Genealogy, as a discipline, has often taken it as a given that it should be allied with history.  Family historians  have lamented and tried to remedy genealogy's perceived lack of intellectual rigor, mused on why academic historians have no respect for us, or encouraged researchers to make history part of their family's story. When encouragement didn't seem to work, chastisement often followed. I believe that there is good reason why genealogy is not universally accepted by historians as a branch of history. We've been barking up the wrong tree. Genealogy/family history is anthropology.
I first encountered kinship charts and the study of the role of kinship relationships in my undergraduate anthropology classes. I recall coming home for a visit when I was in graduate school, sitting at the kitchen table with my parents and building a family tree. I knew how to do that because I'd studied anthropology.
In graduate school I researched and wrote a class paper on a comparative analysis of kinship patterns among several southeast Asian societies. The upshot was that marriage patterns (i.e., restrictions on who people were allowed to marry) could be predicted by groups' subsistence land use patterns. This is one way of understanding a society. Anthropology embraces others, as well.
As a student of archaeology (a subdiscipline of anthropology), I was familiar with resources and data (similar to what is encountered in genealogy) that could not, in and of themselves, tell the entire story. Much of my graduate school education entailed learning to build the links between the data we might collect and the context within which the item or pattern would have been created during the lives of those we were studying.
Research methods and techniques are the trappings of a discipline. But, it is the underlying mission that tells the story. Anthropology is the study of culture and how cultural constructs help humans to live in and adapt to their environments. It defines who people are.
In studying our ancestors lives, anthropology informs us that they lived not only in a different historical time, but also in a different culture. It is our understanding of those differences and similarities and how they may account for the facts of our ancestors lives that make their stories compelling.
I had not really thought much about the influence of anthropology on my research until a couple of months ago when another genealogist with an anthropological background contacted me after reading my article published in Avotaynu.  When she'd first read the article she did not know of my academic background. Once she learned of my anthropology training she recognized its influence on my research methodology.
I had to agree. I had not merely studied individuals, but taken a community approach to understand my findings. I looked for patterns. I continue to do that with my studies of my paternal shtetl in Ukraine. Cluster genealogy and the FAN principle are no-brainers. People are best studied and understood in context.
And isn't that really the crux of it all? Genealogy is a discipline that researches individuals and tries to understand the context of their lives. This context may include the historical events that may or may not have influenced their choices. It may include the cultural norms of their society - the ones they embraced and the ones they rebelled against. It may include environmental influences. It may include the songs they sang, the food they ate. It may include truths about human behavior that we are still trying to understand.
No, genealogy is not history. Nor is it anthropology. It is context. There are many facets to that context. And there are many avenues to deciphering the context of our ancestors' lives.
1. The most recent example is a post by James Tanner of Genealogy's Star. But also see:
Greenwood, Val D. Chapter 1: "Understanding Genealogical Research," The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company), 3rd Edition, 2000.
Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Chapter 1: "Fundamentals of Evidence Analysis," Evidence Explained, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company), Second Edition, 2009.
2. There was a time when genealogy meant dates and begats. Those who craved more substance, to differentiate themselves, started to use the term "family history." These days, I think the substance people can declare victory. Those who merely collect names and dates are not taken seriously by serious researchers. Therefore, I use the terms interchangeably here.
3. Garber, Emily H. "Using Landsmanshaft Burial Plots to Discover and Confirm the Location of a Family Shtetl," Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, Volume XXVII, Number 1, Spring 2011: 3-9.