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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Social Anthropology

Undergraduate Course: Social Anthropology 2: Key Concepts (SCAN08011)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will provide a historical overview of anthropological thought and will be taught through an introduction to keywords that have helped to shape the development of social anthropology. The thematic approach is designed to be engaging and stimulating to students and to help to foster critical conceptual and theoretical thought. It will highlight the continued significance of key concepts and oppositions over time.

Course description The course will be organized around the exploration of a cluster of linked keywords. Each year the course team will concentrate on 3 or 4 clusters chosen from the following: primitive and modern; science and romance; structure, function and process; society and culture; mind and materiality; time and change; the human and the environment; persons and production. Lectures and tutorials will explore the place of each cluster of keywords in the history of anthropology, while providing examples of their continued importance in contemporary anthropology.

While the focus is on big ideas and the ways anthropologists have engaged with fundamental philosophical and theoretical issues, this course is grounded in ethnographic studies and the ways in which these highly situated and detailed accounts of real people doing real things have informed and challenged our more theoretical thinking concerning human cultures and societies.

Indicative key concepts:

Society and Culture
Persons and Production
Humans and the Environment

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Social Anthropology 1A: The Life Course (SCAN08013) OR Introduction to Social Anthropology (SCAN08015) OR Social Anthropology 1B: Anthropology Matters (SCAN08012)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 1 introductory level Social Anthropology course at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 166 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Short essay 1 (based on key concept 1, culture and society) = 30%

Short essay 2 (based on key concept 2, persons and production) = 35%

Short essay 3 (based on key concept 3, humans and environment) = 35%
Feedback The first essay is worth slightly less of the final grade than essays 2 and 3 in order to allow students to gain familiarity with the short essay format in a slightly lower-stakes exercise. Written feedback provided for Short Essay 1 in good time for Short Essay 2, and likewise feedback for Short Essay 2 will be provided before the hand-in date for Short Essay 3. Discussion of essay planning and writing and oral feedback will take place in tutorials. Additional advice concerning approaching the essays will be provided in lectures and through meetings with teaching staff.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students will gain a broad appreciation of different theoretical perspectives in Social Anthropology through an engagement with texts written by key thinkers in the discipline.
  2. Students will learn about intellectual histories within the discipline and will be able to identify schools of thought with anthropological authors.
  3. Students will be able to identify these theories in ethnographic studies and assess them critically.
  4. Students will become familiar with key anthropological theorists and read sections of their work.
  5. By seeing ethnography in its theoretical contexts, students will learn to appreciate the complex interplay between data and theory, both in social anthropology and in the social sciences more generally.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - apply different theories to the interpretation and explanation of human conduct and patterns of behaviour
- recognise and account for the use of such theories by others
- judge the value and relevance of empirical evidence and theoretical argument and interpretation in social science
- identify and design ways of solving problems with a social and cultural dimension
- question cultural assumptions
- interpret and analyse a variety of textual, oral and visual forms
- discuss ideas and interpretations with others in a clear and reasoned way.
KeywordsSocial Anthropology,Key Concepts
Course organiserDr John Harries
Tel: (0131 6)50 4051
Course secretaryMr Ewen Miller
Tel: (0131 6)50 3925
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