Power, Ideology and Inequality

Subject ANTH30005 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1x 1.5 hour lecture and 1x 1 hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Knowledge gained in completing one of the following subjects is recommended but not essential.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Dr Erin Fitz-Henry



Subject Overview:

What sorts of inequalities are intensifying in the contemporary world? What dynamics are producing those intensifications? And how have anthropologists historically conceptualized the inequalities with which they gain firsthand experience through long-term fieldwork? Growing numbers of political and economic anthropologists are committed to exploring the ideological and material means by which systems of inequality are created, sustained, misrecognized, and challenged. Drawing principally on Marxist anthropology, post-structuralism and post-colonialism, this subject looks cross-culturally to explore the interrelationships between diverse forms and sources of power, the roles of colonialism and corporate globalization in configuring and sustaining local relations of inequality, and the rise of resistance movements that explicitly challenge exclusions based on class, gender, and ethnicity. Special attention will be paid to the effects of multinational corporations on local power relations and patterns of inequality throughout the world via brand marketing, legal reform, and corporate social responsibility. Case studies will be drawn from Latin America, North America, Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • Have a thorough understanding of the way in which anthropologists have approached the study of political organisation in a range of cultural contexts;
  • Have critically and comparatively examined anthropological theories about the persistence of inequality in communities throughout the world from Latin America to Africa;
  • Have acquired knowledge of the interplay between domination and resistance in the context of colonial and post-colonial states;
  • Have an appreciation of the ways in which the practices of multinational corporations are shifting local power relations and reconfiguring patterns of domination in the contemporary world;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the diverse contexts in which political anthropologists have developed their theories of power, difference, and inequality;
  • Be able to communicate in a variety of written and oral formats and to collaborate effectively in groups with people whose disciplinary and cultural backgrounds may differ from their own.

  • A 1500 word essay (40%) due mid-semester.
  • A 2500 word research essay (60%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information: http://www.ssps.unimelb.edu.au/study/ads/
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology
Development Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Anthropology
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Development Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Sociology
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Anthropology
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Sociology
Related Breadth Track(s): Anthropology - structures, identity and power
Development Studies

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