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Research by Eero Olli

A choronological list of selected publications with short explantion of each item:

Rejected Cultural Biases Shape our Political Views. A Migrant Household Study and Two Large-Scale Surveys. 2012.
PhD-thesis, Dept. of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen, Norway. (PDF)
Abstract: Building upon the work by Mary Douglas, cultural theory describes four ways of organizing, also known as ways of life or cultures – namely hierarchical, egali¬tarian, individualistic, and fata¬listic ways of life. Many other approaches emphasize the differences between the majority population and the migrants. In contrast to this usage, the present thesis shows how migrants’ ways of organizing their households are actually familiar to us, even when these migrants come from distant countries. The author suggests that this familiarity provides a common cultural basis for communication and interaction, even between peoples who are commonly seen as being radically different.
The bulk of the argument given above is based on a qualitative study consisting of in- depth interviews of seventeen migrant households presently living in Norway. The households originate from Vietnam, Chile, and Sri Lanka, and eight of them are presented in detail. They are first described according to their internal organizations (based on their economic decisions, their justifications for the division of housework, and their behaviors during interviews) and their external social relations (how they justify giving and receiving support from others). Households’ stated preferences are compared with theoretically-based predictions of attitudes toward institutions, trust, social support, the distribution of resources, blame, the view of democracy, and political decision making. Contrary to the expectations of mainstream political science, this study finds a strong relationship between a household’s way of organizing and its views on society and politics. Rather than relying on the country of origin as a basis for categorization, migrant households’ relations with the state and the majority society can be better understood by knowing how they organize their households.
Cultural theory is primarily a theory about institutions, but sometimes it also makes claims about people. In addition to the arguments made about migrants, this thesis also argues that people are not just miniature institutions and suggests two theoretical improvements to cultural theory. First, people do not only support one cultural bias, they can also reject or support the other cultural biases. Second, at the level of the individual, the effects of cultural biases are not additive, nor are they independent of each other; biases must be studied in combinations. Biases are better understood as a package of meanings rather than existing as separate items. In short, cultural biases are patterns of meaning that are not easy to summarize and analyze numerically, and the relevant number of biases is of course an empirical question.
The argument presented here about cultural biases is based on quantitative data extracted from the 1999 Nordic Cultures Survey, which consists of representative samples from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland (n=4833). Data are also extracted from the 1995 Norwegian Environmental Protection Survey, which consists of representative samples from 12 environmental organizations and from the general population in Norway (n=3106).

Brian Nosek et al. 2009. National differences in gender – science stereotypes predict national sex differences in science and math achievement. PNAS 2009 106:10593-10597. more info Appendix with tables and description of data and the results. (ask for a copy).

Abstract: About 70% of more than half a million Implicit Association Tests completed by citizens of 34 countries revealed expected implicit stereotypes associating science with males more than with females. We discovered that nation-level implicit stereotypes predicted nation-level sex differences in 8th-grade science and mathematics achievement. Self-reported stereotypes did not provide additional predictive validity of the achievement gap. We suggest that implicit stereotypes and sex differences in science participation and performance are mutually reinforcing, contributing to the persistent gender gap in science engagement.

Saldo 2008. Likestillings- og diskrimineringsombudet. En årlig statusrapport på likestillingssituasjonen i Norge.

Saldo 2007. Likestillings- og diskrimineringsombudet. En årlig statusrapport på likestillingssituasjonen i Norge. Jeg har hatt ansvaret for tallene og har skrevet bla. kapitlet om arbeidsliv.

Anne B. Skaare, Sadaf Haque Afzal, Eero Olli og Ivar Espelid (2008) Holdninger og vaner hos innvandrerforeldre – oppfølgingsstudier etter SMÅTANN-undersøkelsen. Den Norske tannlegeforenings tidende 2008; 118 NR 5. PDF

Praksis 2007. Likestillings- og diskrimineringsombudet. En juridisk rapport som beskriver og drøfter sentrale diskrimineringssaker som har vært behandlet på LDO. Her er mange fine eksempler og en del tall.

Organisering og kultur i familier. 2007. Skolepsykologi 42 (3):21-32.
Dette er en presentasjon av fire måter å organisere en husholding på basert på kulturteorien som håpentligvis kan hjelpe praktikere som må forholde seg til innvandrerfamilier. PDF 6Mb.

Generalizing from Uncertainty in Social Encounters to Insecurity about the Others. Paper presented at Otherness and Insecurity Conference in Rouen, France, 17th -18th of May 2007. According to cultural theory insecurity concerning the Others is almost inevitable when we try to construct social cooperation with people we do not know. PDF

The Impact of Household Organization on Political Views: A Study of Migrant Families in Norway
manuscript (ask for a copy).

There is a strong relationship between a household's way of organizing and its views of society and politics. Migrant households' relations to the state and majority society can be better understood by knowing how they organize their households.
Seventeen households presently living in Norway, but originating from Vietnam, Chile, or Sri Lanka, are interviewed in depth. Eight of these households are presented in detail as cases. They are first described according to their internal organization (making economic decisions, justifying the division of housework, and behavior during interviews) and external social relations (how they justify giving and receiving support from others). Cultural theory describes four ways of organizing, also known as ways of life or cultures (hierarchical, egalitarian, individualistic, and fatalistic). These are present in various degrees, but in a manner consistent with cultural theory, in every household. Households' stated preferences are compared with theoretically based predictions of attitudes toward institutions, trust, social support, distribution of resources, blame, view of democracy and political decision-making. Every household's views of politics and society match its dominant way of organizing. Country of origin does not seem to be closely related to either the household's way of organizing or its views of politics and society.
These four ways of organizing are presented as an alternative to classification and explanations based on country of origin or ethnicity. Cultural theory can be used to improve migrant households' integration into the majority society without devaluating their traditions and beliefs, and for creating social interaction across ethnic boundaries in situations where little is known about the other participants. This new knowledge can be useful for improving policies concerning majority-minority relations, integration of minorities, processes of social exclusion and inclusion, participation by the minorities in the majority society, and to improve how we deal with conflicts sometimes labeled ethnic, religious or cultural.

Common Measures for Discrimination

Common Measures for Discrimination II - Recommendations for Improving the Measurement of Discrimination (2006) - edited by Eero Olli and Birgitte Kofod Olsen. PDF

Towards Common Measures for Discrimination - exploring possibilities for combining existing data for measuring discrimination (2005) - edited by Eero Olli and Birgitte Kofod Olsen. PDF.

This was a two year project funded by European Commission with experts from Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Portuga.

Underveis mot et bedre vern er et årlig rapport fra Senter mot etnisk diskriminering, som nå er lagt ned. Jeg har skrevet statistikk kapitlet i rapportene 2003 (english version) og 2004-2005.


Ta innvandrere i ed 17. mai! Kronikk i Dagbladet 15.5.2003. Utfordringen ligger i å få nordmenn til å godta innvandrerne som fullverdige samfunnsmedlemmer. Regjeringens forslag for ny statsborgerskaps seremoni bidrar ikke til dette, men en ed-seremoni på 17. mai vil sette fokus på nye statsborgere i lokalsamfunnet.

Også de andre kan velge en levemåte, 2002, Internasjonal migrasjon og etniske relasjoner 1997-2001 (s. 117-123). Oslo: NFR, Området for kultur og samfunn. En sluttrapport til IMER programmets oppsummerings konferanse. Skrevet noen år før prosjektslutt. pdf.

Olli, Eero, Grendstad, Gunnar, & Wollebæk, Dag. Correlates of Environmental Behaviors: Bringing Back Social Context. 2001 Environment and Behavior, 33(3), pp. 181-208.
Contrary to expectations surveys can be used to estimate the importance of social participation. Social involvement with other environmentalists has a a larger influence on the number of environmentally possitive private behavior, than attitudes. PDF-file.

Language Use and Context as Sources for Meaning in Research Interviews Conducted in Norwegian as Second Language. 2001. Unpublished Philosophy of Science Essay, University of Bergen, Bergen.
It is possible with a pragmatic perspective of language and language use, to establish reasons for why we are able to understand each others, even if one of the participants is not speaking his or hers native language. PDF-file.

Rejection of cultural biases and effects on party preference. 1999. In Michael Thompson & Gunnar Grendstad & Per Selle (Eds.), Cultural theory as political science (pp. 59-74). London: Routledge.
One new theoretical finding: rejection of organizing principles is important determinant of party preference. Methodological founding: because combinations of attitudes thus become important, regression is less suited as analytical technique. Empirical analysis shows that it is possible to understand the conflicts between parties as a well structured structured ideological space in cultural theoretical terms.

The Influence of Behavioral Strategy and Social Structure on a Migrants' Relation to a Workplace. Paper presented at the 11th Nordic Migration Research Conference 28-30 October 1999. Gothenburg.
Cultural theory can be used to describe conflictual situations at workplaces, and thus also to find possible solutions to problems that seem to be related to 'culture'. No data, just an idea for further research. PDF

Individ og kultur. 1996 I Gunnar Grendstad & Per Selle (ed.), Kultur som Levemåte (pp. 200-220). Oslo: Samlaget.
This is a presentation of the theoretical arguments from my masters thesis, with some empirical exemplification with new data.
Les bokmålsversjon av kapittelen. I boka er kapitten oversatt til nynorsk.

Cultural Theory Specified - The Coherent, Sequential, and Synthetic Individual Approaches. 1995 Unpublished Masters thesis, University of Bergen, Bergen.
The main point: Cultural theory must define the relationship between the collective (culture) and individual before surveys can be utilized. Three different definitions are presented, each leading to a specific analytical models. The same hypothesis is examined by performing three different analysis, each based on a different specification of the relation between individual and culture. PDF-files.


"I am black norwegian"
    Last update: 01.07.2009