Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024

Module ANTH2051: Politics and Economics

Department: Anthropology

ANTH2051: Politics and Economics

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • People and Cultures (ANTH1061) OR Being Human (ANTH1111)


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • An intermediate core module which introduces important topics related to key topics and themes in the anthropology of politics and economics.
  • It explores in further depth the key-socio-cultural issues and theory essential to an anthropological education.


  • Contents: Students are introduced to a range of theoretical issues that build progressively into a fuller understanding of how anthropologists interpret ethnographic data on the one hand, and of the perspectives they employ to understand socio-cultural phenomena generally on the other.
  • Synopsis: to ensure a broad acquaintance at an intermediate level with some of the main topics of sociocultural anthropology seen in theoretical context.
  • Summary Syllabus: The module has a thematic focus to cover core topics such as economic anthropology and political anthropology. Topics include the Gift, Exchange and Reciprocity; Markets, Money and Value; Production and Commodities; Globalisation, Development, Power, State and Ethnic nationalism; Human Rights, Torture, Violence and Bodies; Counterinsurgency and Surveillance, Resistance and Indigenous Politics.
  • It explores in further depth the key socio-cultural issues and theory essential to an anthropological education.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Factual Material: General awareness of the basic issues covered by the main areas in socio-cultural anthropology.
  • A demonstrable more in-depth knowledge of certain key issues.
  • Knowledge of middle-range anthropological theory.
  • Integrate and evaluate a range of information and data from ethnographic and theoretical sources.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Familiarity with the concepts and methods of socio-cultural anthropological analysis.
  • Understanding the technical vocabularies of social science as these apply to the study of anthropology.
  • Familiarity with, and ability to access, sources of anthropological knowledge.
  • Ability to analyse critically and evaluate anthropological literature and arguments.
  • Discern and establish connections between ethnographic data and theoretical arguments.
  • Present a coherent demonstration of your theoretical understanding.
Key Skills:
  • Search information sources effectively (e.g. libraries, archives) and find information.
  • Use academic literature effectively.
  • Use information technology and demonstrate word processing competence.
  • Structure and communicate ideas effectively in writing.
  • Apply key concepts and methods of the social sciences.
  • Adopt a holistic approach to solving problems.

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

  • Lectures and tutorials will give an integrated approach to theoretical perspectives.
  • Lectures will cover topics relevant for providing students with an understanding of theories currently available for the study of sociocultural anthropology.
  • Lectures introduce students to issues, structure the subject matter and provide a grounding in principal issues so they can progress to further learning and study.
  • Lectures provide the framework for analysis and relevant background, theoretical and/or historical information, and are used to assist in the assimilation of technically demanding or conceptually difficult material.
  • Lectures may include pre-recorded videos, live presentations, and/or interactive activities as appropriate for the material being taught from week to week.
  • Tutorials provide an opportunity for students to discuss a series of topics.
  • Tutorials imply a higher degree of student involvement and teach subject-specific and generic skills.
  • Summative essays test skills of understanding, analysis, information collection and presentation, while final written examinations test assimilated knowledge and understanding and the ability to write succinctly and analytically in a short time frame.
  • Students are required to submit two formative assignments (500 word essay plan) and two 2500 word summative assignments (on an economic and political topic) which will each contribute 50% towards the total mark for the module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 1 per week 1 hour 20
Tutorials 6 Distributed across Michaelmas and Epiphany Terms 1 hour 6
Preparation and Reading 174
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2500 words 50%
Essay 2500 words 50%

Formative Assessment:

A 500 word essay plan on an economic and political topic in Term 1 and Term 2.

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