While defining social anthropology, Beals and Hoijer write that” It is concerned with culture/wse, whether it belongs to the primitive men of the Stone Age or the European city-dwellers of today.” Although it is more properly a definition of cultural anthropology, yet it surely and clearly shows that the field of social anthropology is very wide.

It includes a study of different parts of culture, social institutions and economic and political administration. The main branches of social anthropology are given below:

1. Ethnography

2. Familial anthropology


3. Economic anthropology

4. Political anthropology

5. Symbology and linguistics

6. Thought and Art.


1. Ethnography.

Ethnography is the main field of social anthropology. As is clear from its name, it studies the human races. Its scope also includes the study of cultures of different races.

2. Familial anthropology.

Family is the basic institution of society. Social anthropology, therefore, studies the family also. This branch of social anthropology is known as familial anthropology. It takes up a comparative study of the families of different cultures and societies.


It studies the different forms of family along with its progress. A family is based on marriage. Familial anthropology therefore, includes a study of different forms of marriage. It also includes other blood relations along with marriage.

3. Economic anthropology.

Economic rules play an important part in social organization. Some radical changes take place in social structure along with a change in economic administration. Social anthropology, therefore, minutely studies the economic administration of primitive and civilized human societies and of different levels of evolution in them.

4. Political anthropology.


Political anthropology has also an important place in social structure along with economic administration. Social anthropology, therefore, studies all types of political administration, laws, governments and rules of punishment, etc. This branch of social anthropology is known as political anthropology.

5. Symbology and Linguistics.

The study of different symbols of human behaviour, which are current in languages of different societes, supplies many important facts for the study of society. Social anthropology, therefore, studies all these also. The whole linguistic field falls within this branch of social anthropology. The main branches of linguistics are given below:

(i) Descriptive Linguistics. It studies the individual and regional languages; (ii) Historical Linguistics. It is a historical study of languages; (iii) Comparative Linguistics. It studies the comparative facts about language; (IV) Common Linguistics. It studies the difference between the minimum and maximum roots of some languages.


6. Thought and Art The study of thoughts in theoretical study is very important.

Thought includes religion, magic, science and even legends. Social anthropology is a comparative study of all these things in ancient human societies. Art is an important part of culture and culture depicts the interior of a society. Social anthropology studies sculpture, metallurgy, and even dancing and instrumental and vocal music.