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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Centre for Open Learning : Social and Political Science

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to Social Anthropology (LLLJ07021)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course is for students on the CAHSS International Foundation Programme.

This course will give students an opportunity to develop their understanding of key issues in Social Anthropology by introducing them to the theories and concepts of both contemporary and classical anthropological thinking, and how these relate to contemporary society and culture world-wide. The course will also develop students' academic skills in preparation for more advanced, independent study.
Course description Course Description
This course will provide an introduction to Social Anthropology by examining a number of cultural ideas and practices from around the world, and discussing some of the discipline's core debates. By engaging with anthropological classics and contemporary works, students will learn how to 'think anthropologically' and to look at the world that surrounds them from a different perspective. The broad scope of the themes discussed 'kinship, politics, ritual, witchcraft and more' will enable students to appreciate the sheer cross-cultural variability of human beliefs and practices, while critically reflecting on the taken-for-granted assumptions informing their own society or culture. The course endeavours to place anthropological debates and concepts in historical perspective, scrutinising the specific political and cultural milieus from which they emerged and the biases implicit in work from different eras. The overall aim is to develop students' conceptual vocabulary and their critical understanding of the relevance of anthropological knowledge for an understanding of the contemporary world and the complex global dynamics that shape it.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  30
Course Start Lifelong Learning - Session 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 49.5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 48 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) A 2,000 word essay (75%) and time-limited short essay assessment (25%)
Feedback All students will have the opportunity to submit a 1000 word practice essay mid-way through the course. This will be returned with feedback in time to help students prepare for the final assessment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Investigate and differentiate between key concepts in social anthropology.
  2. Analyse the different historical and social contexts in which anthropologists have researched and published
  3. Understand the main elements of anthropological methodology and its distinctiveness.
  4. Understand and evaluate the relevance of anthropology to issues of cultural diversity in the contemporary world
  5. Employ critical skills of interpretation, argument and analysis
Reading List
Boylston, T., 2018. The Stranger at the Feast: Prohibition and Mediation in an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Community. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Carrithers, M., 1992. Why Humans Have Cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Eller, J.D., 2009. Cultural Anthropology: Global Forces, Local Lives. New York: Routledge.¿

Carsten, J., 2004. After Kinship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cassidy, R., 2002. The sport of kings: kinship, class and thoroughbred breeding in Newmarket. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Descola, P., 1996 The spears of twilight: life and death in the Amazon jungle. London: Harper Collins

Evans-Pritchard, E. E., 1937. Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Mauss, M., 1990 [1950]. The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. London: Routledge.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course students should have strengthened their skills in: critical analysis; comparative study; participation in group discussion and practical tasks.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Gisli Vogler
Course secretaryMs Kameliya Skerleva
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855
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