Faculty of Arts


Exploring Ethnography


An exploration of ethnographic approaches to human cultures, including key elements of ethnographic fieldwork and analytical approaches. We use ethnography to understand contexts and processes, such as world-views, political or economic forces, historical change, gender structures and ethnicity that shape social and cultural lives.

In any given year, a particular ethnographic region (e.g., Europe, Melanesia, Polynesia, South-East Asia, New Zealand) or theme (e.g., art, economics, racism, technology, violence) may be covered. The focus for 2019 will be Anthropology and Sport.

Sports are often taken for granted or trivialised as forms of leisure. But social anthropologists know they are products and reflections of history, materiality, ideology and culture. This course will analyse sport through an anthropological lens, asking how sport is defined cross-culturally; how these definitions reflect particular cultural values; how contemporary sports contribute to the ways in which we think about ourselves and our contexts. We will consider some of the social, cultural and political significance of sport and use those insights to reflect on human nature, social and cultural issues and the field of sociocultural anthropology.

Learning Aims/Place of Course in Programme

Ethnography is the pre-eminent form of research and publication in social and cultural anthropology. The intent of the course is to ensure that students in social anthropology are well versed in the topic. By the end of the course, you should:

  1. Understand the significance of ethnographic research methods
  2. Understand relationships between theoretical and research issues
  3. Understand relationships between cultural particularity and common human issues
  4. Be able to identify appropriate resources, undertake research, analyse approaches and write appropriately
  5. Understand how similar ethnographic issues play out cross-culturally

Availability 2019

Semester 1


Lecturer(s) Dr Alex Pavlotski


ANTHRO 268: 15.0 points


ANTHRO 100 or 30 points in Anthropology, Sociology or History



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