European Societies: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Second year module

Lecturer: Deema Kaneff

This module introduces students to anthropology through case studies that focus primarily, although not exclusively, on Europe.

The module begins with lectures that familiarise students with the origins of the discipline, its specific methodology (ethnographic approach) and central concepts in the discipline (‘culture’, ‘society’, ‘ethnocentrism’ etc).

The remaining lectures will use case studies in order to look in detail and comparatively at central domains of social life; producing and consuming (economic activities); controlling and resisting (political relations); believing and celebrating (religion and ritual); and relating and belonging (the anthropology of kinship). Systems of inequality (including globalisation, a topic examined from the local perspective) are also covered.  Through these domains of social life, and the case studies which are used as examples, students will also be introduced to different social science theories and the particular ways in which they are used in the anthropological discipline.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will have: developed an appreciation and understanding of human diversity through an examination of contemporary ethnographies; understood the core concepts and methods in anthropology; gained an understanding of European societies through comparative study; developed an ability to think critically and comparatively about European  practices as socially constructed phenomena; gained an appreciation of the importance of local perspectives in understanding wider – global – processes.


  • Term One: 3000 word essay (45%)
  • Term Two: 3000 word essay (45%)
  • Term Three: In class presentation (10%)