Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2005-2006 (archived)


Department: ANTHROPOLOGY (HUMAN SCIENCES) [Queen's Campus, Stockton]


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2005/06 Module Cap None. Location Queen's Campus Stockton


  • Completion of Level 2 HS/HHS; Sociocultural Anthropology I (ANTH2051) OR Sociocultural Anthropology II (ANTH2041); Phase 1 MBBS (Intercalated BSc students).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide an overview of significant changes in kinship and family life in contemporary societies.
  • To understand the causes and consequences of these changes.
  • To develop analytical skills which can be used to interpret and make sense of changing patterns of Euro-American kinship and family.


  • The module will draw closely on the research interests of the tutor and will provide students with an opportunity to explore the contribution that anthropologists have made to understanding recent changes in kinship and family life.
  • The making of the modern family.
  • The unmaking of the modern family.
  • The changing nature of familial obligation [seminar].
  • Friendship and kinship [seminar].
  • Changing families I - Divorce and separation [seminar].
  • Changing families II - Parenting and children [seminar].
  • Changing families III - Adoption and fostering [seminar].
  • New reproductive technologies I - AI [seminar].
  • New reproductive technologies II - IVF [seminar].
  • New reproductive technologies III - surrogacy [seminar].
  • Kinship: temporality and commoditisation [seminar].
  • The changing significance of blood ties in contemporary kinship [seminar].
  • Genetics and kinship [seminar].
  • The future of kinship? [seminar].

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Acquaintance with the way that patterns of family life in the western world have changed.
  • Familiarity with the anthropological and sociological research literature which documents and analyses these changes.
  • Understanding of some of the consequences of these changes for social and cultural life in more general terms.
  • Ability to apply the knowledge acquired on the course to specific instances of change in kinship and family life.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Evaluate critically the social issues arising from the changing place of kinship and family in contemporary society.
  • Carry out an in-depth analysis of a particular issue or theme relating to contemporary family and kinship arrangements.
  • Review literature relevant to a particular issue.
Key Skills:
  • Communicate through written work.
  • Show initiative.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures.
  • Seminars.
  • Essay.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 14 Approx Fortnightly 1 hour 14
Seminars 12 Approx Fortnightly 1 hour 12
Preparation and Reading 174
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
one extended essay 5000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Two practice essays each 1500 words long.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University