Social sciences concern people’s relationships and interactions with one another. Sociology, with its emphasis on social life, falls into this category. A multidisciplinary field, sociology draws from a variety of other social sciences, including anthropology, political science, psychology, and economics.
Anthropology concerns individual cultures in a society, rather than the society as a whole. Traditionally, it focuses on what might be termed “primitive” cultures, such as the Yanomamo people of the South American jungle, who live much the same way they did hundreds of years ago. Anthropologists place special emphasis on language, kinship patterns, and cultural artifacts.
Political science concerns the governments of various societies. It considers what kind of government a society has, how it formed, and how individuals attain positions of power within a particular government. Political science also concerns the relation of people in a society to whatever form of government they have.
Psychology takes the individual out of his or her social circumstances and examines the mental processes that occur within that person. Psychologists study the human brain and how it functions, considering issues such as memory, dreams, learning, and perception.
Economics focuses on the production and distribution of society’s goods and services. Economists study why a society chooses to produce what it does, how money is exchanged, and how people interact and cooperate to produce goods.