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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
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis 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.
Course description 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
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 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%.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. show a clear understanding of the main anthropological theories and a critical appreciation of their place with social anthropology
  2. reflect on the application of a variety of ethnographic theories to different ethnographic problems
  3. engage 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┐.
  4. appreciate the intrinsic connection between anthropological theory and the methodological challenges embedded in ethnographic enquiry.
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.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Dimitri Tsintjilonis
Tel: (0131 6)50 3934
Course secretaryMs Jessica Barton
Tel: (0131 6)51 5066
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