Popular Culture in Anthropology

Subject ANTH30014 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

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

This subject is not offered in 2015.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Not offered 2014
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Anthropology and Social Theory at Levels 1 and 2

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. Vicki Schubert


Subject Overview:

This subject considers anthropological approaches to Popular Culture: the music, literature, images, artefacts and objects consumed by “ordinary people.” At one level it addresses the distinctiveness of the Anthropology of Popular Culture, demonstrating how anthropological approaches capture often overlooked qualities of Popular Culture, such as its often subaltern relationship to “high” and “official” cultures and its oxymoronically “global”, “local” and “Western” qualities. And at another level, it addresses the challenges of Popular Culture for anthropological Theory, in particular how Popular Culture’s fundamentally creative dimensions represent a challenge for a traditional disciplinary conceptualisation of culture as integrative and normative. These issues are explored through a range of ethnographic case studies from around the world. Indicative examples include, the consumption of high street fashions, lifestyle makeover television and “World music”, mall cultures, football fandom and celebrity watching.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • Become familiar with anthropological approaches to the study of Popular Culture;
  • Appreciate and be able to articulate and critically assess a range of theoretical debates and ideas on the ‘culture concept’;
  • Become sensitive and aware of a range of popular cultural practices and forms from throughout the world.

a 500 word class report (10%) due early in the semester, a 1500 word report (40%) due during the semester, and a 2000 word essay (50%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle Requirement: 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 working 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

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:

  • demonstrate research skills through competent use of the library and other information sources;
  • have practice in planning and conducting research;
  • have experience integrating ethnographic examples with theoretical debates and develop skills of critical analysis and argument.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology

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