Not available in 2015/16
AN458      Half Unit
Children and Youth in Contemporary Ethnography

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Catherine Allerton OLD 6.13


This course is available on the MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development Management, MSc in Law, Anthropology and Society and MSc in Social Anthropology. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

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 seminars in the LT.

4 hours of film screenings in LT. 1 hour revision session in ST.

Formative coursework

In addition to preparing discussion material for seminars, students will normally write one tutorial essay for the course. Students will be supplied with a mock exam paper.

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; K.F. Olwig and E. Gullov (eds) 2003. Children's places: cross-cultural perspectives. 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; H. Montgomery. 2009. An introduction to childhood: anthropological perspectives on children's lives; 


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2014/15: 9

Average class size 2014/15: 10

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information