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I.1.2. Social Anthropology and Psychology

2. Social Anthropology and Psychology

 Social anthropology usually has been defined as the study of other cultures, using the technique of participant observation and collecting qualitative data.

Universal scope because it studies the whole human kind in space and time.

Whole science. It deals with biology, culture and society.

social anthropology has been anti-reductionist, which means opposed to reducing the explanation of social life to other disciplinary levels such as psychology. The culture and personality school  emphasized on modal personality. A distinct approach called psychological anthropology has emerged, with a focus on attitudes and values, and child-rearing practices and adolescence

social anthropology examines the group

Social anthropologists specialise in social structure or culture psychologists in the personality system, and in mental process such as cognition, perception, and learning, and emotions and motives. Social anthropologists take personality system as constant and look for variation in the social structure as the basis of their investigations

Social anthropologists abstract and
generalise at the level of the social system

Treats humans as endowed with consciousness.

Does not treat humans as objects.

Focuses its attention on intensive study.

Tends to treat the data qualitatively

 The study of mind and human behaviour through theories and research is called Psychology.

Limited scope because it studies mostly advanced societies.

Part-science. It deals with individual or group and society.

It focuses on relationship between the brain, behaviour and subjective experience; human development; the influence of other people on the individual’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour; psychological disorders and their treatment; the impact of culture on the individual’s behaviour and subjective experience; differences between people in terms of their personality and intelligence; and people’s ability to acquire, organise, remember and use knowledge to guide their behaviour.

psychology examines the individual

psychologists accept the social structure as constant and look for variations in the personality system as the basis of their analysis.



psychologists  abstract and generalise at the level of the personality system.

Treats humans as objects subject to many forces.

Believes that human beings arc objects and they can be studied objectively.

focuses its attention on extensive study.

Tends to treat the data quantitatively.

For both psychologists and anthropologists the only real entity is the individual human being.  Sociologists and psychologists, occupies a common ground, reflecting shared interests in integrating social structure and personality.

  1. Both are concerned with human behavior;
  2. both address humans learning and development of personalities.
  3. Both contributed to an understanding of individual culture and society.
  4. Both come closer to recognize the importance of the patterns of human cognition and the beliefs and values related to human society.
  5. Both are linked to each other in the study of aggression, sexuality, sex roles and intelligence.
  6. Both contributed for strengthen their theories, methods and analysis

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