AANB05081U  Political Anthropology, introductory course

Volume 2017/2018
Content

Political Anthropology is concerned with the distribution of resources, power and authority in different societies. More specifically, it explores negotiations of social possibilities and limitations, constructions of social categories and positions as well as processes of differentiation and discrimination. From studies of close-knit communities to global constellations, political anthropology investigates people's attempts of realizing, upholding, or changing communities, societies and networks. Hence, political anthropology is concerned with both the local, national and global levels, as it considers national policies and political decisions as well as unofficial connections, international networks and illegal organizations. The ethnographic approach of anthropology illuminates the official "visible" policy and its consequences as well as the unofficial and "invisible" political positions and processes. In this way, political anthropology elaborates our knowledge of the world's political diversity and constructions of power.

 

The aim of this basic course is to introduce and discuss key theoretical and thematic developments in the subfield of political anthropology. The course begins by providing a genealogical history of classical political anthropological studies of stateless societies, while situating these foundational studies in relation to relevant themes in political philosophy. It then engages with themes such as state power, national identity, globalization, colonialism, post-colonialism, global capitalism, neo-liberalism, violence and conflict. A crosscutting subject throughout the course will be the ways in which political forms and practices are situated in local as well as global contexts, as well as a focus on how anthropology legitimates its own role as a critical discipline in the world outside of academia.

Learning Outcome

Knowledge

  • To demonstrate an understanding of classical contributions, key debates and standpoints in the field of political anthropology.

  • To reflect on how political anthropology is distinct from and how it relates to studies of politics and power in other academic fields.

 

Skills

  • To be able to apply anthropological concepts in the analysis of current political issues.

  • To be able to compare political systems, power relations and forms of political organization across time and space.

  • To be able to account for the different ways that power is distributed in society, from processual, action based forms of power, to hidden, structural forms.

 

Competences

  • To choose, apply and transfer relevant theoretical concepts and ideas from anthropology in the analysis of political issues, conflicts and phenomena in other contexts.

  • To be able to base normative claims on descriptive and analytical arguments drawn from anthropology, in order to nuance, qualify and enlighten political debate.

BSc-, Credit- and all international students: 500 pages obligatory literature. 

MSc-, Credit- and all international students: 500 pages obligatory literature + 200 pages selected by the student.

Course literature will be available in Absalon on the course website.

The course is based on in-class teaching, in which there is used a combination of lectures, quick group discussions, devils advocacy exercises, small workshops, and finally, weekly prepared student presentations on the week’s theme. Such a combination of lectures and exercises will ensure that the students are presented with a broad conceptual and theoretical foundation in the study of politics and power, while also having to use and apply that knowledge actively in class in a variety of ways.
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Feedback on portfolio assignments from student groups, as well as general feedback from the teacher.

Credit
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Portfolio
Portfolio exam:
Length: The portfolio exam can be taken individually or in groups of maximum four students. The portfolio exam consists of 3-7 submissions. The number of submissions is set by the lecturer. The total length of all of the submissions must not exceed 30,000 keystrokes for a single student. For groups of two students the maximum is 40,000 keystrokes. For groups of three students the maximum is 45,000 keystrokes and for groups of four students the maximum is 50,000 keystrokes.
Exam registration requirements

The Student must participate actively in class, through for example class presentations, in order to be eligible to take the course exam. The course lecturer stipulates the specific requirements for active class participation.

Aid
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Re-exam

1. re-exam:

An essay with a revised problem statement must be submitted at the announced date. The students must sign up for the 1. re-exam.

Please note that the re-exam is an essay even for courses, where the ordinary exam is a portfolio exam.

2. re-exam:

A new essay with a revised problem statement must be submitted at the announced date next semester. The students must sign up for the 2. re-exam.

Criteria for exam assesment

See learning outcome.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 42
  • Exam
  • 35
  • Course Preparation
  • 133
  • Total
  • 210