Why are cultures and societies so different, and simultaneously, so similar? We explore these questions by reading various ethnographic studies, meanwhile developing an anthropological perspective on economy and politics, social organization, kinship and family life, ideology and ritual, ecology and adaptation. We also focus on the sources and dynamics of inequality. Against this background, we examine some of the theoretical and methodological approaches used by anthropologists in their explorations into human culture and society.
How do social scientists gather primary data for the study of social life? This workshop course provides an opportunity for students to learn and practice the fundamental non-positivist research techniques necessary to study of social phenomena, namely interviewing, participant observation, and focus group discussions. Workshops and field projects will provide the opportunity for students to use these techniques on topics of their own interest. Methodological and theoretical perspectives will be examined, as will methods for recording, analyzing, interpreting and writing up qualitative data.