Urban Multi-Culture in Norway: Identity Formation Among Immigrant Youth

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This is a current prime political and scholarly issue in Europe and North America, the fate of migrant youth. Instead of seeing their precarious situation in simplified cultural terms, this book argues that an understanding of their situation has to rest upon an analysis of their everyday life situation. With a focus on the mechanisms of their outsidership and their ways of dealing with it, this book develops a generative model where the different ideal types of migrant youth social organization and mentalities are demonstrated. Resting on a solid empirical study of three migrant youth contexts, a street gang, a Muslim student association, and a sports club, the analysis demonstrates how they all represent specific soluti8ons to the problem of the spatial politics of recognition and misrecognition.


“The author's study is about social transformation in Norway, as it becomes a more multicultural society. While it is crucially about immigrants and how their lives unfold, it is equally about other Norwegians and how they relate to immigrants ... Through interviews and observational research she complements the more statistical studies with the nuances of interpretative research. She brings out the cultural and experiential dimensions of life as an immigrant and as an ancestral Norwegian in a milieu shaped more and more by immigration.” – (from the Foreword) Craig Calhoun, Professor of Social Sciences, New York University and President of the Social Science Research Council

“The author has created a truly creative contribution to the scholarship about the second generation immigrants.…The book is without doubt an important contribution to the phenomenological tradition in the social sciences primarily associated with Schultz ... This book represents a real addition to the literature of the second generation immigrants. It rips apart many of the stereotypical notions about them. It will in all likelihood reach a very varied readership, from social scientists to social workers, from teachers to – hopefully, and likely - members of the second generation immigrants.” – Professor Yngve Georg Lithman, Bergen University

"This book is rare and precious insight into the complexity of urban multiculture. It takes seriously the voices of young people living in the ethnically diverse districts of Oslo and allows them to be heard. However, this is no act or mere transcription because the author files these voices through her sociologically rich imagination. The result is an account that challenges the conventional wisdom about the ‘immigrant problem’ in Norwegian politics. Challenging questions about the presence of racism in Norwegian society are raised and confronted. The book combines theoretical sophistical, empirical engagements and political edge and is an essential resource for anyone searching to understand the present situation. This is a brilliant and pathbreaking book." – Professor Les Back, Department of Sociology, University of London

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. A life-world perspective on identity work
3. Methodology
4. City strollers
5. Students
6. Athletes
7. Comparing across: sameness and difference
8. Inter-ethnic interaction and the contextual politics of recognition
9. Identity work, time and the national context
10. Conclusions
References: Appendix 1-6

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