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Techno-Anthropology, Master

Academic content

Academic content

Techno-Anthropology is a two-year Master’s programme of 120 ECTS (1 ECTS equals 30 hours of work). Each semester consists of both courses and project work. You will follow courses approximately half of the time; in the remaining time, you will work on your group semester project.

The techno-anthropological approach is based on the Aalborg Model of Problem-Based Learning; a method where specific problems are analysed within a specific context, and potential solutions are proposed, discussed and often implemented.

During the first two semesters, you get an overview of different theoretical and methodological approaches to the techno-anthropological understanding of technology.

On the second year of the programme, you will conduct a major study in an external setting, e.g. in  a company, a political or civic organisation, a consultancy firm, a governmental office, or a university abroad that works within your area of expertise.

During your third semester, you are expected to choose your area of expertise. You will specialise in a professional environment, where your individual interests, competences and skills meet emerging technological innovation and development in fields such as health, welfare, bio, energy, environmental and information technologies.

The last semester is devoted to your Master’s thesis. During this semester, you can continue analysing the empirical material gathered during your third semester project, or you can create new project. You work in groups of up to 3 people.

1st Semester

Projects

During this semester's two projects, you will work interdisciplinary with technological challenges. The focus of the initial pilot-project (5 ECTS) will be on working interdisciplinary with peer students from diverse backgrounds. Second, you will do a project on “Technology in Practice” (10 ECTS), where you will analyse a technological challenge in its socio-technical complexity. This is done by liaising selected technological challenges to the existing body of knowledge. How can existing knowledge help us manage a specific technological challenge?

In project groups, you will do state of the art literature reviews and identify relevant knowledge from different disciplines. You will work on formulating interdisciplinary and socio-technical research questions. Groups are set up so that different disciplinary background are represented. There will be a strong focus on collaboration so that the diversity of project groups is utilised. The project work is supported by course work.

Courses

  • Techno-Anthropological Problems and Theories (10 ECTS). This module will provide you with an overview of central techno-anthropological theories and get insight into more than 20 Techno-Anthropological case-studies that taken illustrate the broad spectrum of Techno-Anthropological analysis.
  • Ethnographic Methods (5 ECTS). If you have not worked with ethnographic methods over two semesters during your bachelor studies, you will follow this course module that will provide you with techno-anthropological methodological skills.
  • Emerging and Cutting Edge Science and Technology (5 ECST). If you have ethnographic skills, you will follow a course module that gives you an overview of Emerging and Cutting Edge Science and Technology.

2nd Semester

Project

Technological Innovation and Design (15 ECTS).

During this semester, you work in project groups where you use the Techno-Anthropological comptencies aquired during your 1st semester in combination with the application Techno-Anthropological method in technology innovation processes.

Courses support your project work.

Courses

  • Facilitation of Design Processes and Technological Innovation (10 ECTS). This course teaches you theories and strategies for technology innovation as well as methods and tools for planning and facilitating innovation and design processes for and with users (single and multiple stakeholders). The course provides you with a repertoire of concepts, methods and tools that you will critically examine and use in your problem-based project work.
  • Mapping Controversies (5 ECTS): During this course, you will learn how to chart and visualise a controversy using selected digital methods. As techno-anthropologists, you will be familiar with the idea that new knowledge frequently becomes contested, that experts are not always trusted, that technological projects have social and ethical implications, and that, in the everyday reality of contemporary democracy, science and politics become almost habitually entangled. Controversy mapping, in the case of this course, is about studying such issues by using digital tools and by analysing online digital data. 

3rd Semester

During the third semester, 25 ECTS is devoted to major project work. You have three different options:

  1. you can do a project while you are physically based in an external organisation/company
  2. you can do an action research project
  3. you can do an ethnographic fieldwork-based project.

The project work and its fieldwork will give you the chance to go in depth researching a techno-anthropological problem and provide you with practical experience in solving complex techno-anthropological challenges. You will have to document your work in a project report, which will be the foundation for you oral examination.

Besides this major project, you will attend a Reflexive Project Design course (5 ECTS), where you are taught different methods and theories related to project work, and learn how to critically reflect upon your own role as a practicing Techno-Anthropologist working in professional settings.

4th Semester

The Master's programme is finished with the completion of the Master's thesis (30 ECTS). You can choose to analyse the empirical data you have collected from the field work you did on the 3rd semester, but you can also choose to work in another research area.

Interdisciplinarity in Techno-Anthropology

Techno-Anthropology is rooted in a formalised research collaboration between the following research environments and laboratories:

Department of Planning

The research group for Techno-Anthropology & Participation

The research group for Sustainable Design and Transition 

Department of Learning

The Techno-Anthropological Laboratory

The Techno-Anthropology research group

Department of Chemistry and Bioscience

Center for Bioscience and Techno-Anthropology

Department of Energy Technology

The research section for Thermal Energy Systems

The Techno-Anthropology research network is responsible for organising annual seminars to continuously advance research in Techno-Anthropology.

CETAN

A formalized network collaboration between research environments at AAU that contribute to the techno-anthropology teaching program.

Who will you meet on your first semester?

CAMPUS AALBORG

Chunfang Zhou

Department of Planning

 

Pernille Scholdan Bertelsen

Department of Planning

 

Anne Marie Kanstrup

Department of Planning

 

Thomas Nielsen

Department of Energy Technology

 

Klavs Birkholm

Department of Learning and Philosophy

 

Campus Copenhagen

Torben Elgaard Jensen

Department of Learning and Philosophy

 

Tom Børsen

Department of Planning

 

Lars Botin

Department of Planning

 

Joakim Juhl

Department of Planning

 

Søren Nors Nielsen

Department of Chemistry and Bioscience

 

Petko Karadechev

Department of Planning

Study Method at AAU - Problem Based Learning

Study Method at AAU - Problem Based Learning

The study method at AAU is called Problem Based Learning (PBL). Together with your fellow students you will work with real life problems by way of problem based project work.
 

learn more about Pbl at aau