Introduction to Social Anthropology - ANTS3010

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 4 30 (15) Anna Waldstein checkmark-circle


A discipline which arose with other social sciences in the mid- to late-nineteenth century, social and cultural anthropology has made a speciality of studying 'other' people's worlds and ways of life. With increasing frequency, however, anthropologists have turned towards 'home', using insights gained from studying other cultures to illuminate aspects of their own society. By studying people's lives both at 'home' and 'abroad', social and cultural anthropology attempt to both explain what may at first appear bizarre and alien about other peoples' ways of living whilst also questioning what goes without saying about our own society and beliefs. Or, to put it another way, social and cultural anthropology attempt, among other things, to challenge our ideas about what we take to be natural about 'human nature' (family, gender, race and more) and more generally force us to take a fresh look at what we take for granted.


Contact hours

Total contact hours 31
Private study hours 269
Total study hours 300


Compulsory to BSc Anthropology

Available as an elective module

Method of assessment

Essay 1 1,500 words 25%
Essay 2 1,500 words 25%
Examination 3 hours 50%

Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework.

*Exams will be online*

Indicative reading

Evans-Pritchard, E. 1976. Withcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande. Clarendon Press.
Kohn, E. 2013. How Forests Think: Toward an anthropology beyond the human. Berkeley, University
of California Press.
Kuper, A. 1988. The Invention of primitive society: transformations of an illusion. London: Routledge.
Levi-Strauss, C. 2013. "The Culinary Triangle" in Counihan, C. and Van Esterik, P. (eds.). Food and
Culture: A Reader (Third Edition). Routledge, Pp. 40-47.
Mills, M. 2013. The opposite of witchcraft: Evans-Pritchard and the problem of the person. Journal of
the Royal Anthropological Institute. 19 (1): 18-33.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1. Draw on studies of different cultures and societies.
8.2. Understand the issues that social and cultural anthropologists study and the kind of arguments and theories they have developed.
8.3. Understand the key topics within social and cultural anthropology, and what makes the field different from other social sciences.
8.4. Acquire a grounding in a discipline which they may wish to continue to study in second and final years.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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