Blog

Values and violence: Thoughts on Charlie Hebdo

The Social Sciences Research Council (SSRC)’s blog ‘The Immanent Frame’, which takes its name from Prof Charles Taylor’s seminal  ‘A Secular Age’ (Belknap Press, 2007), has commissioned responses from a number of scholars in various fields in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, France on January 7 and 9 2015, in which a […]

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Free speech and its others…again

It was not by making yourself heard, but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage. George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). And so then, the inevitable blog post on this month’s heinous terrorist attacks on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and the subsequent attack on a Jewish supermarket in Paris, […]

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Public sphere theories revisited

The following is excerpted from my forthcoming monograph (2015). Michael Warner has referred to the “endlessly repeated discovery that public politics does not in fact conform to the idealized self-understanding which makes it work.” Jürgen Habermas’ The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere which was first published in German in 1962 has been central to […]

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Hate speech, the letter and the law

This month has seen the publication of the very first primer on hate speech in my native Norway. Associate Professor Anne Birgitta Nilsen’s (Oslo and Akershus University College, Norway) primer is of particular value in that it addresses hate speech, its social, political and legal implications in a short and succinct form which makes the book’s […]

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Islamophobia – what’s in a name?

A recent special issue of the scholarly journal Patterns of Prejudice dedicated to the study of Islamophobia past and present provides a welcome opportunity to reflect both upon current usage of the concept and the academic research into the phenomena in question. As the editors of this special issue – Damir Skenderović, Christina Späti and […]

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Racism 2.0

This year (2014) has seen the publication of two extraordinarily important academic monographs on racism – its histories and legacies. In drafting a primer on racism entitled Hva er rasisme? [What is racism?] due out for publication in Norwegian with Universitetsforlaget in Oslo (a main academic publisher in Norway) in early 2015 in a series […]

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The Artist As Provocateur: Handke And Knausgård

As literary spats go, it had auspicious beginnings. On September 21 this year, the Austrian-born playwright and essayist Peter Handke (1942 -) made his way through an irate crowd of protesters assembled outside the National Theatre in Central Oslo, Norway in order to receive the 2.6 million Ibsen Award for ‘extraordinary efforts in the spirit […]

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Right-wing populists in power: the case of Norway

Today, Thursday October 16 2014, marks the one year ‘celebration’ of the coming to power of the populist right-wing Progress Party (PP, or Fremskrittspartiet in Norwegian) as a junior partner in a coalition government with the Conservative Party Høyre) after the parliamentary elections of September 2013.  Now, for those of you unfamiliar with modern Norwegian […]

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