human relationships displayed by a violent mob, from religious traditions to organized crimes; from gender, race, and social class differences.

Sociologists study everything associated with society and human relationships including diverse communities, social life, and the changes that take place in society. They use scientific and empirical methods to find answers to complex and, many times, confounding social situations.

Careers in Sociology

As per reports from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for sociologists is estimated to grow by 18% from 2010 to 2020. The number of available jobs is going to exceed the number of qualified people. Most of the positions held by sociologists require either a Masters or doctoral degree. Sociologists work as policy analysts, professors, program supervisors, urban planners, human resources managers, and research directors.

Students of sociology pick up key skills in the areas of innovation, thinking up of creative ideas, critical analysis, problem-solving, and communication skills. Students who study sociology are in a better position to understand and engage well with the globalizing world. Students will understand and relate to the way the social world is shifting and they can better contribute to finding answers to complex human life problems and issues.

The following job opportunities are possible for a sociologist. Some of the opportunities listed would require additional training or some form of specialized certifications.

  • Social services sector: rehabilitation, case management, elderly and/or youth services, social work

  • Community work: Urban planning, non-profit agencies, childcare, advocacy

  • Law: Investigations, law enforcement, criminal justice, parole/probation

  • Health services: substance abuse education, family planning, counseling/rehabilitation, insurance providers

  • Publishing: Profession writing, editing, research, journalism

  • Teaching: Special educators, primary and secondary school educators,

  • Business: Public relations, consumer research, human resources/personnel management, training, media

Careers in cultural anthropology

Anthropologists can find careers in the conventional teaching and research realms as well as in applied anthropology. Teaching and research realms offer immense opportunities for anthropologists in various related departments including social sciences, medicine, public health, epidemiology, and studies in community and ethnicity. They have openings in other departments such as neural science, linguistics, and cognitive psychology.

Jobs in applied anthropology leverage on the students' anthropological skills and perspectives. Graduates who majored in anthropology have job opportunities as administrators, researchers, and evaluators; in the medical sector, they have openings in a range of health-related sectors. Archeological anthropologists are employed by the federal and state governments in American cultural projects departments as expert consultants before undertaking any major building ventures.

While traditionally, anthropologists have worked mostly in higher educational institutions as teaching staff and research supervisors, today, plenty of non-academic employment options are becoming available as the demand for extensive research on human beings and their behaviors are increasing.

A lot of anthropology major graduates, post-graduates, and doctoral degree holders are finding non-academic employment in non-profit organizations, research institutes, private corporations, government agencies, and world organizations.

Anthropologists are preferred in those job markets which need researchers and analysts with sharp thinking skills capable of managing, evaluating, and interpreting large amounts of data related to human behavior. International organizations employ anthropologists to help them design and implement various programs across the country and the world.

Anthropologists are employed by law enforcements agencies to help in the identification of mysterious and unknown remains which could help in solving criminal cases. Anthropologists are employed by corporate houses to develop and design market research programs targeting specific groups to examine and understand consumer preference patterns.

Anthropologists know and realize the value of listening to multiple voices of wisdom. They are capable of linking and creating homogenous working networks of multi-racial people from varying backgrounds and with varying approaches to problem-solving. This kind of diversity brings more solutions to the table making it possible to achieve implementable programs to end conflicts everywhere.

Final Notes

Cultural anthropology vs sociology – while there are some amounts of overlap between the two subjects, it is quite clear that there is a basic difference that separates them. Cultural anthropology focuses on culture whereas sociology focuses on society. A good understanding of both culture and society is needed for an efficient global system that can take the human world forward towards peace and progress.

High school students who wish to major in anthropology or sociology must gain a strong foothold in subjects such as history and social studies, science, biology, math, and languages. It is important that you learn a couple of foreign languages too. Using the computer is another skill you have to pick up as the device has become a ubiquitous and an extremely useful tool for conducting research studies.

If you need any kind of help in academic writing including custom essays, writing projects, and assignments, our experts are standing by to help and guide you.

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