Symbolic Anthropology

Symbolic Anthropology

Study Cycle: 1

Lectures: 30

Seminars: 0

Tutorials: 0

ECTS credit: 3

Lecturer(s): izr. prof. dr. Čebron-Lipovec Uršula


In the introducing lectures fundamental concepts (signal, sign, symbol) are defined and symbolic anthropology is placed among other anthropological approaches. Social and material nature of the sign are explained, followed by concrete examples of analysis of symbols through the development of semiology (semiotics) and works of main researchers in the field of semiotics. In continuation, the function and situational use of symbols is explored as well as inclusion of the individual in the symbolic networks, definition of communication and hermeneutic circle, social negotiations on meaning. Special attention is given to the anthropology of art and performative activities as well as to the body, pregnancy and birth, life and death, symbolic behaviour of the marginalised groups etc. Lectures point to the importance of surpassing the distinction between representation and symbols, that is explained by examples of symbolic analysis in anthropology (Lévi-Strauss, Schneider, Sahlins, Geertz, Douglas), with special emphasis on French structuralism. Students analyse in-depth socio-cultural context in which specific work was written and its contribution to the history of anthropology, interpret theoretical and methodological impact of the author and analyse his theoretical influence to the researchers of younger generations.