Distinguishing Ethnography & Ethnology

Ethnography vs Ethnology

Ethnography and ethnology are natural sciences with distinct subject matter, both falling under the anthropology umbrella. Ethnography focuses on the procedures carried out in any society, such as marriages, burials, and other cultural customs. Ethnology, on the other hand, provides a detailed description of a society’s demographics by comparing different ethnographies.

What is Ethnography?

Ethnography deals with the rational description of human clans and nations, shedding light on various human tribes and the history of mankind. An ethnographer, an expert in the field of ethnography, studies different tribes and their customs in detail. The foundation of ethnographic study must be based on valid proofs rather than assumptions.

What is Ethnology?

Ethnology compares different ethnographies to understand a society, providing a detailed description of the demographics. An ethnologist, an expert in the field of ethnology, reviews superstitions, beliefs, myths, and institutions that are either common or differ from other parts of the world. Ethnology is divided into historic ethnology and prehistoric ethnology. Historic ethnology researches the origin of barbarian tribes, while prehistoric ethnology gives an insight into early human conditions where no documents are available to prove them.

Key Takeaways

  • Ethnography focuses on the procedures carried out in any society, while ethnology provides a detailed description of a society’s demographics.
  • Both ethnography and ethnology fall under the anthropology umbrella and are considered natural sciences.
  • Ethnography is more specific to a particular group of people, whereas ethnology is more general to all people.
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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