SOSGEO4800 – Cultural differences, cultural change and the rise of populism

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

This course will be discontinued and will be replaced with a new course SOSGEO4801 – Social Movements in the Age of Migration autumn semester 2019. SOSGEO4800 is taught for the last time spring semester 2019. 

The course explores issues related to cultural differences, cultural changes and cross-cultural interactions - both between and within societies - and their relationship to populist and authoritarian trends that threaten liberal values and democracy. The course is based on various theoretical approaches and empirical contributions from sociology and related social sciences.

What is culture, where do cultural differences come from and how is the culture of contemporary societies further evolving alongside changing standards of living and increased cross-cultural interactions? Are large differences in values and identities inevitably leading to culture clashes as some scholars alarm? Can the rise of populism and authoritarianism around the world be explained by changing societal values? The answers to these questions are increasingly important for our understanding of the process and outcomes of intensifying interaction between cultures. Societies differ in their attitudes towards immigrants and adapt diverse integration policies to deal with the increasing cultural diversity brought by international migration. The rise of populism and authoritarianism around the globe is another problem that is related to changing societal values and rising concerns on issues of globalization and immigration.

Competences in cultural awareness and relationships within culturally heterogeneous communities are becoming increasingly relevant in the labour market, both in the public and private sectors.

Learning outcome


  • Explain and provide examples of different frameworks and approaches to understanding culture, cultural change as well as their importance for migration and integration from the point of view of both the migrants and the larger society;
  • Understand both the need for and challenges to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to the study of culture, migration and populism;
  • The course will contribute to a theoretically grounded understanding of cultural differences, acculturation, and key processes that affect various aspects of the migration process. The course provides a good foundation for working on a thesis concerning the study of cross-cultural communication and acculturation.


  • Critically read and discuss articles and chapters on the topics of culture, migration and integration, recognizing the importance of different discourses and approaches;
  • Use different theories when discussing a more concrete empirical phenomenon;
  • Develop skills for oral and written presentation of knowledge and competencies;


  • Ability to explain linkages between diverse phenomena related to culture, migration and integration
  • Capacity to understand complex issues from multiple perspectives
  • Improved capacity for self-reflection and self-awareness
  • Understanding of how to engage with migration issues from a more knowledge-based perspective


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

This course is not available for single course students.

This course is a part of the Master's programme in Sociology and Human Geography.

The course is also open for master's students on Lektorprogrammet and Organisasjon, ledelse og arbeid at UiO. 

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course as guest student if this is cleared by their own study programme. Admission as a guest student will vary from semester to semester, as guest students will be allotted any vacant seats on the course.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with SOS4800 – Globalisation, migration and religion (continued)


  • The course will be organized as 11 seminars including lectures and discussions
  • The lectures are given in English


  • Term paper

Assessment is based on a term paper (4000 Words). Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail.

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

Ask for explanation of your grade in this course:

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.

Facts about this course

Every spring

The last exam in this course will be held in the autumn semster  2019.

Teaching language