Author

Abram de Swaan

Abram de Swaan was awarded the prestigious position of University Professor of Social Science at the University of Amsterdam in 2001, where he is now emeritus professor. His many teaching appointments included the Collège de France in Paris and Columbia University in New York. De Swaan’s most successful books include In Care of the State, Words of the World, and The Killing Compartments, all published in English editions. His writings have been translated into twelve languages. He was a columnist for the national news­paper NRC Handelsblad for many years and won the prestigious P.C. Hooft Prize in 2008 for his oeuvre.

Words of the World

Words of the World

The world language system

(Prometheus, 2002, 298 pages)

There are over five thousand languages in the world, and yet humankind has still retained its cohesion. Sociologist Abram de Swaan believes that this is due to the people who speak more than one language. As a result of multilingualism, certain languages within the global system have a kind of ‘umbrella function’, serving as a means of communication between the speakers of regional languages. For the last half-century or so the ‘supercentral’ language crowning this linguistic hierarchy has been English.

Read more
The Killing Compartments

The Killing Compartments

The mentality of mass murder

(Prometheus, 2014, 312 pages)

Why do some regimes commit mass murder, and how do they always find willing participants? That is the terrible question sociologist Abram de Swaan has set out to tackle.

Read more
Against Women

Against Women

The Fight against Emancipation

(Prometheus, 2019, 240 pages)

Over the past fifty years, education has improved, especially for girls and young women, and machines have taken over the heavy work traditionally done by men. This has liberated many women from dependence on men for financial support or physical protection and allowed them to flourish in the workplace. But now, men’s wounded pride is leading to tensions.

Read more

Translations