The Potential for Anthropology in Innovating Provision

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This session explores the potential for anthropology as part of the curriculum and as a methodological approach for subjects within the partnership. Considering particularly a social anthropological approach, grounded in the research method of participant observation and taking as its ultimate product the ethnographic study, this session makes the case that there is scope within UHI’s repertoire to innovate to include anthropology within its FE and HE provision and that the subject has something to offer in lending its methodological approach to other areas of study.

Since Bronislaw Malinowski (1922) visited the people of the Trobriand Islands neighbouring Papua New Guinea in the early twentieth century, his strategy of joining a group of people in their activities and observing them to understand them better has gained prominence as a social scientific research method. What initially was used as a way to examine the exotic and unfamiliar has become a method of researching things happening at home. This session explores programmes at UHI that might use this methodological approach, as well as thinking about how the discipline itself could be developed within the curriculum.

Anthropology asks engaging questions about what it means to be human, about why we are the way we are today, and why we do things the way we do. It considers human societies diachronically, across time, thinking about how they have changed with the circumstances and factors occurring around them, and it considers them synchronically, considering different societies across the world at the same time, looking at how our differences can ultimately be things that unite us. The discipline has content to offer in terms of engaging with social issues, such as addressing equality and diversity, critically examining concepts such as race and gender, as well as what it is to be human in the world today.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventLearning and Teaching Conference: Informing, Inspiring and Innovating - University of the Highlands and Islands, Inverness, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Jun 201720 Jun 2017


ConferenceLearning and Teaching Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Anthropology
  • Innovation
  • Social Science
  • Ethnography
  • Participant observation


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