spring 2022
SOA-3006 Indigenous Culture, Resource Management and Human Rights - 10 ECTS

Last changed 17.06.2022

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 December

Applicants from outside the Nordic countries: 15 October

Type of course

The course is part of the International Master of Philosophy in Indigenous Studies (MIS).

It is also optional within the Master in Social Anthropology .

The course may also be part of other disiplinary Master programmes within Social Sciences and Humanities and may be taken as a single course.

Admission requirements

Admission requires a bachelor's degree (180 ECTS), or an equivalent qualification, with a minimum of 80 ECTS within social sciences, humanities, education or the social practice of law. Applicants with a Norwegian study background need an average minimum grade of C or better from the bachelor's degree to be admitted to the master's program. Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in Europe, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand need an average grade of C or better on the ECTS scale. Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in countries other than the above mentioned must have an average grade of B or better on the ECTS scale.

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

Course overlap

Du vil få en reduksjon i antall studiepoeng (som oppgitt under), dersom du avlegger eksamen i dette emnet og har bestått følgende emne(r) fra før av:

SOA-3006 Indigenous Culture and Ethnicity 10 stp
SOA-3008 Culture, Ethnicity and Indigenous Rights 5 stp

Course content

The course provides an overview of traditional resource management practices among indigenous peoples, with particular focus on small-scale economies including hunting and gathering, fishing, shifting cultivation, and pastoralism.  We explore the connection between these land- (and sea-) based subsistence strategies and other aspects of culture and identity, including social and political structures, traditional knowledge systems, education, language, and cosmology. 

Today, these lifeways and cultures are under threat from a number of sources including: intensive resource extraction (mining, logging, oil), large-scale development projects (dams, transportation), environmental issues (pollution, climate change, conservation efforts), and resource competition from neighboring groups. In this course we will identify global processes affecting indigenous lands and livelihood, including political-economic trends and the indigenous rights movement.  We will look at how these processes take shape locally, through study of relevant UN mechanisms, regional courts and commissions, and specific local case studies. 

Objectives of the course

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


  • to explain the main economic and ecological characteristics of different types of indigenous resource management systems
  • to be aware of the ethnographic literature of several indigenous societies across the world
  • to describe the unique way that indigenous identities are invigorated by resource use paradigms

Analytical understanding

  • to be able to describe the substantive differences and similarities between traditional ecological knowledge and scientific, positivist knowledge
  • to be able compare vocabularies relating to human rights and property rights to concepts used within traditional management institutions
  • to be able to compare the institutional resource management practices of different indigenous societies across the world

Skills and competences

  • to be able to assess the impacts that global management models and external encroachment are having upon indigenous peoples
  • to be able to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of different institutions protecting land and water-use rights, offering co-management, or protecting nature
  • to be able to assist indigenous peoples to best present evidence to protect their political and legal rights.

Language of instruction and examination

The language of teaching and exams is English.

Teaching methods

The course is offered in the spring semester and consists of 10 lectures and 5 seminars. The topic for each week will be discussed in seminars.

Information to incoming exchange students

This course is open for inbound exchange students.

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 work requirements:

Three individual written assignments/reports.

In order to sit an examination, the student must complete and gain approval for any coursework requirements.


The final exam consists of a home examination and an oral examination. The home examination is to be based on a given topic. Students have one week to complete the home examination. Approximate length: 3500 words (about 10 pages).

The oral examination is intended to assess the student's knowledge of the course literature and general understanding of the course themes. This examination may adjust the grading of the essay.

Marking is made according to a grading scale from A to F, where F is fail.

The course is open for re-sit examination if there are students that due to sickness are entitled to a postponed examination.


  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: SOA-3006