HUMN 3066 Power as a Cultural System

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102348

Coordinator Kit Hawkins Opens in new window

Description In this subject students will explore notions of power, domination, authority and conflict from an anthropological perspective. Students will draw upon specific case studies of the social and political organisation of a variety of communities to understand how social order is perceived, achieved and maintained cross-culturally, through local systems of governance but also through social categories such as race, kinship, ethnicity and nations. Through these examinations students will also apply anthropological insights in order to understand how social practices such as participation, collaboration, resistance and violence operate in local political contexts. In the final part of the subject students will assess the various ways anthropologists work with and against local power structures and to what extent ethnography and applied anthropological work can intervene in systems of oppression.

School Social Sciences

Discipline Anthropology

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Pre-requisite(s) HUMN 1016


Successful completion of 80 credit points in currently enrolled program.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Identify major anthropological theories and paradigms that can be utilised to understand power relationships and political systems.
  2. Use ethnographic case studies to analyse how the political is construed in various cultural contexts.
  3. Critically reflect on some of the power relationships intrinsic to ethnographic fieldwork and other professional situations anthropologists are involved in.
  4. Formulate research plans and strategies for conducting short term research projects in the anthropological tradition.

Subject Content

1. Social order and the structure of social life
2. Neighbourhoods, villages, cities as sites of power
3. Kinship as a social structure
4. Political anthropology
5. Warfare and violence/peace and conflict resolution
6. The politics of culture
7. Race, ethnicities and nations
8. Religion and power
9. Power and knowledge
10. Research ethics and power


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Short Answer 4 x 200 words 20 N Individual
Quiz 800 words 20 N Individual
Presentation 1,500 words 20 N Individual
Proposal 20 minutes 40 N Individual

Teaching Periods

Autumn (2024)

Penrith (Kingswood)


Subject Contact Kit Hawkins Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window



Subject Contact Kit Hawkins Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window