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Introduction Anthropology and Development Studies - Shifting Solidarities

A multidisciplinary perspective on the most relevant local and global issues regarding solidarity, with specific focus on cultural diversity and citizenship; climate change and natural resources; and international solidarity and social movements.

Solidarity presents one of today’s main challenges. Highly volatile flows of people, goods and ideas have resulted in a diversification of national populations combined with a high degree of global interconnectedness. These processes are, in turn, paralleled by a widespread restructuring of markets and governing institutions. Neoliberal reforms of state and society around the world rewrite social contracts between people and states, while global links crisscross national borders and challenge established conceptions of socio-political relations and structures. At the same time, climate change and the scarcity of natural resources constitute a global predicament. How, in this volatile context, is solidarity shaped and practiced? And to whom does solidarity extend and who does it exclude?

In the Master’s in Anthropology and Development Studies you study current dilemmas related to solidarity, and examine how solidarity is shaped and negotiated not only in the context of nation-states, but also across borders and at a global level. We examine three areas specifically and thoroughly (although not exclusively); cultural diversity and citizenship, climate change and natural resources, and international solidarity and social movements. Particular attention is paid to how solidarity is negotiated on the ground in alternative and innovative ways. For example, social movements that attempt to create alternative communities and economies may prove especially interesting since they try to work with, and change the nature of everyday solidarities through political action.

Master’s research projects need to address a question that is not only relevant academically, but also of societal interest. Students are encouraged to formulate the research question in cooperation with organisations such as, among others, municipal authorities, NGOs, embassies, or education and healthcare institutions. In all cases, a reflection on the social implications of the research findings is required.

The courses ‘Research Design’, ‘Advanced Research Methods’ and ‘Reflecting and Reporting’ together represent the ‘methods stream’ within the programme and combines reflection and practice in major research traditions and methodologies relevant for the study of solidarity. It both works towards a preparation for field research – the empirical core of the thesis, and  continues with a critical reflection on and methodological account of the research after the completion of the study. The stream may thus be seen to consist of three courses, beginning with a course in Research Design (9EC), followed by an Advanced Research Methods course (6EC), and is concluded with a seminar on Reflecting and Reporting (3EC).

By the end of this programme you will be able to identify, compare and relate different perspectives on various issues regarding solidarity. You will not only be able to critically reflect on all these perspectives, including your own, but also decipher their common interest. The communication skills learned will enable you to convey these common interests, whether that is by taking part in the public debate, producing related policies, lobbying, consulting or in teaching. You will also gain the necessary academic research skills to understand and assess the latest academic developments in the field and, if desired, pursue a research-oriented career.