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Implications of Shifting Locations: Trajectories of Sociology and Anthropology


 T.K. Oommen



The disciplines of anthropology and sociology had divergent trajectories and hostile relations in Europe where they originated. However in the process of their being transplanted into other locations their relationships have undergone changes. In the New World of Americas and Australia which experienced ‘replicative colonialism’, the distinction between sociology and social/cultural anthropology is maintained. In contrast, in the Old World of Asia and Africa which experienced ‘retreatist colonialism’ the relationship between these disciplines is ambiguous. The other factor which impacts on the shaping of relationship between these disciplines in their new locations has to do with their orientations to the object of their study. In the New World the cultural differences between the colonizers and immigrants on the one hand and the ‘natives’ on the other are maintained. In contrast in the Old World the effort is to ‘integrate’/’assimilate’ the ‘tribes’ into the mainstream. This paper analyzes the relationship between sociology and social/cultural anthropology with special reference to three locations: West-Europe, North America and South Asia.


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