Photo: HIFO – den norske historiske forening (the Norweigan Historical Association).

Tore Linné Eriksen honored

One of Scandinavia’s most prominent Africanists is now retiring. On 23rd October a special seminar is held in Oslo to celebrate historian Tore Linné Eriksen who has devoted four decades to deepening and spreading knowledge about Africa in the Nordic countries.

Tore Linné Eriksen’s research interests span over many areas. A trained historian he has over the years written extensively on issues bordering the realms of sociology, political science and economics.
His first major work in the 70’s was concerned with economic history and economic planning in Tanzania and reflected the optimistic mood in the age of decolonisation and social reform. As many Africanists of his generation he was early involved in the anti-apartheid movement. As a 16 year-old he took part in a torch rally to honor Albert Luthuli who was awarded the Nobel peace prize in December 1961.

He is an old friend of the Nordic Africa Institute. He made his first visit to the institute in August, 1967. Ten years later he was signed to NAI as researcher. One of his main duties was to establish a bond between the institute, liberation movements in Southern Africa and solidarity organisations in the Nordic countries. This experience led to a keen interest in Namibian studies. During the first half of the 80’s he worked closely with the United Nations Institute for Namibia, which assigned him the daunting task of preparing a comprehensive, critical and annotaded bibliography: The Political Economy of Namibia.
He was then connected to the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) until 1997. There he mainly focused on what was often referred as “the African crisis”, a work that led to several books and research reports. This research convinced that the popular notion of Africa being “outside” the global economy was empirically mistaken and ideologically confused. In fact, Africa was an integrated part of the global capitalist system since decades and had been forced to privatisation, liberalisation and deregulation by powerful countries and institutions.

In the mid-90’s he was engaged in the broad research and documentation project ”Nordic countries and national liberation in Southern Africa” (link to website opens in new window), initiated by the Nordic Africa Institute. Since 1997 he has been connected to Oslo University College where has been teaching development studies. Tore Linné Eriksen is a researcher with great social involvement. Once asked about whether he considered himself a researcher, educator or social activist he replied: “development studies without values are of no value”.

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