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Relationship between History and Anthropology: Similarities and Differences

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Anthropology has a vast paradigm that no other discipline can match in its entirety. Any other discipline can only be related to only one of its four aspects at a time. In this context, history can be compared with socio-cultural and archaeological anthropology.

History is the account of a time period for which written records exist and the language of those records has been deciphered.

Difference between History and Anthropology

1. Anthropology mainly focuses on the study of simple societies, for which no written records of their past are available generally.

2. In anthropology, we study the present and peep into the past. However, history is divided into three periods: ancient, medieval, and modern, whereby we study the past and then continue up to the present. It is thus upside-down anthropology.

3.Historians rely on secondary sources of information, while anthropologists use participant observation. However, recognizing the benefits of the latter method, historians are now making extensive use of it as well.

Similarities between History and Anthropology

1. History is no longer limited to the study of kings and their ways of life. It is now equally concerned with social, cultural, financial, and religious issues. In studying these elements, history has borrowed the approach of socio-cultural anthropology.

2. The quality of fieldwork depends upon that of the researcher. As a result, in both the subjects, facts are relative and subjective.

We no longer equate subjects in today’s international, interdisciplinary approach. Instead, we put them together on a single forum so that each can leverage from the other.

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