ATS3199 - Cultures of the corporate world - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit


Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Julian Millie


Associate Professor Julian Millie

Not offered in 2019


Completion of prior units in Anthropology or equivalent, subject to unit coordinator's approval.


In this unit, students explore one of the central dichotomies of contemporary human life: corporations are non-human entities that are playing a more and more significant role in human activity, and few lives are not influenced by them. At the same time, corporations rely for their existence on humans, and ideally should provide benefits to human lives. The central questions of this unit examine this problem: in a world defined by human relationships, how do corporations figure in social activity? Relying on anthropological analysis of corporate activity in western and non-western settings, the unit examines what corporations mean for human sociability, focussing on: the differing forms and meanings of corporations across cultures; the changing relations between humans and corporations, and their implications for understandings of human subjectivity; debates about what kinds of responsibility can be attributed to these non-human entities; different forms of speech and language used by corporations; how corporations benefit from ethnographic analysis; the ways in which social facts such as kinship and gender shape and are shaped by corporations. Drawing on ethnographic case studies as well as anthropological theorising, the unit approaches corporations not as givens, but as social products that can be compared to other cultural forms.


Upon successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. explain and communicate the methods of investigation and theoretical frameworks for the anthropological study of corporations;
  2. analyse the ethical and responsibility issues of corporations in the contemporary world;
  3. conduct and produce an independent research project in a written form in keeping with anthropological/ethnographic convention;
  4. develop innovative solutions to real world problems in the corporate world through applied anthropology, including a specialised awareness of the importance of human difference;
  5. devise time management practices to manage competing demands;
  6. engage in professional development and demonstrate a commitment to life-long learning.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study