SGO9205 - Urban Transformations

Course content

How can we understand and conceptualize ongoing urban transformations? Social theory appears to have rediscovered the city as the key site for exploring the critical challenges of our time – climate change, migration, energy transitions, technological innovation, inequality and more. Cities allow for, both an examination of how those abstract challenges are enacted, practiced and lived on the ground, and for spaces to intervene in them through living labs, experimentation, and other context-sensitive activities. Social theory has attempted to grasp the complexity and spatiality of urban change by drawing on policy mobility literatures, assemblage theory, political ecology, socio-technical transitions perspectives and others, which attribute urban change to the human and the non-human, and to urban actors as well as to transurban relations.

In this course we seek to advance understanding of the nature and dynamics of transformative change in contemporary urban settings. It will draw on and explore a variety of theoretical and empirical approaches relevant to this theme. The course combines lectures and discussions based on paper presentations by course participants. 

The course is organized by the Department of Sociology and Human Geography in collaboration with the Department of Geography, University of Bergen.


Our lecturers:

Professor Jane Jacobs, National University of Singapore, Yale College

Professor Kevin Ward, University of Manchester

Professor Håvard Haarstad, University of Bergen

Professor Per Gunnar Røe, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo


The course is open to applications from all interested Ph.D. students. PhD students at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo gain theory-points and register for the course in StudentWeb.

Interested participants outside the department shall fill out this application form.

The deadline for applications is 27th October 2017.


Schedule (tentative)

The course is located in room 221, Harriet Holters Building all days except on Wednesday - room 124, same building.


Monday 27 November

09.00–09.15    Welcome and introductions

09.15–10.45    Lecture

10.45–11.00    Break

11.00–12.30    Lecture

12.30–13.15    Lunch

13.15–16.00    Presentations by PhD candidates


Tuesday 28 November

09.00–10.30    Lecture

10.30–10.45    Break

10.45–12.15    Lecture

12.15–13.00    Lunch

13.00–16.45    Presentations by PhD candidates


Wednesday 29 November

09.00–10.30    Lecture

10.30–10.45    Break

10.45–12.15    Lecture

12.15–13.00    Lunch

13.00–16.00    Presentations by PhD candidates


Thursday 30 November

09.00–10.30    Lecture

10.30–10.45    Break

10.45–12.15    Lecture

12.15–13.00    Lunch

13.00–15.00    Presentations by PhD candidates

15.00–16.00    Concluding discussion

NB! Detailed schedule is to come!

Readings (not ready)


Each participant is requested to send in a one-page description of her/his Ph.D.-project (aim, research questions and methodological approaches) to, two weeks before the start of the course, on 10th November 2017.

The entire four-day event makes up the PhD course, with the equivalent of 6 credits. For approval, this includes writing a paper of minimum 4 000 words to be submitted by 26th January 2018. Participants are requested to present their own work, focusing specifically on how it relates to urban transformations. The paper is to be sent to

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2017

27-30th November 2017


Autumn 2017

Teaching language