Accepted paper:

Norway: an anthropologist's paradise?

Authors:

Thomas Hylland Eriksen (University of Oslo)

Paper short abstract:

The paper attempts to explain the unusual public visibility of Norwegian anthropology, but it also traces the relationship between anthropological research and participation in the public sphere, investigating to what extent the two forms of activity are separate or integrated.

Paper long abstract:

Norwegian anthropology is unusual in two respects: It has a very large number of practitioners and enormous student numbers; and it is highly visible in the public sphere, domestic anthropologists contributing actively to all the constituent parts of it - cultural journals, newspapers, books and magazines, radio, television, internet and public meetings. When the newspaper Dagbladet presented its list of the ten most important public intellectuals in Norway in 2005, three of them were anthropologists. The paper attempts to explain the unusual public visibility of Norwegian anthropology, but it also traces the relationship between anthropological research and participation in the public sphere, investigating to what extent the two forms of activity are separate or integrated. Its relationship to other academic pursuits, the professional identity of anthropologists, its local reputation as a maverick, idiosyncratic discipline and the possible consequences for research funding are among the topics addressed.

panel W095
A WCAA debate: the public image of anthropology