Digital PhD course: Institutional Ethnography

This PhD course, offered by the Centre for Gender Research, gives an introduction to Institutional Ethnography (IE). It will explore core concepts of IE, and engage with methodological tools and procedures for exploring organised social interaction.

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Institutional ethnography is a methodology of inquiry originally developed by Canadian sociologist Dorothy E. Smith as an alternative, and challenge to, mainstream sociological inquiry and social sciences. IE is committed to the exploration of how people's everyday lives and knowledges become organized in local and translocal social and institutional relations. It is better understood as ethnography of institutionalized social interaction, rather than ethnography of specific organizations or sectors. For the institutional ethnographer, ordinary daily activity becomes a starting point for exploring social relations and forces that transcend our everyday lives.

IE is used by researchers across different disciplines (e.g. sociology, gender studies, education, social work). 

Aim of course

The aim of this PhD course is to give an introduction to IE as a theoretically informed methodology of inquiry, and engage with methodological tools and procedures for exploring organised social interaction. We will explore core concepts of IE – such as objectification, standpoint, experience, work-knowledge, ruling relations, texts, intertextual hierarchies – and their theoretical basis in embodied phenomenology, feminism, Marxism, symbolic interactionism, Soviet language philosophy. We will also have a chance to discuss publication strategies and experiences.


Admission requirements: Participants are required to submit a short paper (maximum two pages) upon registering for the course, informing about their PhD project and explaining how they are using, or consider using, IE in their PhD project. This paper also serves as a letter of motivation for course participation, and as basis for the integrated workshop. The paper should make reference to the course syllabus.

Coursework requirements: Participants are expected to read course syllabus in preparation for course participation and to actively participate in syllabus-informed discussions throughout the course. By doing this, they can obtain 3 ECTS points. In order to obtain 5 ECTS points, the participants must in addition to the above, submit a paper of 3000 words to the course leader within January 29th 2021. In this paper you should address strands of your own research in dialogue with course syllabus. 

Who can apply?

PhD students or other students/researchers with an interest in IE. Priority will be given to students who consider using IE in their PhD project.


The course will be held on Zoom. Each registered and accepted participant will be sent a link and access code when the start of the course is approaching. 


Register here. The deadline for registration is December 1 2020.

Please note that there are a limited number of places on the course. If you sign up and are later unable to participate, kindly notify the course administrator as soon as possible. 



Course leader:

Rebecca Lund (University of Oslo)

Course lecturers:

Rebecca Lund (University of Oslo)

Ann Christin E. Nilsen (University of Agder)

May-Linda Magnussen (University of Agder)


For more information, contact course administrator Anna Young

Published Jan. 7, 2020 4:35 PM - Last modified Dec. 22, 2020 12:51 PM