Difference Between Anthropology and Ethnography

Anthropology vs Ethnography

What is the difference between Anthropology and Ethnography? Both these terms are Sociological terms and simply we can identify them as the studies of humans and human nature. However, the key difference between both is that the anthropology is the study of man, both in the present and past. The major interest of this field is to investigate details on the past and present status of human beings. Ethnography, on the other hand, is another kind of study of human beings, but this field specially deals with different cultures and tries to understand the diverse patterns of behavior around the globe. Let us analyse them in more detail.

What is Anthropology?

The term Anthropology was derived from a Greek word. In Greek, anthropos means “man” and logos stands for “study”. Both together make the word Anthropology conveying the idea of the study of mankind. This field of study deals with all varieties of man in past and present. The researcher who is engaged in these studies is called the Anthropologist. He/she is always interested in digging up the history of man over a million of years ago and traces the development of the human to the present. Anthropology is a vast area of study that looks deep into the historical era worldwide. Anthropological studies draw knowledge from other social sciences, biological sciences and physical sciences as well. As a result of these studies, we have got the ability to understand and compare the present situation with the past.

Anthropology has a holistic approach towards its studies. That means anthropologists are not just interested only in man, but they study the geographical area, the culture, organization of family, etc. in the respective study. Anthropology has been divided into main four sub-disciplines, namely, socio-cultural anthropology, biological/physical anthropology, archaeology and linguistics. Most of the modern day anthropologists specialize in one of these fields and continue their researches. However, anthropology is one of the major and important field in Sociology.


What is Ethnography?

Ethnography is a result of ethnology that is another sociological study in which we try to understand the various reasons for why and how people in the past and the present differ from each other. Usually, the way of thinking and acting vary from one person to another as well as from one culture to another culture. Hence, ethnology mostly deals with the patterns of behavior of people in terms of customs, organizations, political and economic systems, art and music, etc. in different communities. As the culture is changed over the time, ethnology studies the dynamics of these changing cultures and also they study about the inter-cultural relationships. Another important thing that this study looks for is how the individuals react to the cultural changes and what the impact of those changes on people is.

The ethnography is the record of each and every detail the ethnologist collects and writes. In these descriptions, the ethnologist may not just report what h/she gathers but they ask the questions why and how these things also happen . These ethnographies reflect the knowledge and the living system of a cultural group and always the ethnography deals with empirical data.

Difference Between Anthropology and Ethnography

What is the difference between Anthropology and Ethnography?

When we take anthropology and ethnography, it is clear that both of these are parts of Sociology and they deal with the mankind. Both are field studies and they look deep into the social phenomena and try to give explanations as to why and how certain things happen. However, they two are different in many aspects.

• Anthropology mainly deals with humans whereas ethnography is more concerned about the culture and way of living in a particular community.

• Anthropology has its holistic approach to man whereas ethnography attempts to understand why and how people differ from past to present based on their thinking and acting.

• Ethnography is the detailed account that the ethnologist prepares after his/her studies.

Both these are very important fields in Sociology and they have answered a lot of questions that arose about the mankind over the past years.