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Unit information: Peoples, Culture and Language in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Peoples, Culture and Language
Unit code ARCH10017
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Hofer
Open unit status Not open
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School/department Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Unit Information

Across the world, human societies display remarkable diversity - and remarkable similarities. In this unit students will be introduced to the major theoretical, methodological and empirical ideas in the discipline of social anthropology.


  1. To introduce social anthropology as a discipline and communicate the importance and history of the discipline within anthropology and the human sciences.
  2. To cover major theoretical developments in the history of anthropology to the current day.
  3. To introduce the methodology of social anthropology through the twin tools of fieldwork and ethnology.
  4. To survey a wide range of ethnographic material, including classic texts/films and recent work.
  5. To introduce theory through case studies in classic domains of social life: culture, religion, kinship, politics, economics, as well as more recent or interdisciplinary areas of interest: classsification, social control, personhood, gender, ethnicity, globalism.
  6. To foster both a critical and comparative approach to claims about cultural diversity.

Your learning on this unit

At the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

  1. Explain central theoretical issues in modern social anthropology and in the history of the discipline
  2. List key figures and explain their contributions to the history of, and modern, anthropology
  3. Summarise important ethnographic case studies and explain why they are important to the history of anthropology
  4. Explain the connections between ethnographic materials and theoretical positions.
  5. List and explain important cross-cultural similarities and differences in a number of social and cultural domains.
  6. Discuss the relevance of social anthropology for 21st century citizens.
  7. Demonstrate critical thinking, and take a non-ethnocentric and relativist position on cross-cultural differences.

How you will learn

Weekly lectures and seminars supported by self-directed activities

How you will be assessed

Essay plan, 500 words (0%, required for credit – formative) [ILOs 1-7]

Essay, 2000 words (100%) [ILOs 1-7]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ARCH10017).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.