The Relationship between Sociology and other Disciplines

Sociology occupies an importantposition among the disciplines, usually called the social sciences. Theseinclude sociology, anthropology, psychology, economics, political science,history and human geography.

These disciplines are sometimesalso referred to as behavioral sciences, as they study the principles governinghuman social behavior.

How is sociology related to othersciences? What are the similarities and differences? These are importantquestions. Sociology is similar with all other sciences in that it employs thescientific methods and its major aim is production of scientific knowledge.

Sociology is related to othersocial and behavioral sciences in that all of them have more or less similarsubject matter; they all in one way or another study society, human culture,social phenomena; and aim at discovering the laws that govern the socialuniverse.

However, sociology differs fromother social sciences in terms of its focus of study, approach of study, andthe method of study.

The closest discipline tosociology is social anthropology. The two share concepts, theories and methods,and have similar historical background.

However, they are different inthat sociology is primarily interested in the problems of modern society,whereas anthropology is primarily interested in the problem of traditional,non-western society. (It should be noted here that this conventionaldistinction between the two is now disappearing.) Further, sociology focusesmainly on quantitative techniques whereas anthropology on qualitative researchtechniques. Perhaps, the methods of research are more important indifferentiating the two.

Anthropology’s heavy focus onqualitative method and sociology’s on quantification are still persistentnatures of the two disciplines.

Further, one point of differenceworth mentioning is that sociology is narrower in scope than anthropology,which has four sub fields; and anthropologists tend to stay in the field forlong period (several months to few years) while sociologists prefer brief stay(weeks to few months).

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