Anthropology of Europe - SE894

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Spring and Summer
View Timetable
7 15 (7.5)







'The Anthropology of Europe' surveys the social anthropology of contemporary Europe. The module explores changes in European societies since the end of the Cold War, including conflict related to the reorganisation and 'fortification' of Europe’s southern and eastern borders. We read ethnographies exemplifying contemporary approaches to studying industrial and post-industrial societies. We critically review key debates in the study of community and identity politics; nationalism and ethnic conflict; borders, migration and transnationalism; tradition, modernity, and heritage; tourism; industrial and post-industrial work; new religious movements; and biosocialities. A further focus is interrogation of the concept of ‘Europe’ itself, through analyzing the process of ‘Europeanization’ within the European Union, and issues raised by the financial crisis; and through presenting ethnographic vantage points from which students can rethink the idea of ‘Europe’ for themselves. The module includes a critical history of anthropological study of Europe and the Northern Mediterranean, with special attention to the role of the University of Kent in the development of the regional literature.


This module appears in:

Contact hours



Spring Term

Method of assessment

The module is assessed by 100% coursework.
The coursework mark is made up of seminar participation (10%), a short essay of 1500 words (30%), and a long essay of 3,000 words (60%)

Indicative reading

Asad, T., J. Fernandez, M. Herzfeld, A. Lass, S.R. Rogers, J. Schneider and K. Verdery. 'Provocations of European Ethnology', American Anthropologist 99(4):713–30, 1997.
Berdahl, D. Where the World Ended: Re-Unification and Identity in the German Borderland. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.
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.
Macdonald, S. (ed) 1993. Inside European Identities: Ethnography in Western Europe. Oxford: Berg.
Navaro-Yashin, Y. 2012. The Make-Believe Space: Affective Geography in a Post-War Polity. Durham: Duke University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module MA students will be able to:
1) Be conversant in the main themes and trends of the anthropology of European societies
2) Cultivate an in-depth understanding of the historical depth and cultural diversity of a number of European societies in both urban and rural
contexts, and at a regional and national level
3) Demonstrate an understanding of the historical development of those societies
4) Apply anthropological insights to contemporary political, social, and economic developments in the European context e.g. nationalism and
conflict; the socio-cultural impact of new technologies; the development and consequences of tourism within Europe; historical
acceleration; the heritage industry; the European Union as a socio-cultural and political economic phenomenon
5) Understand the impact of study of industrial and post-industrial European societies on anthropological methods
6) Critically assess the theoretical contributions of Europeanist anthropologists to the wider discipline

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.