UV9115 – Organizational Ethnography

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Course content

The course is offered in collaboration with the ExCID research group.

Responsible: Monika Nerland, University of Oslo, Silvia Gherardi, University of Trento, Italy, and University of Oslo

Lecturers: Silvia Gherardi, University of Trento, Italy, and University of Oslo

                   Antonio Strati, University of Trento, Italy, and University of Paris-Saclay, France

Since around the mid 1990s, workplace and organizational ethnographies have become increasingly popular in many social science disciplines. The reasons for this success are complex and not just to do with the general expansion of qualitative research and with the ‘turn to language’. In fact we can consider ethnography as a distinctive type of research and not as simply a method of doing research.The aim of the course is to become familiar with the craft of studying working and organizational life ethnographically. Ethnography is well suited to a close-up view of the continual and messy processes that produce cultures. It is especially attuned to the objects, materials and symbolic and aesthetics artifacts that help bring practices to life. It focuses upon the ways in which humans and more-than-humans are connected and make sense of their identities and their relationships, the subjective experience of life in the organization. The general aim of ethnographic research is to inform the practices of members of society by presenting them with grounded accounts of ‘how the social world works’ (as Watson defined it). A definition of ethnography is as ‘a genre of social science writing which draws upon the writer’s close observation of and involvement with people in a particular social setting and relates the words spoken and the practices observed or experienced to the overall cultural framework within which they occurred’ (Watson, 2013). Organizational ethnography enables researchers to produce a more grounded, practice-based understanding of day-to-day aspects of organizational life, paying attention to its ambiguities and obscurities.

Learning outcome

This course will introduce the participants to the contemporary debates and to the most common methods in ethnography: participant observation, go-along, shadowing, ethnography of objects, digital ethnography, intra-view. The possibility of experimenting in groups with ethnographic methodologies will be provided during the second day of the course.


PhD candidates at the Faculty of Educational Sciences will be given priority, but it is also possible for others to apply for the course. Applicants must have at least a Master's degree.

Candidates admitted to the PhD Programme at the Faculty of Educational Sciences should apply through Studentweb 

Other applicants may apply using this application form

Registration deadline: October 2, 2016.


This is an intensive course over three days, comprising a total of 17 hours.

Time: October 18, 2016 (10:00-16:00), October 19, 2016 (09:00-16:00), October 20, 2016 (09:00-13:00).

Place: University of Oslo, Helga Engs hus, Room 231 (October 18 and October 20), Room 232 (October 19).



1 credit point for course participation (80% attendance is required).

3 credit points for course participation and submitted paper (7 pages, Times New Roman 12, line spacing 1,5). 80% attendance is required.

Papers are to be submitted after the course electronically to Monika Bærøe Nerland (m.b.nerland@iped.uio.no) with a copy to Olga Mukhina (olga.mukhina@iped.uio.no ). The deadline for submission of papers is 18 November 2016.

Grading scale

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

Facts about this course






Autumn 2016


Autumn 2016

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