Faculty Profile

Steffen Johannessen

Adjunct Associate Professor - Department of Communication and Culture


Steffen F. Johannessen has been employed as lecturer and national course responsible at the Institute for Communication and Culture, BI Norwegian Business School, since 2010. Courses taught include Economic Anthropology, Understanding Culture, Globalization, Social Networks and Communities, and Communication in Organizations. Johannessen has a PhD in Social Anthropology from the German Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg. Johannessen's focus of research has centered on Indian Ocean militarization, culture and politics related to the Chagossian diaspora. Johannessen holds a postdoc position at the University of Southeast Norway, where he is conducting an ethnographic study of the Unesco World Heritage site of Rjukan and Notodden.


Johannessen, Steffen Fagernes (2019)

Demokratisk industriarv? Kulturarvifisering og identitet i øvre Telemarks verdensarvområde

Tidsskrift for kulturforskning, 18(2), s. 57- 81.

Industrial heritage supposedly offers workers a right to a past and has therefore been celebrated as democratic. Authorities continue to applaud democratization, supporting and encouraging heritage for all, in an open and non-excluding sense. Examining the concept of democratic industrial heritage, this article explores connections between heritage and identification in a major industrial heritage site in Southern Norway. It investigates how implicit and seemingly undercommunicated boundaries between self and Other are negotiated on the ground when local people’s history and environment become world heritage. In the early 20th century, a major industrial complex was established in the upper regions of Telemark. After securing rights and access to local natural resources, the company Norsk Hydro was soon developed into a major producer of artificial fertilizer, driven by hydroelectric power. A century later, and some two and a half decades after the enterprise had shut down and relocated all chemical production, the early history and physical remains of the local industry was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2015. Ethnographic data collected within the Rjukan-Notodden industrial heritage site between May 2017 and December 2018 demonstrates that so-called heritage communities are far from stable. Heritagization processes not only produce heritage and heirs. World heritage, especially, also produces a series of stages, arenas, situations and debates. Here, identities are mobilized in different constellations according to changing political circumstances. Heritage communities thus constantly shift as members and heirs populate the democratic world heritage’s less visible, yet constituent, Other with new social groups – often opponents in the politicized situations that heritagization processes provoke. Heritage, then, becomes resource and raw-material for strategic identity construction on the wide variety of arenas that heritagization generates.

Schrumpf, Ellen; Birkeland, Inger & Johannessen, Steffen Fagernes (2019)

Innledning - Fra industri til industriarv

Tidsskrift for kulturforskning, 18(2), s. 5- 13. - Full text in research archive

Industrialisering er et vesentlig kjennetegn ved utviklingen av moderne samfunn. Når en rekke områder i dag både beskrives og behandles som postindustrielle, ryddes industrisamfunn inn i en ordnet fortid som omgås, erfares og gjøres bruk av på nye måter. Industriarv utgjør en sentral komponent i slike prosesser. Men endringene som akkompagnerer transformasjon av industri til industriarv varierer og er ofte sammensatte. Ikke minst fordi de vanskelig kan for­stås uten å ta hensyn til de historiske miljøene som industrien selv, ofte på radikalt vis, har bidratt til å skape.

Johannessen, Steffen Fagernes (2017)

Dis/Entangled Hubs: Connectivity and Disconnections in the Chagos Archipelago

Schnepel, Burkhard & Alpers, Edward A. (red.). Connectivity in Motion : Island Hubs in the Indian Ocean World

This chapter explores the Chagos Archipelago from a perspective of connectivity and disconnections, and investigates the extent to which different domains of circulation to and from these Indian Ocean islands qualify them as a hub. The chapter explores the Chagos Archipelago as a military hub, a social hub, and an environmental hub, and introduces the concept of dis/entangled hubs to explain how real and imagined hubs, which may appear to work or hub independent of one another, can in fact be intimately interconnected on a political level. In order to protect an area, an island, or an archipelago as a particular kind of hub, parties in power can welcome and support new forms of circulation, at times only to rule out hubs unwanted.

Johannessen, Steffen (2011)

Cleaning for the dead: The Chagossian pilgrimage to their homeland

Evers, Sandra J. T. M. & Kooy, Marry (red.). Eviction from the Chagos Islands: Displacement and struggle for identity against two world powers

Johannessen, Steffen (2010)

From Socialist Uprising to Cultural Genocide: The Emergence of Traditions in Chagossian Struggles for Repatriation

Orientwissenschaftliche hefte, s. 69- 105.

Johannessen, Steffen Fagernes (2017)

Between 'industrial world heritage' and 'heritage of different worlds'

[Academic lecture]. North Atlantic Forum 2017: "Traditions and Transformations in the Sustainability of Rural Communities: Balancing Living Culture and Nature".

Johannessen, Steffen (2015)

From Coconut Trade to "War on Terror": Connectivity and Disconnections in the Indian Ocean

[Academic lecture]. The Art of Hubbing: The Role of Small Islands in Indian Ocean Connectivity.

Johannessen, Steffen (2015)

Protest and Compliance in Pilgrimage Performance

[Academic lecture]. Terror and the Tour.

Johannessen, Steffen (2012)

Limurias Retur: Miljø Versus Menneskerettigheter i Neokolonial Diskurs

[Academic lecture]. SANT-NAF årskonferanse. Tema: Mediering.

Johannessen, Steffen & Jeffery, Laura (2011)

Reflections on the Life and Art of the Chagossian Painter Clément Siatous

[Popular scientific article]. Wasafiri, 26(2), s. 72- 78.

Johannessen, Steffen (2007)

Landscape of Absence

[Academic lecture]. Landscapes of Violence: Memory and Sacred Space.

Academic Degrees
Year Academic Department Degree
2016 Martin-Luther-University, Halle-Wittenberg,Halle (Saale) Germany PhD
2005 University of Oslo Master
2003 University of Oslo Cand.Mag
Work Experience
Year Employer Job Title
2017 - Present University College Southeast Norway Postdoc in Industrial Heritage
2011 - Present BI Norwegian Business School Adjunct Senior Lecturer
2010 - 2010 BI Norwegian Business School Lecturer
2008 - 2009 Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology PhD Candidate
2005 - 2008 Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg PhD Candidate