About the Course
The Anthropology of Childhood, Youth and Education MSc was the first degree of its kind in the world when it was established and is still unique in its thoroughgoing anthropological perspective on what it is to be a child or to be young.
Its key organising principle is that understanding children requires the study of how their relations with others - peers, older and younger children, parents, teachers and other adults - inform their practices, identities and world views.
This course addresses the following issues from an anthropological perspective:
- Do children of ‘different cultures’ live ‘different worlds’?
- How does education impact upon children’s worlds and upon social and cultural practices more broadly?
- How do everyday processes of learning – both formal and informal - help to shape children’s ideas of and engagement with society at large?
- What is the role of schools in the transmission and acquisition of cultural values to children and youth?
- And why are adults’ ideas about childhood and youth so important for what children learn and aspire to become?
The distinctiveness of this degree derives from an anthropological approach that focuses on the importance of children’s and youth’s perspectives, and on the role that education (formal and informal) plays in children’s learning processes and in the transmission and acquisition of cultural knowledge.
Anthropology at Brunel is well-known for its focus on ethnographic fieldwork: as well as undertaking rigorous intellectual training, all our students are expected to get out of the library and undertake their own, original research – whether in the UK or overseas – and to present their findings in a dissertation. Students take this opportunity to travel to a wide variety of locations across the world – see “Special Features” for more details.
- Attendance for lectures full-time: 2 days per week - for 24 weeks
- Attendance for lectures part-time: 1 day per week - for 24 weeks (in each of 2 years)
- Through an examination of ethnographic cases from around the world (including the UK), you will learn about the different ways in which childhood and youth are understood and conceptualised.
- You will explore the different educational forms and processes through which cultural knowledge is transmitted and acquired, and how culture impacts upon these processes.
Our course team has worked in countries across the globe including South, West and East Africa, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka, as well as Britain.
All our degrees (whether full- or part-time) combine intensive coursework, rigorous training in ethnographic research methods, and a period of fieldwork in the summer term (final summer term if part-time) leading to a 15,000 word dissertation.
Students are free to choose their own research topic and geographic area, in consultation with their academic supervisor. In all cases, the dissertation research project provides valuable experience and in many cases it leads to job contacts – forming a bridge to a future career or time out for career development.
In recent years, students have undertaken fieldwork in locations across the world, including India, Mexico, Bolivia, Papua New Guinea, China, Nepal, Peru, Morocco, and New Zealand as well as within the UK and the rest of Europe.
A few examples of completed dissertations across our Anthropology courses include:
- Psychological suffering on the borders of Myanmar/Thailand
- An Inuit trauma unit in Ottawa, Canada
- NGOs and youth activism in Trinidad
- Neo-shamanism in Germany
- Outcast London: Attitudes and perspectives among hard-to-reach TB patients
- Volunteer tourism and its impact on children in Nepal
- Rap music and politics in Equatorial Guinea
- Ayahuasca use among Westerners in the Amazon
- Religious education in London’s secondary schools
- Mental health in Ghana
- The Tibetan diaspora in India
- Life on a forensic psychiatric ward in Britain
- Gender and sexuality in a hammam in Cairo
- Youth and unemployment in Bari, Italy
- Cultural factors and the experience of dementia in the UK
- Management of diabetes in Cambodia
- Trachoma and medical pluralism in Ethiopia
- Training as a transcultural psychic in London
Candidates will acquire analytical and research skills that can be used in a wide range of careers.
In addition to providing a firm grounding for doctoral research on childhood and youth, graduates will find that the degree enhances professional development in fields such as teaching, social work, counselling, educational and child psychology, health-visiting, nursing and midwifery, paediatric specialisms, non-governmental agencies and international development.
Every year, some of our graduates also go on to do further research for a PhD in child-focused anthropology as members of the Centre for Child-Focused Anthropological Research (C-FAR).
This school offers programs in:
Last updated June 6, 2016