The main difference between ethnography and ethnology lies in their content and the context of study. Ethnography is a natural science that studies different procedures practiced by different societies, while ethnology is a natural science that studies the demographics of the societies in a detailed and descriptive manner.
When elaborating further, ethnography studies social procedures such as weddings, marriages, burial procedures, and cremation procedures, while ethnology compares distinct ethnographies in order to understand the composition and the structure of a particular society.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Ethnography
– Definition, Features
2. What is Ethnology
– Definition, Features
3. Similarities Between Ethnography and Ethnology
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Ethnography and Ethnology
– Comparison of Key Differences
What is Ethnography
Ethnography is a field of natural scientific study where descriptive studies related to human clans and societies are conducted. It further studies social procedures visible inside human tribes; these usually vary from one tribe to another. Therefore, we can also describe ethnography as a study of the evolution of human beings from the formative years.
A person who is an expert in the field of ethnography is called an ethnographer. The scope of study of an ethnographer basically involves descriptive research and study about different tribal communities and their customs that prevailed or still prevail among them. Moreover, it is said that an ethnographer is more concerned about rooting out the old or current common principles particular to distinct societies, communities, or tribes in the world. Another most important fact about this field of study is that it is not possible to conduct an ethnographic study relying on assumptions. In order to conduct such a study, it is essential to have scientifically valid proof.
What is Ethnology
Ethnology is a field of natural science where we study the demographics of particular societies. In ethnology, the ethnologists compare and contrast the ethnographies of different societies to understand a particular society better.
Unlike an ethnographer, an ethnologist considers the belief systems, superstitions, myths, and socio-cultural institutions that are common or distinct between different societies in different parts of the world. Simply put, although an ethnographer does not conduct a deep comparative study about the tribes and societies in ethnography, an ethnologist most frequently conducts comparative studies of human tribes and societies. Most significantly, within the field of ethnology, an ethnologist always attempts to build up theories about the demographics of a particular society. This theoretical aspect sets a clear-cut line between the two fields, ethnography and ethnology.
Similarities Between Ethnography and Ethnology
- Both ethnography and ethnology are fields of study in natural sciences.
- Ethnography and ethnology are the two subcategories that come under anthropology or studies on human history.
- Moreover, these fields conduct studies about human societies and communities at varying levels.
Difference Between Ethnography and Ethnology
Ethnography is a natural science that studies different procedures practiced by different societies, while ethnology is a natural science that studies the demographics of the societies in a detailed and descriptive manner.
Ethnography studies different procedures practiced by different societies, while ethnology studies the demographics of societies in a detailed and descriptive manner.
Experts and their Focus
Moreover, an expert in ethnography is an ethnographer, and he or she does not conduct any comparative studies. However, ethnologists, experts in ethnology, usually conduct comparative studies of human tribes or communities.
Assumptions and Proof
In addition, ethnographical studies always rely on valid proof and not on assumptions. However, it is possible to carry out ethnological studies relying on assumptions.
The main difference between ethnography and ethnology is that ethnography is an area of study in natural science where ethnographers conduct their studies on different procedures practiced by different societies, while ethnology is another area of study in natural science where ethnologists study demographics of the societies in a more detailed and descriptive manner.
1. “Ethnography; a grouping of the races and characteristic dres Wellcome V0025765” By Welcome Images (CC BY 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka – Demons of the village – State of Karnataka in India” By Yanajin33 – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia