Mobility and Cultural Complexity

(This research area is a continuation of Migration, Identity and Language.)

The electronic revolution and the emergence of multiculturalism and cultural pluralism in many of the world’s cities are two sides of the same coin. The relationship between the individual, culture, society and identity are now undergoing constant negotiation and transformation. Exclusion and inclusion, hybridization and the search for purity, openness and closure are aspects of such processes, which must be studied in a cross-disciplinary manner.

The aim of this research area is to gather together researchers who work on questions related to mobility in a broad sense – migration, identity, language, multiculturalism and communication, but also electronic networks and deterritorialized communication. The overarching empirical framework is the cultural aspects of globalization, so that even though the field is cross-disciplinary, the focus of the research remains on contemporary global life.

Globalization processes are typified by both centripetal and centrifugal forces: The world becomes both larger and smaller – smaller due to increased mobility and acceleration, larger because the world is more immediately recognizable and accessible for an increasing number of people. In regard to community and social or cultural forms of identification, global modernity is on the one hand characterized by delimitations and the politics of identity (based on nationality, ethnicity, religion, etc.), and on the other hand by increased contact, cultural intermingling and the dissolution of boundaries (keywords here include hybridity and cosmopolitanism). The relationship between fragmentization and integration in the age of globalization can be illuminated from many vantage points, and requires a forum for cross-disciplinary dialogue at the University of Oslo (UiO).

Examples of research topics that are relevant for this research aera include

  • Protestant Christianity in its encounters with local life in India
  • Transformations in spoken language in Western European cities
  • Facebook and the theory of social capital and ‘weak social ties’
  • Food as a semiotic resource for diasporic peoples
  • English as a global medium of communication
  • New forms of cultural differentiation among ethnic Norwegians
  • Safety and uncertainty – the understanding of risk in a global context

During spring 2011 a cross-disciplinary seminar series will be arranged in addition to other activities. Information about the seminars will be updated on this page. The research area will also be part of the UiO’s bicentennial celebrations this year, and on the Day of Diversity on June 18, 2011, much of the research from the field will be presented to a wider audience.

In 2009-2010 this research area was named Migration, Identity and Language.

Leader in 2011: Thomas Hylland Eriksen.