SOS4510 – Cultural Sociology

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course encompasses three themes – culture, politics and collectivity – and seeks to carve out different relations between them. It gives an introduction to selected theories and empirical research areas belonging to the sociology of culture while centering on questions regarding politics and collectivity.

The course plan is divided in three clusters, each of which is meant to enter the matrix of culture, politics and participation from a different perspective.

  1. The course investigates the very concept of culture and the different ways it has been theorized and defined. What is culture in the first place? Is it meaning, signs and symbols? Art or "high" culture? Forms of language and communication? Does it include the everyday? The body?
  2. The course investigates political and emancipative potential in relation to subculture, in popular culture, in art and in our love lives and sexualities. How to understand the political in relation to youth subcultures? Has contemporary youth become depoliticized? Should a sociology of culture always be "critical" and "political" – and in which sense? Or is it only art – contrary to popular culture or "cultural industrial" forms – which carries an emancipative potential? Is the concept of taste political? How does new cultural tastes mirror (old) inequalities? Or is taste rather to be understood as a basic form of collectivity with the objects we treasure? What role does new social media play in political culture? How do they transform politics as we know it? How do they change our love life and our everyday interaction?
  3. The course investigates the aspect of collectivity and participation as an important component in its own right. What does it really mean to have the feeling of participating in something? What is love? When did it come into being? How has it changed? What role does collective aspect play in cultural and political phenomena? What role does the affective and bodily play in our collective and political life? How to understand the relation between collectivity and politics?

Learning outcome


The student will gain

  • a detailed knowledge of main theories and empirical themes belonging to the sociology of culture.
  • a sociologically informed understanding of important modern cultural institutions, phenomena or themes such as media, current trends in popular culture and leisure, youth culture and art.
  • theoretical and conceptual tools to understand and theorize collective and participatory aspects to cultural phenomena.
  • theoretical and conceptual tools to understand and theorize political aspects to cultural phenomena.

The student will learn

  • to creatively theorize and analyze cultural phenomena
  • to understand and reflect on theoretical choices and their conceptual and methodological consequences at the field of the sociology of culture
General competence

The student will gain

  • increased reflexivity and sensibility as to the social and sociological meaning of culture and cultural phenomena
  • increased reflexivity and sensibility for political aspects to cultural phenomena.
  • increased reflexivity and sensibility for collective and participatory aspects to cultural phenomena.

The course will provide the student with competences, tools and knowledge indispensable for an eventual carrier in the cultural sector, public or private, in event design, organization or management, or in youth education or youth research. In addition, the capacity to analyze and understand modern culture and current cultural tendencies may be of use in a number of other occupations.


This course is an elective course in the Master's programme in Sociology. Students enrolled to this programme must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

The course is also open for students from the follow master’s programmes:

Others may also, on application, be admitted to the course as a guest student. Admission as a guest student will vary from semester to semester, as guest students will be allotted any vacant seats on the course.


  • The course will be organized as seminars including lectures and discussions
  • The lectures are given in English


Assessment is based on a term paper. The students may submit the term paper as a group effort. The group can consist of two to three students. It is voluntary to hand in the term paper as a group and the students are responsible to form a group.  

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

You can ask for an explanation for your grade in Studentweb. 

Resit an examination

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Periodic course evaluation of SOS4510 Spring 2018

Facts about this course






Every autumn

The course will not be held in the autumn semester 2022. 


Every autumn

Teaching language