Professor Edvard Hviding (Research Group Director)

MA, PhD, University of Bergen; S.I.M.; F.R.A.I.

Edvard Hviding is a Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen, and the founding director of the Bergen Pacific Studies Research Group. He is also an Honorary Adjunct Professor of Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. Hviding is presently the PI and director of the international research project “Mare Nullius? Sea-level Rise and Maritime Sovereignties in the Pacific – An Expanded Anthropology of Climate Change”, funded by the Research Council of Norway’s TOPPFORSK programme for 2018-2023. During 2012-16 Hviding was the scientific coordinator of ECOPAS, the European Consortium for Pacific Studies (funded by the EU’s 7th Framework Programme), and during 2008-12 he co-directed with BPS member Professor Knut Rio the international research programme Pacific Alternatives: Cultural Heritage and Political Innovation in Oceania (funded by the Research Council of Norway, with 12 participating institutions). In 2012-13 Hviding was Chair of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO).

Edvard Hviding’s research record in the Pacific has been ongoing since 1986. He has carried out altogether three and a half years of fieldwork in Solomon Islands, mainly in the Marovo Lagoon of Western Province. He has also travelled and worked in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, and Hawai’i, and during the 1990s was engaged in a series of regional Pacific projects of fisheries management. In the years 2003-2010 he was an adviser to UNESCO on education and environment in Solomon Islands. Most recently Hviding has been engaged as a regional expert by Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on several high-level delegation visits to the Pacific Islands region, and he has been involved in numerous events of science diplomacy at the United Nations.

For his efforts in developing vernacular environmental education and research dissemination in the Western Solomons, Hviding was awarded the Silver Medal of the Order of Solomon Islands (S.I.M.) in 2010. His anthropological research has taken place in cooperation with colleagues at the University of Hawai’i, the University of the South Pacific, James Cook University, the University of Cambridge, the British Museum, and UNESCO. Hviding’s research cover many interrelated topics in social, environmental and historical anthropology, including fishing, agroforestry and the customary tenure of sea and land; kinship and social organization; the cultural history and languages of New Georgia; colonial encounters; environmental knowledge and epistemology; customary law, leadership and dispossession; and the local manifestations and consequences of globalization. Most recently he has initiated a programme of comparative anthropological research on vernacular models of, and Pacific diplomacy and policies concerning, changes in environment, weather and climate. As PI and Director of the Mare Nullius project, he closely follows Pacific regional and United Nations meetings and conferences on ocean and climate diplomacy.

At the University of Bergen, Edvard Hviding is currently scientific director of the task force SDG Bergen, a strategic initiative of the university to engage with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Hviding’s publications include about 65 journal articles and book chapters, eight books, and a number of research reports. The books include the monographs Guardians of Marovo Lagoon, Islands of Rainforest (with T. Bayliss-Smith) and Reef and Rainforest: An Environmental Encyclopedia of Marovo Lagoon; and the edited volumes , Made in Oceania (2011, with Knut Rio), The Ethnographic Experiment (2014, with Cato Berg), and Pacific Alternatives (2015, with Geoffrey White).

For a detailed list of publications, see here.

Photo: Eivind Senneset



Department of Social Anthropology
University of Bergen
P.O. Box 7800
N-5020 Bergen