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Culture and Globalisation

Course 2018-2019

This course is taught in Dutch in the academic year 2018-2019

Admission requirements

• The course is restricted to those who have followed "Culture and Comparison".
• The course is part of the Bachelor CA-OS, Minor CA-OS and the Pre-master CA-OS. Students enrolled for the Bachelor’s, Minor or Pre-Master’s CA-OS may follow this course. Please see below for registration.
• Interested parties wishing to take this course as contract students must register in accordance with the procedure set out on this page of the [Faculty website]( / contract education).


This is the sequel to "Culture and comparison". Only those who have followed the course "Culture and comparison" may follow this course.

This programme introduces the key concepts cultural anthropologists need to describe human differences in the global relations of today. Since the nineteenth century the core problem of anthropology and development sociology has been to investigate what exactly are the differences between people, and how they can be maintained, changed or manipulated. Anthropology has long assumed that such differences were either biologically or culturally established – in other words were "essential" differences. The first lectures will show how globalization challenges essentialist notions of culture from the very first studies of race relations in the mid–20th century colonial world. The lectures will discuss how contemporary views on culture and globalization leave little of the modern belief in progress. That belief has been based on the essentialization of tradition and heritage on the one hand, and on the other an unshakeable confidence in a better future through superior technology. The lectures then continue, to show how race, kinship, culture and social relations formed the four main ways in which anthropologists tried to understand human differences, and how those forms of interpretation too became cross-pollinated as a result of globalization. For example, the lectures consider how the early belief of anthropologists that they were helping by emphasizing cultural differences were turned upside down, so that racist forms of difference have now returned twice over, partly under the influence of genetic technology and stubborn historical relationships. The third and fourth groups of lectures will show how culture under globalization is increasingly dominated by relationships of consumption instead of kinship, and how such relationships are taking shape in a world where people increasingly attribute sometimes racist ethnic and religious differences, which are often essentialized and contribute to the maintenance of human inequality within the globalized society itself.

Course objectives

"Culture and Globalization" aims to offer students insight into how globalization has changed the anthropological image of human differences, but so that the classical anthropological critique of the relationship between culture and biology and therefore race and kinship remains relevant, albeit differently from how it was thought of for most of the twentieth century.

• Knowledge of the main approaches to culture in the history of anthropology
• Critical insight into why older views of culture, which still occur in everyday speech, are invalid
• Basic insight into the foundations of a historicising science theory for social science
• Ability to relate arguments from different scientific sources;
• Acquaintance with group discussion and processing of material learned


See our website

Mode of instruction

Total 5 ECTS = 140 study hours (sbu):

  • lecture 28 hours = 42 sbu
  • working group 6 hours = 12 sbu
  • literature 516 p. = 86 sbu

Assessment method

• Two written partial examinations (open book examinations).
• Compulsory participation in working group meetings.
• If the final mark for the course is inadequate it will be possible to re-take the examination. The substance of the entire course will be treated in any such re-sit. The partial examinations may not be re-sat separately.

Registering exam

You are required to register in uSis for every exam. This can be done up to 10 calendar days prior to the examination. Read more

Register in uSis

• All students must register for the lectures and the examinations (see above), but registration is not required for work groups.
• In principle, classification in working groups remains the same as in the first block (in Culture and comparison and OOSP).
Students will find registration periods and further information about procedure on the website on course registration .


Blackboard is used for this course for creating programmes and to make other information available, and to advise of the results of testing.
Participants may register on Blackboard from 2 weeks before the start of the course.

Study material

Literature for Culture and Comparison and Culture and Globalization (UNTIL JULY 2018 UNDER CONFIRMATION):

  • David Crawford (2008) Moroccan Households in the World Economy, Labor and Inequality in a Berber village. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008.
  • Other literature consists mainly of articles from electronic journals. Titles are announced via Blackboard.


Dr. Jasmijn Rana
Prof. dr. Peter Pels