Continously evolving since it first went online in 1996, ‘Engaging with the world’ presents Thomas Hylland Eriksen's writings, research and miscellaneous activities. A social anthropologist by training, Eriksen reads, writes and talks in many genres about the contemporary world, what it means to be human and how the world can be made a better place. Many of his writings about contemporary and timeless issues, ranging from Darwinian selection and information technology to the climate crisis and cultural diversity, are available on this site. The Norwegian-language subsite can be accessed here. More ..
This book was first published in 2007, and I am pleased to announce the publication of the second, updated and improved edition.
Accelerated change is the order of the day, so after seven years without a single update (paper is a static medium), it was necessary to make many little changes to the book, as well as a few larger ones. Not everything changes equally fast, though. The current section about Cuban exceptionalism, to mention but one example, is virtually identical with the 2007 version.
Check the Overheating YouTube channel for online lectures and videos such as this one:
Overheating: The anthropology of accelerated change(Poznan, October 2014)
Grammars of inclusion and exclusion: Options for 21st century nations (LSE, April 2014)
Structural amnesia in the 21st century (Örecomm, University of Malmö September 2013)
Since March 2015, I am serving as President of the EASA. We organise conferences, facilitate networks and publish a journal (Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale) and a book series with Berghahn. A main priority in the coming two years will be to increase the visibility of anthropology across Europe and to strengthen its position as a fundamental intellectual discipline – crucial for understanding the current world and the human condition, essential for the endeavour of ‘knowing thyself’ in an ever more interconnected world.
The world is overheated. Too full and too fast; uneven and unequal. It is the age of the Anthropocene, of humanity's indelible mark upon the planet. In short, it is globalisation - but not as we know it. In this book, I bring an anthropologist's approach to bear on the three interrelated crises of environment, economy and identity. I argue that although these crises are global in scope, they are perceived and responded to locally, and that contradictions abound between the standardising forces of information-age global capitalism and the socially embedded nature of people and local practices. More here. And here. And, not least, here:
One of the towering figures of 20th century anthropology, Fredrik Barth lived a short bicycle ride from my house in Oslo until his death on 24 January 2016.
It used to be said that there were three kinds of anthropologists: Those who have done fieldwork in one location, those who have done fieldwork in two, and Fredrik Barth. In many ways the anthropologist's anthropologist, Barth (b. 1928) has a career that spans over half a century, and which can be used to tell many different stories: About intellectual trends in the latter half of the 20th century, about social anthropology and the study of ‘remote places’ (as well as those nearby), about the human condition and about a remarkable man whose thirst for experience-based knowledge was matched by his ability to identify what was at stake for other people and to develop analytical perspectives from his ethnographic experiences. The biography was published in Norwegian by Universitetsforlaget in 2013, and the English edition is published by Pluto Press in summer 2015.
Here is a short reflection about the book and its subject.
Since 2012, I have devoted most of my time to an ambitious attempt to understand globalisation in the early 21st century, that is the ‘Overheating’ project, funded by the European Research Council in the period 2012–2017. We are a team of anthropologists with strong interdisciplinary interests, who carry out fieldwork in six continents in order to understand how local communities cope with, adjust to and resist accelerated change. For the project description, click here; for the Overheating website, click here.
• Globalization: The Key Concepts, 2nd edition
• As from 2015, this section is no longer being updated. It is replaced by Eriksen's blog. These are the last entries before the shift:
• Anthropology Now and Next: The 13th EASA meeting took place in the steaming hot, but friendly and relaxed capital of Estonia, and among the pleasures of the conference was a book launch honouring Ulf Hannerz' many contributions to anthropology.
• Israel and the West Bank, 2014: I recently made an academic visit to Israel/Palestine. Instead of a travelogue, I've written two journalistic pieces, one on the wall and the logic of Israeli policy, and one on the shrinking dreams of the inhabitants of the West Bank.