SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

213 Ethnography in Practice

Module Code:
151802086
Credits:
15
FHEQ Level:
5
Year of study:
Year 2
Taught in:
Term 2

This module introduces students to the methods of social/cultural anthropology, past and present, and the practicalities of doing ethnographic field research today. What is the basis of anthropological knowledge? How is anthropological research conducted? How has the nature of ‘the field’ changed over time? What is anthropological ‘data’? What is the relationship between ethnographic research and ethnographic writing? Students will learn to read ethnographic texts with a critical mind, asking whether and how scholars make their methods and interpretive process explicit in their writing.

Over the course of the term, each student will develop and carry out a small-scale field research project. As a key component of this process, students will undertake a series of practical exercises in the mechanics of fieldwork (participant observation, taking field notes, interviewing, ethnographic description, etc.) that will build their skills as an ethnographer and help them sharpen the focus of their research project. These exercises will be discussed collaboratively in class each week, both in methodological terms and in relation to issues raised in lecture and assigned readings. Through the module’s theoretical and practical exploration of ethnographic methods, students will gain real-world research experience and grapple first hand with questions of anthropological ethics, interpretation, representation, and knowledge itself.

Prerequisites

Compulsory for all Year 2 students on:

  • BA Social Anthropology

Guided option for Year 2 students on:

  • BA Social Anthropology and...

Module open only to students on the above degrees.

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