Re: Sociology/Anthropology

Warren Sproule (Warren.Sproule@SOCIOL.UTAS.EDU.AU)
Thu, 22 Feb 1996 11:16:09 +0200

"Looked at in the perspective of time, man's biological evolution shades
into prehistory when he becomes a language-using animal; add writing, and
history proper begins. Looked at in a temporal perspective, man as animal
is studied is studied primarily by the zoologist, man as talking animal
primarily by the anthropologist, and man as talking and writing animal
primarily by the sociologist...(T)o the extent that a significant quantity
of written records are available, the prehistorian yields to the historian;
and to the extent that alphabetical writing and popular literacy imply new
modes of social organization and transmission, the anthropologist tends to
yield to the sociologist" (Goody and Watt [1963]1981: 27).

This point is more forcibly reiterated in a 1991 paper by David Wilson
considering more closely the

"... separation between sociology and anthropology. In the main, sociology
studies Western literate societies, anthropology, oral or 'primitive'
societies. I am frankly not convinced that anthropology is much more than
the sociology of 'niggers', of so-called primitive minds that we find hard
to understand" (1991: 170).