Undergraduate course

The Frontier of Anthropological Research: Experiments in Egalitarianism

Level of Study

Bachelor level

Teaching semester

Spring 2018

Objectives and Content

This course gives a comprehensive introduction to a specific area of contemporary anthropological investigation. Current research trends and recent theoretical developments are explored through critical discussions with emphasis on anthropology's evolving engagement with the selected field. The course offers a unique opportunity to be acquainted with diverse aspects - methodological, epistemological and theoretical - of the research process, aspects that lie at the very basis of anthropological analysis and practice, and of ethnographic production.

Course theme spring 2018

SANT280-13 gives students an understanding of ongoing anthropological research in the project called Egalitarianism: Forms, Processes, Comparison. Students will get an understanding of the project¿s main problematics and will meet some of the researchers from the project. Lecturers will draw upon their own empirical findings and involvement in theoretical debates.

The key orienting concept of the course is egalitarianism as this is conceived in European and North American (post-) Enlightenment thought. Following the French Revolutionary slogan, egalité/fraterité/liberté - or equality/fraternity/liberty - the course gives an overview of some of the challenges related to this ideology. This means analysing not only socio-economic equality or inequality but also emancipatory forces of socio-political movements and processes which aim to free human beings from constraint, and opening them to realize egalitarian potentials. It addresses, therefore, socio-political transformation essential to a great diversity of ideologies that were shaped following the Enlightenment. This includes how egalitarian ideologies often relate to social exclusion, racism and totalitarianism. Key ethnographic cases will be contemporary African cities, North American intentional communities and the Kurdish freedom movement, as well as recent capitalist experiments in egalitarianism such as bitcoin.

Learning Outcomes

A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


  • provide an overview of the field of study addressed in the course, with particular reference to its history and theoretical and methodological debates in social anthropology


  • explain the current state-of-art of research in the field of study addressed in the course
  • explain the various methodological and theoretical considerations that must be taken in order to further develop the field of study

General competence

  • apply key concepts and perspectives from the course and its field of study independently, in the understanding and analysis of local and global processes
  • apply an understanding of the correlation and difference between empirical data, theory and analysis in text production

Required Previous Knowledge


Access to the Course

This subject is open to students at University of Bergen

Teaching and learning methods


2-4 hours per week

3-5 weeks

10 hours in total

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance


Forms of Assessment

5 days take home exam. Words: 2000-3000

Grading Scale

Grading A-F

Assessment Semester

Spring 2018

Course Evaluation

All courses are regularly evaluated according to UiB´s quality assurance system.


Contact Information

Department of Social Anthropology

Fosswinckelsgate 6

5007 Bergen

E-post: Studieveileder@sosantr.uib.no

Home page: http://www.uib.no/antro/

Phone: +47 55 58 92 50

Fax: +47 55 58 92 60

Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Take-home exam

    Assignment handed out
    12.02.2018, 09:00
    Submission deadline
    16.02.2018, 14:00
    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam