Not available in 2016/17
AN243      Half Unit
Children and Youth in Contemporary Ethnography

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Catherine Allerton OLD 6.13


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 US and UK. 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. 


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

RA LeVine and RS New (eds) 2008. Anthropology and child development: a cross-cultural readerScheper-Hughes and C Sargent (eds) 1998. Small wars: the cultural politics of childhoodKF Olwig and E Gullov (eds) 2003. Children's Places: Cross-cultural perspectivesD Durham and J Cole (eds) 2006. Generations and globalization: youth, age and family in the new world economyLiebel. 2004. A will of their own: cross cultural perspectives on working childrenAmit-Talai and H Wulff (eds) 1995. Youth cultures: a cross-cultural perspectiveA James. 1993. Childhood identities: self and social relationships in the experience of the childBoyden and J de Berry (eds) 2004. Children and youth on the frontline: ethnography, armed conflict and displacementBA Levinson, DE Foley and DC Holland (eds) 1996. The cultural production of the educated person: critical ethnographies of schooling and local practiceH Montgomery. 2009. An introduction to childhood: anthropological perspectives on children's lives.


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

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2015/16: Unavailable

Average class size 2015/16: Unavailable

Capped 2015/16: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information