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Social Anthropology

Anthropology asks what it means to be human. It inquires into the different ways in which societies are organised and how people make sense of the worlds in which they live.

Anthropology has been studying the social and cultural variation of human beings for well over a century. What distinguishes it from other disciplines is its attention to human differences and its commitment to long-term fieldwork, ethnography. It brings a comparative perspective to bear on sociocultural phenomena and in doing so forces us to question our own cultural assumptions.

In the 21st century, social anthropologists can do many different things, and carry out their studies in different places (and combinations of places). Someone may analyse the organizational culture of a transnational corporation, another may be concerned with gender organization and subsistence strategies among pastoralists on the East African savannah, yet another with migration and the encounter between refugees and welfare state agencies. Others work with social movements, global development, big data, environmental questions or global development.

Anthropologists at Stockholm University carry out classic fieldwork as well as long series of intensive interviews, but they also analyse policy documents, scrutinize the media, and do some of their work by way of the Internet.

Career opportunities

With a degree in Social Anthropology there are lots of career options. You will have the ability to engage with cultures, populations and groups different from your own.

You will have the ability to recognise different forms of communication and ways of thinking about the world – all of which will be attractive skills for future employers.

You can work in international organizations, in both the public and private sector. You will be able work with issues such as communication, environmental issues, development, planning, market and consumer research, humanitarian aid or work in museums for example.

Courses and programmes


The Master’s programme in Social Anthropology (120 credits) leads to a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology. The International Master’s Programme in Environmental Social Science (120 credits) where the student has been awarded at least 60 credits in Social Anthropology (as the main field) leads to a Master’s degree in Social anthropology with a specialisation in environmental social science.


The Department of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University is committed to a global and comparative perspective toward the diversity of social and cultural forms of the contemporary world.

Its research encompasses all continents, and the interactions between them. It draws on the rich international anthropological research heritage, but is also engaged in a continuous renewal of that tradition, its thought and practices. The department seeks to support cooperation and intellectual exchange within the world-wide community of anthropologists through participation in international conferences, through internationally accessible publications, as well as through hosting visiting colleagues from other countries.

As a public mission, it strives to contribute anthropological knowledge and ideas to a cosmopolitan civic imagination in an interconnected world, and to a range of more particular areas of social concern.
Profile areas:

  • Digitalisation, Media and Visuality
  • Environment
  • Global development
  • Infrastructural Matters
  • Literary Anthropology
  • Mobility and Migration
  • More than Human Anthropology
  • Organising Governance
  • Social Movements, Activism and Political Violence

Read more sbout our research