ANTH4610 – Work, Capital and Business

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course explores ethnographic insights into the nature of work and organisational relations with particular emphasis on developments in this field in the current century. You are introduced to a variety of theoretical approaches that examine the meaning and the social effects of conceptual separations between spheres of activity such as ‘capital’ and ‘labour’ on the one hand and ‘kinship’ or ‘society’ on the other. Through key readings, you are led to reflect upon the methodological and ethical challenges of conducting ethnographic fieldwork on these topics as part of the final preparation for your own fieldwork.

The course covers a number of key concepts and debates in contemporary anthropological analyses of work, capital and business. It encourages you to develop an understanding of the value of anthropological theory and method which will help you prepare for your own research contribution to this field. The topics covered include

  • Ethnographic approaches to Capital and Business
  • Wage-labour and work in the 21st century
  • Class, kinship and gender relations
  • Reciprocity and moral obligation in business and work
  • The role of culture in business

Learning outcome


  • Overview of anthropological perspectives on key concepts and debates on capital, business and labour
  • Understanding of their relevance for contemporary academic and public policy debates
  • Appreciation for ongoing theoretical debates and the ability to relate your own original research to the development of these debates


  • Ability to synthesise and critique a variety of theoretical positions and to use this understanding to contribute to the construction of a unique research agenda
  • Increased ability to reflect critically in writing and in oral presentation on the themes of work, capital, and labour
  • Essay writing/argument construction skills

General competence

  • Enhanced skills for independent academic thought
  • Improved team work capability and group-presentations
  • The ability to express arguments in solid academic written English (via essay writing and shorter reflection papers) as well as oral presentation


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.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Students must be enrolled in the master’s programme in Social Anthropology, and must have completed ANTH4010 – Advanced Anthropological Theory, ANTH4020 – Academic Writing and Project Development​​, ANTH4030 – Advanced Anthropological Methods


3-hour teaching blocks with a combination of lectures and in-class group discussions moderated by the lecturer.


In addition to one mandatory oral presentation, eight short reflection papers on individual lecture content (up to 300 words) will be submitted throughout the semester. The student will upload three revised versions of the above-mentioned papers (the selection of which will be announced during the last lecture).

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 pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

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


Every spring

Teaching language