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Regular version of the site

Social and Economic Anthropology

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Course type:
Compulsory course
2 year, 4 module


Kormina, Jeanne

Course Syllabus


The course explores anthropological approaches to society, culture, history, and economy. Lectures, readings and films explore social and economic diversity through a range of themes: social organization, ideology, religion, exchange, subsistence, gender, land use, ethnicity, ethnic conflict, and local/global inter-relations.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • familiarizes students with some core concepts, methods, ideas and works, which constitute the academic field of social/cultural anthropology.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Familiarity with the main anthropological schools and the logic of development of anthropological theory
  • Understanding of ethnographic research method
  • Ability to apply conceptual tools of anthropology for studying basic problems of contemporary economic life
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • What is Anthropology?
    Introduction. Universality of humanity and cultural variation. Anthropology and its neighbors. Institualization of anthropology: departments, museums and journals.
  • Early history of Anthropology
    Colonial background. The White Man's Burden. Early Schools of Anthropology (Evolutionism, Diffusionism). Armchair Anthropology.
  • Going to the field
    Participant observation. Key concepts of anthropology: society, culture, context, holism, translation. Relativism and dangers of the normative approach. Functionalism: Malinowski and Radcliff-Brown
  • Economic from Anthropological Point of View
    Substantivists and formalists. Discussion of rationality of economical choice. M. Mauss: The Gift. Potlatch. Reciprocity. Inalienable possessions. М. Godelier. А. Weiner.
  • Economic Anthropology
    К. Polanyi. Modes of Exchange (Reciprocity, Redistribution, Market). M. Sahlins about the «Original Affluent Society».
  • Kinship, marriage and family
    Nuclear family and other forms of family. Custom of exogamy. Incest. C. Levi-Strauss: Elementary Structures of Kinship (1949). Marriage as reciprocity. Cross-cousin marriage.
  • Kinship as Descent
    Kinship systems: Classificatory and Descriptive. “Blood” and “Social” Kinship. Main Kinship Systems (Sudanese, Hawaiian, Eskimo, Iroquois). Localities and lineages.
  • Social Age and Gender
    Upbringing and coming of age. Initiation and rites de passage (A. van Gennep, V. Turner). Liminality
  • Political Anthropology
    Max Weber: forms of authority. Anthropological research in Africa, the 1940-60s. Acephalous societies. E. Evans-Pritchard. Political leadership in Melanesian and Polynesian societies (M. Sahlins).
  • Discussion on “Primitive Mentality”
    Early Evolutionists on “Primitive Mentality”. Evans-Pritchard on rationality and types of knowledge. Time, Space, Colours as cultural facts: Sapir-Whorf hypothesis on linguistic relativity.
  • Symbolic Anthropology and Classifications
    Primitive classifications (Mauss and Durkheim). Symbolic anthropology of Mary Douglas (Purity and Danger)
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking In-class Participation
  • non-blocking Test in the end of the course
  • non-blocking Exam
    The examination is conducted in written form. The exam is conducted on a Google disk platform. The exam papers are uploaded by students to the google drive: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1rvu-5bj7UFsd6FXU5SB4trM9Rw2n3lVm. It is necessary to connect to the exam on the exam day, June 10, 2020. The student's computer must meet the following requirements: Internet connection, availability of Microsoft Office package (MSWord). To participate in the exam, the student must: check his or her e-mail, receive individual questions for the exam, write an exam essay on the questions asked, save the file in Word format and upload to the above Google folder. During the exam, students are prohibited from: using sources without reference to them, plagiarism. During the exam, students are allowed: to use sources, course literature, and additional literature. Short-term violation of communication during the exam is considered the inability to download the work within 1 hour, the lack of Internet connection with the Google Folder. A student who has no Internet connection during the exam due to reasons beyond his control during the day is considered to be a long-term violation of communication. In the event of a long-term disconnection, the student cannot continue to take the exam. The retake procedure is similar to the one that involves more complicated assignments. Экзамен проводится в письменной форме. Экзамен проводится на платформе гугл диска. Экзаменационные работы студенты загружают в папку google drive: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1rvu-5bj7UFsd6FXU5SB4trM9Rw2n3lVm. К экзамену необходимо подключиться в день экзамена, 10 июня 2020 года. Компьютер студента должен удовлетворять требованиям: подключение к сети Интернет, наличие пакета Microsoft Office (MSWord). Для участия в экзамене студент обязан: проверить свою почту, получить индвидуальные вопросы к экзамену, написать экзаменационные эссе по заданным вопросам, сохранить файл в формате Word и загрузить в вышеуказанную гугл-папку. Во время экзамена студентам запрещено: использовать источники без указания ссылок на них, заниматься плагиатом. Во время экзамена студентам разрешено: использовать источники, литературу, пройденную по курсу, а также дополнительную литературу. Кратковременным нарушением связи во время экзамена считается невозможность загрузить работу в течение 1 часа, отсутствие интернет связи с гугл-папкой. Долговременным нарушением связи во время экзамена считается отсутствие у студента интернет соединения по независящим от него причины на протяжении суток. При долговременном нарушении связи студент не может продолжить участие в экзамене. Процедура пересдачи аналогична подразумевает использование усложненных заданий.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.3 * Exam + 0.5 * In-class Participation + 0.2 * Test in the end of the course


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Eriksen, T. H. (2015). Small Places, Large Issues - Fourth Edition : An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology (Vol. 4th ed). London: Pluto Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1057037

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Adams, C., & Thompson, T. L. (2016). Researching a Posthuman World : Interviews with Digital Objects. London: Palgrave Pivot. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1353895
  • Underberg, N. M., & Zorn, E. (2013). Digital Ethnography : Anthropology, Narrative, and New Media (Vol. 1st ed). Austin: University of Texas Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=548651