Sociology Index

Social Anthropology

Social anthropology or cultural anthropology is the science of human social and cultural behaviour and its development. Social anthropology is conceptually and theoretically similar to sociology. Methodological and ethical problems entailed by social research, specifically anthropology.

Social Anthropology and Sociology BSc. at Brunel University differs from social anthropology courses at other universities because of the broad social science (rather than biological or archaeological) perspective from which it is taught. Social anthropology modules at Brunel University introduce students to the history and theory of social anthropology, and to some current issues in the fields of ethnicity, gender, religion, and kinship. Sociology topics include sociological theory, methods and contemporary social institutions.

Cultural and Social Anthropology, Stanford University - 
Honors in Cultural and Social Anthropology - Requirements and Procedures - Unlike ordinary Majors, who meet faculty members primarily in classes, honors candidates work closely with a faculty advisor on an independent research project, culminating in an honors paper.

The International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology (IJSA) is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal published that will be monthly by Academic Journals. JSA is dedicated to increasing the depth of the subject across disciplines with the ultimate aim of expanding knowledge of the subjects Sociology, Anthropology and Social Anthropology.

Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology - Member of the Max Planck Society.

Division of Social Anthropology, School of Global Studies, Göteborg University: 
sant.gu.se/english.htm - In the division research is carried out in several fields – Anthropology of religion; Environmental anthropology; Anthropology of Health; Migration and refugees; and Material Culture and Cross-cultural Aesthetics. 

The "natural preserve of anthropologists": social anthropology, scientific planning and development - Benoît de L'Estoile 
Social Science Information, Vol. 36, No. 2, 343-376 (1997)
This article focuses on the relationship between practical and cognitive interests in the production of anthropological knowledge. It analyses the links between the projects of directed social transformation in "backward" societies that characterize the program of "development" since the 1920s, and the emergence of a discipline aiming at a scientific understanding of these societies. A reconstruction of the process of autonomization of British social anthropology in Africa during the interwar period thus offers at the same time a genealogy of the uses of anthropology in development. The "professionalization" of social anthropology and its institutionalization as an academic discipline then appears as a process of construction of a monopoly of competence on non-western social phenomena.

Economics and Social Anthropology - Reconciling Differences 
Peter J. Buckley, Malcolm Chapman, Centre for International Business, University of Leeds (CIBUL), School of Business and Economic Studies, University of Leeds, Human Relations, Vol. 49, No. 9, 1123-1150 (1996)
This paper is the outcome of collaborative work between an economist and a social anthropologist. It explores the differences of outlook and approach between these two subjects, both in general, and in the specific context of a research project, "The Management of Cooperative Strategies," which tests economistic hypotheses using methods largely derived from social anthropology.

Is Social Anthropology Still Worth the Trouble? A Response to Some Echoes from America - Author: Godelier M.
Source: Ethnos, Volume 65, Number 3, 1 November 2000, pp. 301-316(16)
Abstract: More than broadly agreeing on the need for a critical deconstruction of the very foundations of anthropological theory and practice aimed at uncovering the elements implicitly excluded from analysis, the silences in a reasoning process and the blind spots in observations, the author stresses need to distinguish between this kind of deconstruction, which is positive and essential for any knowledge-building activity, and another deconstruction which can lead to hyper-relativism. The second tendency, baptized 'postmodernism' and highly popular in the USA, is a largely overblown enterprise of deconstructive dissolution which, if carried to its logical conclusion, threatens to submerge social anthropology in the rising tide of 'Cultural Studies'.

The Role of Social Anthropology in the Debate on Funeral Rites in Africa 
Author: van 't Spijker, Gerard - Exchange, Volume 34, Number 3, 2005, pp. 248-268(21)
Abstract: In view of the actual debate on funeral rites in Christian Churches in Africa, a revision of the old position of missionaries that forbade all traditional ritual concerning death as belonging to paganism should be undertaken on the basis of social anthropological research which analyses structure and function of the funeral practices. Thus the mourning rites are understood as means of purification and reconciliation of the bereaved extended family. Parallels between African rituals and those of Israel of the Old Testament may also be taken into account.

BRITISH SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY: A Retrospective
Jonathan Spencer, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh,
Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 29: 1-24 (Volume publication date October 2000)
This article reviews the history of British social anthropology, concentrating on the expansion of the discipline in the British university sector since the 1960s. Particular emphasis is placed on the relationship between social anthropology and the main source of its funding, the British government, in particular the Economic and Social Research Council. After a particularly difficult time in the 1980s, social anthropology in the 1990s has grown swiftly. British social anthropology retains much of its distinctive identity, not least because of the peculiar institutional structures, such as the research seminar, in which the social anthropological habitus is reproduced in new generations of researchers.

Social anthropology in sensitive research contexts. A case study: State prisons, Province of Neuquén, Argentina - Beatriz Kalinsky - International Social Science Journal Volume 56 Issue 179 Page 153 - March 2004
This paper discusses some of the methodological and ethical problems entailed by social research, specifically anthropology, in State prisons in the Province of Neuquén, Argentina. Traditional anthropological research methodology has to be combined with a range of additional precautions because this is a sensitive field for research where a balance (almost always an unstable one) must be struck among the different actors involved: inmates, warders, the authorities, members of the judiciary and inmates' families.

Industry and inequality: The social anthropology of Indian labour : Mark Holstrom, (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1984) pp. 342.

The Building of British Social Anthropology: W. H. R. Rivers and His Cambridge Disciples in the Development of Kinship Studies, 1898-1931. by Ian Langham 

Addiction as a life style: on the social anthropology of addiction
Emrich HM, Eggers C. - Med. Hochschule Hannover, Abt. Klinische Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Hannover. - Psychiatr Prax. 2001 Mar;28(2):55-9.
Regularly the unsolved problems of addiction- and dependence-research are discussed in the sense of the psycho-body-dichotomy, arguing that the biological mechanisms of reward-systems and their pathobiochemistry have to be confronted with the psychological and philosophical/anthropological dimensions within persons. The present paper, however, tries to demonstrate that this dichotomy is insufficient insofar as social-anthropological components of being addicted, which represent integrative constituents of a theory of addiction, are neglected within such a scheme.

Syllabus - Social Anthropology and Sociology BSc - Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex - brunel.ac.uk

Course Aims
Social anthropology at Brunel is one of the more outward-looking and cosmopolitan social sciences, its subject being the documentation and explanation of cultural diversity. It is particularly suited to students who are curious about their own and other societies and who are interested in understanding social processes and meanings in the world around them. You will apply the ideas of social anthropology to practical issues and will gain a solid grounding in the social sciences (sociology, psychology, media and communications). Special emphasis in placed on cross-cultural studies.
The earliest sociologists tried to understand the major issues of their time - poverty, unemployment, social conflict, and the social and economic consequences of rapid and profound industrial and economic change. Sociologists today continue to examine how such social issues are redefined by contemporary processes of individualisation, globalisation and the rapid growth of new forms of communication. You will apply the ideas of social anthropology and sociology to practical issues and will gain a solid grounding in human sciences (sociology, psychology, media and communications). Special emphasis in placed on cross-cultural studies.

Special Features

Social anthropology research was given the highest possible award, a 5 rating, in its Research Assessment Exercise.

The Times Good University Guide ranked Brunel second in the country for anthropology after Cambridge University.

This course differs from social anthropology courses at other universities because of the broad social science (rather than biological or archaeological) perspective from which it is taught.

Rigorous training is provided in a range of methodologies and research skills appropriate to social anthropology and sociology.

In addition to modules in social anthropology, psychology, sociology and communications and media studies, you will have the opportunity to study topics from other disciplines: history, economics, management, politics, finance, law or languages (French, German, Spanish and Italian at a variety of ability levels).

Social anthropology modules introduce students to the history and theory of social anthropology, and to some current issues in the fields of ethnicity, gender, religion, and kinship. Sociology topics include sociological theory, methods and contemporary social institutions. You also continue your studies of research methods, and conduct your own research exercises.

Modules
You will select course modules from those offered by each of the two subjects: Sociology BSc and Social Anthropology BSc.