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Semester 1

Introduction to Social Anthropology (SCAN08015)

Subject

Social Anthropology

College

CAHSS

Credits

20

Normal Year Taken

1

Delivery Session Year

2022/2023

Pre-requisites

This course cannot be taken alongside Social Anthropology 1A: The Life Course (SCAN08013).

Course Summary

This course is intended as an introduction to social anthropology - taking as its central theme and organising structure the life course from birth to death, conceived in very broad terms. As well as encompassing life crisis moments and rituals of birth, marriage, and death, the course includes such themes as gender, personhood, work and making a living, the house, consumption and exchange, health, and the body. It begins with a brief consideration of what anthropologists do; thinking about participant observation and fieldwork; and it ends with a brief discussion of how anthropological subjects are placed - and place themselves - in history.

Course Description

Social Anthropology is the comparative study of human conduct and thought in their social context. Societies around the world vary enormously in their social, cultural and political forms, and their individual members display an initially overwhelming diversity of ideas and behaviours. The study of these variations, and the common humanity that renders them intelligible to sympathetic outsiders, lies at the heart of Social Anthropology. Anthropologists acquire their information through a distinctive method termed participant observation. This means that they spend many months or even years living among the people with whom they are researching, sharing their experiences as far as possible, and hence attempting to gain a well -rounded understanding of that society and of the activities and opinions of its members. This course is intended as an introduction to social anthropology - taking as its central theme and organising structure the life course from birth to death, conceived in very broad terms. As well as encompassing life crisis moments and rituals of birth, marriage, and death, the course includes such themes as gender, personhood, work and making a living, the house, consumption and exchange, health, and the body. It begins with a brief consideration of what anthropologists do, especially participant observation and fieldwork; and it ends with a brief discussion of how anthropological subjects are placed -- and place themselves -- in history. Indicative themes: Conception, birth, childhood, initiation, personhood, the body, wellbeing and health, witchcraft & illness, women & men, marriage, making a home, consumption, exchange & gifts, work, hospitality & friendship, aging & memory, death and funerary rituals, descent & history.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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