Engaging with the world

Eriksen's site

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THEThomas Hylland Eriksen is an anthropologist and writer based at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo.

I now switch to the first person. My work is motivated by a triple concern: to understand the present world, to understand what it means to be human, and to help bring about social and environmental change.

Apart from my academic publications, I also write essays, op-eds and miscellaneous nonfiction intended for the general reader. My second novel was published in 2012.


Much of my work is comparative and interdisciplinary. My research has involved fieldwork in several ethnically and culturally complex societies, from Trinidad to eastern Oslo. I have written extensively about ethnicity and the dynamics of culture and identity, nationalism and the politics of identity, cosmopolitanism and human rights, globalisation and its implications for the study of culture and society. Currently, I am studying the contradictions between growth and sustainability, with fieldwork in an industrial city in Queensland, Australia.

In my spare time, I try to play a bit of music, potter around in the garden and collect unintentional consequences of modernity. So far, I've collected four (the paradoxes of new information technology, identity, affluence and waste), and am considering the possibility of a fifth.

Some reflections on this website, which has been online since 1996, have been posted here.

There is also an ancient (1998) interview with me about web publishing here.

An interview with me about my research on cultural diversity, written by Monika Palmberger (MPI-Göttingen), is available here.

Another one, from the Mauritius Times, on ethnicity and identity in Mauritius, can be downloaded here.

The Overheating website is also recommended, with updates about activities and publications.

A full, searchable list of publications can be accessed on CRISTIN.


Finally, since I've enjoyed working at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo since the late 1980s, it would not seem right not to include a link to that vibrant and generally terrific place. Here it is.