Social Anthropology

There is a large and vibrant international community of graduate students in the North West studying Social Anthropology.  Prospective applicants can apply through the NWSSDTP Social Anthropology pathway to Liverpool, Lancaster and Manchester Universities.  Liverpool and Lancaster have Social Anthropologists working in departments of Sociology with interests in health and medicine, STS, and Latin America.  The University of Manchester has a large doctoral programme and associated ESRC-recognised MA in Anthropological Research and is home to one of the largest communities of graduate students working in Social Anthropology in the UK.  This provides numerous opportunities for cross-institutional supervision, jointly-organised events and workshops, and module exchange.  The Manchester department has particular expertise in political and economic anthropology; the anthropology of health and medicine; visual anthropology; the anthropology of development; the anthropology of science, technology and infrastructure; migration and displacement; questions of urban life and the built environment.  Prospective applicants are encouraged to explore the respective programme and departmental web-pages and to discussed their proposed research with the prospective supervisor(s) before submitting their application.

Image above: Manchester Social Anthropology doctoral student, Kristian Hoeck, engaged in conversation with informant and robotics researcher Kohei Ogawa about what makes us human. Photo taken during fieldwork at the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory in Osaka in Spring 2017, courtesy of Kristian Hoeck.

Programmes eligible for NWSSDTP funding

N.B. Master’s programmes can only be funded as part of a 1+3/2+2 Studentship

Lancaster University

University of Liverpool

University of Manchester

For information on how to apply for funding, please visit our How to Apply page.

Pathway Representatives

Contact details for Social Anthropology Pathway Representatives at each institution can be found here

Current Social Anthropology NWSSDTP students

NWDTC-DTP Rose LogoThomas Sullivan (2018 Cohort)

“As Above, So Below”: Contemporary British Cosmologies of Spirituality and the New Age

Following ethnographic research in a “New Age” spiritual community in the UK, my research project explores how marginalised cosmologies and practices provide alternatives to dominant ways of conceptualising the world. Using novel anthropological approaches, my research project seeks to explore what it means to do anthropology, while also providing fresh perspectives on pressing topics such as ecology and gender.

Fiona (17)Fiona Potter (2019 Cohort)

Songs of Horses, Songs of Home: Mongolian Kazakh Senses of Place in the Altai

This project asks how ethnic Kazakhs living in Mongolia’s westernmost province imagine and maintain senses of place, home, and belonging in an emotionally and materially turbulent context. I focus on three aspects of Mongolian Kazakh life (homeland song; semi-nomadic horse culture; and tourism in the Altai Tavn Bogd National Park) to gain deeper insights into what it means for Kazakhs to call Mongolia home.

CowhamCiaran Cowham (2021 Cohort)

Organic Values: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, and Labour in the Supply of ‘Transformative’ Edible Plants in Britain

This project ethnographically explores the intricacies of the production, distribution, and consumption of plants sold as “organic” in England. To this end, I am investigating the ways in which value is created, labour is performed, and plants are commodified by those individuals engaged in the supply chain of horticultural commodities, and whether these processes elucidate the interdependencies of bureaucracy and capitalism.

CraigJonathan Craig (2021 Cohort)

Hostility and Hospitality: Addressing Migrant-Reception Activity at the English Channel

My research addresses the reception of people arriving via irregular means (in small boats) on England’s south coast by anti-migrant activists and grassroots humanitarian groups in relation to broader local and national currents of hostility and hospitality. It explores competing practices of migrant reception and the concomitant relations and visions of national belonging that these practices reflect and engender.

Social Anthropology NWSSDTP Alumni


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