spring 2021
SVF-3109 Anthropological Theory and Ethnographic Praxis - 20 ECTS

Last changed 11.08.2021

Type of course

The course is compulsory for students admitted to Master's program in Visual Anthropology. It may not be taken as a singular course.

Course content

The course will give students an overview of anthropological theory and epistemological issues in the social sciences, forming a background and theoretical foundation to their writing of a project description in which they identify research questions which are feasible and manageable within the limits of the fieldwork.

It also implies clarifying how the research questions are related to existing literature. Regional ethnographic literature, social science literature addressing the topic of research, and social science theory in general should be used.

Apart from lectures, the course consists of seminars in which the students` project descriptions for the master`s research project are further developed. 

An individual camera-based ethnographic fieldwork of 3-4 months duration is conducted.

Recommended prerequisites

SVF-3101 Etnographic Film-making 1, SVF-3102 Etnographic Film-making 2

Objectives of the course

Students who successfully complete this course should have achieved the following learning outcomes:



  • know how to prepare, present and conduct a camera-based social scientific research project
  • have solid knowledge of literature relevant to their Master¿s project, thematically.
  • know what differentiates a research problematic from everyday problematic
  • Practical and technical preparations



  • be able to develop manageable research questions, and methodological and theoretical approaches for their master¿s project, and the chosen field of research.
  • assess how their personal commitment relates to the chosen project.
  • be able to demonstrate how the camera is going to be used in discovery of the cultural conventions of their research partners
  • be able to demonstrate how they are going to create a film narrative rooted in their overall project


General competence

  • be able to demonstrate how they are going to pursue their objectives and research questions through the choices of research partners and research settings.
  • be able to demonstrate how the textual  and filmic representations are going to be related to each other.
  • be able to identify and discuss the relevance of their project to; research partners, cultural diversity globally, development of methodological and theoretical refinement.

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

The course consists of approximately 20 hours with lectures (10 lectures) and approximately 16 hours with seminars. Consists of two parts; the practical and theoretical preparations and the practical fieldwork. The course runs for 6 weeks and also includes the fieldwork for the Master's Thesis.


Course attendance is compulsory, i.e. only valid absences will be approved. A minimum presence of 80 % is required.

The course has a portfolio evaluation, and the following is required during the preparation of the individual portfolio.

Students must participate to the safety and security course in the field and submit the risk assessment form.

Students must submit the notification form to NSD.

Students must submit two drafts of their project description.

Conduct a camera based ethnographic fieldwork of 3-4 months..

The final portfolio must include the following:

  • Project description for the Master¿s project with a special focus on the formulation and discussion of research question(s) and the theoretical and epistemological context.
  • Literature review
  • Approved risk assessment form.
  • Fieldwork report reflecting on whether or not the fieldwork is fulfilling the expectations in the original project description and how to move forward.

Students are not admitted access to camera equipment and allowed to start fieldwork before the project description and the risk assessment are approved.

Marking is made according to a grading scale with "pass" / "fail". A re-sit exam will be arranged for this course.


  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 20
  • Course code: SVF-3109