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BASS Social Anthropology and Sociology / Course details
Year of entry: 2024
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Course unit details:
The Ethnographer's Craft
|Unit level||Level 2|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
This core methods course offers students the opportunity to conduct self-directed ethnographic research based on their own interests and questions. It focuses on how to design, carry out, and write up a short ethnographic research project. It explores both the practical and conceptual issues raised by anthropology’s primary methodology, including the ethics of participant observation, the politics of “writing up” one’s findings, and how the historical, political, and cultural context of research can condition ethnographic writing. As a practical, hands-on course, it revolves around individual students’ own research projects and explores both the possibilities and the challenges associated with conducting ethnographic work. This course is aimed at students who will be writing a dissertation in social anthropology
Restricted to BSocSc Social Anthropology, BA Social Sciences with SOAN pathways, and joint degree students with SOAN in SALC (Archaeology, Linguistics, Religion).
Pre-requisites/co-requisites - any 40 credits of level one or two SOAN units.
This course aims to familiarise students with the practice of (and debates surrounding) ethnographic research. Students will acquire and develop ethnographic skills by undertaking a short research project, which they will design and carry out themselves. This work in progress will be closely monitored and developed through collective reflections and discussions in class. This course is aimed at students who will be writing a dissertation in social anthropology.
On completion of this unit, successful students will have acquired:
• An understanding of the questions and complexities raised by ethnographic fieldwork;
• Skills to apply knowledge and theory in defining a research area and identifying appropriate ways of dealing with practical and conceptual problems;
• Initial experience of participant observation and the “writing up” of fieldwork;
• A better understanding of personal and conceptual relationships in and of the fieldwork site, including an awareness of the politics of fieldwork;
• An appreciation of the fundamental role of ethnography for anthropological knowledge and theory;
Teaching and learning methods
1 x Oral Presentation - 20% (collectively), 1 x 3000 word essay - 80%
Students will receive feedback on assessed work.
- Kelly, Tobias. 2014. “Getting Started: The Search for Anthropological Questions.” In Doing Anthropological Research, edited by Natalie Konopinski, 6-20. Abingdon: Routledge.
- Shah, Alpa. 2017. “Ethnography? Participant Observation, A Potentially Revolutionary Praxis.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7 (1): 45-59.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Méadhbh McIvor||Unit coordinator|