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Høst 2022

SVF-3101 Approaching Social Realities: Understanding Other Peoples' Life-worlds - 20 stp

The course is administrated by

Institutt for samfunnsvitenskap

Type of course

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

Course overlap

SVF-3101 Film Form: Re-presenting reality through the Camera 10 stp

Course contents

The course is an exploration of qualitative research methodology. An introduction to the cinematographic contribution to the production and communication of anthropological knowledge is given. The course aims at preparing students - both conceptually and technically - to use the camera as a research tool. This implies actor inspired analytical perspectives, a focus on cinematographic language and film-form as a practice for capturing and representing social processes. Lectures on theory and methodology will deal with challenges related to fieldwork both with and without a camera.

The course consists of 4 parts:

1)"Practical and epistemological steps" will make students sensitive to various methodological challenges and to different ways of producing knowledge. This task will be approached through theoretical lectures, analysis of an ethnographic monograph, and will also be related to practical experience. During the course, the students conduct several practical exercises in which Norwegian and international students work together. Through collaboration in "cross-cultural" pairs (and employing audio-visual tools), they also learn about practical cross-cultural communication.

2)"The attentive camera". Skills will be developed in the art of telling stories with images. Analyses and interpretation of a film¿s raw footage will be part of the ongoing learning process. Through this experience the students acquire an awareness of how different ways of filming imply different ways of looking at and representing the world; that is, social processes. The theoretical lectures on cinema language and its implications will include viewing a selection of excerpts from the early days of cinema through to examples of recent trends.

3)"Video technique" is an introduction to the camera and sound equipment. Subjects like proper handling and storage conditions of video equipment, basic functions, sound recording, video formats and advanced camera functions will be addressed. During these lectures exercises completed by students will be evaluated from a technical point of view.

4) In "Ethnographic film history" a selection of films will be screened at full length. These seminars will give an introduction to the various genres within ethnographic and documentary filmmaking and how they have been influenced by the ethnographic project. They are held in a forum format that demands active participation from the students.

5) An excursion to a local Northern Norwegian community is organized at the beginning of the semester. The excursion will give an introduction to rural Northern Norway.

Objective of the course

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






General competence

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

Consists of lectures (approx. 50 hours), seminars (approx. 70 hours), and 5 - 6 practical exercises with individual supervision. The individual exercises will help the students to get acquainted with the camera and technical equipment.

Date for examination

Off campus exam hand out date 22.09.2022 hand in date 06.10.2022

The date for the exam can be changed. The final date will be announced at your faculty early in May and early in November.