I hold a Master degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Bergen, and a Master degree in Samfunnssikkerhet (Societal Safety/Security) from the University of Tromsø. I have previously worked in the field of urban security, and have studied the process of reforming the military police in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Olympics. I continue my work on the Brazilian police as part of the research group of the NFR-funded research project "Algorithmic Governance and Cultures of Policing" at Oslo Met.
My PhD-project focuses on the affective and aspirational dimensions of mountaineering in western modernity, and examines how natural landscapes, and particularly the mountains have become central to contemporary fantasies about happiness and the good life. I have approached these issues through multisited fieldwork in Southern Patagonia (Argentina) and Svalbard (Norway), as well as fieldwork in mainland Norway.
Among my main areas of interests are masculinity and gender studies, political anthropology, state formation, modernity and the nature-culture divide.
2021 Miljøvern og urban ulikskap i verdas siste villmark. Presentation in panel "Klima og miljøkamp: etnografiske nyansar" at the Norwegian Anthropology Association's 2021 conference, University of Oslo, 25th November.
2019 Friluftsliv in transition: first impressions from the field. Presentation at seminar at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen, 9th september.
2019 Mannen og fjellet: om å finne lukka i naturen. Presentation at "Nordisk etnografi, hvor står vi?", University of Oslo, 22nd august.
2018 "I am not a cop": Doing fieldwork with the police in Rio's favelas. Presentation in panel Ethnography and Conflict in Latin America, NOLAN Conference. Oslo Metropolitan University, 25th October.
2018 Gender, Race and Urban (in)Securities. Co-organizer of international workshop with Margit Ystanes. University of Bergen, 16th-17th October.
2018 The Spectacular Favela: Violence in Modern Brazil. Moderator in conversation with Erika Robb Larkins. Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen, 16th October.
2018 Warfare, mountaineering and the gendered dynamics of danger. Presentation in panel “Ethnography in/of Danger”. Bergen Anthropology Day 2018. Bergen.
2018 Kjønnsperspektiv i forskningen. Presentation at the Department of Geography, UoB, 8th mars.
2018 How to integrate gender perspectives in research towards the SDGs. Presentation at workshop on Critical approaches to gender, sustainability and futurity, at the SDG 2018 Conference in Bergen, 9th February.
2018 Scale and police reform in Rio de Janeiro. Paper presented at workshop Gendered and Racialized Urban Transformations in Security Politics. Centre for Women’s and Gender Research, Bergen, 24th January.
2018 Emergent police states and necropolitics in the Olympic city. Paper presented at workshop The Olympic City: Politics, Processes, Transformations. University of Bergen, 23rd January.
2018 The Olympic City: Politics, Processes, Transformations. Co-organizer of international workshop with Margit Ystanes. University of Bergen, 23rd January.
2018 From Armed Peace to Urban War: The Failure of Rio’s Pacification Project. Breakfast forum at Bergen Resource Centre in collaboration with Margit Ystanes and Sebastian Saborio. Bergen, 23rd January.
2018 SKOK-debatten 2018: #MeTooAkademia. Co-moderator with Mari Korsbrekke at public debate on sexual harassment in academia. Litteraturhuset i Bergen 18th January.
2017 Night Snack with SAIH: Olympic Evictions in Rio de Janeiro. Q&A with Margit Ystanes at public screening of Dirty Games: Olympic Evictions in Rio by Janeiro José Alejandro Huidobro Goya and Margit Ystanes. Kvarteret, Bergen 15. november.
2017 Dirty Games: Olympic Evictions in Rio de Janeiro. Panel participant in debate with Margit Ystanes, José Alejandro Huidobro Goya, and Christopher Gaffney. Saná Café, Bergen 7th September.
Spring 2022: Lecturer in SANT105 Comparative Regional Ethnography at the Department of Social Anthropology, UoB
Fall 2021: Guest lecturer in SANT105 Power: its articulations and disguises at the Department of Social Anthropology, UoB
Fall 2020: Guest lecturer in SANT105 Power: its articulations and disguises at the Department of Social Anthropology, UoB
Fall 2019: Lecturer in SANT100 Invitation to Social Anthropology at the Department of Social Anthropology, UoB
Fall 2018: Guest lecturer in SANT150: Academic writing, methods and theory: Anthropological approaches at the Department of Social Anthropology, UoB.
Fall 2017: Seminar-leader and guest lecturer in KVIK 102: Equality and diversity at the Centre for Women's and Gender Research, UoB.
- (2020). Introduction: Exceptionalism and necropolitical security dynamics in olympic Rio de Janeiro. Conflict and Society - Advances in Research. 52-67.
- (2020). Emergent Police States. Racialized Pacification and Police Moralism from Rio’s Favelas to Bolsonaro. Conflict and Society - Advances in Research. 86-107.
- (2017). Visning av dokumentaren Dirty Games: Olympic Evictions in Rio de Janeiro (regissert av José Alejandro Huidobro Goya og Margit Ystanes) ved SAIH-arrangement på Det Akademiske Kvarter, Bergen.
- (2017). Premiere screening of the documentary Dirty Games: Olympic Evictions in Rio de Janeiro (co-directed by José Alejandro Huidobro Goya and Margit Ystanes) and panel debate, at Café Sanaa, Bergen.
Peer reviewed journal articles:
Salem, Tomas, and Erika Robb Larkins. "Violent masculinities: Gendered dynamics of policing in Rio de Janeiro." American Ethnologist 48.1 (2021): 65-79.
Ystanes, Margit, and Tomas Salem. "Introduction: Exceptionalism and Necropolitical Security Dynamics in Olympic Rio de Janeiro." Conflict and Society 6.1 (2020): 52-67.
Salem, Tomas, and Bjørn Enge Bertelsen. "Emergent Police States: Racialized Pacification and Police Moralism from Rio's Favelas to Bolsonaro." Conflict and Society 6.1 (2020): 86-107.
2017 Diplomats or Warriors? The Failure of Rio's Pacification Project. NACLA Report on the Americas, 49(3), 298-302.
2017 The guerrilleros of the State: Pacification, Violence, Policing, and Predatory forms of Accumulation. Report, "Egalitarianism: Forms, Processes, Comparisons", Univerisity of Bergen.
2016 Avsetjinga bør fordømmast. Kronikk, Klassekampen, 3. September 2016.
2015 Seven months of war in the favelas. Report, CMI Fieldnotes, Chr. Michelsens Institutt, Bergen.
2015 Policing the favelas: Reform, Rank, and Resistance. Report, CMI Fieldnotes, Chr. Michelsens Institutt, Bergen.
2016 Security and Policing in Rio de Janeiro: An ethnography of the Pacifying Police Units. M.A. thesis, Department of engeneering and security, University of Tromsø.
2016 Taming the War Machine: Police, Pacification, and Power in Rio de Janeiro. M.A. thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Bergen.
Men and the Mountain: Finding Happiness in Nature (2018-2024)
PhD-project at the Department of Anthropology, University of Bergen
My PhD project focuses on the affective and aspirational dimensions of mountaineering in western modernity and examines how people try to create happiness and well-being for themselves through regular immersions in the mountains. Through multi-sited fieldwork in Southern Patagonia (Argentina), Svalbard (Norway), and mainland Norway, I am particularly concerned with the gendered dynamics of these activities, in their importance in the symbolic construction of gendered and national identities, and in their relation to changing understandings of happiness and the good life at a moment in a time characterized by dystopian imaginaries of a future of ecological and social collapse.
Algorithmic Governance and Cultures of Policing (2020-2023)
Project Leader: Christin Thea Wathne
Project Co-Leader: Tereza Østbø Kuldova
Police departments across the globe are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) to support decision-making in preventing crime and disorder. The use of digital technologies and the growing role of private security, tech, and consultancy companies, are reshaping policing and the ways in which we ensure social order and security, enforce law, and prevent and investigate crime. However, this ongoing radical transformation of cultures of policing is little understood. To change that, AGOPOL brings together a team of 15 established scholars and researchers from cultural and area studies, anthropology, criminology, sociology, history, literature, and law. The project is based on qualitative and ethnographic research on policing in Norway, Russia, India, Brazil, and South Africa. Drawing on these cases we will analyze the global cultural transformation of policing as an effect of the intertwined processes of datafication, securitization, and commodification of security. Our analysis will shed light on the diverse consequences of algorithmic governance for society, police forces, and those policed: from the transformation of knowledge cultures and organizations, to algorithmic injustices and their impact on legitimacy and societal trust. We will develop a comparative cross-cultural analysis of policing as a global digitized project. This will produce knowledge on the ways in which advances in artificial intelligence shape policing in different cultural, political, legal and economic contexts.