SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

401B Concepts in Anthropology (B)

Module Code:
155901518
Credits:
15
FHEQ Level:
6
Year of study:
Final Year
Taught in:
Term 2

This module explores a set of interconnected concepts that are strung together to work under the banner of “critical life studies” – that is, they neither reject nor simply endorse the recent theoretical “turns” toward life, materiality, and vitality. Our string of concepts, instead, re-steer these themes by taking them through some theoretical side roads, asking what it might mean to rethink “life” today. Over the next ten weeks, we engage with the complex dynamics of living, dying, and surviving, as well as the messy ethical and political challenges they engender.

Each week we cover one ‘big’ concept through a careful combination of theory and ethnography, in order to demonstrate and discuss a) the tense intertwining of ethics and politics when interpreting the social, and b) the lived struggles entailed in attempts to make sense of (often senseless) social experiences and conditions. Our topics, therefore, are deliberately designed to take us on uneasy journeys, ones that often ignite existential dilemmas, political worries, and moral anxieties. They are, as such, meant to expand our social horizons by encouraging us to combine passion (enthusiasm for social change) with perspective (experience of everyday social life).

Prerequisites

Compulsory for all final-year students on:

  • BA Social Anthropology

For 2022/23 and 2023/24, guided option for final-year students on:

  • BA Social Anthropology and…

From 2024/25, compulsory for all final-year students on:

  • BA Social Anthropology
  • BA Social Anthropology and…

Module open only to students on the above degrees.

Disclaimer

Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules