APPLIES TO ACADEMIC YEAR 2013/2014
MRK 3400 Cross Cultural Understanding
Responsible for the course
Steffen Johannessen, Gillian Warner-Søderholm
According to study plan
Language of instruction
Norwegian and english
Cultural and ethnic diversity has become part of peoples’ everyday experience in most countries. Concurrently, communication between people all over the world increases, and physical distance becomes less important in many respects. A globalising world, much affected by growing economies with China and India at the forefront, brings about new social, cultural, economic, and political challenges. This demands a heightened sense of cultural understanding.
The course will offer anthropological and sociological perspectives of understanding and analysis of culture. It will emphasize how trade, reciprocity, and consumption create cultural meaning.
Geographically, the course will accentuate own culture, i.e. Norway/Scandinavia, and China. Through examples from these apparently culturally diverse areas, the course will focus on topics such as globalization, identity, and cultural change.
On completion of the course the students should
- Be familiar with fundamental definitions of the term culture.
- Understand how we are affected by the culture in which we live, and how this influences our understanding of other cultures.
- Be familiar with anthropological understandings of identity
- Know differences between central approaches to understand other cultures, like cultural relativism and ethnocentrism.
- Be familiar with qualitative research methods and to learn through practice how cultural meaning can be studied by means of participant observation.
Be able to explain central concepts and theories within anthropology and sociology – and how they relate to understanding and analysis of culture.
Develop awareness of, and the ability to reflect upon, cultural differences and ethical problems.
Acquire modesty in the approach to understanding other cultures.
No particular prerequisites.
Eriksen, Thomas Hylland, red. 2001. Flerkulturell forståelse. 2. utg. Universitetsforlaget. Kap. 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 (totalt 90 sider)
Kristoffersen, Henning. 2010. Det nye Kina : kinesisk handel, kultur og politikk. 2. utg. Universitetsforlaget. (192 sider)
Collection of articles:
2011. Artikkelsamling for Kulturforståelse. Handelshøyskolen BI
- Qualitative methods and fieldwork
- Culture and change
- Culture and ethics
- Cultural translation and context
- Trade and reciprocity
- Media and image based culture
- Identity and nationalism
- Trade and reciprocity
- Consumption, shopping and cultural meaning
- Individualism – collectivism
- Introduction to Scandinavian and Chinese culture
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Learning process and workload
The course is comprised of a combination of lectures, group work, and assignments.
Throughout the course, students are expected to work on a term paper. The term paper is based on qualitative methods, and students must be prepared to conduct a short field-work during the semester. The term paper will be completed in groups of 3-5 students. The students musthand in a project proposal early in the semester and must also be prepared to present parts of the term paper in a plenary session or to the teacher during the course. The term paper will be given at semester start. Feedback and supervision will be given in plenary sessions and/or individually to the groups.
Additionally, students are expected to discuss the various course topics in discussion groups. The discussion groups may be the same as the term paper groups, or they may vary.
|Work on term paper||
|Self-study and discussion groups||
|Total recommended workload||
Term paper (10 - 15 pages) in groups of 3-5 students, which makes up 40 % of the grade.
Four (4) hours individual written exam, which makes up 60 % of the grade.
Both exams must be passed in order to receive a grade for the course, 7,5 ECTS credits.
MRK 34001 – Term paper, counts 40 % towards the grade in the course MRK 3400 Cross Cultural Understanding, 7,5 ECTS credits.
MRK 34002 – Written exam, counts 60 % towards the grade in the course MRK 3400 Cross Cultural Understanding, 7,5 ECTS credits.
Examination support materials
Term paper: All examination support materials allowed.
Written exam: No examination support materials allowed.
A re-sit examination is held every semester.
In connection with a re-sit the project paper can be completed in groups with less participants or on an individual basis.