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Institutional ethnography (IE) is an exploratory methodology based on particular conceptions of "the social," and was originally developed by sociologist Dorothy E. Smith. Institutional ethnographic research is usually focusing on people's everyday lives, and more specifically on a specific experience or "activity". However, the research aims to find out how dominant or "governing" ways of thinking and acting shape this experience, as well as how these social forces can be challenged. This means that the research moves into institutional relationships, and that the researcher often includes material texts in the research. Much Norwegian and Nordic institutional-ethnographic research explores how people's everyday lives are shaped by the welfare state.

Institutional ethnography is experiencing an increasing interest, both in Norway, the Nordic countries and internationally, and the members of the research group are active in both Nordic, European and other international networks. The methodology is used not only by sociologists, but also by professionals in other disciplines and professions. The research group is interdisciplinary and has members from various departments and faculties.



  • Book seminar about institutional ethnography 8. June 2021
  • Co-organized and contributed in research stream at ESA-conference 2. - 3. September 2021, together with Morena Tartari at the University of Antwerpen. RS04: Institutional Ethnography
  • Shared leadership of the European Network of Institutional ethnography: May Linda Magnussen and Morena Tartari at the University of Antwerpen
  • New book seminar 18. and 19. November 2021

Relevant PhD Programme

Members in the group

Associate members

Rebecca Lund, researcher and post doctor at Centre for gender research, UiO

Karin Widerberg, professor at the institute of sociology ved UiO

Ellen Ånestad Moen, PhD student SSHF

Bård Bertelsen, PhD student SSHF/UiA