Introduction to Social Anthropology

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Charles Stafford OLD 6.02

Prof Katy Gardner OLD 5.07


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

Course content

This course provides a general introduction to Social Anthropology as the comparative study of human societies and cultures. 

The Michaelmas Term will focus on questions that ordinary people in a wide range of human societies might ask - and that are thus of anthropological significance - including questions about the past and the present, about art, about the animality of mankind, etc

The Lent term will address institutions and concepts that shape society in various contexts including: love and kinship, space, place and belonging, ethnicity and migration and different forms of inequality and hiearchy. 


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to prepare discussion material for presentation in the classes and are required to write assessment essays. Anthropology students taking this course will have an opportunity to submit a tutorial essay for this course to their personal tutors. For non-Anthropology students taking this course, a formative essay may be submitted to the course teacher.

Indicative reading

R Astuti et al (eds.), Questions of anthropology (2007), M Bloch, Prey into Hunter (1996); M Mauss, The Gift (1970).


Exam (70%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (15%, 2500 words) in the MT.
Essay (15%, 2500 words) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2015/16: 83

Average class size 2015/16: 12

Capped 2015/16: No

Lecture capture used 2015/16: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information