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240524 SE Elites, Inequality, and Power in (Imperial) Vienna: An Anthropological Inquiry (P4) (2021S)

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

The course will start digital. If the Covid regulations allow it, it will change to on-site or hybrid.
Information about the lecture rooms will then follow in time.

Tuesday 02.03. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Tuesday 09.03. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Tuesday 16.03. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Tuesday 23.03. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Tuesday 27.04. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Tuesday 11.05. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Tuesday 18.05. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Tuesday 01.06. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Tuesday 08.06. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Tuesday 15.06. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Tuesday 22.06. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Tuesday 29.06. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

In virtually every society, historical and contemporary, power is a decisive factor. Surprisingly, however, the ones with most power, such as elites, receive relatively little ethnographic attention in anthropology. Yet to understand the organisation of societies, as well as inequalities within these societies, it is of relevance to also include the study of elites and other powerful groups.

As we reside in a city where traces of elite power and inequalities remain very prominent, the course aims to discuss theoretical insights through tangible Viennese examples.

Course aims:
1. To gain an understanding of the (theoretical) themes and debates in the study of elites.
2. To be able to apply the theory to (historical) developments in Vienna.
3. To better understand the particular qualities an anthropological perspective has to offer.
4. To be able to reflect upon methodological and ethical concerns and challenges in the (anthropological) study of powerful actors.

After discussing definitions of elites, inequality, and power, we will focus on a variety of topics, such as conspicuous consumption, the elite family, admiration of power, philanthropy, and elite geographies. We will discuss these topics with the help of several case studies, especially though not exclusively located in (imperial) Vienna. This will allow us to explore similarities and/or differences between elites, inequality and power in Vienna and elsewhere around the world.

Reading literature, group work, discussions, and individual papers.

Assessment and permitted materials

1. Each student will participate in one group assignment (3 to 5 students) and prepare a session (presentation of the session’s theme, organising group discussion or other activity, etc.). The assignment will count towards 50 points of the final mark.
2. Individually, each student will submit a 4,500 to 6,000 words paper at the end of the course. This will count towards 50 points of the final mark.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

1. Presence and active participation in the seminar.
2. With prior notification, two absences of 90 minutes maximum will be allowed (see for the exception, also the next point).
3. Active and fair contribution to the group assignment (all students involved in a particular group have to be present during their presentation/assignment; hence, they cannot request absence apart from for very important reasons).

Examination topics

Reading list

Various articles and chapters.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Th 10.06.2021 16:09