Fall 2016 - SA 364 E100

Urban Communities and Cultures (SA) (4)

Class Number: 3466

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2016: Tue, 5:30–9:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



Anthropological approaches to urbanization, the nature of the city as a social system, and urban cultures and lifestyles. Students with credit for SA 464 may not take SA 364 for further credit.


This course examines the ways in which anthropologists endeavour to understand the varied forms of sociality and cultural creativity characteristically found in cities. Its primary aim is to specify the circumstances and means by which a broad range of urban lives, identities, and communities are socially and culturally constructed. This inquiry will be based upon recent ethnographic studies that strive to take account of not only the structural features of urban settings, but also the diverging everyday practices that urban dwellers devise in their attempts to shape more or less satisfying lives within these complex locales.  

The competing attractions of identity and of anonymity, sociality as well as solitude, membership in communities and maintenance of individuality rest at the heart of urbanites’ intricate social undertakings and diverse experiences. What is more, these possibilities remained linked to more mundane tasks, such as the obtaining of livelihoods and making of homes. Paying attention to the analytical implications of ‘community’ and ‘culture’ permits insight into the processes by which individual lives may be reconciled with participation in—or, at least, some degree of co-existence with—formal and informal groups, including occupational, residential, lifestyle, life-cycle, gendered, ethnic and recreational communities.  

The materials for this course combine ethnographic accounts and analyses as well as visual depictions of urban lives, cultures, and communities situated within cities around the world.


  • First in-class examination 30%
  • Second in-class examination 30%
  • Final Project 20%
  • Seminar Participation 20%


Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy  
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐ S10.04).  Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html.



Didier Fassin (2011) Enforcing Order: An Ethnography of Urban Policing. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html