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

Postgraduate Course: Belief,Thought and Language (PGSP11174)

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
SummaryThe emphasis of this course will be on showing how anthropology and comparative studies have enriched understanding of the dynamic of language, and how engagement with the subject 'language', and with other disciplines concerned with this subject, have historically influenced anthropological thinking. Students will be introduced to a range of different anthropological approaches to the study of language, and to a variety of interests that have led anthropologists to take an interest in language and literary activity. The course demonstrates that in addition to communicating social reality through diverse mediums and strategies (attention is drawn to description, illustration, evocation and performance; to speech and to writing), language plays a role in constituting social reality. Language has therefore relevance for a broad range of general concerns and specialized interest, and this applies for both scholarship and social and political action. Connections that will be explored include the intersections with processes of personhood, statecraft, political resistance, and institutions of justice.
Course description Saussure and the structure of language
Wittgenstein and meaning as use
Whorf and relativity
Bakhtin and dialogicality
ideology in Language
Language and Gender
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:  15
Course Start Semester 2
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 long essay (word-limit: 4,000).
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. show expert and specialist knowledge on the place of language in everyday social life and critical political innovation, and of ideas derived from linguistics and language philosophy in anthropological theorising.
  2. express a strong sense of how social and political actors work language, and of the importance, scope and distinctiveness of anthropology's contribution to the cross-cultural analysis of language.
  3. utilise valuable research skills to design and carry out empirical studies of language activity.
  4. show active familiarity with classical linguistic and linguistic anthropological works and works relating to current debates, facilitating student aware of both when they come across these approaches and debates in the literature, and these phenomena in future field situations.
Reading List
Bauman, R. and C L Briggs. 1990. "Poetics and Performance as Critical Perspectives
on Language and Social Life." Annual Review of Anthropology 19: 59-
Borneman, John. 2002. "Reconciliation After Ethnic Cleansing: Listening,
Retribution, Affiliation." Public Culture 14(2).
Cameron, Deborah. 1998. 'Gender, Language, and Discourse: A Review Essay.
Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 23(4):945-973.
Cohn, Carol. 1987. "Sex and death in the rational world of defense intellectuals."
Signs: The Journal of Women in Culture and Society 12:687-718.
Culler, Jonathan.1975. Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics, and the Study
of Literature. London: Routledge.
Gellner, E. 1998. Language and Solitude: Malinowski, Wittgenstein, and the
Habsburg Dilemma. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Goody, J. (ed.) 1968. Literacy in Traditional Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Holquist, Michael. 1990. Dialogism: Bakhtin and His World. Routledge: London.
Hymes, D. 2004. In Vain I Tried to Tell You: essays in Native American
ethnopoetics. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Irvine, Judith. 1989. When Talk Isn't Cheap: language and political economy.
American Ethnologist, Vol.16, No.2: 248-267.
Jakobson, Roman. 1990. Langue and Parole: Code and Message. In On Language.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Levi-Strauss, Claude. 1955. The Structural Study of Myth. The Journal of American
Folklore, Vol.68, No.270: 428-444.
Saussure, Ferdinand. 1983. Course in General Linguistics. R. Harris, trans. LaSalle,
Il: Open Court.
Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 2001. Philosophical Investigations (3rd edition). G.E.M.
Anscombe, trans. Oxford: Blackwell.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Magnus Course
Tel: (0131 6)51 3893
Course secretaryMs Jessica Barton
Tel: (0131 6)51 5066
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