Anthropology of Communication

Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in Communication Sciences
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (48 hours)

Teaching does not require prerequisites. For a better understanding of the topics that will be dealt with in the monographic part, it is suggested a concise review of the key moments of Japan's history, for which one can profitably consult an online encyclopedic entry.

Final Examination: 

The final exam will be based on the above briefly described contents, updated according of the topics actually given.
The preparation of the exam requires the study of the fundamental texts, of the supplementary texts and of the diagrams and work notes that are provided to the students on the e-learning Portal of the University of Insubria. The lectures notes, multimedia presentations and other educational materials are periodically updated. Their knowledge is an integral part of the exam program.
Attending students will be able to take one or more written tests of mid-term review of knowledge and methodologies, which will be taken into account in the final exam. Upon a reasoned request from the student, the tests can be carried out, in addition to in Italian, in one of the following languages: French, English, Portuguese, Spanish.

Voto Finale

Exhaustive knowledge of the proposed contents and the disciplinary lexicon; pertinence in the use of the methodological elements of the discipline and, particularly, in the field of the multifocused analysis; ability to integrate the critical tools of the Cultural Anthropology within the scientific argumentation; knowledge of the problems, sources and methodologies essential for field research in human sciences.

1. Introduction to the theory and history of anthropological thought
1a. Area of interests, aims and methodologies of Cultural Anthropology
1b. The concept of 'culture': descriptive, historical, normative, psychological and genetic definitions; psychology and culture
1c. Definition of the concepts of: 'anthropology', 'ethnology', 'ethnography' and 'folklore'; hegemonic vs. subordinate
1d. Relations and interactions between culture and 'environment' and between culture and 'society'; groups and aggregates
1e. The "individual" and the culture: perception, cognition, emotion, motivation, personality, ethos
1f. Ethnocentrism and Cultural relativism: emic vs. ethic; the local classification system
1g. The concept of "ethnic group"; ethnicities; definition of the main terms of the dictionary of ethnicities: ethnoscience, ethnohistory, ethnomedicine.

2. The analysis of cultural phenomena
2a. The holistic approach; the ideological system and the expressive system; the worldview
2b. Cultural trait, complex and cultural area; the linguistic classification of peoples
2c. Social stratification; the gender; marriage and kinship systems; the clan, the caste;
2d. Acculturation phenomena; the simple exchange model, the classic model, globalization; the miscegenation; the 'modalities' of culture: from integration to assimilation;
2e. Food systems and economic systems; work, exchange and gift
2f. The power; the authority; legitimacy; organizations and institutions
2g. The belief systems, the myth, the rite, the religion
2h. Creativity and play.

3. Introduction to sources and field research
3a. Oral sources; the tradition; sound and visual sources; the written sources
3b. Ethnographic approach: form, word, function, meaning, value, context
3c. The anthropological interview; the choice of informants and other basic methodologies of anthropological research.

4. Communication
4a. The forms of verbal and non-verbal communication
4b. Language and its components
4c. Relations between language and culture; sociolinguistics
4d. The cultural actors and the contexts of communication.

5. Monographic part (case study 1): Primitivism and primitivisms
5a. The 'primitivisms': chronological primitivism, cultural primitivism and artistic Primitivism
5b. 'The primitivist arsenal'
5c. The 'primitive art' according to artists, anthropologists and intellectuals between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
5d. The ideological and expressive themes of Primitivism (1900-1970): an anthropological point of view

6. Monographic part (case study 2): the photography of exoticism and the School of Yokohama
6a. Communicate the other to tell ourselves
6b. The image of Japan in Western culture between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
6c. The School of Yokohama.

1. Schultz Emily A. & Lavenda Robert H., Cultural Anthropology. A Perspective on the Human Condition, Oxford University Press, 3rd edition, Oxford 2015. ISBN 978-0-19-900972-5.
2. Campione Francesco Paolo & Messina Maria Grazia, Je suis l’autre. Picasso, Giacometti e gli altri. Il Primitivismo nella scultura del Novecento, Electa, Milano 2018. ISBN 978-88-918-2069-3
3. Campione Francesco Paolo, La Scuola di Yokohama. La fotografia nel Giappone dell'Ottocento, Giunti (Esovisioni/9), Firenze 2015. ISBN 978-88-09-82686-1.

The teaching methodology provides the frontal lesson of inductive character (step by step), confirmed both by the exchange of opinions and experiences of the participants, and in the summarizing comparison with the teacher on the treated topics. The training approach is oriented so that each attending student can independently produce a final work paper and uses multimedia support and field-guided exercises.
The framework is intense, with alternating introductory lessons and content tests.

For students who wish to go deep independently one or more topics presented during the lessons, is available on the e-Learning Portal an annotated list of recommended books.
Access to scientific journals is possible from the e-Learning Portal.
Any updates to this document will be posted on the teacher's homepage or on the e-Learning Portal.