It has no wiki, and I just wrote up this for it:

For questions about the development of civilized society and culture.
Relevant tags may include , , , , and .

... but then I realized that it's pretty much covered by and . Outliers that refer to human biology or genetics over time can use those corresponding tags , .

Do we still want to keep anthropology if existing tags overlap with it greatly, and few questions have it as a tag?

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    $\begingroup$ Anthropology being broadly the naturalism for sociology, I'm pretty sure we can fuse it in society or culture. $\endgroup$ – PatJ Feb 7 '17 at 1:43

Yes we should have the Anthropology tag. It has to do with human geography and has to do with why people are where they are, why they have the culture that they do, and why they live the way they live. It is a very deep topic but I think that broadening the amount and specificity of tags is essential.

It is the tag behind culture, society, language, you name it: very necessary.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree that it's important, but remapping it to culture or society would not detract from its meaning. "Society" already describes human geography, culture, lifestyle, and language --- this would just be eliminating that overlap. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Feb 7 '17 at 2:41
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    $\begingroup$ John sure, have it, but it should be synonymous with at least one of those listed by @Zxyrra. At least some of that subset is redundant. $\endgroup$ – SRM Feb 7 '17 at 6:41

The necessary research is to disentangle the two terms doesn't seem to have been done. As someone who as part of my tertiary education I have done courses in anthropology, the differences between anthropology and sociology are apparent. There is definitely some overlap between the two fields, so it is inevitable there will be overlap between the tags. This is the result of the reality of their overlap.

The fact that there are so few questions tagged with "anthropology" displays a lack of awareness of the field and especially its relevance to worldbuilding. SF authors like Chad Oliver and Ursula K Le Guin employed anthropological themes in their science-fiction. There is a rich intellectual lode to be mined by science-fiction writers in their worldbuilding. We should see more of it. Certainly it is an excellent idea to have an anthropology tag.

Anthropology is a global discipline involving humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Anthropology builds upon knowledge from natural sciences, including the discoveries about the origin and evolution of Homo sapiens, human physical traits, human behavior, the variations among different groups of humans, how the evolutionary past of Homo sapiens has influenced its social organization and culture, and from social sciences, including the organization of human social and cultural relations, institutions, social conflicts, etc.[24][25] Early anthropology originated in Classical Greece and Persia and studied and tried to understand observable cultural diversity.[26][27] As such, anthropology has been central in the development of several new (late 20th century) interdisciplinary fields such as cognitive science,[28] global studies, and various ethnic studies.

According to Clifford Geertz,

"anthropology is perhaps the last of the great nineteenth-century conglomerate disciplines still for the most part organizationally

intact. Long after natural history, moral philosophy, philology, and political economy have dissolved into their specialized successors, it has remained a diffuse assemblage of ethnology, human biology, comparative linguistics, and prehistory, held together mainly by the vested interests, sunk costs, and administrative habits of academia, and by a romantic image of comprehensive scholarship."


Anthropology is the study of various aspects of humans within past and present societies.15 Social anthropology and cultural anthropology15 study the norms and values of societies. Linguistic anthropology studies how language affects social life. Biological or physical anthropology15 studies the biological development of humans.

Archaeology, which studies past human cultures through investigation of physical evidence, is thought of as a branch of anthropology in the United States,5 while in Europe, it is viewed as a discipline in its own right, or grouped under other related disciplines such as history.


Sociology is the study of social behaviour or society, including its origins, development, organization, networks, and institutions.135 It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation[6] and critical analysis[7] to develop a body of knowledge about social order, disorder, and change. Many sociologists aim to conduct research that may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, while others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes. Subject matter ranges from the micro-sociology level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and the social structure.[8]

The traditional focuses of sociology include social stratification, social class, social mobility, religion, secularization, law, sexuality and deviance. As all spheres of human activity are affected by the interplay between social structure and individual agency, sociology has gradually expanded its focus to further subjects, such as health, medical, military and penal institutions, the Internet, education, social capital and the role of social activity in the development of scientific knowledge.

The range of social scientific methods has also expanded. Social researchers draw upon a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques. The linguistic and cultural turns of the mid-twentieth century led to increasingly interpretative, hermeneutic, and philosophic approaches towards the analysis of society. Conversely, the end of the 1990s and the beginning of 2000s have seen the rise of new analytically, mathematically and computationally rigorous techniques, such as agent-based modelling and social network analysis.[9][10]

Social research informs politicians and policy makers, educators, planners, legislators, administrators, developers, business magnates, managers, social workers, non-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, and people interested in resolving social issues in general. There is often a great deal of crossover between social research, market research, and other statistical fields.

By now, the differences between sociology and anthropology should be apparent.

A number of discussions about tags remind me of this story. Remember do the research and if you're not sure make inquiries to clarify the subjects related to the tags.

  • $\begingroup$ I understand that there are differences but "society" does neatly cover tags with this range. Could you give a counter-example? Most on this post seem to agree that they are different but still too similar. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Feb 7 '17 at 12:44
  • $\begingroup$ I disagree about "still too similar". Counter-example: religion. Anthropologically this covers the political, cultural, economic, geographic, and historical determinants of belief. A society based perspective looks at what is the case not what makes it the case. $\endgroup$ – a4android Feb 8 '17 at 3:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Zxyrra Your argument that 'society" covers the tags seems to consist of a gut feeling, followed by a Me Too chorus. "Astronomy" and "cosmology" deal with the large-scale features of the universe. Can't they be replaced by a "universe" tag or "psychiatry" and "neurology" with "brain". Could you give several good reasons why there would be improvement by collapsing "anthropology" into "society"? So far your argument is only boils down to "I think so". $\endgroup$ – a4android Feb 8 '17 at 3:33
  • $\begingroup$ Society encompasses culture, politics, economics, and to a degree history and geography. It still completely examines religion, which itself is part of society. I understand the difference, but studying human society is so close to society itself that there is no need for separation. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Feb 8 '17 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ I am sorry you disagree with the "me too chorus" because you disagree with every other person on this post - rudeness of such a statement aside - but your examples are faulty. My argument is not "I think so" it is "these cover the same territory, and here are examples" while your is "I am educated, and there is a fraction of a margin that is not the same" (which can be covered by other tags, as I said in the question). $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Feb 8 '17 at 3:37
  • $\begingroup$ There is no way to explain that "the study of society" covers a different range than "society". This is no "astronomy" and "universe" with which there is a vast difference of definitions. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Feb 8 '17 at 3:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Zxyrra Actually I don't disagree with everyone on this post. I do agree we are arguing over apparently narrow separations, I say apparently, because anyone with experience in these areas has an awareness of the differences. Perhaps outsiders don't, but life's like that. I don't claim to be an authority, just what I do know makes me see the utility of the tag. You do need your Devil's Advocates more than you know. $\endgroup$ – a4android Feb 8 '17 at 4:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Zxyrra I'd be happy to contribute, and prefer continuing discussion. A wider perspective always helps. Not just on this tag edit, but tags generally. $\endgroup$ – a4android Feb 8 '17 at 5:00
  • $\begingroup$ See here. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Feb 9 '17 at 22:05

I think it should merge with "society."

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    $\begingroup$ I ... partially agree. There are reasons to merge it with humans, culture, and society. Why society in particular? Could you elaborate? $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Feb 7 '17 at 2:02
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    $\begingroup$ Anthropology is the study of societies. It seemed reasonable by definition. $\endgroup$ – SRM Feb 7 '17 at 2:08
  • $\begingroup$ yet "anthro" means "human" and it is also the study of culture. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Feb 7 '17 at 2:10
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    $\begingroup$ Society being broader than culture, and anthropology applying to both, it should be merged with society. $\endgroup$ – PatJ Feb 7 '17 at 2:37

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