BASS Social Anthropology and Philosophy / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Cultural Diversity in Global Perspective

Course unit fact file
Unit code SOAN10312
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Drawing on comparative examples from the UK, USA, Papua New Guinea, Indonesian Borneo, Brazil, Peru, Mongolia, Trinidad, Uganda, Tanzania, Qatar, and South Africa (among others), the course will examine the complex processes through which global forces interact with local understandings, shaping social, cultural, and political lives. A central question of the course is: How can we best use anthropology to understand global capitalism as a world-system that connects people and places in unequal relationships? Topics include colonialism and neo-colonialism, mobility and migration, the consumption of commodities, the creation, disposal, and processing of waste in global flows, comparative hip hop, and global conservation.


This course aims to provide an introduction to questions of the relationship between culture and economy, the global and the local from a social anthropological perspective.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course, students be able to:

Understand some key anthropological approaches to globalization:

  1. Situate anthropological analyses in relation to other social theory
  2. Understand how anthropologists study processes of globalization and the methodological challenges this study poses.

Present these anthropological approaches, concepts, and debates:

  1. Summarise key theoretical arguments
  2. Present ethnographic studies clearly
  3. Watch films and examine media with an ethnographic eye
  4. Link general theory to ethnographic description by using ethnographic case studies to make theoretical arguments

Extend these anthropological approaches to their own experiences to develop critical understandings of the global economy and local-global connections:

  1. Challenge mainstream assumptions about core topics like migration, conservation efforts, consumption patterns, ‘the West’, the market, hip hop, and Indigenous peoples.
  2. Use examples from students’ own experience together with ethnographic case-studies.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, Tutorials, Film, Writing Tasks

Assessment methods

100% - 1.5 hour examination - [or suitable online alternative]

Non-assessed tutorial tasks

Feedback methods


There are several routes towards feedback on your learning for this course unit.

The most important forum for feedback is provided in the tutorials - this is the place where you can try out ideas and get feedback on them; where you can clarify those aspects of the readings of lecture materials that are unclear; and where you can hone your skills of critical reading, note-taking and summarising arguments. The second mechanism for receiving detailed, individual feedback on your work is through short, structured formative writing exercise that ask you to summarise key texts, comment upon them and relate them to things happening in the world. The third feedback mechanism are drop-in office hours, where you can individually address any questions you have not been able to deal with in the tutorials.

Recommended reading

McManus, John. 2022. Inside Qatar: Hidden Stories from the World's Richest Nation. Icon Books, Limited, 2022.

Niko Besnier, Domenica Gisella Calabrò, Daniel Guinness. 2022. Sport, Migration, and Gender in the Neoliberal Age. Routledge.

O’Hare, Patrick. 2022. Rubbish Belongs to the Poor: Hygienic Enclosure and the Waste Commons. London: Zed Books.

Appert, Catherine M. 2018. In Hip Hop Time. Music, Memory, and Social Change in Urban Senegal. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dattatreyan, Ethiraj Gabriel. 2020. The Globally Familiar. Digital Hip Hop, Masculinity, and Urban Space in Dehli. Durham: Duke University Press.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1.5
Lectures 20
Tutorials 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 68.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Chloe Nahum-Claudel Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Length of course: 12 weeks



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