Anthropology

Social Anthropology with a Year in Professional Practice - BA (Hons)

UCAS code L614

2019

Social anthropology entails a profound understanding of how and why people do the things they do. As a Social Anthropology student at Kent, you explore how people work, use technologies and negotiate conflicts, relationships and change in different societies around the world.

2019

Overview

The School of Anthropology and Conservation offers a friendly and cosmopolitan learning community with students from over 70 different nationalities and 45% of staff from outside the UK. Our flexible degree provides diverse and relevant module choices where you are taught by enthusiastic academics, who produce inspired field research.

Our Social Anthropology degree gives you the opportunity to spend a year in professional practice, invaluable in today's global job market. It demonstrates your ability to adapt to new situations, your sensitivity to other cultures (intercultural competence), and provides commercial awareness, a valuable asset for employers.

Our degree programme

In the first year, you take modules that give you a broad background in the subject. The programme begins with an introduction to the history of anthropology, the foundations of biological anthropology, anthropology and conservation, and global perspectives on relatedness.

In your second and final years, you take compulsory modules that develop your specialised knowledge and skills. You can also choose further modules from a wide range of options.

Modules expand across the full range of our research expertise from traditional anthropology (The Anthropology of Amazonia; The Anthropology of Business) and current anthropological thinking (Theoretical Perspectives in Social Anthropology) to ideas impacting today's societies (Islam and Muslim Lives in the Contemporary World; The Anthropocene – Planetary Crisis and the Age of Humans).

Our degree also gives you the unique opportunity to study visual anthropology, with modules on the anthropological use of photography, film and video, including practical classes and visual anthropology projects. 

Year in professional practice

The year in professional practice is a wonderful opportunity to spend up to a year, between the second and final years, undertaking work placements with organisations relevant to your degree programme. You spend a minimum of 24 weeks on placement at one or more organisations. Placements can be at home or abroad and give you the opportunity to apply your academic skills in a practical context, offering you rare and unique experiences which will set you apart.

Alternatively, you can take our three-year Social Anthropology BA degree, without a work placement. For details, see Social Anthropology BA (Hons).

Field trips

A number of our modules include opportunities for learning and experiences outside of the classroom through field trips in the UK and abroad. Potential excursions are: 

  • Paris, the Musée du quai Branly and Musée de l'Homme
  • The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge
  • London Chinese temple
  • London financial district
  • Impact Hub Islington
  • Canterbury Cathedral and Canterbury Mosque. 

These may change from year to year and may incur additional costs. See the funding tab for more information.

For more details about field trips, including reports from students who went on our recent trips to Cambridge and Paris, visit Social Anthropology Field Trips.

Study resources

The School of Anthropology and Conservation has excellent teaching resources including dedicated computing facilities. Other resources include:

  • refurbished computer suite with 32 PCs with HD screens
  • an integrated audio-visual system to help provide stimulating lectures
  • a state-of-the-art visual anthropology room
  • an ethnobiology lab for studying human-related plant material
  • student social spaces
  • a teaching laboratory with first-rate equipment
  • an excellent fossil cast collection with hundreds of casts, including multiple entire skeletons of extant and extinct primates and hominins.

Extra activities

The Anthropology Society is run by Kent students and is a good way to meet other students on your course in an informal way. There are also many national societies, which are a great way to meet people from around the world and discover more about their countries and cultures.

The School of Anthropology and Conservation puts on many events that you are welcome to attend. We host two public lectures a year, the Stirling Lecture and the DICE Lecture, which bring current ideas in anthropology and conservation to a wider audience.  We are delighted that these events attract leading anthropological figures from around the world; in 2017 we hosted paleoanthropologist Professor Lee Berger, one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people.

Each term, there are also seminars and workshops discussing current research in anthropology, conservation and human ecology.

Independent rankings

Anthropology at Kent was ranked 4th for course satisfaction in The Guardian University Guide 2018 and 9th for teaching quality in The Times Good University Guide 2017.

Of Anthropology students who graduated from Kent in 2017 and completed the national survey, 100% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

For graduate prospects, Anthropology at Kent was ranked 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2018.

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

Social Anthropology is a discipline which arose with other social sciences in the mid- to late-nineteenth century, social and cultural anthropology has made a speciality of studying 'other' peoples worlds and ways of life. With increasing frequency, however, anthropologists have turned towards 'home', using insights gained from studying other cultures to illuminate aspects of their own society. By studying people's lives both at 'home' and 'abroad', social and cultural anthropology attempt to both explain what may at first appear bizarre and alien about other peoples' ways of living whilst also questioning what goes without saying about our own society and beliefs. Or, to put it another way, social and cultural anthropology attempt, among other things, to challenge our ideas about what we take to be natural about 'human nature' and more generally force us to take a fresh look at what we take for granted.

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30

This module is an introduction to biological anthropology and human prehistory. It provides an exciting introduction to humans as the product of evolutionary processes. We will explore primates and primate behaviour, human growth and development, elementary genetics, the evolution of our species, origins of agriculture and cities, perceptions of race, and current research into human reproduction and sexuality. Students will develop skills in synthesising information from a range of sources and learn to critically evaluate various hypotheses about human evolution, culture, and behaviour. This module is required for all BSc and BA Anthropology students. The module is also suitable for students in other disciplines who want to understand human evolution, and the history and biology of our species. A background in science is not assumed or required, neither are there any preferred A-levels or other qualifications. The module is team-taught by the biological and medical anthropology staff.

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30

The module introduces students to the major figures who have shaped the discipline of Anthropology (both socio-cultural and biological) and take them through the historical development of the discipline. Major thinkers such as Marx, Weber and Durkheim on the one hand, and Linnaeus, Lamarck, Darwin and Mendel on the other, are introduced, and their influence on and contribution to the discipline traced. The module will provide an historical outline of major schools of thought within Anthropology - evolution, diffusionism, functionalism structuralism, postmodernism, socio-biology, evolutionary psychology - in both Britain and the USA, and examine the relationship between socio-cultural anthropology and biological anthropology from an historical perspective.

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15

This module introduces students to the range of basic research skills required across the range of the School's BA and BSc programmes, whilst also introducing the key areas of school disciplinary expertise. Students work in groups to collaboratively produce a 3 minute video addressing a question that requires knowledge of the diverse expertise of the school. The question will change in relation to the contemporary concerns and research interests of the school. An initial lecture introduces the course and collaborative video research that serves as the central methodology to communicate the results of qualitative and quantitative research on the question addressed. Lectures in the first part of the course introduce the key disciplinary and interdisciplinary resources to answer the question.

Following lectures are divided between qualitative and quantitative methods. The course concludes with an open screening of all video projects.

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15
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

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.

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15

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.

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15

This module is focused on a diverse range of approaches deployed by anthropologists to the study of religion, and belief and symbolic systems. It introduces a range of anthropological insights to the ongoing transformations of religious traditions and belief systems vis-à-vis colonial encounters, post-colonial settings, as well as globalisation. The aim of the module is to familiarize students with the complex interactions between lived religious practice, religious traditions, and the ways in which these are intertwined with other domains of social life, politics, economics and ideology. The key topics covered in this module focus on ritual and sacrifice; witchcraft and sorcery; secularisation and fundamentalism; millennialism and conversion; cosmology and ideology; human and non-human relationships; modes of religiosity, rationality and belief; mediation and ethics. This module will develop students' awareness of the strengths and limitations of anthropological insights compared to other disciplinary perspectives on religion such as theology, cognitive science or sociology.

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15

This module builds on Ethnographies I, and its focus is to further investigate 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.

Read more
15

This module will focus on the anthropological literature that has developed through the study of a specific ethnographic area. Students will be interested in the key ethnographic features of the area, the ways in which anthropologists have studied them, debates that have arisen among anthropologists working in the area, and the ways in which their work has drawn on and contributed to wider theoretical debates in anthropology.

For 2018-19 the module will focus on 'Turkey and its contexts' covering anthropological approaches to ethnography and politics of Turkey. Turkey provides a fascinating place to consider some classic and contemporary issues in anthropological debate as it borders many regions that are traditionally thought of as distinct: Europe and Asia, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Middle East. It is a fascinating place for the study of religion as a majority Muslim country that has historically been a strongly secular state. It is also of course at the centre of many contemporary news stories, especially in relation to migration, conflict and refugees. Consequently, the module will also cover many issues around Islam and secularism.

Read more
15

Throughout the five hundred years of contact between Europe and the Americas, Amazonia has captivated the political, scientific and popular imagination of industrialized nations. To many people in our society, "the Amazon" epitomizes the mysterious, the wild, the uncivilized -- an image that anthropologists have variously exploited and criticized. Either way, they usually describe Amazonian societies as being either isolated from or opposed to "civilization" (i.e. the capitalist state). As Amazonians are incorporated into the nation-state and the global economy, however, it has become impossible to view them as either isolated or silent. Today, there is increased interest and concern relating to the place of humans in the environment and the future of indigenous peoples and the areas in which they dwell.

This course will employ several classic ethnographic studies of South America – by anthropologists, such as Claude Levi-Strauss, Pierre Clastres, Philippe Descola, William Fisher, Neil Whitehead and Michael Taussig – to examine how the Amazon has inscribed itself on the imagination of anthropologists, as well as how anthropologists have used their experiences in non-Western societies to contribute to broad debates in Western philosophy. Ethnographic case-studies will provide the basis for discussing issues of theoretical and topical importance, such as environmentalism; political ecology, ethnogenesis, gender relations, kinship and exchange. Ultimately, this engagement challenges some of the most basic categories of our discipline: "the state," "society," and "culture."

Read more
15

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the relevance of anthropological debates to contemporary political issues, specifically in relation to one of the most pertinent and persistent phenomena of the 20th century: violent conflict and war. Students will gain a firsthand insight into one of anthropology's main contributions: the way that small-scale issues can be related to much broader and perhaps universal questions about human nature, violence, poverty and inequality. Even though this module will focus on anthropological approaches to violence and conflict, it will also draw on discussions from other disciplines (such as philosophy and political theory), such as human nature, war and genocide, legitimacy and the state. Other topics that will be covered include memory, gender, subjectivity, structural violence, reconstruction and reconciliation, as well as anthropological approaches to peace, emotions and human suffering. In addition, by discussing the ethics of doing research in conflict situations, this module will allow students to critically engage with the challenges, dilemmas and limitations of anthropological research methods. The module is designed in a way that it encourages students to engage with current affairs and to get first insights into how anthropology can contribute to our understanding of political, social and historical events.

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15

Since Durkheim, social scientists have explored the ways in which people's thought and ethics reflect the structure of their societies and cultures. Meanwhile, economists, psychologists and moral philosophers have explained human thought and action in terms of individual actors’ beliefs and motivations. Both approaches seem to have important things to teach us, but they also appear to be mutually contradictory.

From at least the 1970s, anthropologists have been making attempts to resolve this tension—which came to be known as the structure and agency problem. Their efforts have given rise to some of the most exciting debates in anthropology from its beginnings down to the most recent issues that divide scholars working in the field today on issues such as the anthropology of ethics. In this module students will learn about the most important of these controversies, learning to address questions such as the following:

• Are you truly responsible for your thoughts and actions or are you just a product of your society?

• If we understand things through cultural categories, can there be real communication with people from other cultures or are we doomed to misunderstand each other?

• Does everyone think about freedom in the same way or is it something specific to western liberal societies?

• Is what we don’t know just as much a product of culture as what we do know?

• Is the concept of 'culture’ helpful or misleading in studying human action?

• Can individuals’ actions be explained in terms of the social functions they fulfil, or only in terms of the individuals’ personal interests?

Read more
15

Starting in the 1930s, Urban Anthropology has been one of the main sub-fields of Social Anthropology, but it is also an area where our discipline has engaged very intensely in interdisciplinary relations. After the 1950s the world changed globally, with an ever-increasing percentage of the world's population living in urban contexts. As a result, the relevance of urban and modern modes of living became central for anthropological research. Ethnographic methodology too had to be adapted as a consequence with an increased attention to matters of bureaucracy and technology. Today, in a world where global mobility is intense and consumerism dominates, it can be argued that even rural populations live in a periurban condition. Traditionally, urban anthropology dealt centrally with problems of marginality and deviance, but now increasingly the focus is on the interaction between urban planning and the politics of everyday living. Most of our students are likely to go on to do academic research in areas of applied research in urban settings. Therefore, it is especially important that they should be introduced to the problems that urban anthropology raises.

Read more
15

This module emerges out of the fact that the human-environment nexus has, in recent years, become an area of intense debate and polarisation, both social and intellectual; a space in which many of the core categories within the natural and social sciences- be these the 'nature', 'society', ‘humanity’ or indeed ‘life’- are being reconsidered and reconfigured. By engaging with recent debates and case studies from different regions it seeks to critically assess, compare and contrast some of the key contemporary, at times controversial, debates that engage collaborators, colleagues and critics from diverse academic specialties and perspectives. Through the use of lectures, and student-led seminar discussions focused on specific papers and case studies it seeks to review and compare some of concepts and approaches used to research, analyze and theorise the intersecting and mutually constituting material, symbolic, historical, political dimensions of human-plant and human-environment relations. It also seeks to assess how such an understanding can better guide our attempts to address the complex socio-environmental problems facing our world and our future by explicitly addressing the issue of complexity and scale, both in space and over time.

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15

The module addresses the causes, effects, treatments and meanings of health and illness. Health and illness are of major concern to most of us, irrespective of our cultural, social and biological contexts. In this module we will begin with an overview of the major theoretical paradigms and methods in medical anthropology. We will then focus on how and why different diseases have affected various human populations throughout history and the ways perceptions of what constitutes health and illness vary greatly, cross-culturally as well as within one particular cultural domain. This will be followed by an overview of ethnomedical systems as a response to illness and disease. Anthropological studies in the sphere of medicine originally tended to concentrate on other people's perceptions of illness, but have increasingly come to focus on the difficulties encountered when trying to define what constitutes health in general. Anthropology has also turned its attention to a critical examination of biomedicine: originally thought of as providing a 'value free, objective and true' assessment of various diseases (epidemiology), biomedicine is now itself the subject of intense anthropological scrutiny and is seen as the expression of a culturally specific system of values. The module will also consider practical applications of medical anthropology.

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15

This module focuses on gender issues. The study of gender in anthropology developed in the 1970s, with the rise of the feminist movement in Europe and America. However, gender studies came to reflect a bias evident in most feminist discourses: an interest in gender was equated with an interest in women's issues, and the anthropological theories at this time replicated a bias similar to that of which male researchers had previously been accused. Not until recently has the study of gender come to incorporate an examination of the discourse of power, knowledge and social action generated through the interface between men and women in society. The module proposes to trace the developments of the theoretical debate in anthropology, while simultaneously providing ethnographic material illustrating the theoretical perspectives and the cross-cultural variations in the definition of gender identities. Concepts of sex and gender will be examined using anthropological material stemming from the study of religion, ritual and politics

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15

An introduction to cognitive anthropology and a critical exploration of theories concerning the relationship between cognitive processes, culture and social organisation. The topics covered will include the forming of categories, relations between categories, the symbolic construction of nature, the classification of natural kinds, the convergence of cognitive and symbolic approaches, the evolution of hominid cognitive processes, the development of second order representations, social cognition and classification, spatial orientation, time reckoning and the cultural construction of knowledge.

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15

This module introduces linguistic anthropology and a critical exploration of the relationship between language, culture, and social organisation. Indicative topics covered are: language and thought in the history of anthropology; the rudiments of linguistic description; language as a social phenomenon; oratory and ritual speech; the significance of the written word and literacy; speech variation; the links between language; social structure and culture; linguistic aspects of symbolism; the relationship between words and categories; colour classification and universalist versus relativist theories.

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15

This module is an introduction to ethnopharmacology, a multidisciplinary field of study that employs chemistry, ecology, biology, pharmacology and anthropology to evaluate and understand the use of plants (and other substances) in non-western medical systems. While students will be introduced to all of the disciplines involved in ethnopharmacological research, this module will have a heavy anthropological focus. Lecture and reading materials will address questions related to the actions of natural products in the human body, the ecological and evolutionary basis of medicinal plants use, the epistemology of non-western medical systems, the efficacy of medicinal plants and the development of pharmaceuticals based on traditional medicines. Topics discussed in class will provide ideas and models for student research projects. This module should appeal to students with interests in anthropology and/or medical care/research.

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15

This module critically surveys anthropological approaches to creativity and creative expression—selected from research on creativity itself, and on the anthropology of art and literature (both oral and written). We explore three fields of creative practice as they relate to contemporary anthropology. 1) We review classic approaches to the anthropology of art, in both non-Western and Western contexts. We assess recent breakthroughs which challenge the borders between artistic and ethnographic discourse, exploring how the ethnographic encounter can be rethought via dialogue with contemporary artists. 2) We review the anthropology of literature, and assess both pioneering forms of literary expression in the work of anthropologists, and the output of anthropological practitioners of literary fiction and poetry. 3) We examine how anthropology itself can be conceptualised as the creative expression of an encounter with others, lived experience, and the unknown, and explore the implications for anthropological modes of representation (including public anthropology). Students have the option to develop a creative project during the module that builds on this training, and can submit both academic and practice-led creative anthropological research as their assessment.

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15

Year in industry

Your Professional Practice placement

If you want to stand out from other graduates in today’s highly competitive global job market, spending time in the workplace as part of your degree can be invaluable. Many students find that prospective employers are very interested in their professional practice experience.

Participation in the placement year is normally dependent on maintaining a clean disciplinary record during your registration on the degree programme up to the time of your placement. It is your responsibility to find a placement, but the department offers help and support. You must achieve a minimum of 60% across your compulsory and optional modules in Stage 1 to qualify for the Year in Professional Practice. Students who do not meet these conditions or are unable to find a placement will normally be advised to transfer to the standard three-year degree programme without the Year in Professional Practice.

The year in professional practice involves a minimum of 24 weeks spent on placement at one or more organisations whose work is relevant to your degree programme. This contributes to 10% of your final degree classification.

You are required to pay 15% of the normal annual tuition fee to Kent.  Placements are primarily internships and vary significantly. Some employers will offer a salary, some offer subsistence whilst others offer no financial support. 

During your placement, you work under the direction of a line manager within the host organisation, with additional support via a member of academic staff from the University. You work on one or more tasks agreed in advance; for example, a management plan, a policy report, consultation process, a piece of applied research, or development of a set of educational materials.

Assessment is via an appraisal by your designated line manager (10%) and a written report (80%) and presentation (10%) which are assessed by a member of academic staff.

Modules may include Credits

The aim of the module is to provide students with the opportunity to spend a year (minimum 24 weeks) working in a professional environment, applying and enhancing the knowledge, skills and techniques that they have acquired in Stages 1 and 2 of their degree programme. This may be made up of a single placement of at least 24 weeks or of two or more shorter placements that together add up to at least 24 weeks. Individual placements will involve one or more defined roles or tasks; for example placements may involve contributing to, producing or carrying out (i) a piece of research; (ii) a management plan or other management tool; (iii) a policy report, a piece of law or policy or its implementation; (iv) an exercise related to the storage and systematisation of data sets; (v) facilitation, planning and coordination of a consultation process or an event (vi) development of educational, awareness-raising or advocacy materials or activities. The work they do is entirely under the direction of their line manager at each placement, but support is provided via a named member of academic staff within the School (the 'Placement coordinator' for each student). This support includes ensuring that the work they are being expected to do is such that they can meet the learning outcomes of the module.

Participation in this module is dependent on students obtaining an appropriate placement or placements. It is also normally dependent on maintaining a clean disciplinary record during their registration on the degree programme up to the time of their placement, although these requirements may be waived in individual cases at the discretion of the module and programme convenors where we judge that there is a strong case for allowing the placement to go ahead. Students who do not meet these conditions will normally be required to transfer to the appropriate programme without a Year in Professional Practice.

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120

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

This module aims to develop the anthropological imagination of Stage 3 students, that is, to instill the ability to apprehend theoretical issues and apply them with a critical and informed sense of difference in the human experience. The module is not a 'history of theory' survey; rather, it will proceed by means of a set of topics through which different theoretical approaches to the same ethnographic problem or issue have been explored. The module may be organised around a single theme that has long dominated anthropological discussions (such as 'the gift', hierarchy and scale, structure and agency etc.) which will be used as a lens through which to view theoretical discussions within social anthropology as well as its appropriations from other disciplines.

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15

This module aims to aid Stage 3 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 engaged with the pressing political and social concerns of their day.

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15

Throughout the five hundred years of contact between Europe and the Americas, Amazonia has captivated the political, scientific and popular imagination of industrialized nations. To many people in our society, "the Amazon" epitomizes the mysterious, the wild, the uncivilized -- an image that anthropologists have variously exploited and criticized. Either way, they usually describe Amazonian societies as being either isolated from or opposed to "civilization" (i.e. the capitalist state). As Amazonians are incorporated into the nation-state and the global economy, however, it has become impossible to view them as either isolated or silent. Today, there is increased interest and concern relating to the place of humans in the environment and the future of indigenous peoples and the areas in which they dwell.

This course will employ several classic ethnographic studies of South America – by anthropologists, such as Claude Levi-Strauss, Pierre Clastres, Philippe Descola, William Fisher, Neil Whitehead and Michael Taussig – to examine how the Amazon has inscribed itself on the imagination of anthropologists, as well as how anthropologists have used their experiences in non-Western societies to contribute to broad debates in Western philosophy. Ethnographic case-studies will provide the basis for discussing issues of theoretical and topical importance, such as environmentalism; political ecology, ethnogenesis, gender relations, kinship and exchange. Ultimately, this engagement challenges some of the most basic categories of our discipline: "the state," "society," and "culture."

Read more
15

This module will focus on the anthropological literature that has developed through the study of a specific ethnographic area. Students will be interested in the key ethnographic features of the area, the ways in which anthropologists have studied them, debates that have arisen among anthropologists working in the area, and the ways in which their work has drawn on and contributed to wider theoretical debates in anthropology.

For 2018-19 the module will focus on 'Turkey and its contexts' covering anthropological approaches to ethnography and politics of Turkey. Turkey provides a fascinating place to consider some classic and contemporary issues in anthropological debate as it borders many regions that are traditionally thought of as distinct: Europe and Asia, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Middle East. It is a fascinating place for the study of religion as a majority Muslim country that has historically been a strongly secular state. It is also of course at the centre of many contemporary news stories, especially in relation to migration, conflict and refugees. Consequently, the module will also cover many issues around Islam and secularism.

Read more
15

Starting in the 1930s, Urban Anthropology has been one of the main sub-fields of Social Anthropology, but it is also an area where our discipline has engaged very intensely in interdisciplinary relations. After the 1950s the world changed globally, with an ever-increasing percentage of the world's population living in urban contexts. As a result, the relevance of urban and modern modes of living became central for anthropological research. Ethnographic methodology too had to be adapted as a consequence with an increased attention to matters of bureaucracy and technology. Today, in a world where global mobility is intense and consumerism dominates, it can be argued that even rural populations live in a periurban condition. Traditionally, urban anthropology dealt centrally with problems of marginality and deviance, but now increasingly the focus is on the interaction between urban planning and the politics of everyday living. Most of our students are likely to go on to do academic research in areas of applied research in urban settings. Therefore, it is especially important that they should be introduced to the problems that urban anthropology raises.

Read more
15

This module emerges out of the fact that the human-environment nexus has, in recent years, become an area of intense debate and polarisation, both social and intellectual; a space in which many of the core categories within the natural and social sciences- be these the 'nature', 'society', ‘humanity’ or indeed ‘life’- are being reconsidered and reconfigured. By engaging with recent debates and case studies from different regions it seeks to critically assess, compare and contrast some of the key contemporary, at times controversial, debates that engage collaborators, colleagues and critics from diverse academic specialties and perspectives. Through the use of lectures, and student-led seminar discussions focused on specific papers and case studies it seeks to review and compare some of concepts and approaches used to research, analyze and theorise the intersecting and mutually constituting material, symbolic, historical, political dimensions of human-plant and human-environment relations. It also seeks to assess how such an understanding can better guide our attempts to address the complex socio-environmental problems facing our world and our future by explicitly addressing the issue of complexity and scale, both in space and over time.

Read more
15

Since Durkheim, social scientists have explored the ways in which people's thought and ethics reflect the structure of their societies and cultures. Meanwhile, economists, psychologists and moral philosophers have explained human thought and action in terms of individual actors’ beliefs and motivations. Both approaches seem to have important things to teach us, but they also appear to be mutually contradictory.

From at least the 1970s, anthropologists have been making attempts to resolve this tension—which came to be known as the structure and agency problem. Their efforts have given rise to some of the most exciting debates in anthropology from its beginnings down to the most recent issues that divide scholars working in the field today on issues such as the anthropology of ethics. In this module students will learn about the most important of these controversies, learning to address questions such as the following:

• Are you truly responsible for your thoughts and actions or are you just a product of your society?

• If we understand things through cultural categories, can there be real communication with people from other cultures or are we doomed to misunderstand each other?

• Does everyone think about freedom in the same way or is it something specific to western liberal societies?

• Is what we don’t know just as much a product of culture as what we do know?

• Is the concept of 'culture’ helpful or misleading in studying human action?

• Can individuals’ actions be explained in terms of the social functions they fulfil, or only in terms of the individuals’ personal interests?

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15

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the relevance of anthropological debates to contemporary political issues, specifically in relation to one of the most pertinent and persistent phenomena of the 20th century: violent conflict and war. Students will gain a firsthand insight into one of anthropology's main contributions: the way that small-scale issues can be related to much broader and perhaps universal questions about human nature, violence, poverty and inequality. Even though this module will focus on anthropological approaches to violence and conflict, it will also draw on discussions from other disciplines (such as philosophy and political theory), such as human nature, war and genocide, legitimacy and the state. Other topics that will be covered include memory, gender, subjectivity, structural violence, reconstruction and reconciliation, as well as anthropological approaches to peace, emotions and human suffering. In addition, by discussing the ethics of doing research in conflict situations, this module will allow students to critically engage with the challenges, dilemmas and limitations of anthropological research methods. The module is designed in a way that it encourages students to engage with current affairs and to get first insights into how anthropology can contribute to our understanding of political, social and historical events.

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15

This module is an introduction to ethnopharmacology, a multidisciplinary field of study that employs chemistry, ecology, biology, pharmacology and anthropology to evaluate and understand the use of plants (and other substances) in non-western medical systems. While students will be introduced to all of the disciplines involved in ethnopharmacological research, this module will have a heavy anthropological focus. Lecture and reading materials will address questions related to the actions of natural products in the human body, the ecological and evolutionary basis of medicinal plants use, the epistemology of non-western medical systems, the efficacy of medicinal plants and the development of pharmaceuticals based on traditional medicines. Topics discussed in class will provide ideas and models for student research projects. This module should appeal to students with interests in anthropology and/or medical care/research.

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15

This module introduces linguistic anthropology and a critical exploration of the relationship between language, culture, and social organisation. Indicative topics covered are: language and thought in the history of anthropology; the rudiments of linguistic description; language as a social phenomenon; oratory and ritual speech; the significance of the written word and literacy; speech variation; the links between language; social structure and culture; linguistic aspects of symbolism; the relationship between words and categories; colour classification and universalist versus relativist theories.

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15

An introduction to cognitive anthropology and a critical exploration of theories concerning the relationship between cognitive processes, culture and social organisation. The topics covered will include the forming of categories, relations between categories, the symbolic construction of nature, the classification of natural kinds, the convergence of cognitive and symbolic approaches, the evolution of hominid cognitive processes, the development of second order representations, social cognition and classification, spatial orientation, time reckoning and the cultural construction of knowledge.

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15

This module introduces visual anthropology via the encounter between media maker and subject and framed in relation to the concepts of reflexivity and intersubjectivity. Central concerns are the cross-cultural reception of media, the use of video and photography as and for research, the social history of film and photography relating to ethnographic subjects, the study of national and regional cinematic traditions (outside Europe and America) and the comparative ethnography of television and broader consideration of issues of social representation and political ideology in visual imagery. Indicative areas covered in the module include:

1) Collaborative Media and Intersubjectivity

2) Soundscapes and Sensory Ethnography

3) Photography and Sociality

4) Observational and Participatory Cinema

5) Ethno-fiction and Indigenous Media

6) Intersections of medical and visual anthropology

7) New Media and Activism

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15

This module explores the use of audio-visual media as research, reflexive and transformational ethnographic practice in tune with contemporary anthropological theorising of ethnographic and documentary film. The collaborative and feedback oriented process of using audio-visual media in the production of a short video film that is presented online delivers experiential insights and re-evaluation of the value of video, photography and audio to research, represent and influence aspects of people's lifeworlds. The practical instruction in how to develop a project is grounded in exercises that explore cultural and personal assumptions of what a camera does. Further training in cinematography, interviewing and sound, camera movement and improvisation, and the flexible uses of DSLR cameras present the key pre-production training. Editing theory and practice is taught with a view to efficient workflow and minimal post-production, facilitating knowledge of use in independent multi-media production. Web based interactive platforms are introduced with a view to facilitate wider communication and dissemination. The value of feedback is emphasised in creating media productions that have academic and personal integrity, resonance with and impact on particular audiences.

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15

This module focuses on gender issues. The study of gender in anthropology developed in the 1970s, with the rise of the feminist movement in Europe and America. However, gender studies came to reflect a bias evident in most feminist discourses: an interest in gender was equated with an interest in women's issues, and the anthropological theories at this time replicated a bias similar to that of which male researchers had previously been accused. Not until recently has the study of gender come to incorporate an examination of the discourse of power, knowledge and social action generated through the interface between men and women in society. The module proposes to trace the developments of the theoretical debate in anthropology, while simultaneously providing ethnographic material illustrating the theoretical perspectives and the cross-cultural variations in the definition of gender identities. Concepts of sex and gender will be examined using anthropological material stemming from the study of religion, ritual and politics

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15

The module addresses the causes, effects, treatments and meanings of health and illness. Health and illness are of major concern to most of us, irrespective of our cultural, social and biological contexts. In this module we will begin with an overview of the major theoretical paradigms and methods in medical anthropology. We will then focus on how and why different diseases have affected various human populations throughout history and the ways perceptions of what constitutes health and illness vary greatly, cross-culturally as well as within one particular cultural domain. This will be followed by an overview of ethnomedical systems as a response to illness and disease. Anthropological studies in the sphere of medicine originally tended to concentrate on other people's perceptions of illness, but have increasingly come to focus on the difficulties encountered when trying to define what constitutes health in general. Anthropology has also turned its attention to a critical examination of biomedicine: originally thought of as providing a 'value free, objective and true' assessment of various diseases (epidemiology), biomedicine is now itself the subject of intense anthropological scrutiny and is seen as the expression of a culturally specific system of values. The module will also consider practical applications of medical anthropology.

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15

This module offers Stage 3 students the opportunity to design, execute, and write up a dissertation project of their own devising. Students may pursue a module of library-based research under supervision on a particular topic and/or undertake limited ethnographic research on that topic. The topic, and the way it is researched, will be of the student's own choosing. All projects must be supervised by a member of staff in Social Anthropology, with whom the student has arranged to work before registering for the module. Students who wish to do a project on this module should collect the information sheet from the School Office during Stage 2 (this includes students on a Year Abroad programme) not later than then end of the online module registration period in the Spring Term.

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30

This module critically surveys anthropological approaches to creativity and creative expression—selected from research on creativity itself, and on the anthropology of art and literature (both oral and written). We explore three fields of creative practice as they relate to contemporary anthropology. 1) We review classic approaches to the anthropology of art, in both non-Western and Western contexts. We assess recent breakthroughs which challenge the borders between artistic and ethnographic discourse, exploring how the ethnographic encounter can be rethought via dialogue with contemporary artists. 2) We review the anthropology of literature, and assess both pioneering forms of literary expression in the work of anthropologists, and the output of anthropological practitioners of literary fiction and poetry. 3) We examine how anthropology itself can be conceptualised as the creative expression of an encounter with others, lived experience, and the unknown, and explore the implications for anthropological modes of representation (including public anthropology). Students have the option to develop a creative project during the module that builds on this training, and can submit both academic and practice-led creative anthropological research as their assessment.

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Teaching and assessment

In our most recent national Teaching Excellence Framework, teaching at Kent was judged to be Gold rated. Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Our teaching is research-led as all our staff are active in their fields. Social and biological anthropology staff have been awarded national teaching awards, reflecting the quality of the undergraduate programmes.

Anthropology at Kent uses a stimulating mix of teaching methods, including lectures, small seminar groups, field trips and laboratory sessions. For project work, you are assigned to a supervisor with whom you meet regularly. You also have access to a wide range of learning resources, including the Templeman Library, research laboratories and computer-based learning packages.

Assessment ranges from 80:20 exam/coursework to 100% coursework. At Stages 2 and 3, most core modules are split 50% end-of-year examination and 50% coursework. Stage 2, year in professional practice and stage 3 marks count towards your final degree result.

Year in professional practice

Assessment is by means of a manager appraisal (10%), a written report by the student (80%) and a presentation by the student (10%); the manager appraisal is carried out by the manager within the placement host organisation whereas the report and presentation are assessed by SAC academic staff.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • provide a broad knowledge in the major sub-divisions of anthropology, showing how it is linked to other academic disciplines
  • explore theoretical and methodological issues
  • demonstrate the relevance of anthropological knowledge to an understanding of many local, national and international issues
  • ensure that the research by staff informs the design of modules, and their content and delivery in a manner that is efficient, reliable and enjoyable to students
  • prepare graduates for employment and/or further study in their chosen careers through developing students’ transferable skills
  • offer students the opportunity to gain experience of work in a professional environment
  • provide an opportunity to apply knowledge, understanding and skills acquired in stages 1 and 2 of their degree programme in a professional setting
  • develop employment-related skills, including an understanding of how to relate to the structures and functions in an organisation
  • develop the qualities needed for employment in situations requiring the exercise of professionalism, independent thought, personal responsibility and decision-making.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • social anthropology as the comparative study of human societies
  • specific themes in social anthropology, such as religion, politics, kinship, nationalism and ethnicity
  • human diversity and an appreciation of its scope
  • several ethnographic regions of the world including Central Asia, the Mediterranean, Amazonia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific
  • the history of anthropology as a discipline
  • the variety of theoretical approaches contained within anthropology
  • the process of historical and social change
  • the application of anthropology to understanding issues of social and economic development throughout the world
  • the relevance of anthropology to understanding everyday processes of social life anywhere in the world
  • the way that an employee can contribute to the organisation in which they work
  • specific areas of theory, policy or practice relevant to the host organisation(s) and the agreed placement task(s).

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • general learning and study
  • critical and analytical abilities
  • expressing ideas in writing and orally
  • communication
  • group work
  • IT
  • the ability to review and summarise information
  • data retrieval
  • apply some of the above skills from the perspective of your chosen employment sector
  • gain a broader perspective on your individual discipline.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • understanding how people are shaped by their social, cultural and physical environments while retaining a capacity for individual agency
  • recognising the pertinence of an anthropological perspective to understanding major national and international events
  • interpreting texts and performance by locating them within cultural and historical contexts
  • using anthropological theories and perspectives in the presentation of information and argument
  • analysing the significance of the social and cultural contexts of language use
  • devising questions for research and study which are anthropologically informed
  • perceiving the way in which cultural assumptions may affect the opinions of others and oneself
  • the ability to make sense of cultural and social phenomena which may, at first sight, appear incomprehensible
  • application in professional practice of one or more of the above skills.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in:

  • information retrieval skills in relation to primary and secondary sources of information.
  • communication and presentation skills (using oral and written materials and information technology).
  • time planning and management skills.
  • ability to engage in constructive discussion in group situations and group work skills
  • the ability to work in a professional setting
  • enhanced communication, teamwork  and interpersonal skills
  • enhanced ability for self-management, focus, and project management.

Careers

Studying social anthropology gives you an exciting range of career opportunities. We work with you to help direct your module choices to the career paths you are considering. Through your studies you learn how to work independently, analyse complex data and present your work with clarity and flair.

Graduate destinations

Our recent graduates have gone into areas such as:

  • overseas development and aid work
  • media research or production (TV and radio)
  • journalism
  • advertising
  • film production
  • social work
  • education
  • international consultancy
  • work with community groups
  • town and country planning
  • business
  • civil service
  • further research in social anthropology
  • social sciences research.

Help finding a job

The School offers an employability programme aimed at helping you develop the skills you'll need to look for a job.  This includes workshops, mentoring and an online blog featuring tips, advice from employers, job adverts, internship information and volunteering opportunities.

The University’s friendly Careers and Employability Service offers advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Career-enhancing skills

Through your studies you learn how to work independently, analyse complex data and present your work with clarity and flair. Alongside such specialist skills, you also develop the transferable skills graduate employers look for, including the ability to:

  • think critically 
  • communicate your ideas and opinions 
  • work independently and as part of a team.

You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

BBB

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 16 points at HL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students programmes. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15700
Part-time £4625 £7850

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

For 2019/20 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385

Fees for Year Abroad

UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2019/20 academic year pay £1,385 for that year. 

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Additional costs

Field trips

One day trips that are compulsory to a module are financially funded by the School. Optional or longer trips may require support funding from attendees.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Full-time

Part-time

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.