Relationship between social anthropology and political science

The relationship between Political Science and Social Anthropology

relationship between social anthropology and political science

What is the relationship between psychology and other social science with sociology, anthropology, political science, economic and mass communication?. The relation between anthropology and sociology is widely recognized today. In fact, and sociology is closer than those between the anthropology and other social sciences”. Anthropology and Political science are very closely related. A multidisciplinary field, political science draws from some other social sciences, including sociology, economics, psychology, and anthropology.

It is true that a great deal of sociological research has been done in small groups, but these have usually been small groups in larger societies and not groups which are more or less coterminous with the whole society. This concern with social systems that are small in scale has led to a particular concern by social anthropologists with the idea of totality, the notion that societies are wholes, or at least can be studied as if they were. Different methods of data collection and analysis emerged to deal with those different kinds of societies.

To study large scale complex societies, sociologists use questionnaires and other means of gathering masses of quantifiable data. Sampling and statistical techniques have been basic to sociology. Traditional ethnographers studied small-scale societies without written records. One of their key methods is participant observation - taking part in events one is observing, describing and analyzing. In addition, social anthropologists have mostly worked in unfamiliar cultures.

That is why in anthropological field work, a sound knowledge of the language of the community being studied is indispensible for a people's categories of thought and the forms of their language are inextricably bound together.

Sociologists usually suggest means for improvement along with its study. In comparison, the study of anthropology is more neutral and the anthropologists do not offer suggestion. Interdisciplinary collaboration is a hallmark of academic life today with ready borrowing of ideas and methods between disciplines. Among contemporary societies which are neither primitive or industrially advanced, of which India may be taken as an example, distinction between the two disciplines has little meaning.

Relationship of sociology with other social sciences

Both carried out studies on caste system, village communities, industrialization, globalization, inter-city life, etc. Again, anthropologists and sociologists share an interest in issues of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, and power relations in modern nations including the United States and Canada.

Social Anthropology — Human, Social, and Political Sciences - HSPS Tripos

Relationship between Social Anthropology and History The historians are more interested in particular sequences of past events. Anthropologists are centrally interested in understanding the present conditions of culture or community which they are studying.

relationship between social anthropology and political science

But the two disciplines have a close relationship. Both history and ethnography the empirical description of a people on which the cross-cultural comparison technique is applied for the extraction of anthropological theories are concerned with societies other than the one in which the researcher live.

Whether this otherness is due to remoteness in time, or to remoteness in space, or even to cultural heterogeneity, is of secondary importance compared to the basic similarity of prospective. The historian or ethnographer enlarges a specific experience to the dimensions of a more general one, which thereby becomes accessible as experience to men of another country or another epoch.

And in order to succeed, both historian and ethnographer must have the same qualities: John Beattie mentions that history may be important to social anthropologists; not only as an account of past events leading up to and explaining the present, but also as a body of contemporary ideas which people have about these events, what the English philosopher Collingwood aptly called 'encapsulated history'. People's ideas about the past are an intrinsic part of the contemporary situation which is of immediate concern to the anthropologists, and often they have important implications for existing social relationships.

About the fundamental difference between the two disciplines, Levi-Strauss also writes that it is not on the subject of study or goal or method because, they share the same subject, which is social life; the same goal, which is a better understanding of man; and, in fact, the same method, in which only the proportion of research techniques varies.

They differ, principally, in their choice of complementary perspectives: Although historians use documentary evidence infrequently available to anthropologists, and anthropologists employ first-hand observation rarely possible for historians, both are concerned with the description and understanding of rear human situations, and they use whatever methods are available and appropriate to this purpose.

Like historians, a social anthropologists brings out a general interpretation. Both anthropologist and historians attempt to represent unfamiliar social situations in terms not just of their own cultural categories but in terms of the categories of the actors themselves. In this regard we can see the writing of John Beattie again.

He suggests that the main difference between anthropology and history lie not so much in their subject matter, as in the degree of generality with which they deal with it.

He writes, "Historians are interested in the history of particular institutions in particular places, parliament in England, for example, or the Hapsburg monarchy. But they are also concerned, implicitly if not explicitly, with the nature of these institutions themselves. Equally, a social anthropologist who is concerned with, say, the role of chiefs in a particular society must play the historian to the extent of telling us something about the careers and activities of individual chiefs.

relationship between social anthropology and political science

Unless he does this, we shall find his account empty, formal and unconvincing. So, although in a general sense it is true that historians are concerned with what is individual and unique, social anthropologists, like sociologists, with what is general and typical, this dichotomy is altogether too simple. As so often in the social sciences, the difference is largely one of emphasis. It also works mainly in modern nations. In small-scale societies where social anthropology grew up, politics generally do not stand out as distinct activities to separate analysis, as they do in modern society.

Rather they are submerged or embedded in the general social order. There is no formal authority figure. People generally follow orders of their kin rather than formal leaders. Studying political organizations cross-culturally, anthropologists find out a wide range of various political and legal systems. It is found that legal codes along with ideas of crime and punishment, means of resolving conflicts vary substantially from culture to culture.

In this way, political anthropology, a late specialization of anthropological research, attempts to transcend particular political experiences and doctrines. It studies man as homo politicus and seeks properties common to all political organizations in all historical and geographical diversity George Balandier It studies various institutions and practices that constitute the government of men and the systems of thought and the symbols on which they are based. Thus, political anthropology is seen as a discipline concerned with 'archaic' societies in which the state is not clearly constituted and societies in which the state exists and takes on a wide variety of forms.

It confronts the problem of the state's origin and earliest forms. It also confronts the problem of segmentary societies without a centralized political power. In this way, political science, the discipline which is mainly concerned with the political sphere of modern nation differs from social anthropology. Relationship between Social Anthropology and Psychology Like sociologists and economists, most psychologists do research in their own society.

Anthropology again contributes by providing cross-cultural data. Statements about human psychology can not be based solely on observations made in one society or a single type of society.

The area of social anthropology known as psychological anthropology studies cross-cultural variation in psychological traits. Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and others attempted to find out different patterns and psychological traits among different cultures. Both social anthropology and psychology deal with the same basic subject matter, people in relation with other people.

relationship between social anthropology and political science

Psychology is mainly concerned with the nature and functioning of individual human minds. Social anthropology is more keenly interested in the study of various forms and structure of groups and organizations. Its unit of study is society. It tries to find out types of society, their function, structure, origin and development. But psychology is not basically interested in the society and their forms. It is interested in the study of individual's behavior.

Broadly speaking social anthropology studies the culture and social system in which the individuals live rather than the individuals themselves. But the individual and society can not exist separately of each other. Thus the subject matter is almost the same but with the difference in emphasis. Regarding the importance of psychology in social anthropology, John Beattie states, "In fact every field anthropologist must be, to a considerable extent a practicing psychologist, for a main part of his job is to discover the thinking of those people whom he studies, and this is never a simple task.

Ideas and values are not given as data; they must be inferred, and there are many difficulties and dangers in such inferences, especially when they are made in the context of an unfamiliar culture. It may well be that there is much to be learned about the less explicit values of other cultures as well as about those of our ownespecially about the kinds of symbolism involved in ritual and ceremonial, through techniques of depth psychology.

But a word of warning is necessary. The incautious application in unfamiliar cultures of concepts and assumptions derived from psychological researchers in western society may lead - and indeed has led - to gross distortions. The Oedipus complex, for example, is something to be proved, not assumed, in other cultures. Nevertheless it is likely that as psychologists increasingly work in cultures other than their own and they are doing this profitable collaboration between them and social anthropologists will take place" Relationship between Social Anthropology and Economy Economics is one of the oldest and theoretically most sophisticated disciplines in comparison to anthropology.

But, like other social sciences, economics developed to investigate particular domains of human behavior and work mainly in advanced societies. In small-scale societies wherein the anthropologists mainly study, there may not be distinct economic transaction as found in the advanced societies.

The subject matter of economics has been defined as economizing - the rational allocation of scarce means resources among alternative ends uses. In the west, the goal of maximizing profit - the profit motive - is assumed to guide economic decision making.

Studying cross-culturally, the anthropologists find variation in the motivations. Anthropologists know motives other than the desire for personal gain for making economic decisions in different cultures.

And, in recent decades, fewer social-cultural anthropologists have tried to borrow some general ideas from economics; others strongly feel that it would be irrelevant to explain economic behavior of small-scale pre-industrial societies in terms of formal economics which were developed for the industrial societies.

Economic anthropology classifies the diversity of economic systems into different types at different technological levels. Anthropologists find such categories as hunter-gatherer or band economics, pictorial economies, hoe and forest cultivators, sedentary cultivators and so. Some of the economic systems of small-scale societies may be found strange and without formal economic value to an economist.

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If the people happen to be hunters and gatherers, the notion of hard work is likely to be misinterpreted. In western culture, hunting is a sport; hence, the men in food-foraging societies are often misperceived as spending virtually all of their time in recreational pursuits, while the women are seen as working themselves to bone.

To understand how the schedule of work or demands of a given society is balanced against the supply of goods and services available, it is necessary to introduce a non-economic variable - the anthropological variable of culture Haviland, W. From this perspective social anthropologists differ from economists, for the economists study the economic behavior and institution in purely economic terms whereas the social anthropologists analyze this sphere of human society in relation to non- economic considerations such as social, religion and polity.

The earth sciences include geology and human geography. Archaeology is closely linked to geology in analyzing the archaeological sites and in dating the past and finding out the chronological sequence. Anthropology, cutting across the barriers of time and space, naturally takes interest in men past especially prehistoric past. Thus archaeologists may be seen serving as the 'historians' among anthropologists involved in the cultural reconstruction of man's past.

Till sometimes back the term prehistory or prehistoric archaeology has been popular. To recreate man's past without any written record is not an easy task. It is like a jigsaw puzzle. Interpretation of what went on in the past requires a lot of imagination and common sense. To discover, analyze and interpret their finds archaeological anthropologists have to take the help of geologists, human geography and a host of other specialists.

When one digs deep into the earth one cannot do without geology. When you date the past you require the help of human geography and others. But despite all this inter-disciplinary collaboration, the archaeological anthropologist shall always remain handicapped at least on one count. He will never be able to know as to what speech or language the prehistoric man was using. Still, reconstructing the past shall remain an anthropological preoccupation.

Before launching a proper and planned investigation of the prehistoric anthropology of a selected area or region, it is quite important to study the past geography and climate besides geology. We have a fairly good account of the present day climate and geography of the world. But both these phenomena underwent drastic changes since the time when "man the tool-maker" first appeared in the beginning of Pleistocene epoch till to date the entire world over. Hence a thorough knowledge of these changes is a matter of concern to pinpoint sites and settlements which formed the above of human groups, and their movements in search of animal and plant food.

Such meaningful and objective assessment of the climatic conditions of the past mainly through geological deposits of different types and their impact on the life activities of prehistoric communities particularly with regard to their psycho-social development can be achieved with the assistance and association of a competent professional climatologist. Geology, the science of earth's crust, provides the law of stratigraphy which as the foundation of our knowledge of chronological order of facts with the position and nature of each stratum containing prehistoric remains furnishes information as to the relative antiquity of the finds as well as the strata.

Further, the interpretation of the finds can be objectively done only when one explains the manner of the deposition of different layers.

The archaeological strata formed by the effects of geological processes and mechanisms can help us in understanding the environment existed in the past. As stone is the most imperishable material, it has been extensively used in the manufacturing of tools and weapons by prehistoric communities of different times.

The knowledge of different rock types in relation to different prehistoric cultures is very essential in all prehistoric investigations. For all these things it is necessary to depend on the geologist apart from the prehistoric archaeologist who possesses a fairly good idea of these aspects. Pedology, the science of soils, is another potential field with which prehistory is related.

The analysis of the soil is not only used in dating but also in understanding the manner of the formation of deposits as well as about the environment at the time of their formation.

With the help of the pedologist it is possible to know whether the deposits were natural or man-made because it is these deposits, if at all artificial, which contain remains of ancient people.

The beginning of major anthropological involvement in medical problems was cogently reviewed by Caudil'Applied anthropology', in Anthroplogy Today, Edited by A. But, even at that time, involvement of anthropologists and other social scientists in health programme and medical research has changed considerably and there has been a marked increase in the input of social scientists in medicine and medically related areas e.

Polgar, Steven,'Read the human behaviors: Areas of interest common to the Social and Medical sciences', - Current Anthropology, vol. In recent times, there was a spurt in ethno-medical studies particularly among rural and tribal communities e. Medical anthropology, in fact, is one of the main areas where a holistic bio-cultural approach is called for.

Basically, quite a few things are common in anthropology and medicine. In the proper study of mankind, anthropology aims at discovering man as a human being, so it should be the case with a physician. He should make a human approach to the patient, if he is to remain useful to them.

As a student of anthropology, we put more emphasis on the groups. We are particularly concerned about the study of human beings within the framework of a culture. Culture, in the simplest words may be defined as a set of beliefs and behaviours shared by a group of people. It is the culture that provides people with a way of perceiving the world at large and with the ways of coming into terms with the problems they face. This includes their attitudes about the body and ways in which a person should be treated when ill.

Obviously, people with different culture orientations and experiences have different notions with regard to the concepts of disease cure, treatment, and have different expectations from the physician. If this communication is impeded, the purpose of the physician is defeated. Death is never regarded as due to natural causes, but is always ascribed to sorcery.

Diagnosis, treatment and prognosis are done by traditional medicine men as counter magic. The "Voodoo death" where the victim dies of a shock is scarcely distinguishable from true wound shock.

Expiation of offence can be done by a traditional medicine man using some magical acts.

Anthropology Relationships with other disciplines

Disease - object - intrusion: It carries some spiritual essence which is the real cause of the illness. Object may be a pebble, splinter of wood or bone, a hair, an insect, a lizard or a worm.

Extraction is the only curative measure. Disease, caused by a spirit, ghost or a demon intrusion. There are 3- curative measures. Soul or Body organ loss: Among the Australian aborigines the abstraction of the kidney fat is held to be a common cause of disease. It may be removed by sorcery which may lead to death.

Diagnosis and prognosis are done by divination and curative measures are suggested accordingly. In the pacific and in the South Western areas of North America, one may dream that one has eaten poisoned foods or that an animal has entered one's body and fallen ill shortly afterwards. These kinds of diseases can be treated with domestic remedies. This knowledge about the various concepts of disease and healing in various communities is very essential for a medical practitioner.

Anthropological studies provide such information to us. With regard to the direct relationship between anthropology and health, it may be specifically noted that cultural anthropology has exercised a remarkable influence upon the fields of psychiatry and psychosomatics, and many other forms of diseases. Malinowski developed the theory of culture in terms of the operating basic and derived needs of the organism. It appears that the structure of the ego is largely determined by the manner in which these basic needs are satisfied.

relationship between social anthropology and political science

The function of the ego is to secure adequate satisfaction of basic and secondary needs to maintain the organism in equilibrium. When needs are not adequately satisfied, there is a failure of ego-integration, and psychic-dis-equilibrium of one sort or another results.

Similarly, anthropologists had known since long that feelings and somatic functions are closely related. Accordingly, they had been advocating for psychosomatic Medicine that has been recognized as a branch of Medicine only recently.

Psychosomatic functions are culturally organized. Thus, the problems of "Adolescent Sterility" came to the attention of physiologists after the publication of the Sexual Life of the Savages Thus, the average adolescent sterility period for the white is 3-years, for Dap New Guinea 5 years and for the Lepchas 9 years.

Further, Margaret Mead's Coming of age in Samoa demonstrates that stresses and strums during 'adolescing' are largely the consequences of cultural factors peculiar to particular societies.

Even otherwise, health cannot be given to the people, nor can it be bought or sold as a commodity. It invariably calls for people's active participation e.

relationship between social anthropology and political science

Thus, anthropology can assist more clearly and satisfactorily in identifying the health needs, and in clarifying factors influencing acceptability and utilization of health services, and can also assist in showing how these health needs can be most appropriately solved.

Anthropology and Life Sciences Anthropology is closely related to several of the natural sciences for example: Zoology - in terms of the relationship to other animals and the overall places of the human species in the process of evolutions; Biology- in terms of the evolution of humans from early pre-human forms; Anatomy and Physiology- in its concerned with the structure of the human body, the relationship of the various parts and the operation or function of these different parts Genetics - concern with variation in the world to-day Anthropology studies the physical characteristics of man.

It uses the general principles of biology and utilizes the findings of anatomy, physiology, embryology, zoology, palaeontology and so on. Paul Brocathe famous biologist defined physical anthropology as the "Science whose objective is the study of humanity considered as a whole, in its parts and in relationship to the rest of nature".

John Gledhill has brought out a study on the political behaviour of primitives, Power and its Disguises: Perspectives on Political Anthropology.

A similar study by John Middleton and David Tait deals with the African tribes who do not have rulers and states. Works of this kind very well establish that social and political anthropologies are very close in their perspectives. Thus, in the domain of approach and perspective, both the disciplines are quite close. In modern state societies, it may seem fairly easy to delineate what is politics and what is not. The situation of primitive society is altogether different.

A few of them do not have any state. The basic question raised by political anthropologists in the study of primitives is: One very common feature of social anthropology and political science is that they both study power. It means that power gives the ability to a person or a group to make someone do something they would otherwise not have done.