Kaisa_2012_3_photo by Veikko Somerpuro

30.4.2020 at 09:00 - 20.5.2020 at 23:59



The course is meant for students in Society and Change Master’s program majoring in the field of Social and Cultural Anthropology and for students in the COS Master’s program. If there is space, other students from the Society and Change MA program or from other relevant MA programmes can be accepted into the course.

On completing the course the student has acquired an in-depth understanding of the conceptual foundations of ethnographic fieldwork as the foundation of the anthropological research. The student understands the intricate relationship between theory and ethnographic data and is able to link different ethnographic methods to particular types of theoretical argumentation. The student is able to understand and resolve ethical and epistemological problems, such as reflexivity, description, comparison, interpretation, argumentation, and representation, that arise in ethnographic research. He or she is able to critically reflect upon and discuss the contested and changing role of the ‘field’ in the production of anthropological knowledge.

The comparative method in anthropology is different from a method based on case studies in that it does not represent the ethnographic description of a single site as an instance of universal knowledge. Instead, it adopts a holistic perspective in which the meaning of human practice and experience is informed by its social and historical context. Anthropological knowledge is ultimately produced through the comparison ethnographic accounts of related phenomena in different sites. For this reason, anthropological training should include familiarity with more than one ethnographic area.

This course takes an in-depth look at the relationship between theory and method in contemporary anthropology, and on how ethnographic data is used as evidence in the formation of theory, in answering research questions, and in producing anthropological knowledge. The readings, lectures and seminars will all provide a context for critically engaging with and discussing various issues related to these broader analytical themes as well as the hands-on practice of ethnography. Among the topics scrutinized are the questions regarding the epistemological and methodological assumptions of comparative anthropology; the theoretical premises of various methods employed in conducting anthropological research; imaginative, sensual, and experimental ethnographic methods; the changing nature of the concept of the “field;” and the intricacies of ethnographic description and writing.


- Gershon, Ilana 2010. The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting Over New Media. Ithaca, NY : Cornell University Press.

- Lowe, Celia 2007. Wild Profusion : Biodiversity Conservation in an Indonesian Archipelago. Princeton University Press.

- Munn, Nancy 1986. The Fame of Gawa. Cambridge University Press.

On a scale of 0 to 5. All completed studies will be taken into consideration, while self-assessment is promoted

Instructions for examinations

  • Faculty examinations are held in Porthania (Yliopistonkatu 3).
  • Faculty examinations begin at 9.00. Students must arrive by 9.30 and may leave no earlier than 9.30.
  • Students may take only writing utensils with them to their seats (no bags etc.). No programmable calculators or dictionaries are allowed.
  • Mobile phones must be switched off.
  • Examination answers must be returned to the invigilator in the examination envelope.
  • Students must provide proof of identity when submitting their answers.

Lecture course that includes written assignments and group discussions.