Universität Wien FIND

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to courses and exams may be necessary at short notice. Inform yourself about the current status on u:find and check your e-mails regularly.

Please read the information on https://studieren.univie.ac.at/en/info.

240505 SE Intimacy of Power - New Political Anthropology (P2) (2020W)

Continuous assessment of course work

Participation at first session is obligatory!

The lecturer can invite students to a grade-relevant discussion about partial achievements. Partial achievements that are obtained by fraud or plagiarized result in the non-evaluation of the course (entry 'X' in certificate). The plagiarism software 'Turnitin' will be used for courses with continuous assessment.


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

This is a FULLY DIGITAL course.

Tuesday 03.11. 15:00 - 18:15 Digital
Tuesday 10.11. 15:00 - 18:15 Digital
Tuesday 17.11. 15:00 - 18:15 Digital
Tuesday 24.11. 15:00 - 18:15 Digital
Tuesday 01.12. 15:00 - 18:15 Digital
Wednesday 09.12. 15:00 - 18:15 Digital
Tuesday 15.12. 15:00 - 18:15 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

This course examines the link between political organisation and the everyday, lived social relations. Taking stock of contemporary political anthropology, it showcases some available approaches for understanding the political from grassroots, bottom-up perspective.
Last several decades have witnessed the re-examination of the relation between culture and power. One influential mark of such endeavour was Michael Herzfeld’s notion of ‘cultural intimacy’, as a local knowledge of inconsistencies of official state rhetoric that both destabilises it, and creates a sense of national belonging. Departing from this focus on informality, but also incorporating everyday sociality and the role of emotion, this course uses ‘intimacy’ as a heuristic for researching the social life of politics. It shows how attempts to create impersonal rule of law inevitably create unofficial, intimate subjectivities and practices of rule-breaking, as well as how the latter are not simply resistant, but a key constituent of consent in modern citizenship.
The course starts with a discussion of national stereotypes, pride and shame, and the way they make nation states sites of belonging. We continue with discussion of corruption practices and informal sides of economy, examining the ‘political intimacy’ that various modernisation projects end up creating. This is followed by case studies of embedded cosmopolitanisms in world 'peripheries', and in aftermaths of ethnonational conflicts. Finally, we will examine the role of cynicism and performativity in modern citizenship, debates on the role of affect and emotion in political economy, and the role of humour, parody and satire in new wave of protests and civic engagements that recently spanned across Europe.
The course puts the research on Central and Eastern Europe in debate with literature on other regions, particularly Mediterranean (mostly Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East), Western Europe and India. Following concepts, rather than areas, it aims to equip students with analytical tools for broadening their understanding of contemporary political dynamics. It is meant for anthropology students as well as those coming from other social science and humanities background. By the end of the course, the students should be able to formulate research questions pertinent to contemporary political anthropology.

IMPORTANT: The course will either be run in fully digital mode, or in hybrid pattern (one half of the group is physically present, another follows the session online, with rotations each session). This will be determined in line with University antu-covid19 policies and posted here in due course.

Language of the course is English.
Deregistration is possible until 7. November.


Assessment and permitted materials

Response papers summarising the compulsory readings (400 words to be uploaded 2 hours prior to each session) (30%)
Participation in online group discussions (15%) and assigned student presentations (15%)
Final essay on a chosen topic – 3000 words (40%)

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The course is assigned 5 ECTS credits. This number corresponds to a workload of 125 working hours per student. Of these, a maximum of 25, 50 spent reading, and further 50 spent in preparation of students’ work.
Evaluation criteria:
• Activity in the class: quantity and quality of the participation, preparedness in terms of reading the texts. (Max. absence from 3 sessions)
• student presentations: timing, structure, content, ability to connect the themes to other readings in the course
• Written work is going to be based on the following criteria:
- Selection and coverage of the literature on the subject
- Structure of the work
- Clarity of reasoning and line of argument
- Formalities [e.g. citation, formatting]
- Language / Style [spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax]
- Accurate use of sources / / data / literature
- Reflexivity / ability to deal with the sources and literature
- Originality
• 91-100 points – 1 (excellent)
• 81-90 points – 2 (good)
• 71-80 points – 3 (satisfactory)
• 61-70 points – 4 (sufficient)
In order to complete the course, one needs to obtain at least 61 points.
The lecturer can invite students to a grade-relevant discussion about partial achievements. Partial achievements that are obtained by fraud or plagiarized result in the non-evaluation of the course (entry 'X' in certificate). The plagiarism software 'Turnitin' will be used for courses with continuous assessment.

Examination topics

Reading list

Herzfeld, Michael. 1985. The poetics of manhood: contest and identity in a Cretan mountain village. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Steinmüller, H. 2013. Communities of complicity. everyday ethics in rural China. New York: Berghahn.
Glick Schiller, N., & A. Irving (eds). Whose Cosmopolitanism? Critical perspectives, relationalities, discontents. Oxford: Berghahn.
Spencer, Jonathan. 2007. Anthropology, politics and the state: democracy and violence in South Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1-47.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 26.10.2020 15:09