Social and Cultural Anthropology

Social and cultural anthropology, although not widely known among the general public, is arguably an extraordinarily important subject for inspiring students and helping them to become profoundly knowledgeable, genuinely curious, and deeply caring about trying to make for a better world. 

Social-cultural anthropology studies the diversity of human societies in time and space, while looking for commonalities across them. It uses a holistic strategy—linking local and global, past and present—to offer various approaches to understanding contemporary challenges. Social Anthropology at Hockerill encourages students to delve into a wide range of things that are going on in the contemporary world. This in turn inspires them to pursue in-depth research so as to understand what is happening while at the same time this encourages them to do everything they can to change things for the better.    


Social anthropology is not a course for which one simply sits an exam.

It is a life-changing subject and the passionate interests fostered during the course will inspire students for the rest of their lives. As well as learning from their own fieldwork research, the course covers a wide range of topics each of which is taught by means of ethnographic film and published books and articles.

Students thus become highly knowledgeable in a wide range of contemporary issues.  Students of Social Anthropology are highly principled and the result of their studies about conflict, the treatment of the environment, and all the other issues, they become extremely caring about both their fellow human beings and also the world in which we all live.  


The Social anthropology course is extremely student-centered partly because of the fieldwork which all students of the subject have to undertake and partly because the topics covered are extremely relevant to the lives of young people today. 

Concepts, a very large number of them, form the building bricks out of which the course is constructed. The nine major key concepts are belief/knowledge, change, culture, identity, materiality, power, social relations, society, and symbolism. Then each Area of Inquiry has its own relevant concepts.  

The major student-led part of the course is the fieldwork which all students of the subject have to undertake. This is university level research for which students have to present their research proposal to their fellow students and then lead the discussion about how their fieldwork ideas could be improved. They can undertake their fieldwork anywhere in the world – so far Hockerill students of Social Anthropology have undertaken their fieldwork in fifty-two countries.