About Us

We are a community of anthropologists and sociologists committed to the understanding of the complex world we live in.

Our task is to train students to become critical, independent thinkers, and agents of change.

Our department prides itself as a place that provides real-life career opportunities but also occasions for personal growth. Over the years we have been able to train students for careers in the academy, politics, consultancy, government, journalism, business, the film and creative media industry, market research.

Our students are versatile and creative, and equipped with the intellectual tools that enable them to work in diverse fields—urban planning, museum curatorship, tourism, diversity management, rural and urban development and social policy development, government, NGOs, international agencies, and corporate business. Most of all, our students are passionate thinkers, writers, analysts and activists

What is Anthropology

Anthropology is the comparative study of human societies and cultures. It seeks to understand the complexities of human interaction. Anthropologists are interested in understanding how people give meaning to the past and present worlds that humans inhabit; they study what people make, what they do, what they think and how they organise their social life and relationships, cultures and societies.

Anthropologists produce knowledge in a specific way: they conduct fieldwork, immerse  themselves in the lives of the people they study, they gather up observations, analyse, theorise, and they write up their findings. Virtually everything of our world interests them: business and money, kinship, modes of production, consumption, beliefs and rituals, social knowledge and cognition, relationships and politics, gender constructions, migration, nationhood, heritage, social movements and even education. Anthropology is the study of people everywhere, in the big cosmopolitan cities as much as in rural areas, in Africa, Europe, Asia, or anywhere else in the world.

Anthropology is about our involvement in the world we share, and the forms that our world takes. The stories that anthropologists tell are not just an account of the lives of others but rather they are also about ourselves: anthropological knowledge itself emerges in encounters, from the relationship between “us” and the “other” and is affected by the ways in which the anthropologist comes to know.

Anthropology is a discipline that was historically founded around the question of difference. In its inception, it was understood as the study of the non-Western people. However, important new questions and challenges have been posed to anthropology from the Global South, by black and feminist scholars, and this has forced the discipline to undergo a productive process of self-critique and regeneration from the 1960s onwards.

Also history has presented new provocations and questionings to the anthropologists: How do we understand the world we live in? How can our work speak to the inequalities and violence that characterises our contemporary? Anthropology is indeed traversed by the quest of social justice that remains crucial in the ways in which we write, teach and research today. Through their works and constant reflections, anthropologists foster mutual respect and understanding of other people’s experiences and worldview, and are committed to bring change in our societies.

What is Sociology

Sociology is basically the scientific study of society and human behaviour. It is one of several social sciences, which means that sociologists use systematic methods to generate information about the social world, and more recently the environment. Although sociology is more almost 200 years old and is the product of a particular period in Western European history, the insights made and theories developed by early scholars such as Marx, Durkheim and Weber, are still useful and relevant today. Sociological knowledge can help us to understand social issues in contemporary South Africa.

THE FOCUS OF SOCIOLOGY :

  • The world that humans have created, which we actively recreate, and which we can change.
  • The discipline is transforming and staring to extend its focus beyond humanity and examine the broader environment and other animals.
  • The social & environmental consequences of our activities, behaviours and attitudes.
  • The external & structural factors that influence people.
  • Patterns of power & hierarchy in society (issues like class, race and gender inequality, ageism, sexual orientation discrimination and even speciesism).
  • Social issues such as homelessness, racism, poverty, unemployment, divorce, domestic violence, environmental degradation, crime, health inequities & globalization.

As Pierre Bourdieu once said, “the function of sociology as of every science, is to reveal that which is hidden”.