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Social and Cultural Anthropology (IB Higher and Standard ) at Bexley Grammar School

Course description

Social and cultural anthropology (offered at SL only). 
The IB Diploma Programme social and cultural anthropology course offers an opportunity for students to explore and understand humankind in all its diversity through the comparative study of culture and human societies.  In studying this course students will come to appreciate how anthropology as a discipline contributes to an understanding of contemporary issues, such as war and conflict, the environment, poverty, injustice, inequality and human and cultural rights.  The study of social and cultural anthropology offers critical insight into the continuities as well as dynamics of social change and the development of societies, and challenges cultural assumptions.
Students undertaking this course will have the opportunity to become acquainted with anthropological perspectives and ways of thinking, and to develop critical, reflexive knowledge.  Perfectly placed in group 3, individuals and societies, social and cultural anthropology contributes to a distinctive approach to intercultural awareness and understanding.  It allows students to develop the capacity to recognize preconceptions and assumptions of their own social and cultural environments through an exploration of both the familiar and unfamiliar worlds of other people.
The course will explore the relationships between the topics of study and themes.  The ethnographies chosen will allow students to explore multiple themes and topics, emphasizing the interdependence of social, economic and political institutions and processes, and their dynamic interrelations to beliefs, values and practices.

Ethnographic film and other visual or virtual media may be used in the teaching of ethnography, but this will be treated in the same critical and reflective manner as written ethnography.

Course content

Syllabus components

Part 1: What is anthropology

• Core terms and ideas in anthropology

• The construction and use of ethnographic accounts

• Methods and data collection

Students of social and cultural anthropology should be familiar with the set of core terms, the methods used by anthropologists and issues associated with the construction of ethnographic accounts.

• Part 2: Social and cultural organization

• Individuals, groups and society

• Societies and cultures in contact

• Kinship as an organizing principle

• Political organization

• Economic organization and the environment

• Systems of knowledge

• Belief systems and practices

• Moral systems

Students must have an understanding of all eight themes listed in Part 2. The themes are closely interconnected and should not be taught in isolation of each other. It is important that these themes should be taught in relation to ethnographic material. The teaching of the themes should emphasize patterns and processes of change in society and culture and that anthropological knowledge changes over time.

Part 3: Observation and critique exercise

In the first six weeks of the course SL students undertake an observation and produce a written report from their field notes. About six months later they are then required to produce a critique of their written report.


Key features of the curriculum and assessment models
• Students are assessed both internally and externally.
• External assessment for SL students consists of two written papers, one based on an unseen text and one which is essay based. 
• Internal assessment for SL students is an observation and critique exercise (Part 3).  Internal assessment is marked internally by subject staff and externally moderated by IB examiners.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Bexley Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 06 November 2017
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