27309 - Social Anthropology (1)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will have mastered the main lines of the history of social anthropology thanks to a critical knowledge of the anthropological paradigms relevant to studying social relations in towns. They will apply such knowledge to the anthropological study of migratory phenomena and acquire the methodological tools needed for ethnographic research in towns. Students will be able to apply the main models of critical analysis to cultures, ethnic populations, gender and generations, and be able to focus on socio-cultural issues to do with migratory processes, globalization and the knowledge society. They will have learnt to listen, understand and debate respectfully with different viewpoints, and acquired judgment on a professional, human and ethical level.

Course contents

The course described here is directed at students whose family name is between the letters A and L (no exceptions are possible).



The course is divided into 2 parts. Students have to study the books indicated in both parts, for total of 12 cfu (4 books in total).

The general goal of the course is to shed light on the anthropological debates on inequality and Anthropocene.

During the first part, we will focus on two main topics: 1) inequalities 2) marginality and urban conflicts. The issue linking the two topics is social exclusion. Therefore, we will try to explore, through a genealogical perspective, the different politics that are fuelling inequality end promoting the criminalization of the poor. Through an ethnographic perspective, we will explore the anthropological approach to inequality focusing on the present phase characterized by a concentration of wealth that produce marginality and social conflicts which are often governed through racist and securitarian politics.

In the second part two macro themes will be addressed: 1) ecological crisis 2) inequality. First, we will focus on the anthropological debate on Anthropocene, that is to say on the current era in which human action increasingly conditions and determines the environment in a process out of control that develops itself at a local and global scale. Then, we will focus on work and its transformations. Through the analysis of specific ethnographic cases, we will analyse the net of causality between industrial pollution and health and between environment protection and work protection, shedding light on the different fields (scientific, juridical and political) in which all these questions operate.


First part (two books):

1) Hickel J. 2018. The divide. Guida per risolvere la disuguaglianza globale, Il Saggiatore.

2) A text to be chosen between:

  • Bourgois, Philippe. 2005.Cercando rispetto: drug economy e cultura di strada, Derive Approdi.
  • Zukin, Sharon. 2013. L' altra New York. Alla ricerca della metropoli autentica. Il Mulino.

Second part (two books):

1) Eriksen Thomas Hylland, Fuori controllo. Un’antropologia del cambiamento accelerato ,2017, Einaudi Torino.

2) A text to be chosen between:

  • Andrea F. Ravenda Carbone. Inquinamento industriale, salute e politica a Brindisi, 2018, Meltemi, Milano.
  • Elena Bougleux, Antropologia nella Corporation 2017, CISU Roma

Teaching methods

Lessons will be frontal and occasionally the teacher will use audiovisual material to give more concreteness to the topics discussed. Students will be solicited to ask questions and open up debates on the issues addressed in the course.

Assessment methods

The exam is oral on Teams, and the inscriptions have to be made on the website almaesami. Students with 12 cfu exam will have to study four books; students with 6 cfu exam will have to study 2 books according to the list above.


They will have to prove to be able to contextualize the texts, to place them within the history of discipline and to reconstruct their theoretical frameworks. They will have two hours and thirty minutes to answer to four open questions on the computers in the computer lab. The program is the same both for students attending classes as well as for the non-attending ones.

Teaching tools

The teacher will occasionaly use audio-visual sources (documentaris, maps and photos)

Office hours

See the website of Luca Jourdan