AANA18124U Anthropology of Business and Organization, Introductory Course

Volume 2021/2022

In recent decades, anthropologists have specialised in studying contemporary organisations and markets. The field includes studies of cultural patterns and forms of organising in private as well as public and non-governmental organisations. This introductory course covers a variety of topics related to the study in as well as of organizations, including: organisation and culture, management and leadership, consumer culture and politics, design and innovation and employment and labour markets. The course explores how organisational actors engage with changing markets, political role and responsibilities in the face of societal challenges and dilemmas such as climate change, international political conflicts, diversity and identity concerns, digital governance and inequality. Corporate responses and options are analysed in light of social theories on organization, consumer culture and political regulation. By including both classic and more recent anthropological and social science literature, as well as reports and case-studies, the course provides empirical and theoretical insights into how organisations work, how they operate in localized as well as globalized contexts and how they can be studied and developed by anthropologists. In the course, we will invite practitioners who work with these issues to discuss corporate practices and business models and how they may shape solutions and/or create new dilemmas. We will also identify and discuss changing moral and political discourses concerning how businesses may operate in society.

Learning Outcome


At the end of the course students are expected to:

  • Identify key research areas and issues in business and organizational anthropology as a broad field.



At the end of the course students are expected to:

  • Demonstrate insight into ‘classic’ as well as contemporary ethnographic research in the field of business and organization


  • Demonstrate empirical knowledge as well as analytical issues of concern in contemporary organisations/​corporations and for organizational actors and regulators.



At the end of the course students must be able to:

  • Identify relevant issues, data, methods and theory in the study of complex organizational and business processes in contemporary markets.


  • Analytically, critically and practically engage with relevant issues in the broader anthropological field of business and organization


See Absalon

The course will be based on a combination of lectures and seminars where students are expected to contribute actively through group work, discussions, readings as well as oral and written presentations.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 100
  • Exam
  • 64
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Length: Portfolio exam can be written individually or in groups of Max. 4 students. Portfolio exams consist of 2-7 submissions. For MA students, there is a submission more than for BA students, i.e. if the BA student has to submit five submissions, the MA students must submit six submissions. The number of submissions is set by the lecturer. The total length of all of the submissions must be max. 30,000 keystrokes for one student. For groups of two students, Max. 40,000 keystrokes. For groups of three students, Max. 45,000 keystrokes and for groups of four students, Max. 50,000 keystrokes. In the case of group assignments, the contribution of each individual student must be clearly marked in the assignment. For groups with both BA and MA students, the same number of submissions is required as for MA students. The assignments are assessed jointly with a single grade.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

1st re-exam: An essay must be submitted. The new assignment must be submitted by the deadline for the re-exam.


2nd re-exam: A new essay must be submitted. The new assignment must be submitted by the deadline for the re-exam.


Essay length: 21,600–26,400 keystrokes for an individual submission. 6,750–8,250 keystrokes per extra member for group submissions. The maximum number of students who can write an essay in a group is four.

For groups writing together it must be clearly indicated which parts of the assignment each of the students has written.

Criteria for exam assesment

See description of learning outcome. Formalities for Written Works must be fulfilled, read more: MSc Students/ BA students (in Danish)/ exchange and credit students