Social anthropology is an important branch of anthropology. Social anthropology is social. This meaning of the word ‘social’ is enough to show how’the field and viewpoint of social anthropology is different from other branches of anthropology. Some definitions of social anthropology are as follows:
“Social anthropologists study cultures of contemporary primitive communities.” This definition of social anthropology is a bit narrow because anthropology does not only study primitive cultures but studies contemporary cultures also. From this point of view, the definition of social anthropology given by S.C. Dubey is more appropriate.
2. S.C. Dubey.
“Social anthropology is that part of cultural anthropology which devotes its primary attentli n to the study of social structure and religion rather than material aspects of culture.” It is clear that social anthropology studies the different aspects of social structure such as social institutions, social relations and social events, etc.
“That part of cultural anthropology which treats of social phenomena is called social anthropology.”
4. M.N. Srinivas.
“It is a comparative study of human societies. Idealy, it includes all societies, primitive, civilised and historic.” Dr. Srinivas has given a sufficiently detailed definition of social anthropology.
5. Charles Winick.
“Social anthropology is the study of social behaviour, especially from the point of view of the systematic comparative study of social forms and institutions.”
In brief, social anthropology is a comparative study of social behaviour and social phenomena of men of all countries and ages.