Read more: Distance learning around the country. Welcome!
This excludes a possible fee for study materials.
10 free study places have been reserved for undergraduate students attending the University of Helsinki.
Registration begins 45 days before the beginning of the course. The exact registration time is shown by clicking the Register button.
- The online registration is available for those who have Finnish identity number and an online bankig ID.
- If you don't have Finnish identity number and / or an online banking ID, you should register at the Admission Services of University of Helsinki.
- If don't have Finnish identity number and/or an online ID and you live outside Finland / cannot visit University of Helsinki, it is unfortunately impossible for you to register to the course.
- International students at the University of Helsinki can enrol on the course with their University of Helsinki username.
University of Helsinki username
As an Open University student you'll get the University of Helsinki username to access the university's IT systems. The username should be activated after the registration online or at the university.
Online activating requires strong electronic identification. If it is not possible, you should visit the Helsinki University ID-point.
The ECSTS credits
The ECTS credits are possible to people who have a Finnish identity number.
More information on studying at the Open University:
- During your studies
- Arrangements for students in need of special support
- Open University reserves the right to make changes to the study programme.
If you are interested in contemporary approaches of social and cultural anthropology, welcome to the course!
Potentially required previous studies for this course will be announced separately in the teaching program for each year.
Efter att ha slutfört kursen har studerandena djupare kunskap om utvalda aktuella förhållningssätt inom social- och kulturantropologi.
Undervisningsperioden kommer att meddelas separat i det årliga studieprogrammet.
This course will engage anthropological approaches to crisis and austerity, with a primary focus on the so-called ‘European debt crisis’. Our general aim is to explore how crisis and austerity function as objects of knowledge and moral reasoning, as lived experiences, and finally, as catalysts of social cooperation and political action.
The course will cover a wide range of topics, including critical anthropological perspectives on neoliberal economic models; the disruption of social reproduction patterns and provisioning routes; the emergence of widespread indignation and discontent; and the proliferation of informal networks of solidarity and care.
Course readings will demonstrate the impact of austerity on a variety of domains, including gender, kinship, and the household; healthcare provisioning; dress and food consumption; social memory and temporal consciousness; and finally, social mobilisation and collective action.
Narotzky, S., & Besnier, N. (2014). Crisis, value, and hope: rethinking the economy: an introduction to supplement 9. Current Anthropology, 55(S9), S4-S16
Loftsdóttir, K. (2010). The loss of innocence: The Icelandic fnancial crisis and colonial past. Anthropology Today, 26(6), 9-13.
Bakalaki, A. (2016). Chemtrails, crisis, and loss in an interconnected world. Visual Anthropology
Review, 32(1), 12-23.
Knight, D. M. (2012). Cultural proximity: crisis, time and social memory in central Greece. History and Anthropology, 23(3), 349-374.
Stubbs, P. (2018). Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow: power, expertise and the hegemonic temporalities of austerity. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, 31(1), 25-39.
Matos, P. A. D. (2014). Gender commodification and precarity in Portuguese call centres: the (re) production of inequality. Etnográfica. Revista do Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia, 18(1)), 5-32.
Douzina-Bakalaki, P. (2017). Volunteering mothers: engaging the crisis in a soup kitchen of northern Greece. Anthropology Matters, 17(1).
Sabaté, I. (2016). The Spanish mortgage crisis and the re-emergence of moral economies in uncertain times. History and anthropology, 27(1), 107-120
James, D., & Kirwan, S. (2019). ‘Sorting out income’: transnational householding and austerity Britain. Social Anthropology.
Pipyrou, S. (2014). Cutting bella figura: Irony, crisis, and secondhand clothes in South Italy. American Ethnologist, 41(3), 532-546.
Streinzer, A. (2018). Relations with the Market: On Cosmologies of Capitalism in Greece. In Market Versus Society (pp. 101-112). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
Knight, D. M. (2015). Wit and Greece's economic crisis: Ironic slogans, food, and antiausterity sentiments. American Ethnologist, 42(2), 230-246.
Caplan, P. (2016). Big society or broken society?: Food banks in the UK. Anthropology Today, 32(1), 5-9
Davis, E. (2015). “We've toiled without end”: Publicity, Crisis, and the Suicide “Epidemic” in Greece. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 57(4), 1007-1036.
Kehr, J. (2018). ‘Exotic no more’: Tuberculosis, public debt and global health in Berlin. Global public health, 13(3), 369-382.
Narotzky, S. (2016). Between inequality and injustice: Dignity as a motive for mobilization during the crisis. History and anthropology, 27(1), 74-92.
Gray, L. E. (2016). Registering protest: voice, precarity, and return in crisis Portugal. History and Anthropology, 27(1), 60-73.
Cabot, H. (2016). ‘Contagious’ solidarity: reconfiguring care and citizenship in Greece's social clinics. Social Anthropology, 24(2), 152-166.
Grasseni, C. (2014). Food activism in Italy as an anthropology of direct democracy. Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, 23(1), 77-98
Documentary: 15M: ’Excellent. A wake-up call. Important’
Your final grade will be composed as follows:
Class Attendance and Participation 20%
Reflection Papers 30%
Final Essay 50%
1) Class Attendance and Participation
This is a seminar-based course and will consist of short lectures, group work, class discussions, presentations, and occasional film screenings. Class will usually start with an introduction to each week’s topic, which will then be followed by extensive engagement with key readings and other material.
Students are expected to go through the obligatory readings, which will be available under each week’s Moodle entry. Students should be prepared to summarise the readings, critically reflect on them, and comment on each reading’s key arguments, methodology, and findings. Additionally, they should be able to raise questions and identify passages to be analysed in class. It is important to keep in mind that the topics that will be covered in this course are intricately related, and as such, one of our tasks will be to identify recurring themes and issues, as well as to compare individual readings.
In each session, students will be expected to form small groups, discuss the key readings, and later present their summaries, views, and questions to the rest of the class. Often, students will be given a list of questions to choose from and discuss among their group.
Attendance is mandatory and students should not miss more than three classes. If a student misses more than three classes without proof of mitigating circumstances, she or he will have to submit extra assignment(s).
2) Three Reflection Papers
The course is divided into three Thematic Blocks (also see below):
1) Economic Crises as Objects of Knowledge and Reasoning
2) Crisis and Austerity in Lived Experience
3) Crisis and Austerity as Catalysts of Cooperation and Political Action
Students are expected to submit a reflection paper for each of these three blocks. A reflection paper should be between 1000 and 1500 words long and should make use of at least two weeks’ readings and class discussions. Rather than providing a summary of the texts, students are expected to engage them critically. This could involve comparing and contrasting different texts, reflecting on a thematic block as a whole, or pursuing an argument informed by class discussions.
The reflection papers should be submitted via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the deadlines will be announced later.
Late submissions will be marked down by one point per day (1-5 grading scale), unless proof of mitigating circumstances has been provided.
3) A Final Essay
At the end of the term, students are expected to write and submit a final essay. The final essay should be 4000 words long. In their essays, students should demonstrate their ability to 1) critically reflect on course materials, 2) synthesise different readings towards a meaningful and coherent narrative, 3) make relevant arguments backed up by appropriate materials and reading references. Students are encouraged to engage both obligatory and optional readings. Students will have to
respond to an essay question from the list provided in Moodle.
Essays should be submitted on Moodle. The deadline will be announced later.
Online learning environment Moodle will be used on the course. Moodle opens at the beginning of the course
How to get the Moodle-link and course key?
Students of University of Helsinki and Open University of Helsinki: Next day after registration: log into this study programme with your University of Helsinki username. You will receive more information on the username after registration.
The course is part of optional studies in Master´s programme in Society and Change and it can also be included in Society and Change -study modules (25 cr or 35 credits).