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Archived teaching schedules 2017–2018
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SOS6.5.3 Symbols that move us - popular culture/deep culture 5 ECTS
Period I Period II Period II Period IV
Language of instruction
Type or level of studies
Intermediate studies
Course unit descriptions in the curriculum
Degree Programme in Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, students will be able to explain why symbols affect so many people across cultures and time. They will have a grasp on the concept of deep culture and its connection with popular culture. Students will also be able to draw on the course?s examples and integrated theory to analyze other symbols, as well as identify deep culture aspects of societal issues. The course is multidisciplinary and is suitable for Social Science, Humanities & Cultural Studies students. It comprises 10 sessions: 8 lectures and 2 tutorial seminars.

General description

Why do some images and some tales affect us so deeply? Why do we see them all around and inside us? In this course we will explore some recurrent symbols (both visual and poetic) and find their footprints in popular culture today. We will sample symbols ranging from Greek to Nordic mythology and beyond, and will discover their traces in iconic figures of folklore like the Finnish Kalevala, fiction such as the Hobbit, and modern movies like Matrix and the Avengers. We will explore transnational cultural flows circulating these mediated symbols. At each step, we will unpack the work that these symbols do in transforming the self, and in how people relate to the world around and inside them. From heroic journeys to uncanny images to ambiguous women, we will investigate the metaphoric power of symbols to dismantle literalism and disturb our view of the world. Our journey will work through popular images to unpack the “deep culture” that nourishes human perception. We will also see how deep culture can help make sense of contemporary societal issues.

Enrolment for University Studies

Max. 20 students

Social Anthropology degree students will be given preference.

Enrolment time has expired


Ali Qadir, Teacher
Tatiana Tiaynen-Qadir, Teacher


8-Jan-2018 – 5-Mar-2018
Mon 8-Jan-2018 - 5-Mar-2018 weekly at 10-12, Linna 5016
28-Feb-2018 at 10 –12 , Linna 4026


Numeric 1-5.

Evaluation criteria

Assessment will be by way of an essay.