ASS205 - Anthropology of Poverty and Development

Year: 2019 unit information
Enrolment modes: Trimester 1: Burwood (Melbourne), Waurn Ponds (Geelong), Cloud (online)
Credit point(s): 1
EFTSL value: 0.125
Unit chair:

Tanya King





Incompatible with:

ASS305, ASS331

Contact hours:

Campus: 1 x 1-hour class per week, 1 x 1-hour seminar per week.

Cloud (online): 1 x 1-hour class per week (recordings provided), 1-hour online seminar per week


According to the World Health Organisation, poverty is the most powerful and dangerous disease in the world today. Its presence cannot be dissociated from global epidemics such as HIV/AIDS or from violence including ethnic and racial as well as gender violence. The alleviation of poverty remains the key problem for global action and human development. In this unit, students learn about how anthropologists analyse poverty and apply their knowledge to remedial action in the global environment.

Topics include the culture of poverty, the history of the concept of poverty, the causes of poverty and also its effects. Students learn how anthropologists engage with global organisations such as the WHO, the UN and other non-government organisations committed to development and the eradication of poverty. The global development industry is examined critically as an aspect of contemporary capitalism and world trade that has generated certain discourses such as relative deprivation, sustainable development and the Human Development Index in its attempts to understand poverty as a global phenomenon consisting of local and varied instances.



Class and 0nline exercises 20%

Online quizzes 20%

Essay 35%

Group project 25%


Cloud (online):

Online exercises 20%

Online quizzes 20%

Essay 35%

Group project 25%

Unit Fee Information

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