Theoretical Topics in Social Anthropology - SE597

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5) DR M Hodges


Prerequisite: SE301 Introduction to Social Anthropology


Stage 3



This module aims to aid Stage 3 students in making connections between theoretical issues and the ways in which they recur in the practices and debates of social anthropologists. The module teaches theoretical engagement by means of tracking the way that similar problems in ethnographic practice have been approached by different theoretical schools. The module engages a series of themes that illustrate how social anthropologists throughout the history of the discipline, and from different national traditions within the discipline, have engaged with the pressing political and social concerns of their day.


This module appears in:

Contact hours



BA Social Anthropology; Joint Honours; with a Year Abroad

Method of assessment

100% Coursework
Seminar Participation (10%)
Seminar Presentation (10%)
Book Review (30%)
Essay (50%)

Indicative reading

Barnard, A. 2000. History and Theory in Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Clifford, J. 1988. The Predicament of Culture. Harvard: Harvard University Press.
Herzfeld, M. 2000. Theoretical Practice in Culture and Society. Oxford: Blackwell.
Layton, R. 1997. An Introduction to Theory in Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P.
Moore, H. 1999. Anthropological Theory Today. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Moore, H. & T. Sanders. 2005. Anthropology in Theory: Issues in Epistemology. Oxford: Blackwell.
Moore, H. 2011. Still Life: Hopes, Desires and Satisfactions. Cambridge: Polity Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8.1 be conversant in the main theoretical schools to have affected social anthropology
8.2 have cultivated an in-depth understanding of the historical depth of theoretical debates in social anthropology, as well as the way in which these debates have been taken up differently in the different national schools of thought
8.3 understand how social anthropologists have applied the theories of their day to the ways in which they have conducted ethnographic research and writing
8.4 analyse theoretical positions critically, and to locate them in the appropriate intellectual schools of thought from which they originate
8.5 analyse and communicate their understanding of anthropological texts in both written and spoken form
8.6 construct coherent and logical arguments, particularly in written form, which combine theoretical writings with the discussion of ethnographic data.

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