AN451 Half Unit
Anthropology of Politics
This information is for the 2021/22 session.
Prof Mathijs Pelkmans OLD 5.08
This course is available on the MA in Modern History, MRes/PhD in Anthropology, MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development Management, MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in Comparative Politics, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Law, Anthropology and Society, MSc in Regulation, MSc in Social Anthropology and MSc in Social Anthropology (Religion in the Contemporary World). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.
This course focuses on the notion of power and its cross-cultural application. Using Marxist, Weberian, and Foucauldian approaches it explores how power travels through different socio-cultural contexts, paying attention to issues such as domination and resistance, patron-client relations, the mafia, revolution and violence. A recurring theme throughout the course concerns the state. How should the state be studied anthropologically? Processes of state formation and disintegration, nationalism in its various guises, and state-society relations will be reviewed in order to understand how European, post-colonial, and post-socialist societies are governed.
10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT.
This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual lectures, classes and online interactive activities. The contact hours listed above are the minimum expected. This course has a reading week in Week 6 of MT.
Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT.
Anderson, B, 1991 , Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism; Asad, Talal, 1973, Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter; Barth, F, 1965, Political leadership among Swat Pathans; Blok, Anton, 1988, The Mafia of a Sicilian Village 1860-1960: a study of violent peasant entrepreneurs; Evans-Pritchard, EE and Fortes, M, 1940, African Political Systems; Evans-Pritchard, EE, The Nuer; Gledhill, John, 1994, Power and its disguises; Hansen, T B and Stepputat F (eds), 2001, States of Imagination: Ethnographic Explorations of the Postcolonial State; Leach, Edmund, 1954, The Political Systems of Highland Burma; Mbembe, A, 2001, On the Postcolony; Navaro-Yashin, Yael, 2002, Faces of the state: secularism and public life in Turkey; Vincent, J, 2002, The Anthropology of Politics.; Wolf, E. 1999. Envisioning Power: Ideologies of Dominance and Crisis.
Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the LT.
Course selection videos
Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.
Important information in response to COVID-19
Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.
Total students 2020/21: 49
Average class size 2020/21: 16
Controlled access 2020/21: No
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Team working
- Problem solving
- Application of information skills