FRE2013 : Ethnography for Language Learners (French) (Inactive)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To introduce students to ethnography as a research method for (inter)cultural learning
- To introduce students to forms of writing connected with and emerging from ethnography.
- To equip students with the required skills to undertake ethnographic field work (inter alia: participant observation; note taking; working with naturally occurring data; data analysis; ethnographic conversations and interviews).
- To provide students with regular practice in small data-gathering exercises in their home cultural environment.
- To help prepare students for (inter)cultural learning during periods of residence abroad.
- To introduce students to key concepts from social and linguistic anthropology.
To provide the opportunity for students to undertake new kinds of academic and creative writing as they produce accounts of local culture.
- To help prepare students for the cultural challenge of the year abroad and to make the time spent there more effective.
- To provide students intending to write a dissertation in their final year with a solid set of research tools to assist them.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will provide a framework for students to explore ethnographic approaches to cultural learning. It will equip them with an understanding of ethnography as a research ‘toolkit’ that will benefit them in their year abroad and beyond and it will teach them how to use ethnographic methods to collect data during fieldwork. Through practical assignments, students will gain practice in research methods such as: participant observation; organizing field notes; working with naturally occurring data; data analysis; conducting ethnographic conversations and interviews. The module will also introduce students to some key concepts as used by social anthropologists in areas such as family and gender relations, roles and relationships, identities and boundaries, rituals and symbolic meanings, power and language, which they will apply in order to interpret their own data. In addition, students will read and analyse a range of writings in French that exemplify ethnographic perspectives on culture, including ethnographies proper and also literature which is anthropological in focus (e.g. by Annie Ernaux, Georges Perec and Michel de Certeau) and which explores the everydayness of culture. Finally, the political and ethical dimensions of conducting ethnographic research will be discussed and students will learn to ‘make strange’ aspects of their own culture.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops112:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00Week 12
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to introduce students to the staple features of ethnographic research, to the history and development of ethnography as a key set of methods in anthropology, and to a range of concepts in social and linguistic anthropology that are relevant to basic cultural analysis. They will help students to map and understand the core theoretical and practical elements that characterize this approach to cultural learning. They will discuss and contextualize the French texts (ethnographic and literary) that students will be exposed to during the module. Finally, they will provide students with a clear rationale and guidelines for their own fieldwork tasks. In workshops, students will explore and analyse the naturally occurring data that they have collected in their mini-fieldwork assignments and share findings on their experiences of conducting ethnographic research. A number of workshops will also involve analysis of ethnographic writings / writings on ethnography and will enhance skills of close reading. Students will develop their ability to present ideas orally, to produce informed and stimulating analyses of their own data and to work effectively in small groups. They will also experiment with the kind of creative writing that is legitimized by ethnography. Through in-class discussion and informal feedback in workshops students will develop their ability to evaluate and improve their own work. The language of delivery for this module will be English but it will enhance students’ linguistic capacity in French too since it will involve: i) reading and analysing complex French texts; ii) conducting an ethnographic conversation with a French native speaker. Private study time will be devoted to: conducting mini-fieldwork tasks; analysing both the findings and the process; preparing workshop contributions; and undertaking required reading. Teaching material will be available primarily through Blackboard or through the Robinson Library, and students will develop their independent learning skills and research techniques.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M151000 word mini-fieldwork assignment, submitted in Assessment period of Semester 1
Essay2M151000 word mini-fieldwork assignment, submitted in Assessment period of Semester 1
Essay2M70One project of 2,500 words. To be written in English and submitted in Assessment period of Semester 2
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2MDetailed project plan.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The fieldwork assignments allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the methods of ethnography and to practice cultural analysis using the data that they have collected. The project requires students to engage more extensively with the theoretical knowledge and practical experience that they have gained throughout the module and to produce in-depth analysis of an aspect of their home culture. This assessment also develops students’ skills in innovative presentation of findings and in creative writing.

Reading Lists