Studying Social Anthropology at BSix
Anthropology is the study of people- where they came from, how they live differently in different societies across the world, how they interact with their environment. Anthropologists are interested in people everywhere – in factory workers in Burnley, Muslims in Bradford, tribal Indians in the Amazon, government officials in Papua New Guinea. In all these cases, anthropologists are interested in how society works, how people live, what are their beliefs, customs, ideas, religions, myths, prejudices and aspirations. Studying anthropology teaches you to think critically about your own society – to see it in relation to the many other cultures and societies there are in the world and to understand how it has come to be the way it is. It gives people a broad knowledge about the world, about global politics, economic development, cultures and beliefs and an understanding of the realities of life in many countries..
We try to make lessons as interesting as possible because an interested student is an effective student! There is plenty of discussion, in pairs, in groups and as a whole class, and of course reading. Teaching resources will be based on a selection of ethnographies (the Dugum Dani, Ba-pal, Maki, Samoans, Naya, Na, Kayapo, Solomon Islands, Arapesh, Mundugumor, Tchambuli, Azande, Nayar, Chicago and New York gangs…) films and video's, radio and TV programmes and museum exhibitions. The focus of the teaching is on concepts, themes and issues by applying extracts from ethnographies and actually doing anthropology – immersing yourself in a culture.
The AQA syllabus is organised into four units. However, several themes are central to all units. Such as human universality contrasted with cultural diversity, the uses of cross-cultural comparison, the workings of power and control, age and gender as principles in social relations. Technology and social organisation.
Typical essay questions in the exam might be:
Discuss the relationship between biological kinship and the ways in which kinship works in human societies
Discuss the concept of the self or person from the perspective of different societies you have studied.
Beyond the classroom
Anthropology students are taken on various educational visits as part of their course, even on foreign exchange trips where possible like the recent excursion to Gothenburg in Sweden! Read more about the exchange trip here.
If you are interested in progressing to university you can also get involved with the College’s Raising Aspirations programme which will include trips to universities as well as specialist speakers and other events related to the study of anthropology.
A social anthropology qualification isn't just useful for becoming a professional anthropologist! People with anthropology degrees have gone on to work in education, in government, advertising, Non-governmental organization (NGOs), charities, museums, TV and art.
If you are interested in learning more about the subject and the syllabus, visit:
Erikson, T.H. What is Anthropology (Pluto, 2004)
Hendry, J An Introduction to Anthropology (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)
Metcalf, P Anthropology – the Basics (Routledge, 2004)