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

Postgraduate Course: Culture and Power: The Anthropology of Political Processes (PGSP11178)

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 introduces a range of anthropological approaches to politics. It provides a detailed examination of both open and hidden forms of power and their workings at the global, state, national, community, and personal level. Key themes of this course are: bureaucracy and irrationality in the modern state, sovereignty, political violence, resistance, citizenship, religion and human rights.
Course description Lecture Summary:

1. Anthropology, the Colonial, the Political (Jonathan Spencer)

2. Governmentality (Laura Major)

3. The State (Jonathan Spencer)

4. Power, Spectacle, Strangeness (Laura Major)

5. Ethnicity, Race, Identity - Film (Laura Major)

6. Nationalism (Jonathan Spencer)

7. Migration, Borders, Violence (Toby Kelly)

8. Dissent and Protest (Toby Kelly)

9. Religion, Politics, Secularism (Jonathan Spencer)

10. Human Rights (Toby Kelly)

11. Reading Week & Drop-in Session (re: final assignment prep)
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 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  45
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, 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) A combination of a short essay (20%) and a long essay (80%).
Feedback Short written summaries are submitted to tutors weekly during the tutorial session, which serve as the basis for the participation mark. The course convener sets the essay questions; the short essay is based on the short mid-term ethnographic project students must undertake in either the Edinburgh Sheriff Court or the Scottish Parliament. The aim of the assessments is to allow students to develop their own ideas and topics, demonstrate their ability to analyse relevant issues and draw on and synthesise relevant evidence.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. show a clear understanding of the importance and scope of anthropology's contribution to the analysis of power and politics
  2. take an informed, anthropological perspective on issues of governance, citizenship, processes of democratization, protest, and the role of the state in a variety of ethnographic contexts.
  3. identify and characterise key approaches from social anthropology, from other social science disciplines, and from interdisciplinary fields like cultural studies, development studies, and science and technology studies to understanding and evaluating issues concerning political anthropology as a sub-field, and identify advantages, problems and implications of these approaches.
  4. critically evaluate contributions to the academic and public debates regarding political issues in scientific, philosophical, and humanities-related inquiries in order to engage wider audiences regarding issues of human social and cultural difference
  5. identify and evaluate a selection of techniques and procedures used in political anthropology and their relation to the formal techniques and procedures of anthropology and the social sciences generally.
Reading List
Beles, M. 1988. Modern political ritual: Ethnography of an inauguration and a
pilgrimage by President Mitterrand. Current Anthropology 29(3): 391-404.
Bourgois, P. 2001. The Power of Violence in War and Peace: Post-Cold War Lessons from El Salvador. Ethnography 2(1) 5-34
Dirks, N. 1992. Castes of Mind. Representations 37: 56-78.
Evans-Pritchard, E.E. 1969 [1940]. The Nuer: A description of the modes of livelihood and political institutions of a Nilotic People. Oxford & New
York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 94-95; 135-138; 225-226.
Farquar, J. & Q. Zhang 2005. Biopolitical Beijing: Pleasure, Sovereignty, and Self- Cultivation in China's Capital. Cultural Anthropology 20(3): 303-327.
Gupta, A. 1995. Blurred Boundaries: The Discourse of Corruption, the Culture of Politics, and the Imagined State. American Ethnologist 22(2): 375-402.
Hansen, T. B. 2005. Sovereigns beyond the State: Authority and Legality in Urban India. In T.B. Hansen and F. Stepputat (eds.). Sovereign Bodies. Citizens, Migrants and States in the Postcolonial World.
Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Kipnis, Andrew B. 2007. Neoliberalism Reified: suzhi discourse and tropes of neoliberalism in the People's Republic of China. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 13:383-400.
Navaro-Yashin, Yael. 2002. Faces of the state: secularism and public life in Turkey. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Pp. 188- 204.
Schuller, Mark. 2007. Seeing Like a Failed NGO: Globalization's Impacts on State and Civil Society in Haiti. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 30(1): 67-89.
Spencer, J. 1990. Writing Within: Anthropology, Nationalism and Culture in Sri Lanka. Current Anthropology 3(2): 283-300.
Stoler, A. 1989. Making Empire Respectable: The Politics of Race and Sexual Morality in 20th Century Colonial Cultures. American Ethnologist
16(4): 26-51.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Jonathan Spencer
Tel: (0131 6)50 3944
Course secretaryMr Jack Smith
Tel: (0131 6)51 1485
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