Erik Olsson

Telephone: +46 (0)8 16 38 10
Room: B667

Erik Olsson is responsible for the Migration Cluster and the research-programme Transnational Migration/CEIFO at the Department of Social Anthropology. He is also the national coordinator of the CoHaB research network. As a researcher on Migration Studies, Olsson has been the coordinator of several other research networks, such as the Research Network on Transnationalism and Diaspora and TRANSMIG. Currently he is involved in the research project Welfare Practices in Transnational Spaces (lead by Annika Rabo) with a special focus on Scandinavians living in Spain. Olsson is also project leader of the project Pathways to Success (see also Alireza Behtoui) which will begin in 2015.


Erik Olsson was a student of Social Anthropology and Behavioural Science at Stockholm University in the 1980s. He received his PhD in Communication Studies at Linköping University in 1995 (Department of Theme). Since then, he has been teaching and conducting research at Linköping University, Södertörn University College and Stockholm University. In 2001 he became Associate Professor at Linköping University and in 2011 Professor of International Migration and Ethnic Relations at Stockholm University. Olsson was involved in the founding of the transdisciplinary PhD programmes in both Ethnicity and Ageing Studies at Linköping University and was also for several years head of Department of Ethnic Studies.

In 2008, Olsson took up the position as Senior Lecturer in International Migration and Ethnic Relations at CEIFO, Stockholm University. From 2008 until the merging of CEIFO into the Department of Social Anthropology, Olsson was the Director of CEIFO. He has also served as the representative on several national and international boards, among them IMISCOE and Nordic Migration Research and he has been on the editorial board of the Nordic Journal of Migration Research and on the supervisory board of CoHaB.


Erik Olsson began his research on ethnicity and migration in the late 1980s. He has since devoted his work mostly to trans- and interdisciplinary research in Linköping and at Stockholm University. Initially, Olsson’s research was related to studies on ethnic identity constructions in different welfare sectors. Following fieldwork in Sweden, Chile, Spain and Ukraine his research developed into the field of diaspora studies and transnational migration and he has acquired an expertise in diaspora and transnationalism. He has written a number of publications on, for instance, the Chilean diaspora in Sweden, return migration, educational careers and generational issues.
Erik Olsson has undertaken research within several projects. Some of the recent projects are:
  •  Between Home and Host Country: The Diasporisation of Chileans and Kurds in Western Europe, funded by the Research Council on Working Life and Social Science (2004-2009);
  • Transnational Educational Careers, funded by the Swedish Research Council (2008-2012;)
  • Welfare Practices in Transnational Spaces (lead by Annika Rabo) with a special focus on Scandinavians living in Spain (on-going).

A number of his recent publications are related to the Chilean diaspora in Sweden and the issue of ‘return migration’ (see for example ‘From Exile to Post Exile’ in Social Identities 2009, 3 and ‘Living Next to an Airport”. in C. Westin and S. Hassanen (eds) People on the Move), as well as generational issues (see the special issue of the Nordic Journal of Migration Research 2012, 2, 2). Olsson’s position as a supervisor, researcher and national coordinator of the CoHaB network is therefore a consequence of his record as a dedicated anthropologist in transnational migration.

Selected publications


  • Olsson Erik (guest editor together with Russell King) (2014), ‘From Diaspora with Dreams, Dreaming about Diaspora: Narratives on a Transnational Chilean Community’, Diaspora 17:3 (2008) / published Summer 2014.
  • Olsson Erik (with Russell King) (2014), ‘Introduction: Diasporic Return’, Diaspora 17:3 (2008) / published Summer 2014.







  • Olsson, Erik, ”I skuggan av ett beslut: Hur migration representeras i statens återvandringspraktik”, i Gustafsson, A, Olin Lauritzen, S och Ödman, P-J (red.) ”Främlingskap och tolkning: en vänbok till Charles Westin". Stockholm: Stockholms universitetsförlag.


  • Wahlbeck, Ö och Olsson, E., ”Ett begrepp på resa: om diaspora i forskningen”, i Olsson, E, Lundqvist, C., Rabo, A., Sawyer, L., Wahlbeck, Ö. och Åkesson, L. (eds.): ”Transnationella rum: diaspora, migration och gränsöverskridande relationer”, Umeå: Boréa.
  • Olsson, E., ”Bortom exilen: diasporiseringen av chilenarna i Sverige”, i Olsson, E, Lundqvist, C., Rabo, A., Sawyer, L., Wahlbeck, Ö. och Åkesson, L. (eds.): ”Transnationella rum: diaspora, migration och gränsöverskridande relationer”, Umeå: Boréa.
  • Olsson, E., ”Familjens plats: återvandring bland Sverigechilenska familjer”, i Eastmond, M. och Åkesson, L. (eds.): Globala familjer, Göteborg: Gidlunds.
  • Olsson, E. (2007), ”Invandrade minoriteter som diaspora”, Invandrare och Minoriteter 1/2007.


  • Öberg B-M, Närvänen A-L, Näsman E. och Olsson E. (eds.), “Changing Worlds and the Aeging Subject. Dimensions in the Study of Ageing and Later Life”, Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Olsson, E., “Event or Process? Repatriation-practice and Open-ended Migration”, in Frykman, M. (ed.) Transnational Spaces: Disciplinary Perspective, Malmö: Malmö University.


  • Olsson, E och Narvselius H. E., "East, West and what Next? Formations of identity among young people in post-Soviet L’viv", Huddinge: Södertörns högskola 2003.
  • Olsson, E.,”Med väskorna packade: Identitetsrum mellan Chile och Sverige”, i Garsten, C. och Sundman, K. (red.) Moderna människor, Stockholm: Liber.
  • Olsson, E., ”En spansktalande oas”, Äldre i Centrum.
  • Olsson, E., Lundqvist C. och Persson Kuylenstierna, A., "Kriminalvård och etnicitet", Kriminalvårdsstyrelsens rapportserie.
  • Olsson, E. (2003), ”Väljer att vara annorlunda”, Invandrare och Minoriteter.


  • Olsson, E., ”En bok om gränsland”, (recension), Sociologisk forskning.
  • Olsson, E., Händelse eller process: om återmigration som frivillig återvandring, [’Event or Process? Return Migration as Voluntary Repatriation’], Norrköping: Merge 2002/1.


  • Supervision Master thesis

Research funding/grants


  • Conference grant “Socialt ansvar på distans: En konferens om omsorg, föräldraskap och generation i transnationella rum”, FORTE.
  • Research grant “Pathways to Success: the upcoming elite among descendants of migrants in Sweden”, Marianne och Marcus Wallenbergs stiftelse (project starts 2015).

Research networks

  • TRANSMIG, a research network within IMISCOE

Conferences, workshops



Membership on boards

Service to the profession


  • Reviewer: Research position focusing on Migration and Mobility.
  • Reviewer: opinion on anthology, Aarhus Universitetsförlag

Editorial assignments

Information about past activities can be found in the Department’s previous Annual Reports.