Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology

Ethnology

Ethnology is a discipline dedicated to the study of everyday human life. We are curious about how different groups in society create social forms and cultural expressions, in particular within complex states with a long and well-known history. The department specializes in Swedish ethnology, and Sweden is frequently our primary field site. Nevertheless, we situate our research and teaching in the context of global and transnational perspectives. Through texts, lectures and practical exercises we involve our students in research that focuses on work life, recreation, gender, age and generations. We study material objects and artifacts, ethnicity and migration, life histories, beliefs and traditions, cultural meetings and history, and urban and rural life.

Already during the first semester of the program we begin to identify sources, carry out analysis, and construct ethnographic descriptions. Ethnologists carry out fieldwork that includes surveys, interviews and observations. We collect people’s stories, recollections and descriptions. We are innovators in finding and analyzing new sources and entryways into different life-worlds. At times we carry out fieldwork in the past using older artifacts and memories. We often include a historical element in our analyses of the contemporary.

An understanding of individual’s everyday life experiences is a fundamental characteristic of the discipline of Ethnology, but our primary interest lies in social groups shared cultural expressions together with their diversity and complexity. Our theories borrow, to some extent, from classical anthropology since we often use models that illuminate well-known phenomenon in a new light.