spring 2022
SVF-3107 Visual Ethnography and Ways of Knowing - 10 ECTS

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 December. Applicants from outside the Nordic countries: 1 October.

Type of course

The course is compulsory for students admitted to the Master's programme in Visual Anthropology. It is open for students from other programmes and may be taken as a single course.

Admission requirements

May be taken as a single course. Application code 9371.

Reccommended previous knowledge:

For students of the Master's Programme in Visual Anthropology:

SVF-3101 Approaching social realities: Understanding other people's life-worlds

SVF-3102 Conveying social realities: Exploring audio-visual narrative strategies


For other students: A Bachelor's degree in a subject within the Social Sciences or Humanities.

An average grade equivalent to C or better within the Norwegian grading system is required for Bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in Europe, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand; And an average grade equivalent to B or better within the Norwegian grading system is required for Bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in all other countries.

Course content

Visual anthropology concerns both the use of (audio) visual material in research and the study of visual systems. The course will present and discuss various approaches to camera-based research, the use of visual material in processes of elicitation of knowledge and the study of already existing visible culture.  These are approaches which imply both challenges and possibilities for the praxis of ethnographic research and dissemination.


A focus on the non verbal fields of knowledge can contribute to a broadening of the field of communication between informant, researcher and audience, and accordingly also to an enlargement of the scope of the social sciences. It also invites for reflections on:

  • How artifacts constitute aspects of social systems;
  • How the relationships between visual perception and cultural organization unfold through time;
  • How cultural representations are embedded in/generate power relations; and
  • The potential new ways of doing so called applied research and research dissemination.

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:



  •  have knowledge on how the visual can be studied (semiology)
  • have knowledge on how visual systems can be used in the discovery of social processes.
  • have knowledge of the state of the art within visual ethnography/visual anthropology
  • have solid knowledge of how photographic and filmic representations are used in social scientific traditions



  • be able to identify the culturally specific signs which are expressed in smells, tastes, sounds, objects, gestures.
  • be able to reflect critically on the role of sensorial expressions in cultural and social analysis
  • be conscious of conventions in photo and film
  • be able to reflect critically on the role visual representations play in concrete research projects


General competence

  • be able to demonstrate how knowledge of systems of sensorial signs favours successful dialogues in the process of research  and dissemination
  • be able to reflect critically of how visual representations articulate with text in social science representations.

Language of instruction and examination


Teaching methods

The course consists of theoretical lectures and visual ethnography seminars in which projects using audio-visual methods are presented and discussed.

Information to incoming exchange students

This course is available for inbound exchange students.

This course is open for inbound exchange student who meets the admission requirements. Please see the Admission requirements.

Do you have questions about this module? Please check the following website to contact the course coordinator for exchange students at the faculty: INBOUND STUDENT MOBILITY: COURSE COORDINATORS AT THE FACULTIES | UiT


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


The home examination is to be based on a given topic. Students have one week to complete the examination and submit a paper of ca. 3500 words (10 pages). Marking is made according to a grading scale from A to F, where F is fail. A re-sit exam will be arranged for this course

  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: SVF-3107
  • Tidligere år og semester for dette emnet