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Study information

Living Cities: Migration, Place and the Politics of Identities

Module titleLiving Cities: Migration, Place and the Politics of Identities
Module codeANT3004
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Katharine Tyler ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Living cities will introduce you to the impact of migration upon the formation of ethnic and racial identities with particular reference to the city. You will acquire an understanding of the politics of migration and the formation of urban ethnicities. You will also gain an understanding of the ways in which cities become sites for the production of ethnic, racial, gender, sexual, class and postcolonial identities, as well as places that become associated in the popular imagination with prestige, respectability, social stigma, violence and decay. In doing so, you will gain a detailed theoretical and ethnographic understanding of the ways in which cities become sites for the production of power, politics, passion and social identities.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module with enable you to think analytically about ideas of race and place, processes of voluntary and forced migration of people across the globe and their lives in the living city, how ethnicity mediates cultural creativity in cities and how cities become sites of political action and resistance to regimes of governance and power. You will also learn how to think critically about popular racialised, classed and gendered representations of cities, including everyday accounts of urban uprisings and gang cultures. While the city is often depicted as the site of ethnic diversity and migration, we shall consider how the countryside becomes portrayed in some cultural representations as the city’s other and thus the site of cultural homogeneity.

This module will draw mainly upon anthropological and sociological studies of migration, ethnicity, place and urban cultures. We shall also consider important work by scholars in related disciplines such as cultural geography and politics to think about place, race and identity. In so doing this module will familiarise you with the rich body of work and thought by anthropologists, sociologists, cultural geographers and scholars from related disciplines working on questions concerning migration, ethnicity, race, racism, social class, place, politics, power and the city. The module will take a comparative approach drawing upon studies across Britain and the globe.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate knowledge of and critically engage with anthropological, sociological and related work on ethnicities, migration and the city
  • 2. Demonstrate a clear appreciation of theories and concepts deployed to analyze the ways in which places become sites for the production of identities
  • 3. Think critically about popular and everyday representations of urban life

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. display - in written and oral form - an analytic and critical understanding of the relationship between anthropological, sociological and related approaches and explanations offered in the social sciences
  • 5. appreciate key issues relevant to the contemporary world, and develop critical, comparative insight.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. demonstrate transferable skills in formulating, researching and addressing focused questions
  • 7. prepare focused and comprehensive written and oral presentations
  • 8. work independently and in collaboration with others.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus maycover some or all of the following topics:

  • Theorising race, place & identity
  • Migration and the city
  • Asylum seekers, the city and the state
  • Policing the city
  • Urban uprising, riots
  • Gang cultures
  • Cultural creativity and the city: Music (for example, Reggae, Rap, Hip Hop, New Asian   Dance Music)
  • Outside the city: race and the country

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching2211 x weekly 2-hour lectures/seminars or 1 hour lecture + 1 hour seminar
Guided independent study18Preparing seminar-presentation individually and as a group
Guided independent study80Reading and research
Guided independent study30Web-based activities

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan 750 words1-8Written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1003,000 words1,2,3,5,6,7,8Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay Research essay (3,000 words)1,2,3,5,6,7,8August/September reassessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Alexander, C. (2000) The Asian Gang: Ethnicity, Identity and Masculinity. Berg.

Back, L. (1996) New Ethnicities and Urban Culture: Racism and Multi Culture in Young Lives UCL Press.

Cross, M. and Keith, M. ed. (1993) Racism, the City and the State, Routledge

Eade, J. and Mele, C. (2008) Understanding the City: Contemporary and Future Perspectives, Blackwell.

Hannerz, U. 1980. Exploring the City: Inquiries Toward an Urban Anthropology. Columbia University Press.

Low, S.M. ed. 2005. Theorizing the City: The New Urban Anthropology Reader. Rutgers University Press.

Wemyss, G. (2009) The invisible Empire: White Discourse, Tolerance and Belonging. Ashgate.

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Ethnographic films, relevant documentaries and feature films

Key words search

City, urban, anthropology, globalisation

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date