UWA Handbook 2017

Unit details

ANTH4103 Knowing Social Realities: Theoretical Foundations

Credit 6 points
  Offering
(see Timetable)
AvailabilityLocationMode
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours core unit in Anthropology and Sociology [Bachelor of Arts (Honours)]
Content This unit considers epistemology in the social sciences or, simply, how we know what we know in the social sciences in general. It considers theories of knowledge. As such, epistemological questions are central in the social sciences, especially when evaluating differences among various schools of thought. Our traversal of this terrain considers some of the crucial questions in theory construction and validation in the social sciences from an epistemological perspective. Students consider questions such as how can underlying principles be discovered and validated? Can specific theories be proven and refuted? If so, what constitutes evidence for this? How commensurable are epistemological bases of various perspectives? Must we posit a reality outside cultural constructions to present interpretations and explanations? What sorts of epistemological assumptions support a stance of cultural relativism and what sorts deny that position? How does situated knowledge or tacit knowledge challenge claims for objectivity or relativism? What is the role of subjectivity in social analysis? What sorts of representational strategies best convey the epistemologies of others? Students address these questions through the works of Durkheimian sociology, Marxisms, Weberian sociology, interpretive anthropology, phenomenological anthropology, ethnomethodology, practice theory, Foucauldianism and feminism.
Outcomes Students are able to (1) demonstrate advanced knowledge of key theories in the social sciences, the complexity of different perspectives and the historical development of social thought; (2) demonstrate a broad and critical understanding of the range of approaches and theories in the social sciences; (3) analyse and assess a range of opinions about a specific question in a key area of the social sciences and to apply critical analytical skills through an analytical exercise to produce a reasoned argument with intellectual independence; and (4) articulate epistemological assumptions and how they are deployed in writing.
Assessment Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) seminar participation and (2) written assignments. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s) Dr Gregory Acciaioli
Unit rules
Incompatibility: ANTH7483 Honours Seminar 3 (Anthropology)
Contact hours 2 hour seminar per week for up to 10 weeks
Unit Outlinehttp://www.unitoutlines.arts.uwa.edu.au/Units/ANTH4103/SEM-1/2017

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.