Social sciences deal with the social phenomena in general. Different social sciences deal with different aspects of the social life of man. Sociology as a social science deals with man’s social life. Naturally, these social sciences are very much interrelated. History, Political Science, Economics. Anthropology etc. study the various aspects of the same reality. Sociology, as a social science, joined the family of social sciences very recently. Thus, Sociology as a young science, has borrowed many things from other sciences. In return it enriched other sciences by its highly useful sociological knowledge.
Sociology and Anthropology:
Anthropologist Kroeber pointed out that the two sciences Sociology and Anthropology – are twin sisters. Really, the relation between Sociology and Anthropology is widely recognised today. The relations between Sociology and Anthropology are closer than those between Anthropology and Political Science.
Like Sociology, Anthropology is a general science. The word ‘Anthropology’ is derived from two Greek words ‘Anthropos’ meaning ‘Man’ and ‘logos’ meaning ‘study’. Thus, the etymological meaning of Anthropology is the study of man. It is defined by Kroeber as the science of man and his works and behaviour.
On the other hand, Sociology is derived from the Latin word ‘Societus’ meaning ‘society’ and Greek word ‘logus’ meaning ‘study or science’. Thus, the etymological meaning of Sociology is the science of society. In other words, Sociology is the study of man’s behaviour in group.
Relationship between the two sciences:
Sociology and Anthropology are closely related with each other. Both are interdependent. In the broadest sense Sociology and Anthropology are one and the same. Sociology is greatly benefitted by anthropological studies. Sociologists have to depend upon anthropologists to understand the present day social phenomena. Sociological topics like the origin of the family, the beginning of marriage, private property etc. can be better understood in the light of anthropological knowledge. Sociology has borrowed many concepts like cultural area, cultural traits, cultural lag, culture patterns etc. from socio-cultural anthropology.
Anthropology as a discipline is so closely related to Sociology that two are indistinguishable. One cannot prosper without the help of the other. The conclusions drawn by sociologists have also helped the anthropologists in their studies.