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Michael Thompson

Guest Emeritus Research Scholar

Equity and Justice Research Group

Population and Just Societies


Originally a professional soldier, Michael Thompson studied anthropology (first degree and PhD at University College London, B.Litt at Oxford) whi9le also following a career as a Himalayan Mountaineer. (Annapurna South Face 1970, Everest Southwest Face 1975). His early research on how something second-hand becomes an antique (Rubbish Theory, 1979, Oxford University Press) led to work on the "energy tribes" (in various western think tanks), on risk, on Himalayan deforestation and sustainable development, on household product development (in Unilever), on global climate change, on technology and development, and on what might be called "the even newer Institutionalism" (e.g., Cultural Theory, co-authored with Richard Ellis and Aaron Wildvasky, 1990, West View).

Dr. Thompson is a Fellow at the James Marin Institute for Science and Civilization, University of Oxford and a Senior Researcher at the Stein Rokkan Centre for Social Research, University of Bergen, Norway. At IIASA he is affiliated with the Risk and Resilience (RISK) Program.

Last update: 02 MAY 2016


Verweij, M., Ney, S., & Thompson, M. (2022). Cultural Theory’s contributions to climate science: reply to Hansson. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (2) e34. 10.1007/s13194-022-00464-y.

Thompson, M. (2022). Oblivion, Eternity and Tick-Tock. In: Künste und Apparate: Berichte aus einem Labor (1995-2005). Eds. Reck, H.U., Zielinski, S., & Butz, K., pp. 320-326 Köln: Halem Verlag. ISBN 978-3-86962-528-7

Beck, M.B., Ingram, D., & Thompson, M. (2021). Modeling the Variety of Decision Making. SOA Research Institute , Illinois, USA.