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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: An Introduction to Anthropological Theory (PGSP11049)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgrad (School of Social and Political Studies) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course is not designed to present a complete history of the various theoretical developments or debates within anthropology. Instead, organized around a contrast between anthropologists who place the emphasis on 'society' and anthropologists who stress the importance of 'culture', it aims to provide an intensive introduction to some of the most important theoretical perspectives and to show the ways in which they have been used in explaining social and cultural processes among particular peoples. Utilizing a number of fieldwork studies, both 'classic' and more recent, it also focuses on the intimate link between theory and ethnography, and attempts to elucidate the distinctive character of social anthropology: the questions it asks and the answers it supplies.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 16/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course, students should have a clear overview of the main anthropological theories and a critical appreciation of their 'place' within social anthropology. In addition, having explored a variety of ethnographies, they should be able to reflect on the possible application of these theories to different ethnographic problems. Above all, having engaged with the kind of questions anthropologists ask and some of the answers they offer, students should have a clear understanding of the anthropological 'mode of thought' and its intrinsic connection with the methodological challenges embedded in ethnographic enquiry.
Assessment Information
This course will be assessed by a combination of (i) assessed course work in the form of a short essay (word-limit: 1,500); and (ii) a long essay (word-limit: 4,000) to be submitted towards the end of the Semester. The assessed course work carries a weighting of 20% towards the final overall mark for the course as a whole, and the long essay carries a weighting of 80%.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Course Outline: Indicative Topics
The quest for comparison (society versus culture)
From function to structure
Society as culture
From language to text
Culture as society
Anthropological fictions
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Barnard, A. 2000 History and Theory in Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. Bourdieu, P. 1990 'Belief and the body' & 'Structures, habitus, practices'. In The
Logic of Practice. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Comaroff, J. and J. Comaroff 1992 Ethnography and the Historical Imagination.
Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.
Evans-Pritchard, E.E. 1937 Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic among the Azande
Oxford: Clarendon Press. Geertz, C. 1973 'Deep play: notes on a Balinese cock-fight'. In The Interpretation of
Cultures. New York: Basic Books. Kuper, A. 1999 Culture: The Anthropologists' Account. Cambridge, Mass. / London:
Harvard University Press.
Lambek, M. 1998 'Body and mind in mind, body and mind in body'. In M. Lambek
And A. Strathern (eds), Bodies and persons. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Levi-Strauss, C. 1966 The Savage Mind. London: George Widenfeld & Nicholson
Malinowski, B. 1929 The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia.
London: Routledge.
Roseberry, W. 1997 'Marx and Anthropology'. Annual Review of Anthropology 26:
25-46. Sahlins, M. 1983 'Other times, Other customs: The Anthropology of History'.
American Anthropologist 85: 517-544. Talle, A. 1993 'Transforming Women into "Pure" Agnates: Aspects of Female
Infibulation in Somalia'. In V. Broch-Due, I. Rudie & T. Bleie (eds), Carved
Flesh, Cast Selves. Oxford/Providence: Berg. Turner, V. 1969 The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. New York: Aldine
Viveiros de Castro, E. 1998 'Cosmological Deixis and Amerindian Perspectivism'.
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 4: 469-488. Wacquant, L. 1998 'The prizefighter's three bodies'. Ethnos 63 (3): 325-352.
Weston, K. 1994 'Forever is a Long Time: Romancing the Real in Gay Kinship
Ideologies'. In S. Yanagisako and C. Delaney (eds), Naturalizing Power:
Essays in Feminist Cultural Analysis. London: Routledge.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern The course consists of one two-hour session a week for the whole of the First Semester. These sessions involve a mixture of lectures (including possibly some 'guest-lectures'), class discussions, and student presentations.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Dimitri Tsintjilonis
Tel: (0131 6)50 3934
Course secretaryMs Jessica Barton
Tel: (0131 6)51 1659
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