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Basic Concepts Anthropological Perspectives on Difference and Inequality

Code: 101278 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2500256 Social and Cultural Anthropology FB 1 1


Jordi Castellvi Girbau

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


This course has no prerequisites.

Objectives and Contextualisation

The general objective of the course is to offer a first approach to the basic concepts of the discipline and the perspective of anthropological analysis, based on the affirmation of the existence of a shared and at the same time culturally diverse humanity. It provides an overview of the main concepts of social and cultural anthropology, emphasizing the mechanisms of construction of differences and social inequalities.

The course will offer a general overview of anthropology as a discipline and the way in which the analysis of sociocultural differences has been considered, referring to the main concepts and methodologies used, as well as the authors and fundamental texts. The aim is to illustrate the human cultural diversity theoretically and ethnographically, and to make known the forms as socially and from the anthropological discipline concepts and speeches have been constructed to explain it. Likewise, the social mechanisms of construction of inequalities will be explained from the differences and will be contrasted with the discourses and practices of social exclusion that have been elaborated throughout history and that are still present at present time.

It aims to approach a way of looking and analysing the world without falling into simplistic approaches and exclusionary or reductionist positions, giving the basis of informed knowledge that allows developing a critical spirit in order to reflect on the current social reality and propose alternatives to build an equal coexistence between different societies and human cultures.


  • Act with ethical responsibility and respect for fundamental rights and duties, diversity and democratic values.
  • Apprehending cultural diversity through ethnography and critically assessing ethnographic materials as knowledge of local contexts and as a proposal of theoretical models.
  • Carry out effective written work or oral presentations adapted to the appropriate register in different languages.
  • Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.
  • Students must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the history of anthropological theory and the genesis of its basic concepts.
  • Students must have and understand knowledge of an area of study built on the basis of general secondary education, and while it relies on some advanced textbooks it also includes some aspects coming from the forefront of its field of study.
  • Take sex- or gender-based inequalities into consideration when operating within one's own area of knowledge.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analysing a contemporary fact from an anthropological perspective.
  2. Applying the basic concepts of the anthropological theory.
  3. Applying the knowledge of cultural variability and its genesis to avoid ethnocentric projections.
  4. Critically analyse the principles, values and procedures that govern the exercise of the profession.
  5. Express ideas with a specific vocabulary appropriate to the discipline.
  6. Identify main and secondary ideas and express them with linguistic correctness.
  7. Identify the principal forms of sex- or gender-based inequality and discrimination present in society.
  8. Identifying the theories concerning the different meanings of the concept of culture.
  9. Interpreting the cultural diversity through ethnography.
  10. Knowing and assessing the various processes of intercultural relationship.
  11. Knowing and understanding the theories concerning the different meanings of the concept of culture.
  12. Using the basic concepts of Social and Cultural Anthropology for the understanding of relationships between various societies and cultures.


TOPIC 1. Introduction

Human diversity and its interpretation. Paradigms on human diversity: the debate between nature and culture.

TOPIC 2. Historical Approach to Anthropology

Background: the concept of alterity in Western history. The emergence of academic anthropology.

TOPIC 3. Anthropology in the field of human and social sciences.

Object, method and anthropological techniques. Ethnography and fieldwork. Emic and Etic perspectives.

TOPIC 4. The formal study of cultural variability

The idea of culture and other associated concepts. Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism.

TOPIC 5. Difference and inequality

Speeches on otherness. The attitude to difference. Identities. Race, ethnicity, gender. Inclusion and exclusion processes.



Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Master classes 45 1.8 1, 3, 10, 11, 8, 9, 12, 2
Presentation of text and discussion 5 0.2 1, 3, 10, 11, 8, 9, 12, 2
Type: Supervised      
Tutorials 5 0.2 3, 10, 11, 8, 12, 2
Type: Autonomous      
Preparation of essays 40 1.6 1, 3, 10, 11, 8, 9, 12, 2
Study and personal work 45 1.8 1, 3, 10, 11, 8, 9, 12, 2


Delivery of essays: 40%

Presentations and active participation in the classroom: 20%

Theoretical exams: 40%


At the beginning of the course, a schedule will be presented with the dates of the evaluation tests and the specific content of the exercises. This information will be available in the respective Moodle group 1 and group 2. Regularly consultation of Moodle is required.


In order to pass, all the exercises must be presented on the dates set at the beginning of the coursei except if it is rightly justified. Failed tests may be re-evaluated on the dates of re-evaluation.


To participate in the re-evaluation process students must have been previously evaluated (does not mean approved) in a set of activities whose weight equals to a minimum of 2/3 parts of the total grade or 60% of the final grade. To participate in the re-evaluation process, the professor responsible for the subject can demand that they have obtained a minimum grade in the average of the subject. This rating cannot exceed in any case 3,5 /10. This measure will be applied or not at the discretion of the professor in charge.


The activities that the professor considers to be unrecoverable can be excluded from the re-evaluation process, at a date or moment later than those established to be carried out (for example: oral presentations, group work, tasks related to the daily teaching activity). In this case, the professor responsible will explicitly state in the program those partial evaluation activities that, according to their criteria and depending on their nature, are not recoverable. 


At the time of each evaluation activity, the teacher will inform the students (Moodle) of the procedure and date to review the qualifications.


In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless ofany disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject. 


The student who does not appear in any of the tests will be declared as NON-EVALUABLE.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Delivery of essays 40% 3 0.12 4, 1, 3, 10, 11, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 2
Presentations and active participation in the classroom 20% 5 0.2 4, 1, 3, 10, 11, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 2
Theoretical exams 40% 2 0.08 4, 1, 3, 10, 11, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 2


Reference manual for this course:

Laburthe-Tolra; Jean-Pierre Warnier 1998 (1993) Etnología y antropología. Madrid: Akal

Other manuals and reference works:

ADD (1993) Diccionari d'antropologia. Barcelona: TERMCAT3

Augé M.; Colleyn J.P. 2005 Qué es la antropología. Barcelona: Paidós

Bonte, Pierre; Izard, M. 1996 (1991) Diccionario de etnología y antropología. Madrid: Akal.

Frigolé, Joan et al 1995 Antropologia social. Barcelona: Proa

Harris, M. 1998 Introducción a la antropología general. Madrid: Alianza

Kottak, Conrad Phillip. 2005 (2002) Introducción a la antropología cultural. Madrid: McGraw-Hill.

Lisón Tolosana, Carmelo (ed.) 2007 Introducción a la Antropología Social y Cultural. Teoría, método y práctica. Madrid: Akal

Lombard, Jacques 2008 [1994] Introducción a la etnología. Madrid: Alianza universidad 

Llobera, Josep Ramon 1999 Manual d'antropologia social. Barcelona: Ediuoc.

Mair, Lucy 1998 (1965) Introducción a la antropología social. Madrid: Alianza

Thematic bibliography:

Comas d'Argemir, Dolors 1998 Antropología econòmica. Barcelona: Ariel

Comellas, Pere; Carme Junyent 2021 Els colors de la neu. Les llengües, les persones i el món. Vic: Eumo

Díaz Cruz, Rodrigo. 1998. Archipiélago de rituales. Barcelona: Anthropos

Douglas, Mary 2007 (1966) Pureza y peligro. Un análisis de los conceptos de contaminación y tabú. Buenos Aires: Nueva Visión.

Duch, Lluís (diversos volums) Antropologia de la vida quotidiana. Barcelona: Publicacions de l'Abadia de Montserrat

Duncan, Carol 2007 (1995) Rituales de civilización. Murcia:Nausícaä

Estruch, Joan 2015 Entendre les religions. Una perspectiva sociològica. Barcelona: Mediterrània

González Echevarria, Aurora; San Roman Espinosa, Teresa; Valdés, Ramón 2000 Tres escritos introductorios al estudio del parentesco. Bellaterra: UAB Servei de Publicacions

Guber, Rosana 2004 El salvaje metropolitano. Buenos Aires: Paidós

Hammersley, Martyn; Paul Atkinson 1994 (1983) Etnografia. Barcelona: Paidós

Harris, Marvin. 1999 El desarrollo de la teoría antropológica: historia de las teorías de la cultura. Madrid: Siglo XXI

Junyent Figueras, M. Carme; Pere Comellas Casanova 2019 Antropología lingüística. Madrid: Síntesis 

Lévi-Strauss, Claude 1985 [1962] El pensament salvatge. Barcelona: Edicions 62

Lévi-Strauss, Claude 2005 [1955] Tristos Tròpics. Barcelona: Anagrama

Lewellen, Ted C.1994 [1983] Antropología política. Barcelona: Edicions bellaterra

Llobera, José R. 1975 La antropologia como ciencia. Barcelona: Anagrama.

Narotzky, Susana 2004. Antropologia econòmica. Nuevas tendencias. Barcelona: Melusina.

Thiong'o, Ngugu wa 2007 Descolonitzar la ment. Barcelona: Raig Verd 

Prat i  Carós, Joan 1984 La mitologia i la seva interpretació. Barcelona: Llar del llibre.

Prat, Joan (coord.) 2004 I... això és la meva vida. Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya, Departament de Cultura

Prats. Llorens 1997 Antropologia y patrimonio. Barcelona: Ariel 

Rodó-Zárate, Maria 2021 Interseccionalitat. Desigualtats, llocs i emocions. Barcelona: Tigre de paper 

Salazar, Carles 2009 Antropologia de les creences. Religió, simbolisme, irracionalitat. Barcelona: Fragmenta.