4609377: CF_Technology, Work, and Society - Cultural Anthropological Perspectives

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Semester:WS 18/19
Scheduled in semester:1-6
Semester Hours per Week / Contact Hours:28.0 L / 21.0 h
Self-directed study time:69.0 h

Module coordination/Lecturers


Bachelor's degree programme in Business Administration (01.09.2012)
Master's degree programme in Architecture (01.09.2014)
Bachelor's degree programme in Architecture (01.09.2014)
Master's degree programme in Information Systems (01.09.2015)
Master's degree programme in Finance (01.09.2015)
Master's degree programme in Entrepreneurship (01.09.2015)
Master's degree programme in Entrepreneurship and Management (01.09.2018)


Technology is a cross-sectional dimension of our life world and a catalyzer of socio-cultural change - also in realm of work. For example, containerization made logistics more efficient but also dramatically accelerated structural change for dockers. The seminar investigates the intertwining of technology and work in a cultural-anthropological perspective, focusing on historical processes, technological change, and the ethnographic study of organizations. The aim of the course is to get a broader understanding of how technology is socially constructed, not only in the realm of work, but in our everyday life in general: A cultural anthropology's perspective on technology and work argues that the using of technology and the organization of work are results of social negotiations in which cultural norms, as well as individual and group interests, are involved. The select literature will comprise the disciplines of cultural anthropology, cultural studies, history, and sociology.

Learning Outcomes

  • Knowledge of the topics and theories dealt with in the course
  • Competence in basic concepts and canonical texts in cultural studies
  • Competence in critically reading and reflecting on cultural theoretical texts
  • Competence in discussing and developing social scientific lines of argumentation
  • Training in presenting the contents of social scientific texts to fellow students
  • Capacity to write scientific text on BSc and MA level


Lectures Method

  • Seminar: lecture elements, text-based discussions within class, student presentations


  • Koch, Gertraud (2012): Work and Professions. In: Regina F. Bendix, Galit Hasan-Rokem, eds.: A Companion to Folklore, Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 154-168
  • Thompson, E.P. (1967): Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism. Past & Present 38 (Dec., 1967), 56-97
  • Wallman, Sandra (1980): Social Anthropology of Work. Current Anthropology 21/3 (Jun., 1980), 299-314
[= Introduction, in S. Wallman, ed.: Social Anthropology of Work, London: Academic Press, 1979]
(a complete bibliography with required and further reading will be handed out in advance of the seminar)

Exam Modalities

Part A: (50 %) preparation and active participation in class (reading, discussions, group presentation)
Part B: (20 %) 2 written summaries, 1 project idea (each 150-200 words)
Part C: (30 %) 1 case study (final essay of 1000 words)

Compulsory attendance (min. 80 %)


Passed / Failed

  • Course based on continuous assessment, details see under "assessment".
  • Meeting attendance obligations is an essential pre-requisite for successfully completing a course based on continuous assessment.
  • Attendance must be proven for at least 80% of the stipulated contact time. Responsibility for checking and providing written proof of this obligatory attendance lies with the course lecturer who is required to store this information at least until the end of the semester.
  • In the case of absenteeism that exceeds the specified limits of absence, a medical certificate is required. Responsibility lies with the head of the Coordination Office for Cross-Faculty Elective Subjects to approve the reason for the student's failure to attend.
  • Participation in other activities of the university are not recognized as an excused absence.


Cross-faculty elective subject:
Notice the special Multi-stage allocation process.


  • P-FU_Technology, Work, and Society - Cultural Anthropological Perspectives (WS 18/19, in Planung)