Social Anthropology


To understand social anthropology it is necessary to be able to understand what anthropology is . This is a social science that is responsible for studying the aspects that are related to the nature of the human being . Then, social anthropology is a branch of the science that is responsible for analyzing and studying the society and cultures in order to understand the way in which societies live.

What is social anthropology?

Social anthropology is a discipline of knowledge of man that studies and describes all the customs , beliefs and traditions that exist within a society including the lifestyle of the region under study.

  • Object of study
  • History of social anthropology
  • Characteristics
  • Branches of social anthropology
  • Representatives
  • Books
  • Importance of social anthropology
  • Examples

Object of study

The main object of study of social anthropology is the study of the social structure that different human societies possess . Study all aspects related to culture and social institutions that make up groups in humanity. It also investigates a series of topics that are related to the changes that occur in cultures and societies, the norms and values that make up a society, the different religious beliefs that people have, the worldview and art , among others. .


It tries to explain in this way the great cultural diversity that exists in the world, observing the human being as a means to collect data and in this way to establish an adequate analysis . We can say then that social anthropology focuses on the study of man .

History of social anthropology

The history of social anthropology dates from the late nineteenth century when the main object of study was to be able to study the different pre-industrial peoples . With the passage of time, science developed more and more every day. Among its main roots we find ethnology , studies of culture and folklore, and classical-type studies, and its foundations were also based on important events such as the Renaissance and the Enlightenment .


Some of the main characteristics of social anthropology are mentioned below.

  • Conduct research related to the different groups that make up a society.
  • It is a branch of general anthropology .
  • Study the different societies in which the human being develops.
  • In some countries it is seen as a fundamental part of cultural anthropology .
  • It is mainly emphasized in the organization and in the different ways in which human groups can come to associate .
  • They focus on issues related to globalization , violence between ethnic groups, gender studies , and everything related to new emerging cultures .
  • Social anthropology has a holistic approach .
  • It uses different quantitative methods to carry out its analyzes.
  • It is also based on cultural , individual , artistic and cognitive elements .

Branches of social anthropology

The branches of social anthropology can vary depending on the object of study they possess. In this way, the following can be mentioned among its branches:

  • Musicology
  • Medical anthropology
  • Areas related to standards and values.
  • Worldview.
  • Mythology .
  • Art and magic.


Among the main representatives of social anthropologys the following are mentioned:

  • Edward Burnett Tylor : is considered one of the main pioneers of social anthropologys and was the person who defined culture as a set of beliefs, knowledge, art, laws and capacities acquired by the human being when being part of a society determined.
  • James George Frazer : He was an anthropologist who had a very important influence on the development of social anthropologys, mainly during the early stages and based his studies on magic, mythology and religion .


Some important books from where you can get more information related to social anthropologys are the following:

  • Anthropologys and Social Theory by Sherry B. Ortner
  • Social Anthropologys . A social and cultural dimension of the human being by Víctor Manuel García Torres.
  • Social Anthropologys l by Anton P. Baron.
  • Social Anthropologys ABC. Competency-Based Learning by Jorge Arguello Sánchez.

Importance of social anthropology

To talk about the importance of social anthropologys, it is also essential to remember that the human being has been studied since time immemorial by all cultures . It is a science that has the great capacity to understand the reality of the human being . Social anthropologists have the ability to study and analyze a series of factors that can have a negative or positive influence on the human being and therefore, part of its importance, is the study that science itself can carry out on current issues of importance such as violence , studies related to gender , theglobalization that today’s societies face. 


Some examples from social anthropologys are mentioned below:

  • Gender studies
  • Studies of transnationalism
  • Studies of local experiences at the level of society
  • Analysis of the current cyberspace

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