Materiality: Environment, Place and Economy
Level of Study
Objectives and Content
In social anthropology it is essential to understand how people relate to each other by living in interaction with their spatial and material surroundings. Within the context of global variations in human ways of life, the course seeks to give a comparative insight into how spatial and material conditions form and are formed by society and culture. The course focuses on social anthropological approaches to ecology, economy, things, and space. Furthermore, it connects the material and ideal aspects of life by discussing several themes, such as: landscape, place and body, regimes of production, technology, environment and resource management, gift exchange, market and consumption. Emphasis is placed on conveying the social and cultural diversity found around the world, and on how this diversity connected by means of modernization and globalization, as well as uneven involvement in both national and supranational governance.
A candidate who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:
- Be familiar with the central theories, methods, the disciplinary history and the distinctiveness of the social anthropological study of materiality, environment, economy and place.
- Have broad knowledge of the different cultural practices and understandings of several areas of life related to human forms of acquisition and social organization.
- Be able to account for central anthropological debates about the connections between material conditions, social organization and cultural meaning.
- Be able to apply anthropological knowledge, concepts and perspectives to concrete empirical cases and to theoretical issues concerning material dimensions of human life and activities.
- Be able to reflect over disciplinary-related issues that are relevant for the thematic of the course.
- Be able to apply social anthropological concepts and perspectives to the understanding of materiality, environment, economy and place.
- Be able to make critical use of analytical concepts and perspectives in order to understand local and global processes in society.
Required Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course
This course is open to students at UiB
Teaching and learning methods
Lectures, workshops, comments on written assignments, ethnographic film.
- 3-4 hours of lectures per week
- 7-8 weeks of classes, approximately 26 hours of lectures in total
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
- Submission of comparative essay of 1000 words (+/- 10 percent)
- Oral feedback on comparative essay from student in workshop
- Compulsory attendance on workshop when feedback is presented in groups
The compulsory must be approved in order for the student to take the exam, and it is valid for two semesters.
Forms of Assessment
8 hours school exam
Examination Support Material
The course is graded with letter grades A-F
Exam is offered in the teaching semester and the following semester (ordinary exam for students with valid approved compulsory assignment)
The reading list will be ready before 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester.
All courses are regularly evaluated according to UiB's quality assurance system
The Department of Social Anthropology at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme
Department of Social Anthropology
55 58 92 50 / 55 58 94 51
For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam.
Type of assessment: Written exam
- 05.06.2023, 09:00
- 8 hours
- Withdrawal deadline
- Examination system
- Digital exam
- Solheimsgt. 18 (Administrasjonsbygget), SOL 3. etg.