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About Thomas Hylland Eriksen

Thomas Hylland Eriksen is professor in the department of social anthropology at the University of Oslo. His latest book for Pluto Press is Fredrik Barth: An Intellectual Biography. Other books include What is Anthropology? (Pluto Press, 2004); Small Places, Large Issues: An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology (Pluto Press, 3rd edition, 2010); and Ethnicity and Nationalism: Anthropological Perspectives (Pluto Press, 3rd edition, 2010). His website is here.

Articles by Thomas Hylland Eriksen

This week’s front page editor


Adam Bychawski is an editorial assistant at openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Will Norway allow Snowden safe passage to receive prize?

The Norwegians must not let their relationship with the US stand in the way of this chance to defend the fundamental principles of democracy.

Fossil addiction: is there a road to recovery?

There is no shortage of knowledge about global environmental and climate problems. Nor was there 40 years ago. So why is nothing happening?

Something rotten in the kingdom of Norway

At the end of his trial, the terrorist Anders Behring Breivik was deemed sufficiently sane to be imprisoned. But the process and outcome, says Thomas Hylland Eriksen, open another question: will Norway now use the opportunity to deal with its inner demons, namely the sources of Breivik's hatred of a culturally diverse new country?

Norway's trial, and a democratic lesson

The legal procedure in the case of Anders Behring Breivik, the perpetrator of the Norwegian massacre of July 2011, is a case-study of democratic values - in particular, that democracy is not a "what" but a "how", says Thomas Hylland Eriksen.

The net of hatred: after Utøya

The public debate in Norway following the massacre of 22 July 2011 is taking shape. A key focus is the obsessional and hate-filled language that pervades and dominates online discussion, says Thomas Hylland Eriksen.

Norway’s tragedy: contexts and consequences

The atrocities inflicted on Norwegian society by a far-right activist leave the country shocked and in mourning. They will have lasting effects even if their exact character is hard to foresee, says Thomas Hylland Eriksen.

Thomas Hylland Eriksen

‘Surprisingly to many, the new humanism began with commonsensical ecological measures. In the early years of the 21st century, we were increasingly aware that we were running out of space. The global middle class began to think of waste as resources gone astray, gradually learning to see ourselves, and humanity, in ecological terms. We were complementary, not competitors; different, but equal. Based on ecological models, the new pluralism was flexible and sustainable, spreading like wildfire across the world when its potential was understood.’

The paranoid phase of globalisation

If trust becomes another victim of 11 September, globalisation will enter a new stage of pervasive fear. But this is not inevitable. The interlocking elements of global and local that helped nurture the “identity politics” of the 1990s also offer the possibility of re-founding trust on the basis of universal values.
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