Advanced Social Anthropology 1 - SE618

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
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5 15 (7.5) PROF D Theodossopoulos


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

Co-requisite for BA Social Anthropology programmes: ANTS6170 Ethnographies I, ANTS6190 Advanced Social Anthropology II, ANTS6200 Ethnographies II





The module is a cross-cultural analysis of economic and political institutions, and the ways in which they transform over time. Throughout the term, we draw upon a range of ethnographic research and social theory, to investigate the political and conceptual questions raised by the study of power and economy. The module engages with the development and key debates of political and economic anthropology, and explores how people experience, and acquire power over social and economic resources. Students are asked to develop perspectives on the course material that are theoretically informed and empirically grounded, and to apply them to the political and economic questions of everyday life. The module covers the following topics: the relationship between power and authority; key concepts and theoretical debates in economic anthropology; sharing and egalitarianism; gift exchange; sexual inequality; violence; the nation state; money; social class; work; commodification; financialisation.


This module appears in:

Contact hours



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

Method of assessment

50% Exam; 50% Coursework
Seminar Participation (10%)
Seminar Presentation (10%)
Essay (30%)

Indicative reading

Appadurai, A. ed. (1986) The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. Cambridge University Press
Carrier, J. ed. (2013) A Handbook of Economic Anthropology. Edward Elgar
Carrier, J and D. Kalb, eds (2015) Anthropologies of Class: Power, Practice and Inequality. Cambridge University Press
Gupta, A and A. Sharma eds. (2005) The Anthropology of the State: A Reader. Wiley-Blackwell
Hart, K, J.L. Laville, and A.D. Cattani eds. (2010) The Human Economy. Polity Press
Humphrey, C and S. Hugh-Jones, eds. (1992) Barter, Exchange, and Value: An Anthropological Approach. Cambridge University Press

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8.1 Be conversant with the key disciplinary themes and trends of the anthropology of power and economy
8.2 Have acquired a critical understanding of the historical development of those anthropological debates and theories
8.3 Be knowledgeable about the theoretical contributions of the anthropology of power and economy to the broader discipline of social anthropology
8.4 Have cultivated a critical understanding of the global and historical diversity, operation and experience of political and economic institutions
8.5 Be able to apply anthropological insights to current transformations of political and economic institutions

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