00045 - Cultural Anthropology

Course Unit Page


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

No poverty Gender equality Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student should be able to: - identify the main theoretical approaches and methodological issues that have been characterizing the anthropological studies, with particular reference to the processes and educational settings; - know the notion of "fieldwork" has been developed in the past and how ethnographic practice today takes place; understand and identify the evolution of notions such as culture and ethnicity and their effects in the analysis and processing of social processes (disease, marginality, migration) - deal with the correct use of anthropological knowledge in his/her future professional practices; apply the theoretical knowledges for a critical understanding of migration processes and intercultural mediation; translate the theoretical and methodological knowledge into critical and self-critical skills in his/her professional environment; - interpret the informations emerging from the professional work as data to be processed according to an ethnographic model; - share the critical approach within his/her working group;- enlarge his/her own analytical tools with the use of anthropological knowledge.

Course contents

The course aims to provide a general background to the history of anthropology, to the key concepts, as well as to the main theoretical and methodological issues and debates that have been characterizing the discipline. The first part of the course will focus on the origin and development of the anthropological studies, on some key paradigms, on the changing issues related to the concept of fieldwork and will aim to provide the critical tools needed to analyze the notions of culture, identity, ethnicity as well as some phenomena such as globalization, migration and ethnic conflicts. The second part will aim to introduce some anthropological fields, by especially focusing on the contexts, issues and problems the students will face in doing their future professional career. To this end, the anthropological and ethnographic contribution to the analysis of multicultural practices, public policies and local services engaged in migrant and vulnerable people inclusion will be examined. Through empirical cases we will explore in particular the following topics: 1) self-identification among the children of immigrant as well as their relationships with local institutions and services; 2) pattern of racialization and discrimination embedded in the welfare policies and the daily practices of professionals engaged in migrant reception services; 3) policies to fight homelessness and the ways practices of reception services for vulnerable adults shape processes of social inclusion /exclusion.


Recommended readings (no distinction between attending and non attending students will be done):

- Dei F., Antropologia culturale, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2016, second edition (except chap. VII, VIII, X, XIII)

- Rossi C., Antropologia culturale. Appunti di metodo per la ricerca nei mondi contemporanei, Milano: Guerini e Associati, 2003 (only chap. 1)

- Porcellana V., Dal bisogno al desiderio. Antropologia dei servizi per adulti in difficoltà e senza dimora a Torino, Milano: Franco Angeli, 2017.

- some further readings will be provided in Virtuale

Teaching methods

Interactive lectures, discussions, video analysis.

Online assignments (i.e. e-learning activities) will be provided as well

Assessment methods

The written exam includes open questions aimed at evaluating students' knowledge of the issues both discussed in class and contained in textbooks. The questions will focus on relevant aspects of the program, related to the aims of the course and the specific knowledge / skills that are required to be achieved.

Among the criteria used to evaluate the preparation of students and students are mainly: a) the understanding of the theoretical-methodological problems and the main debates that the discipline today faces in its practice, with particular reference to multicultural policies and social and educational processes ; b) the ability to make use of the tools of anthropological investigation (ethnographic method) for a critical reading of migratory processes and intercultural mediation and their application in the social and educational sphere; c) the skills of cultural analysis of social and educational contexts; d) the ability to accurately use anthropological language; e) the ability to turn the theoretical and methodological knowledge of anthropology and ethnography on professional reflexivity skills of the educator

NB: For the international/ERASMUS students only: possibility to arrange with the teacher the oral exam or elaboration of a written paper

Teaching tools

Texts, Power Point slides, videos; interactive classroom, online activities.

Office hours

See the website of Federica Tarabusi