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Chapter 2: Changing Ideologies


What do I mean by "changing ideologies"?

Figuring out an all-compassing term to describe thing ssuch as equality, racism, feminism, and state power proved to be a difficult task. Terms such as values or perceptions did not quite define my intention to describe the different viewpoints and philosophies that govern the progression and constitution of national identity. I found that "ideologies" works well, as it implies sets of values, perceptions, as well as actions, that influence how people, both individual and on a larger societal scale, think and perceive themselves and those around them. These different markers, which pertain to relationships between people and the nation, regimes of power in the nation, and the interactions between the nation and the outside world, have shaped and constructed Norwegian national identity through time, and continue to evolve and change as we move through the 21st century.



  • To view the markers individually or see them in comparison to each other, click on the lines next to the marker name in the key to toggle it on or off on the chart. Hover over the bubbles to see the counts of the marker for that year. Check out the Glossary to get more information on the translations/meanings of each marker!

Markers of Ideologies explored in the literature:

  • likestilling
  • rasisme
  • flerspråklig/fleirspråkleg
  • velferdstaten/velferdsstaten
  • sosialrealisme
  • feminisme
  • stortinget
  • sametinget
  • Media Thule
  • romantisk nasjonalisme
  • nasjonalisme

What interesting things do I see from this chart?

The most prominent marker in this group is "stortinget", which is of course the Norwegian Parliament. It in interesting to see that this marker of the centralized power structure is quite frequently and often spoken about in literature, even across all of my different categories of markers of identity. It should be noted, however, that even though its Sami counterpart, the "sametinget" is not as frequently found in the literature, beginning in the 1990s its absolute frequency in the literature increases, aluding to the greater power and cultural revitalization of the Sami in Norway. Another marker which features quite noticeably in the chart above is "likestilling" or gender equality, which peaks in the late 1980s and late 1990s. Especially in relation to the other ideologies present in this graph, we can extrapolate that this is a value system that is becoming more spoken about, and possibly a greater issue with in Norwegian society.

Why is this group of markers important to national identity?

Examining the changing ideologies which can affect what is and is not considered Norwegian national identity is important to understanding how and why it changes over time. In particular, my project looks at how multiculturalism and a degree of globalization/cosmopolitanism has affected Norwegian national identity, both with increasing the awareness and acknowledgement of equality and acceptance among different ethnic groups in Norwegian national identity and also increasing the resistance to change in what constitutes "being Norwegian". We can see from our chart how these different types of ideologies of both acceptance and resistance have progressed through time in Norway.

What are some ways in which these ideologies might surface as a result of acceptance for or challenges to changes in Norwegian national identity? National identity has recently also become, to some, challenged yet again through the increase of immigration and the blending of immigrant cultures into the dominant Norwegian culture. These immigrant peoples bring not only their own cultural heritage into Norwegian society, but their languages and language practices as well, which have begun to have an effect upon the Norwegian language (Özerk 2013; Svendsen 2014). The most prevalent example of the impact of immigrant linguistic influence on the Norwegian language, and one of the foci of this paper, is the variety kebabnorsk, which will be described and explored in further detail to come.

To make a complex situation even more complicated, the indigenous population of Norway, the Sami, have strengthened the forces of their own cultural and linguistic revitalization, after a period of suppression from the late 1800s to 1980 (Kvernmo & Heyerdahl 2004; Lyngsnes 2013). In addition, due to the influence and prevalence of the Internet and social media, many English loan words have invaded the Norwegian language and occupied spaces for words either absent of a Norwegian equivalent, or all but usurped the position of a Norwegian word for greater communicability.

Where can you read about changing ideologies in Norway?

  • Bals, Margrethe, Anne Lene Turi, Ingunn Skre, and Siv Kvernmo 2010 Internalization symptoms, perceived discrimination, and ethnic identity in indigenous Sami and non-Sami youth in Arctic Norway. Ethnicity and Health 15(2): 165-179.
  • Eriksen, Thomas Hylland 1994 Ethnicity and Nationalism: Anthropological Perspectives. Revised Third Edition 2010. Pluto Press.
  • Gullestad, Marianne 1989 Small facts and large issues: The anthropology of contemporary Scandinavian society. Annual Review of Anthropology 18(1): 71–93.
  • Knudsen, Knud 1997 Scandinavian Neighbours with Different Character? Attitudes toward Immigrants and National Identity in Norway and Sweden. Acta Sociologica, 40(3): 223-243.
  • McIntosh, Laurie 2015 Impossible presence: race, nation and the cultural politics of “being Norwegian”. Ethnic and Racial Studies. 38(2): 309-325.
  • Weinstock, John 2013 Assimilation of the Sámi: Its Unforeseen Effects on the Majority Populations of Scandinavia. Scandinavian Studies 85(4): 411-430.