Social anthropology essay

The programme offers full training in anthropological research methods.

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You will also have the opportunity to spend a year abroad at one of the Anthropology Department's global partners. Students on this programme also have the opportunity to receive a language specialism attached to their degree certificate and transcript - see the programme structure and courses section. As anthropology can be considered an art or a science, you can choose either the BA or BSc title, although the programme content remains the same.

See BSc Social Anthropology. Watch a video about the Department of Anthropology. For more information about tuition fees, usual standard offers and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections below. The degree involves studying courses to the value of 12 units over three years, plus LSE You will also have the opportunity to apply for a year abroad at one of our global exchange partners. Please note that the LSE course is under review. Students who have taken and passed at least one language course in each year of their degree ie, 25 per cent of their overall programme of study will be offered the opportunity to receive a language specialism attached to their degree certificate and transcript.

What is Social Anthropology? (1/2)

Students must take all courses in the same language French, Spanish, German, Mandarin or Russian in order to qualify for the specialism. The three courses must also be consecutively harder in level, for example: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Students who choose to take language courses are not obligated to receive a specialism, but have the option if they wish.

In your first year, you will take three compulsory anthropology courses, as well as LSE, which is taught in the Lent term only. You will also choose an introductory outside option for your fourth course, choosing from a range of subjects such as economics, geography, international relations, law, philosophy, politics, sociology, social psychology, language and literature. Introduction to Social Anthropology Provides a general overview of the discipline, introducing a range of questions that anthropologists have focused on via their research in societies around the world.

Among other things, it explores what is variable and what is universal or at least commonly found in human culture and society by examining a range of political, economic, family, and religious systems found among different peoples.

Course aims

Ethnography and Theory: Selected Texts Introduces the works of classic social science theorists and how they have been applied to ethnographic analyses of particular societies. Anthropology, Text and Film Explores debates about the nature of anthropological interpretation and representation through the in-depth analysis of selected case studies.

This course will develop your anthropological analytical skills, your ability to read and to reflect on complete book-length texts and ethnographic films, and your capacity to make well-grounded comparisons and generate independent opinions. One outside option LSE Beginning in the Lent term of the first year and running through the Michaelmas term of the second year, LSE is compulsory for all LSE undergraduate students, and introduces you to the fundamental elements of thinking like a social scientist. In your second year you will take three units worth of compulsory courses in anthropology, including an independent research project.

You will also choose a further unit's worth of social anthropology courses, and will continue to take LSE, in the Michaelmas term only. Over your second and third years you must take at least one half unit course which focuses on the anthropology of a selected geographical or ethnographic region for example, South Asia, Amazonia or Melanesia. It may be possible, dependent on timetabling, for you to take options from the three other colleges of the University of London which have anthropology departments: Goldsmiths College, University College London, and the School of Oriental and African Studies.

The Anthropology of Kinship, Sex and Gender Considers the varied ways in which the family, kinship, personhood, femaleness and maleness, birth and sex are understood in different cultures. Political and Legal Anthropology Explores how a wide range of societies handle conflict, dispute, violence and the establishment and maintenance of political and legal systems. Social anthropology options to the value of one course unit LSE Beginning in the Lent term of the first year and running through the Michaelmas term of the second year, LSE is compulsory for all LSE undergraduate students, and introduces you to the fundamental elements of thinking like a social scientist.

In your third year you will take three units worth of compulsory courses in anthropology, including an extended essay. Advanced Theory of Social Anthropology Examines some of the most cutting-edge new texts in anthropological theory — as well as classic texts that are enjoying a renaissance. This course situates you at the forefront of debates on which anthropologists themselves have yet to make up their mind, challenging you to evaluate some of the most controversial new developments in the discipline.

The Anthropology of Religion Examines differences between local religious practices and world religions, explores the reasons why ritual is so central to the organisation of cultural life, looks at the character of particular cosmologies and symbolic schemes, analyses the logic of some non-Western systems of thought and philosophy, and considers the relationship between religion and modernity. Social anthropology options to the value of one course unit.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up-to-date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options.

Note that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place.

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Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback.


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Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience.

Most courses involve weekly lectures of one hour each, and associated classes where you discuss reading assignments in a small group with a teacher. It may seem obvious that a person is a unique, bounded individual. But such an understanding of personhood is historically and culturally shaped — and not universal.

In some cultures, the newborn baby is not considered to be a new person, but rather a reincarnation of another. In others, personhood is acquired way after birth and gradually over time, as the baby is fed, decorated and named.

Home - Social Anthropology - LibGuides at University of St. Andrews

Kinship has been of central interest to social anthropologists. We might think that human beings are created, and thus related, biologically the same the world over. But it is not the case that all societies, or all people within the same society, place the same weight on biological relatedness.

Indeed, we know that in Western societies families are formed in many different ways: think about fostering, step-families, adoption, gay and lesbian parents, reproductive technologies including surrogate mothers and gamete donors etc. Rituals are found in all cultures around the world. However, the form they take, the meanings the convey, and the things they achieve, differ enormously.


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  5. Rituals have been defined as stylised, repetitive acts that take place at a set time and specific location. But if rituals come in many forms, encompass a very wide variety of actions, and are performed for diverse and multiple reasons, it is difficult to be precise. Think about a religious and non-religious ritual you have taken part in this year. What made them ritual rather than routine?

    We will think further about rituals that mark a stage in the life cycle birth, puberty, marriage and death, for example , and collective rituals that take place at certain times of the year or at important points in the calendar for example, Christmas, Eid, the Seder. Using the materials from the course, and focusing on one of its themes, students will prepare an essay plan based on the criteria used for a first-year undergraduate essay in social anthropology.

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    Social Anthropology: Home

    People of the Mediterranean. Edition 1st Edition. First Published Imprint Routledge.