28304 - Applied Anthropology (1) (LM)

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology (cod. 0964)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the students will have familiarized with the main theoretical tools of the discipline and the methods of application of anthropology to various contexts of contemporary society. They will be able to use them in an autonomous field research, and to conduct research on social models and communication modes of various cultural groups.

Course contents

Beginning of classes: 10th November 2020

We. 9-12, Aula 1 Via Zamboni, 33

Th. 13-16: N.B. Thursday classes will be held remotely only.


Applied anthropology has had a long and controversial history within the discipline of anthropology. In general, applied anthropology refers to a field of study related to the application of methods and theories aimed at the analysis and solution of practical problems. Currently, even in Italy, applied anthropology is no longer associated only with analysis and research projects regarding government programs, but also with other professional fields such as, for example, socio-educational and health care, cultural heritage and business.

Today, in fact, an increasing number of anthropology graduates pursue careers in applied research rather than traditional academic paths even though many students are rarely aware of the possibilities offered by the job market. Many of them discover individually and by serendipity how to bring anthropological insights and skills among settings and people unfamiliar with anthropological practice. Therefore, acquiring cross-curricular skills in the course of study is critical to being prepared to work collaboratively and to apply anthropological methods in research and community settings.

The course aims to explore the different factors contributing to this growth and presents case studies of research in different fields of application in national and international settings. In addition to presenting experiences and professional stories of researchers, practitioners, trainers and educators with unconventional career trajectories, the course also aims to reflect in a shared way on graduate education programs in order to better prepare students for professional careers (Fix and McElroy 2020).

One set of classes in this course will be devoted to issues and applications of heritage anthropology. In particular, we will set up a dialogue on practical and applied issues with professionals and researchers active in archaeological fieldworks, dealing with topics and projects of ‘community heritage’.


The following topics will be presented and addressed in the course:

  • history of the discipline
  • theories
  • methodologies
  • tools
  • fieldwork
  • ethical dimension
  • case studies



Programme for students both attending and non-attending classes

Students will prepare for the exam on three volumes and one article. Two volumes are mandatory, whereas the third book and the article will be chosen by the students among those listed below


Mandatory books:

Malighetti R., 2020, Antropologia Applicata. Problemi e prospettive. Brescia: Scholé, Editrice Morcelliana.

Pozzi G. 2020, Fuori casa. Antropologia degli sfratti a Milano, Ledizioni, Milano. In alternativa: Alliegro E. V. 2020, OUT OF PLACE OUT OF CONTROL, CISU: Roma.


Elective book (one volume among those listed below):


(Business Anthropology)

Bonetti Roberta 2020 (seconda edizione), Apprendimento a KM ZERO. Cisu, Roma (per l'esame andranno preparati i capitoli indicati durante il corso).

Bougleux Elena 2017, Antropologia nella corporation. CISU: Roma

D’Aloisio F, Ghezzi S. (a cura di) 2016 Antropologia della crisi. Prospettive etnografiche sulla trasformazione del lavoro e dell’impresa in Italia, Harmattan Italia, Torino.

Ngai Pun, Lu Huilin, Guo Yuhua e Shen Yuan 2015, Nella fabbrica globale. Vite al lavoro e resistenze operarie nei laboratori della Foxconn. Ombre Corte: Verona.

Mollona Massimiliano, Papa Cristina, Redini Veronica, Siniscalchi Valeria 2021, Antropologia delle imprese. Lavoro, reti, merci.

Papa Cristina, Antropologia dell’Impresa. Guerini: Milano.

Rimoldi Luca 2017, Lavorare alla Pirelli-Bicocca. Antropologia delle memorie operaie. Clueb: Bologna.


(anthropology, profession, tools and methods)

Declich Francesca 2012, Il mestiere dell’antropologo: esperienze di consulenza tra istituzioni e cooperazione allo sviluppo, Carocci.

Porcellana Valentina 2019, Costruire bellezza, Meltemi, Milano.

Raffaetà Roberta 2020, Antropologia dei microbi. CISU: Roma.

Severi Ivan 2019, Quick and dirty. Antropologia pubblica, applicata e professionale. Ed.it, Firenze.

Severi Ivan e Tarabusi Federica (a cura di) 2019, I metodi puri impazziscono. Licosia: Ogliastro Cilento.


(Anthropology and Development)

Colajanni A. e Mancuso A. 2008, Un futuro incerto. Processi di sviluppo e popoli indigeni in America Latina, CISU: Roma.

Lenzi Grillini F. 2010, I confini delle terre indigene in Brasile. Roma: Cisu.

Olivier de Sardan J-P. 2008, Antropologia e sviluppo. Raffaello Cortina Editore: Milano.

Zanotelli F, Lenzi Grillini F. 2012, Subire la cooperazione? Gli aspetti critici dello sviluppo nell'esperienza di antropologi e cooperanti, ED.IT: Firenze.



Higgins V., Douglas D. 2021, Communities and Cultural Heritage: Global Issues and Local Values, Routledge: NY.

Graham H. and Vergunst J. (ed.) 2019, Heritage as Community Research: Legacies of Co-production, Policy Press: Bristol.

Mortensen L. and Hollowell J, 2009, Ethnographies and Archaeologies: Iterations of the Past, University Press of Florida.

Roued-Cunliffe M. and Copeland A. 2017, Participatory Heritage, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

Schmidt P.R. 2019. Partciipatory Archaeology and Heritage Studies, Rutledge: NY.


For those who choose the monographic part on applied aspects of the subject in collaboration with archaeology:

Marshall, Y 2002 What Is Community Archaeology? World Archaeology , Oct., 2002, Vol. 34, No. 2, Community Archaeology (Oct., 2002), pp. 211-219

Tully, G 2007 Community Archaeology: General Methods and Standards of Practice. Public Archaeology, 6: 155-187. https://doi.org/10.1179/175355307X243645

Zaina, Federico; Proserpio, Licia; Scazzosi, Giulia, Local voices on heritage: Understanding community perceptions towards archaeological sites in South Iraq, «JOURNAL OF COMMUNITY ARCHAEOLOGY & HERITAGE», 2021, 8, pp. 1 - 17


One elective article among those published online by the journal ‘Antropologia pubblica’:



Further readings (not mandatory)

Appadurai Arjun 2015, Banking on Words:The Failure of Language in the Age of Derivative Finance. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Versione italiana: 2016, Scommettere sulle parole. Il cedimento del linguaggio nell’epoca della finanza derivata. Raffaello Cortina editore: Milano.

Baba Marietta L., 2000, “Theories of practice in anthropology: a critical appraisal”, NAPA Bulletin, 18, pp. 17-44.

Baba Marietta L. 2012, “Anthropology and Business: Influence and Interests”, Journal of Business Anthropology, V. 1, N. 1, pp. 1-52.

Blomberg Jeanette & Darrah Chuck 2015, An Anthropology of Services: Toward a Practice Approach to Designing Services. Morgan & Claypool Publishers. 

Borofsky Robert (a cura di), L’antropologia Culturale oggi (Sixth section only: “L’antropologia applicata”, pp. 500-591); otherwise, two essays among them suggested and distributed by the instructor during classes).

Carrier J. and L Peter Luetchford L. P. 2012, Ethical Consumption: Social Value and Economic Practice. Bergham: New York.

Clarke Alison J., 2011, Design Anthropology, Wien/New York, Springer (5 essays chosen by the student within the volume that will be made available during the course)

de Waal Malefyt Timothy and Morais Robert J. (ed.) 2017, Ethics-in-the Anthropology of Business: Explorations in Theory, Practice and Pedagogy. Routledge: London.

Ladner Sam 2016, [http://amzn.com/1611323908] . Routledge: New York.

Madsbjerg Christian 2017, Sensemaking: The Power of the Humanities in the Age of the Algorithm. Hachette Book Group: New York.

Blomberg Jeanette & Darrah Chuck 2015, An Anthropology of Services: Toward a Practice Approach to Designing Services. Morgan & Claypool Publishers.

Malighetti Roberto, 2001, Antropologia Applicata, dal nativo che cambia al mondo ibrido.Unicopli, Milano.

Pink S. and Abram S., 2017, Media, Anthropology and Public Engagement,Berghahn, New York, Oxford.

Pink S. 2016 (seconda edizione), Doing Sensory Ethnography. SAGE.

Pink S. (Ed) 2007, Applications of Anthropology, Professional Anthropology in the Twenty-first Century. Berghahn, New York, Oxford.

Teaching methods

A wide range of methodologies of teaching will be used to meet a varied set of needs and requests of students. The course will be conducted in a seminar-like fashion, with readings, presentations of ethnographic cases and film watchings. An active participation of students is requested, together with their willingness to contribute to the discussion of texts to be studied for the final exam.

Students, either individually or in groups, will agree with the instructor a specific essay of applied anthropology (heritage, design, healthcare, education) to be presented and discussed in a seminar session, to be held in the later part of the semester, and possibly with the aid of digital supports.

Assessment methods

The student will have to hold an individual oral exam on the basis of the suggested bibliography, of the notes from the lectures and of the contributions made by their fellow classmates in class. The final evaluation is cumulative and will keep into account the students' involvement in any phase of the formative process. Active participation in class is integral part of the final evaluation.

In particular, the following items will be tested:

command of theoretical and methodological basic knowledge as taught in lectures and seminars;

command of elements of theoretical knowledge as provided by the bibliographical leads;

capacity to critically scrutinize, observe, describe and analyze the various topics debated in the course;

the student's ability to critically integrate any topics debated in class, their critical use and the command of the scientific language will award them notes of excellence.

The oral exam, with open-ended questions, is aimed at verifying the students’ ability to read critically the documentary sources dealt with over the course. Students are expected to be articulate and to be able to communicate their thoughts and contents with an appropriate language.

In order to pass the exam, the students must get a grade not below 18/30.  

In order to hit a score of 30/30 cum laude, students must demonstrate excellent knowledge of all course topics, and to be able to connect them in a logical and consistent way.

Teaching tools

For the schedule of the lab activities, please consult the instructor's website.

Attending students, from september, are kindly invited to subscribe to the following mailing list in order to receive information about possible variations in lecture timetable and rooms and to recevice useful material for the course:


Students will refer to the platform iol.unibo.it for the programme and group activities.

Office hours

See the website of Roberta Bonetti


Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production Partnerships for the goals

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.