Labour and Society

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Labour and Society

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    18 200-level ANTH points or 108 points

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Comparative studies of labour and development and the anthropology of work through global case studies.

    Work, whether paid or unpaid, fun or boring, real, redundant or imagined, occupies a huge proportion of our lives and is part of all cultures. ANTH 316 delivers the Anthropology of Work - a major sub-section of Economic Anthropology. ANTH 316 also explores work and labour through a broad interdisciplinary scope. The course investigates the meaning and impact of work at the individual, kinship, community, state and global levels. It shows how work and labour relations is entangled with culture and integral to understanding gender relations, racism, and power. This course also addresses social change and examines work and labour relations from the past to the present, in a diverse range of cultures, especially within the Pacific. Ethnographic case-studies provide valuable insight into this, including 'murky' worksites such as child work, unfree labour and sex work. We emphasise human resilience and hope, agency and resistance. This course will be valuable in careers that span social and economic issues. This is a core course in anthropology that fits well with other disciplines, and offers a different angle on economics, business and livelihoods.

    Teaching Arrangements
    One 2-hour lecture and one seminar per week. This course is supported by Blackboard.

    Course Structure
    Topics covered may included the meaning of work, anthropology and work, slavery and unfree labour, Pacific livelihoods, gender, care and emotional labour, child work, sex work, ethnicity, power, inequality, class, globalisation, neoliberalism and labour, labour process, resistance and agency. The paper provides a historical overview and a comparative approach

    Learning Outcomes
    - A critical understanding of theoretical debates and methodological issues in the anthropology of work
    - Developing the ability and competence to critically review diverse and conflicting interpretations relating to labour, economics and society
    - An in-depth knowledge of past and present issues relating to labour and society from an anthropological perspective
    - To gain confidence and experience in initiating, completing and presenting independent research in oral and written forms
    - A good pass grade in ANTH 316; preparation for postgraduate and honours research; skills and knowledge applicable to future employment

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.