Student Pages
Undergraduate course

Culture, Meaning and Communication

Main content

Level of Study

Bachelor level

Teaching semester


Objectives and Content

Central to social anthropology is the understanding of social actions and events in light of the specific meanings people attach to them. Culture is a central concept in the discipline, and the course accounts for different social anthropological perspectives on cultural meaning, both on a personal level and as a collective, social dimension. The course contains a number of thematic areas where the dimensions of meaning are especially visible, such as the cultural arrangements of reality (classification), fundamental worldly perceptions (cosmology), symbols and communication, knowledge management, representations of faith (religion) and constructions of time and history (social memory). Emphasis is given to the understanding of meaning as social practice, in other words how orientations of reality are generated, maintained and shaped through social life, and how the production of meaning is well established in social relations, economic transactions and displays of power. Practices weighed with meaning, such as rituals, ceremonies, carnivals, witchcraft, magic, sorcery and millennial movements, therefore stand central in the course.

Learning Outcomes

A candidate 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 history of key debates in anthropological studies of culture, meaning and communication
  • provide an overview of key thinkers and ethnographies that have developed the anthropological study of symbol, ritual, and religion


  • apply key concepts and perspectives in the anthropological study of culture, meaning and communication
  • discuss how meanings relate to social relationships and is expressed through various cultural mediums

General competence

  • discuss the ways in which meanings produce social life and the worlds that human beings inhabit
  • ability to think analytically, and apply key anthropological concepts and perspectives in order to understand local and global social processes
  • be familiar with and discuss the main features of qualitative research method
  • read and write academic texts in the specific academic genre

Required Previous Knowledge


Recommended Previous Knowledge

SANT100, SANT150

Access to the Course

This course is open to students at UiB

Teaching and learning methods


  • 3-4 hours per week
  • 7-8 weeks
  • Approx. 26 hours in total

Work groups, 2 hours per week.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Submission of one essay (1500 words +/- 10%). Only with an approved assignment will students be allowed to take the exam. Approved compulsory assignment is valid for 2 semesters.

Forms of Assessment

8 hours written exam

Change of assessment for from 8-hour school exam to 5-days take home exam as part of the measures to limit the risk of corona infection.

Grading Scale

Grading A-F

Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester and the following semester.

Course Evaluation

All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.


E-mail: advice@sosantr.uib.no

Phone: +47 55 58 92 50 / 55 58 94 51

Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Take home exam

    Assignment handed out
    11.10.2021, 09:00
    Submission deadline
    15.10.2021, 14:00
    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam