Theory and Ethnography in Social Anthropology 2 - SE883

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
7 15 (7.5) DR M Hodges







This module aims to aid postgraduate 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 each engaged with the pressing political and social concerns of their day.


This module appears in:

Contact hours



Spring Term

Method of assessment

This module is assessed by 100% coursework.
Coursework for the module comprises an essay of 3000 words (65%), seminar participation throughout the module (15%) and a weekly reading diary (25%). This diary should include notes on what students have been reading (both on the reading list and more widely) and what ideas students drew from these readings as well as what they have observed, through the media and daily life, which resonates with what is discussed in the module. The diary can also be used to develop ideas for the assessed essay. The diary should be at least 500 words long per week.

Indicative reading

Barnard, A. 2000. History and Theory in Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.
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.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

1) Have an advanced grasp of signal concepts in the contemporary and historical corpus of social anthropology
2) Examine the evolution of anthropology's approach to these and related concepts
3) Present case studies through which these concepts can be thought and critiqued
4) Develop a nuanced comparative perspective on these concepts and phenomena by engaging with both ethnographic and historical
5) Facilitate the application of anthropological modes of thinking to contemporary political, social and cultural events and structures
6) Apprehend both theoretical issues and current events with a critical and informed sense of difference in the human experience

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