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 furthermore expected to read course syllabus in preparation for course participation and participate in syllabus informed discussions throughout the course, and prepare a 5-10 minute presentation on a core concept or theoretical strand in IE that they are particularly interested in (more information about this will be sent out after course registration has ended). 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 two months after course completion. In this paper you should address strands of your own research in dialogue with course syllabus. Those who wish to hand in a paper, do not have to give a presentation at the course.

Published Jan. 7, 2020 4:35 PM - Last modified Oct. 9, 2020 11:32 AM