European Societies - SE601

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2020 to 2021.


What has Anthropology had to say about Europe and what role has Europe played in Anthropology? In the heyday of empire, Anthropology looked overseas for its classic subjects of study; but immediately after WWII, a new Anthropology of Europe emerged that reflected the divide between a rich and democratic north and an impoverished and politically turbulent south, with a focus on the periphery. Finally, in the 1980s, as the European Union expanded, a new Anthropology of Europe arose that threw off the shackles of primitivism and turned to face the contemporary world in all its complexity. Our School is one of the first places in Britain where European anthropology thrived. Building on this tradition, this module focuses on both classic and key contemporary themes, such as: conflict, nationalism, and terror; tourism and heritage; religion and migration (e.g. Islam); the EU and BREXIT; and the Euroscepticism of the past decade, in particular the rise of populism and the impact of 'austerity' politics. In this way, we explore ethnographic vantage points from which students may creatively rethink the idea of ‘Europe’ and its meaning for the future.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


BA Social Anthropology and associated programmes BSc Anthropology

Method of assessment

Essay (3000 words) (50%)
Examination (2 hours) (50%)

Indicative reading

Barrera-González, A., Heintz M., and Horolets, A. (eds). 2020. European Anthropologies. Oxford: Berghahn.
Berdahl, D. 1999. Where the World Ended: Re-Unification and Identity in the German Borderland. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Davis, J. 1977. People of the Mediterranean: an Essay in Comparative Social Anthropology. London: Routledge.
Goddard, V.J., J. Llobera, and C. Shore (eds), 1994. The Anthropology of Europe: Identities and Boundaries in Conflict, Oxford: Berg.
Kockel, U., Craith, M.N. and Frykman, J. (eds), 2015. A Companion to the Anthropology of Europe. Oxford: Wiley.
Maguire, M., Frois, C. and Zurawski, N. (eds), 2014. The Anthropology of Security: Perspectives from the Frontline of Policing, Counter-terrorism and Border Control. London: Pluto.
Ventsel, A, 2020. Punks and Skins United: Identity, Class and the Economics of an Eastern German Subculture. Oxford: Berghahn.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8.1 Be conversant in the main themes and trends of the anthropology of European societies
8.2 Demonstrate an in-depth critical understanding of the historical depth and cultural diversity of a number of Western European societies in both urban and rural contexts, and at a regional and national level
8.3 Critically understand the historical development of those societies
8.4 Apply awareness of the value of anthropological insights into contemporary political, social, and economic developments in the European context, such as nationalism and conflict; religion and migration (e.g. Islam); the socio-cultural impact of new technologies; tourism and its consequences; the heritage industry; the European Union; Brexit and Austerity; extremism and terror
8.5 Understand the impact of study of industrial and post-industrial European societies on anthropological methods
8.6 Understand key theoretical contributions of Europeanist anthropologists to the wider discipline and their leading role in shaping wider anthropological debates and disciplinary reflexivity


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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