Not available in 2013/14
AN243      Half Unit
Children and Youth in Contemporary Ethnography

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Catherine Allerton


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law, BA in Social Anthropology and BSc in Social Anthropology. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


Undergraduates taking this course should normally have completed an introductory course in anthropology unless granted exemption by the course teacher.

Course content

For much of its history, and with some notable exceptions, anthropology has paid little serious attention to children. However, recent years have seen a growing interest in both 'childhood' as a historical and social construction, and in children's engagement with their own social worlds. This course aims to introduce students to emerging ethnographic work on children and youth, in order to explore both its theoretical and methodological challenges. Ethnographic studies will cover a wide range of societies and regions, including anthropological work on children and childhood in the West. The course will begin with an investigation of children's place in anthropology, including early anthropological work on 'Culture and Personality' and 'child socialisation'. The course will then move to consider a variety of topics that have been the focus of recent ethnographic study. These may include: children's play, childhood identities and kinship, education and schooling, youth cultures and globalization, children's work, street children and children's competencies in contexts of crisis, including war. The course shall also consider the challenge that children pose to anthropological methodologies and shall investigate some of the ways in which fieldwork has been conducted with children.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT.

Weekly lectures and classes in the Lent Term. Film screenings in the Lent Term.

Formative coursework

In addition to preparing discussion material for classes, students will normally write one tutorial essay for the course. Non-Anthropology students taking this course may submit an essay to the teacher responsible.

Indicative reading

R.A. LeVine and R.S. New (eds) 2008.Anthropology and child development: a
cross-cultural reader; N. Scheper-Hughes and C. Sargent (eds) 1998.Small
wars: the cultural politics of childhood; A. Goncu (ed) 1999.Children's
engagement in the world; D. Durham; J. Cole (eds) 2006.Generations and
globalization: youth, age and family in the new world economy; M. Liebel.
2004.A will of their own: cross cultural perspectives on working children;
V. Amit-Talai and H. Wulff (eds) 1995.Youth cultures: a cross-cultural
perspective; A. James. 1993.Childhood identities: self and social
relationships in the experience of the child; A. de Waal and N. Argenti
(eds) 2002.Young Africa: Realising the rights of children and youth; J.
Boyden and J. de Berry (eds) 2004.Children and youth on the frontline:
ethnography, armed conflict and displacement; Levinson, B, D. Foley; D.
Holland. (eds) 1996.The cultural production of the educated person: critical
ethnographies of schooling and local practice.


Exam (70%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (30%, 2500 words) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2012/13: Unavailable

Average class size 2012/13: Unavailable

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information