04718 - Social Anthropology (A-L)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will master the main lines of the history of social anthropology and he will acquire a critical knowledge of the anthropological paradigms aimed at studying inequality and social exclusion. Besides, he will master the anthropological debate on Anthropocene.

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 but the exam is unique (12 cfu not divisible)

In general, the course aims to explore the debate relating to urban anthropology, with particular reference to the processes of segregation / marginality and the production of specific street cultures. In addition, we will focus on the anthropology of crime, investigating the boundaries between legal and illegal and criminalization processes.

In the first part (Prof. Luca Jourdan) two macro themes will be addressed: 1) urban transformations and inequalities 2) exclusion and street cultures. We will try to explore the policies that feed social marginalization and at the same time promote the criminalization of the poor. Through the proposed ethnographies, we will focus on the anthropological approach to urban inequality and marginality in the current phase in which these problems are often addressed through securitisation, racist and criminalizing policies.

The second part (Prof. Davide Casciano) is dedicated to the anthropological contributions to the study of crime and criminalization. After a general introduction to the field, ethnographic case studies will help us to discuss phenomena and actors that define legal and illegal boundaries through complex, global, and multifaceted networks at the intersections of violence, crime, finance, power and subordination.




There are no program differences between attending and non-attending students.

First part (two texts, they will be indicated by August 15th)

1) A text chosen between:

-D'Eramo M. 2020. Il maiale e il grattacielo. Chicago: una storia del nostro futuro. Feltrinelli

-Wacquant. 206. I reietti della città. Ghetto, perififeria, stato. Edizioni ETS.

2) A text chosen between:

-Bourgois. P. 2005. Cercando rispetto. Drug economy e cultura distrada. Derive Approdi.

-Fava F. 2008. Lo Zen di Palermo. Antropologia dell'esclusione. Franco Angeli.

-Pine J. 2015. Napoli sottotraccia. Musica neomelodica e marginalità sociale. Donzelli.


Second part (a handout plus two texts):

1) A handout by the teacher.

2) A book chosen between:

-Varese, F. 2011. Mafie in movimento. Come il crimine organizzato conquista nuovi territori. Einaudi.

-Fassin, D. 2013. La forza dell'ordine. Antropologia della polizia nelle periferie urbane. La Linea.

3) A book chosen between:

-Grassi, P. 2015. Il limbo urbano. Conflitti territoriali, violenza e gang a città del Guatemala. Ombre corte.

-Taliani, S. 2019. Il tempo della disobbedienza. Per una antropologia della parentella nella migrazione. Ombre corte.


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 in January, and in presence in the following months (except further restrictions). Students with exam of 12 cfu must prepare on four books (two relating to the bibliography of the first and two to the bibliography of the second part), those with an exam of 6 cfu on two books depending on the chosen part.  

Students 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

See the website of Davide Casciano