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Anthropology of the State

General data

Course ID: 3102-FAOS
Erasmus code / ISCED: 14.7 Kod klasyfikacyjny przedmiotu składa się z trzech do pięciu cyfr, przy czym trzy pierwsze oznaczają klasyfikację dziedziny wg. Listy kodów dziedzin obowiązującej w programie Socrates/Erasmus, czwarta (dotąd na ogół 0) – ewentualne uszczegółowienie informacji o dyscyplinie, piąta – stopień zaawansowania przedmiotu ustalony na podstawie roku studiów, dla którego przedmiot jest przeznaczony. / (0314) Sociology and cultural studies The ISCED (International Standard Classification of Education) code has been designed by UNESCO.
Course title: Anthropology of the State
Name in Polish: Anthropology of the State
Organizational unit: Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology
Course groups: (in Polish) III rok studiów licencjackich
(in Polish) Moduł L5: Antropologia polityczna i ekonomiczna
Courses in foreign languages
ECTS credit allocation (and other scores): (not available) Basic information on ECTS credits allocation principles:
  • the annual hourly workload of the student’s work required to achieve the expected learning outcomes for a given stage is 1500-1800h, corresponding to 60 ECTS;
  • the student’s weekly hourly workload is 45 h;
  • 1 ECTS point corresponds to 25-30 hours of student work needed to achieve the assumed learning outcomes;
  • weekly student workload necessary to achieve the assumed learning outcomes allows to obtain 1.5 ECTS;
  • work required to pass the course, which has been assigned 3 ECTS, constitutes 10% of the semester student load.

view allocation of credits
Language: English
Type of course:

optional courses

Prerequisites (description):

Although this is not a strict requirement, it will be helpful if students have previously completed some courses in political anthropology and / or theories of power.

Mode:

Classroom

Short description:

This course offers an overview of the anthropological approaches to 'the state'. It moves from classic theories of the modern state, by such thinkers as Max Weber, Antonio Gramsci and Philip Abrams, to more recent, Foucauldian and post-Foucauldian theorizations, and from the flat-out rejection of 'the state' as a subject of anthropological enquiry by the structural functionalists to the flourishing of 'the anthropology of the state' as an expanding subdiscipline of political anthropology in the 1990s, and to the plurality of perspectives on the state afforded by ethnography today. It follows the passage from the view of the state as a bounded entity and locus of power to the contemporary descriptions of the state as decentred, dispersed and emergent, an effect of multiple discourses and situated practices.

Full description:

This course offers an overview of the anthropological approaches to 'the state'. It moves from classic theories of the modern state, by such thinkers as Max Weber, Antonio Gramsci and Philip Abrams, to more recent, Foucauldian and post-Foucauldian theorizations, and from the flat-out rejection of 'the state' as a subject of anthropological enquiry by the structural functionalists to the flourishing of 'the anthropology of the state' as an expanding subdiscipline of political anthropology in the 1990s, and to the plurality of perspectives on the state afforded by ethnography today. It follows the passage from the view of the state as a bounded entity and locus of power to the contemporary descriptions of the state as decentred, dispersed and emergent, an effect of multiple discourses and situated practices.

Bibliography:

A provisional, non-exclusive literature list may look something like this (students will usually be required to read one or, less often, two journal articles or book chapters, i.e. a total of about 30-40 pages, per week):

Abrams, P. 1988. Notes on the Difficulty of Studying the State.

Althusser, L. 1971. Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses.

Aretxaga, B. 2000. Fictional Reality.

--- 2003. Maddening States.

Das, V. and D. Poole, 2004. Anthropology in the Margins of the State.

Ferguson, J. and A. Gupta, 2002. Spatializing States.

Foucault, M. 1991. Governmentality.

Gramsci, A. 2006 (1971), State and Civil Society.

Gupta, A. 1995. Blurred Boundaries.

--- 2012. Red Tape.

Hansen, T.B. and F. Stepputat, 2005. Sovereign Bodies: Citizens, Migrants and States in the Postcolonial World.

Hobart, A. and B. Kapferer, 2013. Contesting the State.

Jansen, S. 2013. Hope for and against the State.

Kapferer, B. 1988. Legends of People, Myths of State.

Krohn-Hansen, C. and K.G. Nustad, 2001. States of Imagination.

--- 2005. State Formation: Anthropological Perspectives.

Linke, U. 2006. Contact Zones: Rethinking the Sensual Life of the State.

Mbembe, A. 1992. The Banality of Power and the Aesthetics of Vulgarity in the Postcolony.

Mitchell, T. 1999. Society, Economy and the State Effect.

Mühlfried, F. 2016. Being a State and States if Being in Highland Georgia.

Navaro-Yashin, Y. 2002. Faces of the State.

--- 2012. The Make-Believe Space.

Nuijten, M. 2004. Between Fear and Fantasy.

Poulantzas, N. 1978. State, Power, Socialism.

Reeves, M. 2014. Borderwork.

Scott, J.C. 1998, Seeing Like a State.

Sharma, A. and A. Gupta, 2006, The Anthropology of the State: A Reader.

Spencer, J. 2007. Anthropology, Politics and the State.

Sssorin-Chaikov, N. 2003. The Social Life of the State in Subarctic Siberia.

Taussig, M. 1992. The Nervous System.

--- 1997. The Magic of the State.

Weber, M., 2006 (1968), Bureaucracy.

Learning outcomes:

Students will become familiar with classic theories of the state in social science, as well as with key anthropological to this topic. They will also acquire familiarity with contemporary critical debates around the concept of the state in anthropology and related fields.

Assessment methods and assessment criteria:

Course essay (term paper) of 2,500 words. Students will be asked to submit 250-word abstracts of their prospective essays mid-semester. Students are free to pick a topic of their choice, as long as it speaks to the overall theme of the course. The essays should also engage with at least selected readings discussed during the semester, plus any other relevant literature (which the students will be expected to identify).

In addition, students will have the opportunity to volunteer to make a presentation on one of the required readings during the semester. A successful presentation equals half a grade up on the final score.

This course is not currently offered.
Course descriptions are protected by copyright.
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