Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module ANTH3957: The Anthropology of Sport

Department: Anthropology

ANTH3957: The Anthropology of Sport

Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Not available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • ANTH2051 Politics and Economics OR ANTH2161 Kinship and Religion OR ANTH2141 Global Health and Disease


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop a critical awareness and extensive knowledge of key debates in the anthropology of sport.


  • The course will address questions like: What sort of bodies are produced and valued by sport, and how do they reflect broader societal issues? How does sport take on different meanings depending on where it is played? Is ‘competition’ a universal value, and how do ideas about what competition is circulate between the sporting world, neoliberal ideology and evolutionary biology? What is at stake in the pushing and setting of boundaries (gender, pharmaceutical, cyborg) through sport?

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of the module, students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate advanced levels of current knowledge and intensive understanding of the anthropology of sport.
  • Deploy analytical skills to make connections between a range of ethnographic works on sport and key thematic topics in social anthropology.
  • Be competent in accessing and assimilating specialised research literature of an advanced nature.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • In depth knowledge of the anthropology of sport, with emphasis on interpretation and comprehensive understanding of primary data.
Key Skills:
  • Preparation and effective communication of research methods, data, interpretation and arguments in written form.

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

  • Classes will integrate lecture, tutorial and practical components, with the balance dictated by appropriateness to the research topic in question.
  • Lectures may consist of pre-recorded videos, live presentations, break-out discussions or other activities as appropriate to the material covered from week to week.
  • Lecture elements will provide students with an outline of key knowledge and debates in the anthropology of sport, discuss the literature that students should explore, and provide relevant examples and cases studies. Tutorial elements will develop topics introduced in lectures and required reading to analyse aspects or case studies in greater depth and to prepare students for their summative assignment.
  • Practical components will provide students with hands-on experience of the research.
  • Student preparation and reading time will allow engagement with specific references in advance of tutorials and general and particular reading related to the assessment, which will be a written assignment (such as an essay or report).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Classes 15 Specified in module handbook 1 15
Preparation and Reading 85
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assignment 2500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

The formative assessment is a critical summary of a monograph related to the anthropology of sport (500 words). This is designed to prepare you to engage critically with ethnographic work on sport in the summative assignment.

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