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Reading: Person, Time and Conduct in Alna


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Person, Time and Conduct in Alna


Thomas Hylland Eriksen

University of Oslo, NO
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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.
How to Cite: Eriksen, T.H., 2015. Person, Time and Conduct in Alna. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 5(1), pp.11–18. DOI:
Published on 01 Mar 2015.
Peer Reviewed


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