Ethnographies 1 - SE617

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
5 15 (7.5) DR M Hodges


Pre-requisite for BA Social Anthropology and BSc Anthropology programme: ANTS3010 Introduction to Social Anthropology

Co-requisite for BA Social Anthropology programmes: ANTS6180 Advanced Social Anthropology I, ANTS6190 Advanced Social Anthropology II, ANTS6200 Ethnographies II





The focus of this module is the intensive investigation of the canonical form in which research in social anthropology has been disseminated, the ethnography. The reading list for the module therefore consists exclusively of professional ethnographic monographs of varying thematic and regional focus.
Students will be expected to come to seminars with notes from their reading and will be encouraged to discuss that reading and to relate it to wider anthropological issues raised or implied by the authors of the ethnographies.
Considerable time will be spent, particularly in the earlier seminars, on instruction about how to read an ethnography and what goes into writing it. This might include how to examine its implicit (as opposed to explicit) theoretical assumptions; how to place it within the historical development of the discipline; how to evaluate its empirical investigation of particular theoretical problems; how to evaluate the relationship between description and analysis; how to evaluate its contribution to particular issues and topics within social anthropology; and the examination of its structure, presentation and ability to communicate an understanding of a social and cultural group through the written word.


This module appears in:

Contact hours



BSc: Anthropology; BA: Social Anthropology; Joint Honours; with a Language; with a Year Abroad

Method of assessment

40% Exam; 60% Coursework
Seminar Participation (15%)
Ethnographic Project (45%)

Indicative reading

Bourgois, P. and J. Schonberg (2009) Righteous Dopefiend. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Emerson, R. et al. (2011). Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes. Chicago: Chicago UP
Jackson, M. (2000) At Home in the World. Durham: Duke University Press.
Narayan, K. (2012) Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Navaro-Yashin, Y (2012) The Make-Believe Space: Affective Geography in a Post-War Polity. Durham: Duke University Press.
West, P. (2012) From Modern Production to Imagined Primitive: The Social World of Coffee from Papua New Guinea. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8.1 demonstrate critical understanding of the contents of a number of ethnographic texts
8.2 identify the authors of specific ethnographic texts and indicate when and where the fieldwork described in the text was undertaken, as well as their conceptual and methodological background of problem-solving
8.3 relate specific texts to general theoretical anthropological topics, for example to the analysis of structural and political violence; social and economic inequalities; globalisation and consumption; and mobility, migration and identity
8.4 demonstrate knowledge of the methods of research specific to the discipline of anthropology and illustrate them with reference to the studied local, regional, and global ethnographies
8.5 critically relate their reading for this module to wider conceptual and ethical concerns in social anthropology, and the broader relationship between anthropological fieldwork and ethnographic writing
8.6 relate the dilemmas faced by authors of the reading for this module to the challenges they themselves face in their ethnographic projects

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