Graduate School of Social Sciences


Cultural and Social Anthropology (MSc)

'I conducted my research among Dutch combat soldiers; a choice which confirms that anthropology is much broader and more versatile than some may think.' Read what Tine Molendijk tells about Cultural and Social Anthropology.

Tine Molendijk

Tine Molendijk. Photo: Marte van Liere.

My name is Tine Molendijk and I come from The Netherlands. When I graduated from secondary school, I was one of the many young idealists who wanted ‘to change the world’. During my Bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology this motivation has matured in wanting to contribute my share. Passionate about philosophical abstraction in combination with bottom-up research, and still very much socially engaged, I decided to continue on the same path. I therefore chose the Master’s programme Cultural Anthropology.

'In this Master we are expected to take initiative'

I want to stress that many of the connotations people have with Anthropology do not hold any longer, including the idea that the approach of the discipline is necessarily ideologically motivated. Quite the opposite is true. In this Master we were expected to take initiative; we were the ones who chose our subject and spent an entire year studying this, writing the proposal, conducting research and writing the thesis. The specific approach makes it a typical anthropological Master. We were expected to do fieldwork and thus combine an emphatic, practical approach with literature research on a macro level. The three courses in this Master were dedicated to guiding us through our research and helped us taking a stance in current anthropological debates.

'My thesis is really my own product, from a to z'

I conducted my research among Dutch combat soldiers; a choice which confirms that anthropology is much broader and more versatile than some may think. Through participant observation, media analysis and interviews, I examined relations between patriotism and (illegitimate) military violence. I cannot think of anything more exciting than seeing your own thesis rolling out of the press, with a picture on the cover of the people you have personally spent time with. My thesis is really my own product, from a to z. However, to complete such a year of independence, you have to be motivated and work really hard. In my year this was the case for all of us. We worked hard and supported each other. The weekly classes were always followed by a few beers, because, in the words of one of our lecturers: ‘people who drink together, think together’.

'I plan to continue working in the academic world'

I plan to continue working in the academic world, hopefully as a PhD-student. Some of my classmates had the same ambition, some wanted to end up working for NGO’s, the government, others aimed for something completely different. The only less positive aspect I can think of, is the absence of an internship in this Master. However, in my applications I have already noticed that it is appreciated that I have learned to work independent in this Master, to conduct a complete research and to work on different levels – from the practice of interviewing via a very theoretical level to the level of policy.

'I would recommend...'

I would recommend this Master to everyone who is interested in a Master which is still dedicated to actual research, holds high theoretical standards and aims at ‘delivering’ graduates able to take an holistic approach and a critical stance to every social phenomenon thinkable.

Published by  GSSS

Graduate School of Social Sciences

25 March 2015