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What does it mean to be Norwegian?

Throughout the last few years of my research into Norwegian language use, culture, literature, and identity, the overarching question that ruminates in my thoughts has been "What does it mean to be Norwegian?", a question that also comes up in an article I read by Norwegian anthropologist Thomas Hylland Eriksen, called "Being Norwegian in a Shrinking World". This article has helped shape much of the framework of my approach to studying Norwegian cultural heritage, national identity, and language history, as well as serving as the foundation for questions guiding my project examining those concepts or markers that constitute Norwegian national identity, and how we see identity expressed in various mediums.

This project is my narrative of my explorations of expressions of Norwegian national identity. It is the culmination of my graduate coursework for my master’s thesis in sociocultural and linguistic anthropology, my experiences studying abroad in Oslo at the International Summer School, and my participation as a graduate fellow in the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative at Michigan State University. It is my endeavor to explore answers to the question of "What does it mean to be Norwegian?", including addressing the problem of the complexity of the answers to this question, exploring the ideologies and historical contexts which influence these answers, and attending to the increasing influence of a multicultural society and a globalized world, all of which affect those markers which are said to constitute Norwegian national identity. This project is organized into the different parts that illustrate the process of developing this project - feel free to explore at your leisure, and discover a bit about my story of exploring Norwegian national identity:

The Scene: The Processes of Examining Norwegian National Identity

Motives: Theories of Identity Construction

Investigation: How Do We Find Identity?

Identity in Literature: Examining National Identity Markers in Norwegian Literature


Chapter 1: National Identities?

Chapter 2: Changing Ideologies

Chapter 3: Intangible Heritage

Chapter 4: Tangible Heritage

Chapter 5: Norway's Environment


Identity in Museums: Examining National Identity Markers in Norwegian Museums

Discourses of Nationalism and the City in the Museum