The difference between Ethnology and Social Anthropology – Essay

His matter of fact, ethnology is a science of culture history. It means that an ethnologist seeks to specify cultural and mental laws to ex -plain the processes of culture history. The similarity or close relationship between ethnology and social anthropology is simple.

Both study society, that is, man and culture. Ethnology is concerned with taken common cultural elements of all the groups, notwithstanding pllaccortime. Despite this affinity, there are some differences between the two disciplines:

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(1) Narrative:

Ethnology is narrative. It describes the cultural traits of a particular group with great elaboration. For instance, the cul­tural specificity of a Gond and for that matter any tribal group of the country, constitutes the theme of ethnology.

Basically, ethno­graphic accounts are narrative. Risely studied peoples of India; and also their racial composition and their fairs and festivals. But nowhere has he analytically brought out concepts of the kind of dominant caste, caste ranking and the like. Ethnologists are narra­tion-oriented. They describe and their work is done.

(2) Analytical:

Social anthropology is either descriptive or narrative and analytical. Where ethnology limits itself to culture, social an­thropology discusses patterns of interrelations. We have a large number of social anthropological studies, such as Andre Beteille’s, Caste, Class and Power (1965), which brings out analytical con­structs which bear value to tasks of development.

(3) Comparative:

Ethnology works as ethnography and codifies the classificatory characteristics of a cultural group. Comparison has no place in ethnographic accounts. Social anthropology is inher­ently comparative. It studies the primitive society and compares it with other societies-past and current.

(4) Empirical:

Ethnology has a historical bias. It codifies customs, tra­ditions, folkways and food habits on a historical basis. It cannot move without historical context. Social anthropology draws heav­ily from empirical fieldwork.

There is a controversy between social anthropology and ethnology. It is said that ethnology de­pends on history and social anthropology denies history.