Anthropological Research Methods II - SE886

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


No prerequisites, but SE885 Anthropological Research Methods I is strongly recommended





Fieldwork is the hallmark of anthropological research. Its style and delivery, as well as the discourses surrounding it, have changed alongside the discipline. In his book Routes, Travel And Translation In The Late Twentieth Century, Clifford (1997) flags two important aspects of fieldwork: first, the formation of intensive interactions and relationships that produce "deep" cultural understanding in settings that can vary in time and location, and, second, a sense of displacement, movement or travel for the fieldworker thus allowing for an objective detached perspective. The ways in which anthropologists strive to interact with people while maintaining objectivity, make research ethics and methodological choices particularly important since their presence in the field has implications on the people whom they study.


This module appears in:

Contact hours



Spring Term

Method of assessment

Assessment is by 100% coursework and set forth as follows: 15% for class participation and performance; 20% for an oral presentation based on a small research project; 65% for the proposal (2000 words) which will engage theoretical work and methods gleaned from the lectures and readings in conjunction with their summer fieldwork project for their dissertation thesis.

Indicative reading

Alexiades M. and D. M. Peluso, 2002. Prior Informed Consent: the politics of cross cultural exchange. In: S. A. Laird, ed. Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge: Equitable Partnerships in Practice. London: Earthscan.
Antonius, C. G. M. Robben and Jeffrey A. Sluka, eds. 2007. Ethnographic Fieldwork: An Anthropological Reader. London: Blackwell.
Bernard, H. Bernard. 2005. Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Altamira Press.
Bourgois, Philippe 1996. "Confronting Anthropology and Inner-City Apartheid," in American Anthropologist. 98(2):249-258.
Clifford, James 1986. Introduction: Partial Truths. In Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography, ed. James Clifford and George Marcus, 1-26. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Faubion, J.D. and G.E. Marcus (eds) 2009. Fieldwork is Not What it Used to Be: Learning anthropology's method in a time of transition. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module MA students will be able to:
1) provide critical skills for examining the relationship between anthropological theory and methods
2) introduce various methodological approaches within anthropology
3) instil a sophisticated understanding of ethics within the context of fieldwork and the disciple at large
4) develop proficiency in following the guidelines of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth (ASA) Statement
on Ethics and the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Code of Ethics, as well as complying with school fieldwork ethic
requirements necessary for conducting fieldwork
5) develop a critical understanding of the 'participant observation' method and its role within anthropological fieldwork
6) provide the necessary skills to develop, conduct and analyse a 'life history' as part of a broader anthropological project
7) present case studies through which these concepts can be thought and critiqued
8) develop a nuanced comparative perspective on these concepts engaging ethnographic materials
9) gain an appreciation of the potential challenges and benefits of anthropological research in local, regional, national and international

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