Power, Ideology and Inequality

Subject ANTH30005 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1x2 hour lecture and 1x 1 hour tutorial per week for 10 weeks. The lecture and tutorial programs are staggered and cover the 12 weeks of semester.
Total Time Commitment: an average of 8.5 hours each week.
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 2
Non Allowed Subjects: Students who have completed 'Power, Ideology and Inequality' under the codes 121-060 or 671-351 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.
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/
Subject Overview:

This subject offers a comparative perspective on the distribution of inequalities in human societies over time and in contemporary cultures. The aim of the subject is to investigate the varied manifestations of interactions between power, ideologies and the material world. This will involve us in discussions of the nature of 'egalitarianism' and 'hierarchy' and the way in which concepts developed by social theorists influence our understanding of indigenous ideas, theories and practice. Issues of gender, knowledge production, and access to scarce resources will be considered in relation to political processes and structures through case studies of caste, gerontocracy, divine monarchies and colonial cultures. The interplay between domination and resistance will be discussed in the context of colonial and postcolonial states and globalisation.


Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • have a thorough understanding of the way in which anthropologists have approached political organisation in non-western societies.
  • have acquired a knowledge of the ethnographic literature on the dynamics of political organisation in societies categorised in the literature as 'egalitarian' and 'hierarchical' in Australia, SE Asia and the Pacific.
  • have critically examined anthropological theories about the distribution of power in societies in relation to issues of colonialism and gender.
  • have an understanding of: issues of gender, knowledge production and access to scarce resources as they relate to political processes and structures.
  • understand the interplay between domination and resistance in the context of colonial and post-colonial states and globalisation.

A 1500 word essay (40%) due mid-semester, and a 2500 word research essay (60%) due during the examination period. This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% tutorial attendance. Regular participation in tutorials is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available from the University Bookshop at the beginning of semester

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
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • have practice in conducting research and speaking articulately.
  • have practice in writing clearly in a variety of formats and reading with attention to detail.
  • have experience of systematically evaluating a body of empirical data and identifying its theoretical context.
  • have experience of methods of critical inquiry and argument leading to improved analytical skills.
  • have acquired awareness of issues relating to cross-cultural communication.
Links to further information: http://www.ssps.unimelb.edu.au/study/ads/
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology
Anthropology and Development
Anthropology and Social Theory
Anthropology and Social Theory
Anthropology and Social Theory
Development Studies
Development Studies
Development Studies Major
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies Major
Sociology Major
Related Breadth Track(s): Development Studies
Anthropology - structures, identity and power

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