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Social and Cultural Anthropology

Code: 106216 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2504235 Science, Technology and Humanities FB 1 2


Montserrat Ventura Oller

Teaching groups languages

You can check it through this link. To consult the language you will need to enter the CODE of the subject. Please note that this information is provisional until 30 November 2023.


There are no pre requisites.


Objectives and Contextualisation

The subject Social and Cultural Anthropology is part of the main subject "Anthropology" and analyzes the nature / culture binomial from an anthropological perspective, based on the affirmation of the existence of a shared and diverse humanity, and its intrinsic link with the environment and with its interpretation.


The subject Social and Cultural Anthropology seeks to ethnographically illustrate human cultural diversity, discuss the concepts and theoretical explanations related and reflect critically on the scientific study of sociocultural differences in fields such as social, economic organization and symbolic systems, with especial emphasis on knowledge of the environment. Along with the dichotomous Western conception of
nature / culture, the subject opens to the consideration of other relational ontological conceptions existing both in human history and in contemporary non-Western cultures to understand how human beings, mediated by technology, give form and meaning to its relationship with what exists.


  • Analyse the relationships between nature and culture using concepts from anthropology, philosophy and history.
  • Make critical use of digital tools and interpret specific documentary sources.
  • Produce written papers and give effective oral presentations, adopting the appropriate register in different languages.
  • Recognise the political, social and cultural dimension of science and technology development in the different historical periods.
  • 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.
  • Work collaboratively in teams.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply the knowledge acquired in complex or professional work settings.
  2. Assess the reliability of sources, select important data and cross-check information.
  3. Critically analyse the successes of science in its historical and cultural development.
  4. Develop teamworking skills, blend in and actively collaborate in achieving common goals.
  5. Distinguish between natural origin and cultural construction in the scientific analysis of human expressions.
  6. Identifying the main and secondary ideas and expressing them with linguistic correctness.
  7. Recognise the achievements of the various knowledge systems of the world.


The subject Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology is a first approach to the study of human sociocultural variability, from a comparative perspective. Throughout the semester, we will present the basic concepts and key topics of Social and Cultural Anthropology. Students will learn on Classical thematic areas, like anthropological perspectives on difference and inequality and some of the most recent developments in the discipline. By studying ethnographic cases that illustrate cultural diversity and highlight the contrasts and similarities with the student’s sociocultural context, and with the support of reading and audiovisual materials, students will gain a basic knowledge about the anthropological discipline. The course will place special emphasis on reflecting on the nature / culture dichotomy, on explaining the diversity of thought and knowledge systems, ethno-sciences and the relationship between technology and society, and science and society.

Topic 1:
Fundamental concepts of anthropology: culture, nature, diversity, ethnocentrism, relativism, humanity, difference, inequality and other related concepts.

Topic 2:
Natural environment, economic and technological organization.

Topic 3:
Social organization and environment. Kinship, Power and Authority.

Topic 4:Symbolic effectiveness. Belief systems and science.

Topic 5:
Systems of thought and ethno-sciences, local forms of knowledge.

Case studies: During the course, we will introduce case studies that reflect the diversity of forms of social organization, techniques and knowledge.


The first day students will receive the program of the training activities and it will be mandatory to follow the evaluation date of the exercises.

The students’ work consists fundamentally in to actively follow-up the explanations given in the classroom, to participate in the programmed or spontaneous debates, the search, reading and analysis of information, the realization and on-time delivery of the essays.

The readings are oriented to the preparation of three basic forms of learning and evaluation: discussion in debates (face-to-face or virtual) of the group, thematic essays proposed and preparation of the contents of the course useful for the evaluation in the written exam.

The student must keep in mind that the Virtual Campus is the space through which are notified the basic information of the subject, incidents, novelties, evaluations, and also the space where he/she will find the syllabus, the essays guidelines and teaching materials, among others. In addition, it is the usual space for the delivery of course essays. Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to consult and use it regularly.


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      
Theory classes with computer and audio-visual support 33 1.32 3, 7, 5
classroom practices 16 0.64 3, 1, 4, 7, 5
Type: Supervised      
Tutorials and work supervision 4.25 0.17 3, 7, 5, 2
Type: Autonomous      
Study and personal work 80 3.2 3, 6, 7, 5, 2


The evaluation system is organized into two modules, each of which is assigned a specific weight to the final grade. The teacher will present a specific proposal on the first day of the course, following the distribution bellow. Each module can provide for more than one assessment activity. 

At the time of each assessment activity, the teacher will inform the students via Moodle of the procedure, date of delivery, grading and review of the assessment tests.

The two types of evaluation modalities are the following:

1) MODULE OF PARTICIPATION in group discussions and public presentations of work in the classroom. Value 20% of the final grade.

2) WORK DELIVERY MODULE. This module will evaluate up to 3 works that can be individual or in groups, based on a specific bibliography and eventually in the realization of a practical activity such as a visit to a museum. Value 80% of the final grade.

The Faculty establishes the dates of final evaluation and re-evaluation and the professor communicates it to the students.

In order to participate in the re-evaluation process, students must have been previously evaluated (not necessarily approved) in a set of activities, the weight of which must be equivalent to a minimum of 2/3 parts
of the total rating. Otherwise, the student will receive the grade of “Not assessable”.

One-off assessment. The student who has taken up the One-off Assessment mode will do a final test that will consist of an essay with a value of 40%, a written exam with a value of 40% and an oral exam with a value of 20% of the final grade. 

The UAB is very careful in controlling plagiarism and the virtual Campus has tools to detect it.

In the event that the student commits any irregularity that could lead to a significant variationin the grade of an assessment act, this assessment act will be graded with 0, regardless of the disciplinaryprocess
that may be instructed. Inthe event of several irregularities in the assessment acts, the final grade for this subject will be 0. Those assessment acts in which there have been irregularities are not recoverable.


Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Essay Delivery 25% 1.5 0.06 3, 4, 6, 7, 5, 2
Essay Delivery 25% 1.5 0.06 3, 4, 6, 7, 5, 2
Essay delivery 30% 2 0.08 3, 4, 6, 7, 5, 2
Participation and classroom practices 20% 11.75 0.47 3, 1, 4, 6, 7, 5, 2


Note: This is a generic collection. During the course there will be a bibliography recommended by subject, and a collection of readings in the virtual Campus.


ADICHIE, Chimamanda N. (2018 [2009]), El peligro de la historia única, Madrid: Literatura Random House; (2018 [2009]) Sobre el perill dels tòpics, Barcelona: Fanbooks. TedTalk : https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_ngozi_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story/transcript?language=es

ÁLVAREZ, Silvia G. (eds.) (2004), Comunas y comunidades con sistemas de albarradas. Descripciones etnograficas, Quito: Abya-Yala-ESPOL.

APPADURAI, Arjun (Ed.) (1991 [1986] La vida social de las cosas. Perspectiva cultural de las mercancías, México: Grijalbo

BARTH, Fredrik. (1969) Ethnic Groups and Boundaries. The Social Organization of Culture Difference, Scandinavian University Press.

CARBONELL, Eliseu (2004) Debates acerca de la antropologia del tiempo, Barcelona: Publicacions Universitatde Barcelona.

CAVALLI SFORZA, Luca; CAVALLI SFORZA, Francesco (1994)  Quienes somos. Historia de la diversidad humana. Barcelona, Crítica.

DESCOLA, Philippe (2012) Más allá de naturaleza y cultura, Buenos Aires, Amorrortu editores.

DIAZ CRUZ, Rodrigo (1998) Archipiélago de rituales. Teorías antropológicas del ritual, Barcelona: Anthropos.

DOUGLAS, Mary (1973 [1966]) Pureza y peligro. Un análisis de los conceptos de contaminacion y tabu. Madrid: Siglo XXI.

DURKHEIM, Émile (2014 [1912]) Las formas elementales de la vida religiosa, Madrid: Alianza editorial. / (1987 [1912]) Les formes elementals de la vida religiosa, Barcelona: Edicions 62.

EVANS-PRITCHARD, Edward E. (1973 [1965]) Las teorías de la religión primitiva, Madrid: Siglo XXI (cap. II y III).

GELL, Alfred (1992) The anthropology of time. Cultural constructions of temporal maps and images,, Oxford: Berg.

GLEDHILL, John (2000) El poder y sus disfraces: Perspectivas antropológicas de la política. Barcelona: Bellaterra.

GONZALEZ ECHEVARRIA, Aurora. (1994) Teorias del parentesco. Nuevas aproximaciones, Madrid: Eudema.

GOODY, Jack 1985 (1977) La domesticación del pensamiento salvaje, Madrid: Akal.

HÉRITIER, Françoise, (1996)  Masculino / Femenino. El pensamiento de la diferencia, Barcelona: Ariel.

LATOUR, Bruno (2006 [1991]), Nous n’avons jamais été modernes. Essai d’anthropologie symétrique. Paris: La Découverte. / (2006 [1991]) Nunca fuimos modernos. Ensayo de Antropología simétrica, Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI.

LATOUR, Bruno & Steve WOOLGAR (1995 [1979]) La vida en el laboratorio: la construccion de los hechos cientificos, Madrid: Alianza Editorial.

LATOUR, Bruno & Pierre LEMONNIER (eds) (1994) De la préhistoire aux missiles balístiques. L’intelligence sociale des techniques, Paris: La Découverte.

LÉVI-STRAUSS, Claude (1964 [1962]) El Pensamiento Salvaje, México: FCE / 1971 El Pensament salvatge, Barcelona: Edicions 62. (esp. cap.”La ciència de los concreto”)

LÉVI-STRAUSS, Claude  (1993).- Raza y cultura. Madrid, Cátedra.(Incluye “Raza e Historia”).

MALGESINI, Graciela y GIMÉNEZ, Carlos (2000) Guia de conceptos sobre migraciones, racismo e interculturalidad. Madrid: La Catarata.

MARTÍ, Josep y AIXELÀ, Yolanda (eds), (2010), Desvelando el cuerpo. Perspectivas desde las ciencias sociales y humanas. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.

MARTÍN CASARES, Aurelia (2020) Antropología del género. Culturas, mitos y estereotipos sexuales, Madrid: Ediciones Cátedra.

MARTÍNEZ MAURI, Mònica y Cristina LARREA KILLINGER (2010) Antropología social, desarrollo y cooperación internacional, Barcelona: UOC.

MOLINA, José Luis i VALENZUELA, Hugo (2007) Invitacion a la antropologia economica, Editorial Bellaterra, Barcelona.

PICQ, Pascal 2019 La nueva era de la humanidad: el transhumanismo explicado a una adolescente, Madrid: libros de Vanguardia.

REYES-GARCÏA, Vicki. y Martí SANZ (2007) “Etnoecología. Punto de encuentro entre naturaleza y cultura”, Ecosistemas, 16 (3), pp. 46-55.


SAHLINS, Marshall (1972) La economia de la edad de piedra, Madrid: Akal

SAHLINS, Marshall (1988 [1976]) Cultura y razón práctica. Contra el utilitarismo en la teoría antropológica, Barcelona: Gedisa. (esp. Cap. 4).

SANTOS GRANERO, Fernando (ed.) La vida oculta de las cosas. Teorías indígenas de la materialidad y la personeidad, Quito: Abya-Yala

SEGALEN, Martine (2014 [2005]) Ritos y rituales contemporáneos, Madrid: Alianza editorial.

TURNER, Victor (1980 [1967]) La selva de los símbolos, Madrid Siglo XXI.




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