There are several branches of anthropology, of which social anthropology is a major branch. In social anthropology, a human being is considered as a social animal and studies its social organization, social institutions, and social behavior.
Definition of Social anthropology by various scholars
Various scholars have defined social anthropology in their own way. Some of its main definitions are as follows:
- According to Radcliffe Brown– “Social anthropology is the branch of anthropology that studies primitive or pre-educated societies.”
- According to Evans Priyard– “Social anthropology is the study of all human societies and it is not only the study of primitive societies, though in practice and convenience, in the present day its focus is mainly on the primitive people; because it is clear that there is no other separate science that confines itself entirely to the study of these societies. The social anthropologist studies the language, law, religion, politics, organization, and economic system of primitive people. “
- According to Nadell – “The main objective of social anthropology is to understand the primitive human beings, the built culture and the social system in which they live and work.”
Also read: What is Anthropology?
Scope of Social Anthropology
From the definitions of social anthropology that scholars have given, it is well clear that social anthropology studies human behavior in social situations, as Weels and Heiser wrote- “It is related to culture itself. Or related to those living in today’s European cities. “
The main branches of social anthropology are the following:
- Ethnography– One main area of social anthropology is speciesology. As the name itself suggests, it studies the human species. Cultures of different species are also studied by this branch.
- Family Anthropology– The family is a fundamental institution of society. Hence social anthropology also studies the family.
- Economic Anthropology– Economic system has great importance in social organization. As the economy changes, there are fundamental changes in the social structure.
- Political anthropology– Along with the economic system, the political system also has an important place in the social structure.
- Language Anthropology and Signology – The study of linguistics and the various signs of behavior prevalent in different societies provide many important facts.
- Thought and art – The study of ideas is very important in oral studies. Ideas come from religion, magic, science to mythology.
Thus it is clear that the field of social anthropology is very wide.