Cities and Urban Lives (L6076)

15 credits, Level 5

Spring teaching

In this module, you are introduced to literature and debates in the fields of urban anthropology and anthropology of the city.

You explore historical processes of urbanization, focusing on the spatial, cultural, political and social characteristics of the modern cities, as well
as looking at the experiences of everyday urban life in cities across the world.

You undertake a comparative analysis of the diversity of urban forms and experiences based on specific case studies, to engage with theories ascribing universal characteristics to modern urban society and culture.

Topics covered in this module include:

  • Urban Anthropology and Anthropology of the City: methodological and epistemological challenges
  • From Nomadism to Modern City: the long march of urbanization
  • Pre-modern cities: spiritual economies and cosmopolitan spaces
  • The Colonial and the Colonised City: the spatialization of hierarchies
  • Capitalism, (de)industrialization and the modern city: urban economies
  • Modern Urban Cultures: from street corner society to urban gangs
  • Modern Urban Politics: revolutions, revolts and protests
  • Globalisation, neo-liberalism and the city: the (re)making of class privilege and exclusion
  • Post-modern cityscapes: skyscrapers, shopping malls and slums
  • Materialities of urban life-worlds: crowds, traffic, leisure, etc.


67%: Lecture
33%: Seminar


35%: Coursework (Report)
65%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 117 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: