Escalations: A Comparative Ethnographic Study of Accelerating Change

Within the last decade, the world has witnessed a number of escalations sparked by decisive yet often unremarkable events: the self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor that prompted the Arab Spring, the bursting of a housing bubble in the US that catalysed a global financial crisis, and the publication of cartoons in a Danish newspaper that triggered an international controversy. Escalations are rarely anticipated and their outcomes are almost always unpredictable. Their tremendous effects, however, are beyond question. This project aims to understand and theorize such escalating processes from an anthropological perspective.

The project is funded by the Danish Research Council for Independent Research Ɩ Humanities.


External partners

Key interlocutors


Associate professor Anja Kublitz (Aalborg University)

Name Title Phone E-mail
Højer, Lars External Researcher +4527574424 E-mail
Puri, Stine Simonsen Associate Professor +4550585969 E-mail


Lars Højer
Department of Cross-Cultural
and Regional Studies
University of Copenhagen

Karen Blixens Vej 4, bygning 10
2300 Copenhagen S


Events and activities

January 2020 – Workshop on ‘Escalated events and their remnants’ arrangeret af Birgitte Stampe Holst

Book publication
Ruptures: Anthropologies of Discontinuity in Times of Turmoil” (edited by Martin Holbraad, Bruce Kapferer, and Julia F. Sauma). Escalations co-sponsored the event on which this book is based and Anja Kublitz and Stine Krøijer are among the contributors.

Ethnographies of Escalation

Special issue workshop on December 2018.

3 June 2018 – Anja Kublitz interviewed for Danish television (DR2, Deadline)

Workshop on Escalations
October 11-12

Workshop on Rupture at UCL
Our project is co-sponsoring a workshop on Ruptures at UCL (London) on 13-15 February. The workshop is jointly hosted by the European Research Council research projects Comparative Anthropologies of Revolutionary Politics, based at UCL, and Egalitarianism: Forms, Processes, Comparisons, based at the University of Bergen.

Anja Kublitz awarded the 2016 Khayrallah Prize in Migration Studies
for her article “From Revolutionaries to Muslims: Liminal Becomings Across Palestinian Generations in Denmark”. The Prize recognizes outstanding scholarly studies from any discipline focusing on Middle East migration and diasporas. Read more
November 2016

Full list of events and activities