Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0009 (AF:398463 AR:213826)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
Title: “Dimensions of living. Landscapes and domestic spaces between anthropology, literature and art ".
Monographic course. The teaching is part of the fundamental teachings of the demo-ethno-anthropological disciplines.
Two years of pandemic, with long periods of lockdown in which we found ourselves closed at home and forced to live our daily domestic life in radically different ways, forced us to redefine spaces, relationships, and emotions, often bringing out tensions, inventing ways new to relate with the people we live with, but also with the same objects of the house, and with the activities that we commonly carried out at home before the pandemic. All this has made evident important aspects of the everyday life of the domestic space, which are generally invisible and which we take for granted.
Furthermore, the images of the recent war in Ukraine have made dramatically evident the suffering of thousands of people displaced from their homes: thousands of families forced to leave their familiar places, houses devastated, abandoned, looted, destroyed and with them the objects and memories of a life, the disorienting condition of a refugee forced to invent a new "house", fragile and temporary, for himself and his children, by whatever means available, on the underground platform of a subway, or in makeshift lodgings, in makeshift shelters.
The social sciences and in particular anthropology have therefore launched a new overall analysis on the meaning of living, on the essential value of the house in every form of humanity, in any cultural context. The course deals with the main authors and theories of anthropology of living in an advanced way. Through concrete examples of the analysis of domestic spaces in various parts of the world and with an interdisciplinary approach in which anthropology dialogues with literature, architecture and the arts, the course reflects on the dimensions of living: social history, feminist anthropology, post-colonial studies, critical gender theory have recently highlighted how the house with its geography of objects, internal spaces and social practices is a complex crossroads of emotions, powers, identities, conflicts, forms of sociality, politics and aesthetics.
Critical knowledge of the main authors, theories and methods of anthropology of the domestic space. Ability to concretely apply the main contemporary approaches to the ethnographic analysis of a house in any socio-cultural context.
It is essential to have a solid basic knowledge of cultural and social anthropology, and of the history of anthropology. Non-ACEL students, or students enrolled in other Master's Degree courses who have never taken any anthropological science exam, are asked to personally contact the teacher during office hours or during class.
Home concepts: living, building, thinking. Elements of the history of classical anthropology studies of domestic space (Morgan, Mauss, Evans-Pritchard, Leach, Lévi-Strauss, Douglas). The turning point of the theories of practice and of social production approaches (Bourdieu, Giddens, Ingold). Contemporary perspectives of anthropology of living (Carsten, Hugh-Jones, Cieraad, Birdwell-Pheasant, Lowrence-Zuñiga, Low). Configuration analysis (Hanson, Hillier). Home and sensoriality (Bachelard, Pink). Domestic spaces and the social life of objects (Miller, Appadurai, Kopytoff). Home and home-making processes: home and social construction of emotions (Olesen), intimacy and sexuality. Feminist anthropology, post-colonial studies and critical gender theory in domestic space studies (Gorman-Murray, Pilkey, Saunders, Munro, Madigan, Mallet). The crisis of the bourgeois home. Anthropology of unhomeliness: refugees, refugees and migrants. Living in contexts of poverty and urban marginalization. Suburbs. DIY. The right to housing. The house and the spaces of dying. The nursing home and total social spaces (Goffmann, Foucault). Architecture and anthropology in the design of new house models: the contribution of Norberg-Schultz. The environmental crisis and the ecological house.

In parallel with the course, a seminar cycle of 5 meetings entitled "Anthropology of living" will take place on Mondays from 8.45 to 11.15 (in presence). The seminar cycle is subject to registration as places last (total 24 places), with a dedicated Moodle space. Enrollment is possible from 2 February to 16 February 2023 by contacting the teacher ( The exact calendar of meetings will be provided in the first lesson of the course.
Mandatory texts for all students:

1) Ligi G., "Dimensioni dell'abitare. Paesaggi e spazi domestici fra antropologia, letteratura e arte", Milano, Unicopli, (in preparazione). Il volume sarà disponibile nel febbraio 2023.
If it is not available in the indicated period, it must be replaced with: Dowling R., Blunt A., "Home", Routledge, 2022.

2) a book chosen from the following:

- Ligi G., "La casa saami. Antropologia dello spazio domestico in Lapponia", Il Segnalibro, 2003 (per questo testo rivolgersi al docente).
- Bourdieu P., "La casa kabyle o il mondo rovesciato", in "Per una teoria della pratica", Raffaello Cortina, 2000 (parti da concordare).
- Cieraad I., "At Home. An Anthropology of Domestic Space", Syracuse Univ. Press, 1999.
- Gorman-Murray A., "Queer interior", Routledge, 2019.
- Pink S., "Making Homes", Routledge, 2017.
- Dowling R., Blunt A., "Home", Routledge, 2022 (ultima edizione).
- Staid A., "Abitare illegale. Etnografia del vivere ai margini in Occidente", Milieu, 2017.
- Staid A., "La casa vivente. Riparare gli spazi, imparare a costruire", Add editore, 2001.
- Teti V., "Il senso dei luoghi. Memoria e storia dei paesi abbandonati", Donzelli, 2004

Particular routes:

- point 1: mandatory for all

- point 2: students of the Degree Course in Nordic Languages and Literatures can agree on a specific program also consisting of literary or historical-cultural texts in Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, on the topic of domestic space, and / or integrate with:

- Bille M., "Homely Atmospheres and lighting technologies in Denmark", Routledge, 2021.
- Ligi G., "La casa saami. Antropologia dello spazio domestico in Lapponia", Il Segnalibro, 2003.
- Ligi G., "Lapponia. Antropologia e storia di un paesaggio", Unicopli, 2016.
- Ruong I., "Samerna. I historien och nutid", Bonnier-Fakta, 1991.
- Norberg-Schultz, "Scandinavia. Architettura, gli ultimi vent'anni", Electa, 1990.
- Werne F., "Böndernas Bygge", Wiken, 1993 (parti da concordare).
- Hall T., Dunér K., "Svenska Hus. Landsbygden arkitektur från bondesamhälle till industrialism", Carlssons, 1995.
- Hellspong M., Löfgren O., "Land och Stad. Svenska samhällen och livsformer från medeltid till nutid", Gleerups, 1994.
-Analisi dello spazio domestico delle kyrkostugor, dal classico: Berling R., "Kyrkostaden i övre norrland", Uppsala, Almqvist & Wiksells, 1964.

- point 2: students of the Degree Course in History from the Middle Ages to the Contemporary Age can agree on a specific program and / or choose from the following texts:

- Ligi G., "Il senso del tempo. Percezioni e rappresentazioni del tempo in antropologia culturale", Unicopli, 2013.
- Sarti R., "Vita di casa. Abitare, mangiare, vestire nell'Europa moderna", Laterza, 2000 (parti da concordare).
- Galetti P., "Uomini e case nel Medioevo fra Occidente e Oriente", Laterza, 2001.
- Perrot M., "Storia delle camere", Sellerio, 2011.
- Ariès P., Duby G., "Vita privata. L'Ottocento", Laterza, 1988 (parti da concordare).
- Artès P., Duby G., "Vita privata. Il Novecento", Laterza, 2001 (parti da concordare).

A further in-depth bibliography on the individual topics covered in class, not compulsory for the exam, will be provided during the course.
For a better outcome of the exam it is strongly recommended to attend the lessons.

Students who do not attend classes must prepare the volume:

Carsten J., Hugh-Jones S., "About the house. Lévi-Strauss and beyond", Cambridge Univ. Press, 1995.

Important: students must always take the program of the current academic year to the exam, for the four scheduled sessions. Only those who studied the program of the last academic year 2021-22 but failed to take the exam can take the old program exclusively for the duration of this academic year.
Writing a written report on a course topic plus an oral interview. In the "Exam test" field of the Moodle there is a pdf with instructions for completing and presenting the written report. Registration for the Moodle is mandatory.
Lectures in Italian with the use of power points and classroom discussion.
This exam is not valid for the recovery of the 6 credits in M-DEA / 01 for admission to the ACEL anthropology master's degree.

To apply for the master's thesis in Social Anthropology SP, the following requirements are essential:

1. Having passed both the SP Ethnography and SP Social Anthropology exams, with a positive result and as an attending student.
2. Discussion of a short preliminary research project.

The topic of the thesis must be consistent with the teacher's research fields: anthropology of domestic space and landscape; space-time categories; anthropology of risk and disasters; Saami history and ethnography (Lapland, Northern Scandinavia); history of anthropology.

N.B. Erasmus students are required to express themselves correctly in Italian. The exam for Erasmus students must be held in Italian.

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Climate change and energy" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 02/12/2022