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Nordic Journal of Migration Research

The Journal of Nordic Migration Research

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Volume 5, Issue 1


Person, Time and Conduct in Alna

Thomas Hylland Eriksen
Published Online: 2015-03-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/njmr-2015-0006


The comparative study of personhood has a long and distinguished peerage in anthropology, but it has rarely been applied to research on contemporary migration and diversity in Europe. Drawing on the contrast established by Louis Dumont between hierarchical holism and egalitarian individualism, as well as the subsequent debate, this essay argues that a significant shift takes place in the second generation, from a traditional, sociocentric concept of personhood to a reflexive, individualist one. Using empirical material from Alna in eastern Oslo, the aim is to show that the cultural diversity witnessed in the second generation is founded on individualism and thus compatible with reflexive modernity, even if it is often associated with sociocentrism. The distinction between cultural content and social organisation is essential for the argument.

Keywords: Norway; diversity; personhood; second generation


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About the article

Received: 2014-09-10

Accepted: 2014-10-21

Published Online: 2015-03-01

Citation Information: Nordic Journal of Migration Research, Volume 5, Issue 1, Pages 11–18, ISSN (Online) 1799-649X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/njmr-2015-0006.

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© 2015 Thomas Hylland Eriksen. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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