Social Anthropology

Social Anthropology Social Anthropology studies the relationship between humans and their culture. Your culture is only one way that people interact with each other. Around the world, there are huge variations in culture, from hunter-gatherers to industrialised societies.

Social anthropologists explore cultural differences and the ways people maintain and change their culture over time. Topics covered include politics, globalisation, inequality, human-environmental relations, human rights, visual culture, systems of healing, food, gender, and religion.

While carrying out research, social anthropologists become intimately involved in the lives of the people they work with, usually over an extended period of time. Massey staff and students are currently researching in various parts of Asia, the Pacific, Europe, Africa and New Zealand.


Social Anthropology is a major and minor subject in the Bachelor of Arts and can also be taken in a certificate or diploma programme. At postgraduate level, Honours, Postgraduate Diploma in Arts, Masters and Doctorate qualifications are available. 




146.101 Introductory Social Anthropology
146.102 Endangered Cultures


146.206 Visual Ethnography
146.208 Political Anthropology
146.209 Food and Eating
146.210 Ritual and Belief
146.211 Systems of Healing
146.213 Anthropological Enquiry
146.214 The Politics of Culture*


146.302 Regional Ethnography: Asia
146.303 Practice of Field Work
146.304 Culture, Biology and Racism
146.311 Medical Systems of China, India and the West
146.313 Issues in South Pacific Anthropology
146.316 Visual Anthropology: Southasia and Global issues
146.317 Urban Anthropology
146.318 Environmental Anthropology

700 to 900-level

146.701 Contemporary Approaches in Anthropological Theory
146.703 The Practice of Anthropology
146.707 Reading & Writing Ethnography
146.708 Anthropology Today
146.798 Research Report (60)
146.799 Research Report (30)
146.800 MPhil Thesis Social Anthropology
146.816 Thesis (Part I)
146.817 Thesis (Part II)
146.899 MA Thesis Social Anthropology
146.900 PhD Social Anthropology

*Not offered in 2017

More information

For more information, please download our  Social Anthropology Brochure (966 KB) or contact the programme coordinator.

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