Sociology and Anthropoogy

Kotliar (viomar@ATHENS.NET)
Fri, 23 Feb 1996 12:56:00 -0400

spin added):
1. Anthropology is a discipline with a broader focus that crosscuts the
social sciences. Sociology is more narrowly focused.
2. Sociology employs a different methodology than socio-cultural
anthropology, such that even when studying similiar societies they are
complimentary rather than redundant.
3. Anthropology combines the discourse of science with the discourse of
the humanities in a currently fairly volatile mixture. I think in the long
run this will be for the best of the discipline. Once we get over the
hobgoblins that this makes our science "soft" or our humanism "suspect',
the synthesis that will arise will make anthropology both strong and

Thanks, this helps me in making the case for separate disciplines.

Now as to the fields of anthropology. I offer for discussion seven fields
and some of the disciplines they complement.

1. Economic anthroplogy (Economics, sociology, history, geography)
2. Psychological anthropology (Psychology, sociology, biology)
3. Biological and Physical anthropology (biology, anatomy, nutrition)
4. Socio-cultural/ethnology (folklore, ethnic studies, poltical science,
history, human geography)
5. Archaeology (economics, art history, botany, anatomy, political science,
history, folklore mythology)
6. Linguistic anthropology (linguistics, human geography, history, pyschology)
7. Applied anthropology (public relations, sociology, psychology)

This is not meant to be definitive, just the foundation for a discussion by
members on how they see the discipline. Obviously with departments
struggling to maintain four or even three fields of anthropology in their
faculty, six would be impossible.

1. What sorts of strategies for the balanced covering of subfields would
lead to a strong department within the current alotments of lines most
departments have?

2. In areas where faculty in a subfield are few or non-existant, how should
a department go about broadly training its students. For example at UCLA
grad students endeavor to place out of courses in the other fields of
anthropology. Talking to students and faculty from various departments I
have the feeling that the attitude of many if most grad students is that
studying other fields and subfields at the graduate level is irrelevant.
this seems an extension of the prevalent undergraduate attitude that the
only learning necessary is the absolute minimum necessary to pass the
examination. There are ceertainly practical reasons for this
overspecialization, but is it healthy for the discipline and for creating
appropriate candidates for the jopb market of the future. Will line
strapped departments really need more hevily specialized candidates or will
they need more genralized candidates. For those on the list serving on
hiring committees-are you looking for very specialized candidates-and if
so- why?