Breadth Module


Majors for Pre-August-2016 Intakes

Sociology & Anthropology

Academic Contributors

Magne Knudsen (Programme Leader)
Asmali Hj Sulaiman (Coordinator)


SasakWeddingSociology is the study of human behaviour in its social context. By analysing social interaction at every level, from micro-group interaction to competition between nation states, its concern is with social institutions that are central to the maintenance of social orders: the state, the market and the educational system, as well as those forms of behaviour that challenge and change the social order, such as crimes, addiction, and other forms of deviance. Sociology occupies a central role in the social sciences because its primary concern is not the study of particular types of institutions, but rather with their interrelationships.

Anthropology is the comparative study of culture and society, including their variations in time and space. It occupies a key role in the social sciences because of its comprehensive and comparative perspective. Like history, it is concerned with the development of human societies, but unlike history it does not limit itself to literate societies but includes prehistory. Like economics, it is concerned with the systems of production and distribution in human societies, but unlike traditional economics it also looks at how production and distribution take place outside the market, both in contemporary and in pre-market societies of the past. Like political science, it is concerned with the institutions of public decision-making and conflict- management in society, but unlike conventional political science it also looks at how these functions are performed outside of as well as prior to the emergence of the state. Like geography, it looks at the role of the physical and social environment of human societies, but unlike conventional geography it also looks at the symbolic and cultural construction of the environment. Like linguistics it is concerned with language, but unlike linguistics it also looks as culture as a whole as a system of symbolic communication. Anthropology also bridges the gap between the humanities and the natural sciences, in that it raises the question of the relationship between the biological and cultural dimensions of human existence.

Who are they?Both sociology and anthropology occupy a central role in the social sciences that bridges the division of labour between the more specialized social science disciplines. While the latter tend to look at human behaviour largely in terms of one dimension only, be it economic, political or spatial, sociology and anthropology look at social life in its totality and inter-relatedness. Whereas sociology was originally mainly concerned with the study of “modern” complex industrialized societies, anthropology tended to focus more on smaller “traditional” societies. However, in this era of globalization, it has become difficult to maintain such simple distinctions between different kinds of societies and cultures and the two subjects increasingly overlap in scope, theories and methods. For this reason they have now been integrated into a single programme at UBD.


The general philosophy of the programme is: (a) to integrate sociological and anthropological approaches, (b) to be broad-based in terms of geographical and sub-disciplinary coverage, and (c) to be responsive to the social and cultural environment within which the programme is taught. In particular the programme seeks to strike a balance between: Sociology and anthropology, the global and the local, theory and application, and teaching and research.

Careers in Sociology and Anthropology

What are they doing?The number of sociologists and anthropologists in the country is limited and hence, compared to the much larger number of graduates in other social sciences, they are in short supply where they are needed. There are two ways to plan for a career in sociology-anthropology. On the one hand, you can think in terms of becoming a professional sociologist or anthropologist involved in teaching and/or researching social and cultural issues. Professional sociologists and anthropologists are usually employed in schools and universities, in museums, and in community-development organizations in the public sector and in market research and related occupations in the private sector. In some cases a career as a professional sociology/anthropologist may also require a postgraduate degree. As with most other highly qualified specialists, the job market for professional social scientists is limited in Brunei.

A training in sociology-anthropology equips students with knowledge of a wide variety of cultures as well as a deeper understanding of their own society, in addition to analytical, communicative and methodological skills that are useful in a wide range of careers outside sociology and anthropology, such as in development, foreign affairs, the media and business.

Since the introduction of sociology and anthropology in UBD in 1996, former students have found employment as school teachers and university lecturers, as well as in other institutions, such as the Brunei Museum, the History Centre, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Anti-Narcotics Bureau, the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the media.

Level 1000 - Foundation Year

AA-1201 Making Sense of Society
AA-1202 Understanding Culture


Level 2000 - Establishment Year

AA-2201 Social Thought
AA-2204 Society, Culture & Economy
AA-2202 Kinship, Marriage & Gender
AA-2205 Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism
AA-2203 Social Stratification


Level 3000 - Discovery Year

AA-3301 Peoples & Cultures of Southeast Asia I
AA-3302 Social Psychology
AA-3303 Society and Culture in Borneo
AA-3304 Urban Society
AA-3305 Asian Anthropology and Asian Anthropologists
AA-3306 Peoples & Cultures of Southeast Asia II
AA-3307 Sociology of Muslim Societies
AA-3308 Sociology of the Body


Level 4000 - Capstone Year

AA-4201 Advanced Social Theory
AA-4203 Research Methods Seminar II
AA-4204 Anthropology of Religion
AA-4206 Popular Culture and Mass Media
AA-4302 Research Methods Seminar I
AA-4305 Politics and Law in Comparative Perspective