One of the central components of social anthropology is the understanding of different ways of organizing society. Organizations of various kinds, such as states, transnational companies, international organizations, and local and translocal NGOs play a vital role in the shaping of people’s lives and of communities around the world.

A great portion of our lives are spent living within, working within or being influenced by different types of organizations. The course deals with anthropological perspectives on organizations in their varying forms.

The aim is to investigate the concept of organization from an anthropological perspective and to understand how organizational forms are manifested in different social and cultural contexts, and what cultural patterns and flows that are nested into them.

Against the background of contemporary processes pf globalization and social change, the role of organizations in these processes is discussed in comparative perspective.

Learning objectives

After having passed the course satisfactorily the student should:

  • Be able to give an account of central anthropological concepts with relevance for organization
  • Be able to describe the central problems in the course literature in relation to the empirical content of the readings
  • Be able to compare, relate and discuss the different problems and questions that are raised in the literature, with emphasis on epistemological and methodological problems
  • Be able to critically analyse, problematise and reflect on anthropological production of knowledge in relation to organizations, with emphasis on eventual epistemological, methodological and ethical problems raised during the lectures and in the literature.