European Societies: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

School: School of Government and Society
Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies

Second year module

Lecturer: Dr 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

  • Understand the core concepts and methods in anthropology.
  • Develop an appreciation and understanding of human diversity through an examination of contemporary ethnographic studies.
  • Gain an understanding of European societies through comparative study.
  • Develop an ability to think critically and comparatively about European practices as socially constructed phenomena.
  • Appreciate the importance of local perspectives in understanding wider - global phenomena.


  • Term One: 1 essay x 1,800 word assessed work (45%); Quiz (5%)
  • Term Two: 1 essay x 1,800 word assessed work (45%); Quiz (5%)

The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2018. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.