28304 - Applied Anthropology (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

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: 14th November 2018

We. 9-12 and Th. 13-16

Aula 1 Via Zamboni, 33

Applied Anthropology has had a long and controversial history in the more general history of the anthropological discipline. Nowadays, also in Italy, applied anthropology is no longer associated only with projects of analysis and research for governmental and non-governmental programs, but it deals with various professional contexts such as those pertaining to social welfare and healthcare, cultural heritage and business companies.

In general terms, by applied anthropology one means a field of studies concerning applied methods and theories for the resolution of practical problems. The definition of it as a ‘theoretical science of practice’ (Bastide, 1975) is, however, more a desideratum than an accomplishment, and is not free of ambiguities. The same adjective ‘applied’ is more often referred to methodological issues (Foster, 1969) than to theoretical ones, since the anthropologists, as Cernea (1986) observed, only rarely have translated their researches in concrete, doable proposals to be applied and tested by the various professional communities and in the various applied fields.

As of today, the majority of graduates in anthropology carry out a carrier of applied research, rather than purely academic. According to the ‘Encyclopaedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance’ the majority of jobs in anthropology that will be created in the next future will be in ‘non-teaching positions in consulting firms, research institutes, corporations, and federal, state, and local government agencies.’

This course aims to explore the various factors that may contribute to this growth in relevance of the discipline, and is based on a presentation of research cases of ethnographic research in various fields of application and in international contexts.


For students who attend regularly the course (mandatory readings):

1. Bonetti Roberta 2018, Apprendimento a KM ZERO, Cisu: Roma.


2. Bressan Massimo e Krause Elisabeth L. 2017, (dicembre), "La cultura del controllo. Letture subalterne di un conflitto urbano", Antropologia, V. 4, N. https://www.ledijournals.com/ojs/index.php/antropologia/article/view/1348

3. L. Krause, Elizabeth and Bressan, Massimo, Via Gramsci: Hegemony and Wars of Position in the Streets of Prato, International Gramsci Journal, 2(3), 2017, 31-66. Available at:http://ro.uow.edu.au/gramsci/vol2/iss3/6


For students who cannot attend classes (mandatory readings):

1. Bonetti Roberta 2018, Apprendimento a KM ZERO, Cisu: Roma (in stampa)

2. India Tommaso 2017. Antropologia della deindustrializzazione. Il caso della Fiat di Termini Imerese. Editpress.

3. Bressan Massimo e Krause Elisabeth L. 2017, (dicembre), "La cultura del controllo. Letture subalterne di un conflitto urbano", Antropologia, V. 4, N. https://www.ledijournals.com/ojs/index.php/antropologia/article/view/1348



Suggested 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, [https://amzn.com/1608452018]. 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).

Bougleux Elena 2017, Antropologia nella corporation. CISU: Roma

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

de Waal Malefyt Timothy and Morais Robert J. (ed.) 2017, [https://www.routledge.com/Ethics-in-the-Anthropology-of-Business-Explorations-in-Theory-Practice/Malefyt-Morais/p/book/9781629585277] . 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, [https://amzn.com/1608452018]. Morgan & Claypool


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

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 and in the lab activities 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.

Office hours

See the website of Roberta Bonetti