BJØRN
HALLSTEIN
HOLTE
VID Specialized University
Oslo, Norway


I am a PhD Candidate at VID Specialized University in Oslo, Norway. A social scientist with a background in social anthropology, my main areas of academic interest are socio-economic inequalities, social integration, and social exclusion. My research concerns youth in Sub-Saharan Africa and Nordic Europe. I am currently conducting research on youth marginalization and religious organizations in Oslo, and have previously conducted fieldwork to study privileged upbringings at a boarding school in Kenya. My work has appeared in an anthology published by James Currey, a leading publisher of academic books on Africa, and is forthcoming in Young - Nordic Journal of Youth Research.


I have participated in Youth at the Margins (YOMA), a Nordic-South African research project on marginalized youth and faith-based organizations. My research concerned young people not in education, employment, or training (NEET young people) and religious organizations in a city district in Oslo. The research included Christian, Muslim, and Buddhist organizations. I have been analyzing the NEET concept and am currently analyzing religious organizations’ activities and engagements for young people in the city district. My planned doctoral thesis will unify these lines of analysis to address the role of religious organizations in the formation of local communities and in including different kinds of young people in them.



The concept of ‘not in education, employment, or training’ (NEET) has gained wide usage in youth research over the last two decades. This article reviews the concept’s background and discusses how it is linked to population statistics. Drawing on literature within the fields of anthropology, sociology, and educational research, as well as field research conducted in Norway, the article discusses how, by meeting young people categorized as NEET for interviews and participant observation, researchers can address other aspects of their lives than have been counted. Researchers who meet young people find that the concept means different things in everyday speech than in published research. The article concludes by suggesting how research based on meeting young people categorized as NEET can contribute to a body of knowledge that has mainly been produced by counting NEET young people.


This chapter is based on ethnographic research among students from an international boarding school in Kenya who volunteer at a Bible Club for children from poor families. I show how volunteering as encounters across vast socioeconomic differences feeds into the formation of the students as privileged subjects. I understand volunteering in relation to two other modes of engagement with the ‘people outside the gates’ of the school that are commonly portrayed in the anthropological literature on gated communities: their exclusion as peril and their inclusion as labor. Volunteering works to a very different effect from these. While volunteering, the students relate to the children as members of a public towards which they have responsibilities but of which they are not themselves part. Volunteering thereby affirms the students’ privilege and instills dispositions for loving and responsible exercise of it in them. See the publisher’s website or JSTOR for more information.


‘Us and them: Reflections about how faith-based organisations perceive young people at the margins in a multi-cultural city district of Oslo’. Paper presented with Kari Karsrud Korslien at Diaconia in Dialogue: The Challenges of Diversifying Contexts, ReDi Biannual Conference, Helsinki, Finland, 16 September 2016.

‘Understanding youth marginalisation through NEET: A South African – Nordic European exchange of perspectives’. Paper presented with Ignatius Swart at Diaconia in Dialogue: The Challenges of Diversifying Contexts, ReDi Biannual Conference, Helsinki, Finland, 16 September 2016.

‘Religious Organisations as Communication’. Paper presented at Construction and Disruption: The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere, Socrel Annual Conference, Lancaster, England, 13 July 2016.


I have been a seminar tutor for bachelor level courses in social anthropology (SOSANT2000, autumn 2011) and in development studies (UTV1000, autumn 2011 and 2012; UTV3091, spring 2013) at the University of Oslo. I have also been an external examiner for a master thesis submitted at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo (spring 2016).


You can contact me by e-mail at bjorn@hallste.in (private) or bjorn.hallstein.holte@vid.no (work). You can also see my page at VID’s website.

Last updated on 6th February 2017.