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Comparison of the Social Sciences - Research Paper Example

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Comparison of the Social Sciences Research Paper Name of of University Introduction Every academic discipline is related to other fields of study, especially in the human behavioral sciences. The interrelatedness of sociology, anthropology, and psychology is a perfect example…
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Comparison of the Social Sciences

Download file to see previous pages... When characterizing the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, and psychology, it is apparent that a certain extent of overlapping of the topics arises (Marginson, 2002). However, there are accurate descriptions that demonstrate the various areas of humanity that are unique to each discipline. This essay presents a critical comparison between the human behavior disciplines anthropology, sociology, and psychology. Comparing the Human Sciences Auguste Comte introduced sociology in the nineteenth century. The insights of Comte about sociology were rooted in his assumptions about political theory, economics, and psychology. He regarded sociology the most far-reaching social science (Kendall, 2012). Eventually, scholars created the different social sciences, particularly anthropology and psychology. Anthropology is the social science that is almost similar to sociology. Traditionally, anthropologists have focused on the exploration of primitive cultures, while sociologists have studied modern, industrial Western societies (Kendall, 2012). Due to the fact that anthropologists focus mainly on small primitive, nonindustrial cultures, they are likely to investigate societies on the whole. On the contrary, sociologists study more specific features of industrial societies, like gender inequality or political changes. Recently, a number of anthropologists have broadened their research to involve examinations of modern societies, studying, for example, cultural features of communities and social groups (Becker et al., 1954). Psychology, on the other hand, addresses emotional and mental functioning and development in individuals. While anthropology and sociology focus on human groups, psychology makes the individual the main unit of its analysis. Psychology and sociology have a certain extent of commonality within the field of social psychology, a discipline that explores the interactions and relationships between groups and individuals (Becker et al., 1954). For instance, a social psychologist studies how social groups build and maintain compliance among their members. Anthropology resembles but is not the same as sociology. Sociology has concentrated on industrial societies, while anthropology focuses on pre-industrial cultures; sociologists studied their own societies, employed qualitative and quantitative approaches, and seldom tried to verify their findings using cross-cultural methods, while anthropologists studied other cultures, used the participant observation method, and promoted cross-cultural or comparative analysis (Sharma, 1996). Obviously, there have been several deviations from these patterns making anthropologists look more like sociologists in their works, and vice versa. Meanwhile, British social anthropology has long been criticizing psychology. Basically, social anthropology embraces anti-reductionism, which suggests that it is against the reduction of knowledge and interpretation of social life to other disciplines like psychology (Sharma, 1996). This point of view is largely attributed to Emile Durkheim, who claimed that a psychological interpretation of a social phenomenon would definitely be erroneous. On the other hand, American cultural anthropology has been more open to psychology, particularly the emphasis on the individual. For instance, Boas studied the connection between the society and individual, and later on there was the personality and culture ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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