SOSANT2630 – Digital Anthropology

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

First and foremost, the course provides an overview of themes and approaches to the digital, from social media to smartphones, from temporality to mobility. Secondly, it presents and discusses the methodologies required to study these phenomena, relating them to classic ethnographic methods. Thirdly and finally, the course contextualises the new digital technologies historically, indicating continuities and ruptures with enduring and classic themes and theories of anthropology. It therefore presupposes basic knowledge of anthropological theory, method and subject matter. Whether your passion is smartphone use in a society that interests you – rural Zambia, urban Brazil, highland Burma or the western suburbs of East London – or the implications of the Internet in a particular sector – health, education, business … – or if your interest rather lies in theories of networks, principles of social organisation or the fundamentals of communication, this course will add unexpected depth and relevant breadth to your knowledge of the contemporary world and the human condition.

The course covers a broad range of issues relating to digital technologies, including:

  • Social networks online and offline
  • New methodologies tailored to research on digital communication
  • The transformation of work
  • Empowerment and surveillance in digital capitalism
  • Games and gaming
  • Micro-coordination and the smartphone as locative media
  • Temporality, simultaneity and acceleration
  • Mobility and the smartphone
  • Information excess

In the lectures, these subjects will be dealt with on their own terms, but they are also connected to the non-digital, both historically and in a contemporary sense, thereby indicating historical continuities, perhaps even human universals, and not merely rapid change.

Learning outcome


  • Overview of recent and current anthropological research on the digital;
  • Introduction to research methods dealing with the digital;
  • Knowledge of cultural and social variation regarding engagement with digital technologies;
  • Understanding of network types and forms of social and cultural integration;
  • Awareness of tensions, conflicts and contradictions involving digital technologies, ranging from concentration deficits to robotisation.


  • Ability to distinguish theoretically and analytically between different information technologies and their implications;
  • Mastery of methodological tools enabling basic research on digital and virtual worlds;
  • Ability to work competently with other people in computer-mediated work environments.

General competence

  • The ability to build an argument blending methodological, theoretical and empirical elements, both orally and in writing;
  • Enhanced academic reading competence, which involves the critical interrogation of form and content in anthropological texts.


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.




Take home exam.

Previous exams

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.

The examination text will be given in English and Norwegian.

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

The deadline to request an explanation is one week after the grade is published. For oral and practical examinations, the deadline is immediately after you have received your grade.

The explanation should normally be given within two weeks after you have asked for it. 
You find the explanation in Inspera.

Ask for an explanation of your grade

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






Autumn 2019


Autumn 2019

Teaching language