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Multiculturalism in Norway Research Paper


Multiculturalism ideology is usually used as a way of enhancing integration of all ethnic groups within the society. It is an imperative concept that is quite controversial. Scholars continue to debate on this issue. Professionals and individuals are mostly interested in analysing the pros and cons of multiculturalism.

It can be defined as a way through which all ethnic groups in the society are usually appreciated. Other definitions assert that it is an ideology that emphasizes on differences of diverse ethnic groups. (Brochmann, p. 78)

Multiculturalism is mostly known to emphasize on the equality of all ethnic groups in society. Initially, Norway was an ethnically homogeneous nation. Later on, immigrants in the nation increased to approximately sixty thousand people. By the year two thousand and six, there were more than four hundred thousand immigrants. This resulted in Norwegian societies that have a large percentage of ethnic minority people.

This paper evaluates whether multiculturalism in Norway is mere rhetoric. It also analyses multiculturalism practices in Norway. This also includes how multiculturalism concept is usually in the country. It finally finds out how multiculturalism policy is usually implemented in Norway. (Brochmann, p. 54)

Literature review

Some liberals use the aspect of multiculturalism to assert that all people are equal. This is where all races are usually deemed to be equal. There is the credence that reformation of economic, cultural and social aspects lead to equality. This results in norms that define citizenship within the Norwegian nation. This aspect is usually deemed to be universalistic and ethnocentric in nature. (Wikan, pg 107)

Many scholars continue to argue on the effectiveness of multiculturalism concept. The fact that this ideology is mostly based on relativism spurs arguments on its effectiveness in enhancing integration of ethnic minority groups. While scholars agree on the fact that multiculturalism is important in social integration, critics still question aspects of homogeneous values in any culture. (Wikan, pg 107)

Culture is an aspect that is generally perceived diversely in various contexts. Forces such as transformation of religion, political variations and economic changes generally facilitate in the comprehension of culture. Multiculturalism as a discourse is generally initiated to counter ideologies that are assimilative in nature.

Norway is one of the nations that integrate the aspect of multiculturalism. This is generally geared towards enhancing the participation of ethnic minorities in national societies and cultural activities. (Brochmann, p. 78)

This move is generally geared towards enhancing the identity of various ethnic affiliations within the society. Some scholars argue that this concept tends to legitimise policies that are assimilative in nature. These cultures include indigenous people, African and people of Asian origin.

These minority cultures are generally thought to be from backgrounds that are generally underprivileged culturally. Researchers assert that these cultures can only be integrated through assimilation in western cultures that are generally dominant in nature. (Sicakkan, p. 35)

Multiculturalism refers to a state where people from different cultures and racial groups stay together and still intermingle within a nation. This aspect is highly incorporated by many western nations. One of the nations that have highly embraced multiculturalism is Norway.

This is up to the point of incorporating a policy that enhances multiculturalism within the nation. This policy has greatly faced challenges and sharp criticism from scholars in the nation. (Brochmann, p. 54)

Research shows that multicultural policy in Norway aims at maintaining and recognising various cultures within the nation. This policy is mostly incorporated to promote social harmony and unity. Analysis carried out in the Norway reveals that multiculturalism is still essential to the nation.

Critics of the multicultural policy continue to point out that it promotes tribalism. This is not true since the policy aims at helping people in the nation to respect each other’s cultural affiliations. (Niemi, p. 24)

Scholars assert that interaction of different cultures and tribes has enabled citizens to understand and also respect different cultural values. Different tribes or communities have got different cultural aspects that they uphold. Once they interact, they learn to respect and also to live in harmony with each other. That is why multiculturalism should continue in Norway.

Further research shows that people of various ethnicities moved into Norway for diverse reasons. This includes escape from war, in search of greener pastures and simply adventure. This shows that there are very many languages that are currently being spoken in the nation. (Sicakkan, p. 35)

According to Ellingsen, this gives people in this nation the opportunity to learn different languages within the nation. These languages include Arabic, Chinese, French, German and Greek among others. When they learn these languages, there is the enhancement of international relations and international trade.

That is why many people in nations that incorporate this policy easily carry out trade with other nations without the difficulties of language barriers. This trade plays a very big role in the overall stability of nations that incorporate multiculturalism.

It is very clear that the Multiculturalism policy has faced very many challenges of criticism to be promoting tribalism and ethnicity. The policy simply strives to put in place a framework where each tribal group has the freedom of upholding their cultural affiliations without the fear of victimization. (Ellingsen, p. 31)

Theoretical framework

According to Maslow, human beings require various needs. These include physiological, security, social, self- esteem and finally self actualisation. He invented framework that is usually formulated from people’s needs. He asserts that these needs play an imperative role in motivating people.

This is more so the needs that are yet to be met. This is a contrast to other theories of scholars that based their framework on the behaviour of animals. (Wikan, pg 107)

Maslow’s theory correlates to the current situation in Norway. Maslow’s motivation theory is usually based on the concept that human beings are mostly motivated by needs that are yet to be satisfied. This means that, some lower factors in the echelon have to be achieved before top needs can be met.

The needs on the lower part of the framework are mostly satisfied prior to the person desiring those on the upper fraction. Once one need is usually satisfied, it ceases its function like a motivator. The next in the framework replaces the fulfilled need in terms of acting like a motivator. The framework is illustrated below. (Ellingsen, pg 31)

The fulfilled need in terms of acting like a motivator

Ethical relativism

In this ethical theory, it is usually asserted that an action is morally right depending on the individuals’ customs that emanate from his culture. This denotes that there is no blanket or common standards of morality. This indicates that moral standards in one community can not be practical in another region, country or community etc. (Brochmann, p. 54)

In this case, the society where an action is usually carried out highly determines whether the action is either morally wrong or right. This evidently indicates that an action that is usually considered wrong in one culture could be considered acceptable and right in another.

This indicates that, for any actions in any society to be judged morally right or wrong, one has to base on its manual of moral standards and not another society’s manual. (Ellingsen, pg 31)

In this theory, it is evident that there is no way that discrepancies among people from different societies can be solved since no universal framework can be used as a foundation of determining right and wrong. Many ethical theorists have criticized this theory. It is mostly debated that ethical practices may differ from one group of people to another. The principles are usually not different in any way. (Sicakkan, pg 35)

This theory also demonstrates relativism of an action in terms of history, culture and social aspects. This brings in the implication that each and extremely culture has its own code of ethics that govern it and directs the people therein. In ethical relativism, cultural experiences are core in determining moral principles therein.

This principle can be stated to connote that there are no intrinsically wrong or right dealings. Social actions that could be universally acceptable still show wide variability. According to this theory, people from diverse societies would make quite varied moral judgments about a similar action. (Sicakkan, pg 35)

Research methodology

Research methodology is an imperative aspect when carrying out any form of research. This research incorporated both primary and secondary research. In this case, both qualitative and quantitative methodologies were used.

This descriptive nature of the responses was vital in finding out relevant facts. In some cases, numerical figures were relevant to help ascertain the extent of the occurrences. This was done such that the results could be quite comprehensive in nature. (Baker, pg. 119)

Research objectives

The main objective of this project was to examine the aspect of multiculturalism in Norway. The main objectives of the research were;

  1. To examine whether multiculturalism is mere rhetoric.
  2. To analyse multiculturalism practice in Norway.
  3. To find out how multiculturalism handled or managed in Norway today.
  4. To evaluate multiculturalism policy implementation in Norway.

Definition of terms

Qualitative – comparisons that are usually founded on the qualities that are usually used in a research which relate or involve certain implicative measures

Quantitative –research analyses based on a combination of more than one effect will include the volumetric capacity of the information at hand.

Cognitive-this is the intellectual ability of a person to distinguish wrong or right with reference to what he has been told. (Baker, pg 119)

Statement of problem

Multiculturalism concept is mostly known to be quite complex in nature. This ideological model is usually considered to be an amalgamation of diverse characteristics that are central in nature. This aspect is usually hotly debated among scholars in Norway.

This is mostly relating to the way multiculturalism is usually in the nation. This also includes questioning of how multiculturalism is usually implemented. Arguments are usually raised on multiculturalism being mere rhetoric in Norway. This also includes debates on overall implementation of multiculturalism policy.

Hypothesis of study

There are diverse hypotheses that were considered for this research. The hypotheses are illustrated below;

  1. Multiculturalism in Norway is not mere rhetoric.
  2. There are various multicultural practices in Norway today.
  3. Multiculturalism in Norway is well managed.
  4. Multiculturalism policy Norwegian society is well implemented.

Data collection

Data compilation is usually an imperative step in any research. Diverse methods of collecting data were used in this research. They included interviews, focus groups questionnaires, observation and evaluation of documents. The target group of the research included both minority and Norwegian citizens. (Baker, pg 119)


Interviews were incorporated among data collection methodologies. A research interview refers to the comprehensive interaction between an investigator and a respondent. This is mostly carried out with the intention of getting desired information.

Research assistants had relevant questions well prepared before hand. They asked the respondents the questions and answers were noted down. This method was used because it allowed the researcher to get clarification from the respondents concerning their feedback. The respondents clearly elaborated on what they meant by their answers. (Baker, pg 119)


Questionnaires were also used to collect relevant data for this research. This research instrument usually has questions prepared before hand. They help in the gathering of information. The questionnaire papers were not left with the respondents. They were carried by research assistants and filled by respondents.

A four point Licker-scale model was utilized to find out whether multiculturalism is mere rhetoric. It helped to find out whether multiculturalism in Norway is well managed. This also included whether multiculturalism policy in Norway is usually implemented. The respondents answered by ticking the following four categories, either:

  1. strongly agree
  2. Agree
  3. Disagree
  4. Strongly Disagree

This instrument was distributed to respondents. It was compulsory for all respondents to sign a private agreement that was in the permission form. This was done to alleviate any form of propensity that could arise among the participants. (Gullestad, pg 96)


Observation method was also highly incorporated in data collection process. This is where research assistants stayed with the communities and observed their day to day activities. Aspects that related to objectives of this research were clearly noted down. This helped to accrue information pertaining to multiculturalism in Norway.

The activities at the immigration office in the country were closely monitored and observed. All the information was compiled and later on analysed before conclusions were made. The information from this data collection method was checked for correlation with other information collected from other methods.

Focus groups

Focus groups were also utilised whereby ten respondents were grouped together. Each group had one research assistant and interpreter who asked prepared questions. The answers were noted down, and respondents asked to clarify where necessary. These were used because they are time saving. They also helped to get uniform or the most correct answer from the group. (Baker, pg 119)

Secondary data

Secondary data were also used to accrue relevant information for this research. This included the evaluation of books, magazines, journals written on the topic. All the relevant data was recorded by research assistants. It was later on analysed and conclusions made concerning other authors’ views on the topic. (Gullestad, pg 96)

Data evaluation

Thorough evaluation was carried out after collection of relevant data. Conclusions were then made. This is also an extremely imperative step of the research process. In this research, after collection of all relevant data through previously illustrated means, it was coded. Coding is a mechanism or technique that was used to organise the data collected from field research.

This helps to interpret the data in methods that are quantitative in nature. In this case, the researcher read all the collected information and carried out comprehensive demarcation of the segments. Each segment was then given a word or code with which all the information in the segment was identified. (Baker, pg 119)

After coding, a summary was carried out in relation to the prevalence of the factors or codes and the comprehensive relationships among them. Computer programs such as SPSS were also incorporated in making the coding exercise much easier. Graphs were also drawn in relation to the collected data.

The graphs were compared and contrasted. After this, the relevant conclusions made. The relative standard curve method was also in data evaluation. Part of the information will also be compiled into excel spreadsheets. These were then thoroughly analysed, and conclusions made. Through this evaluation method, the final conclusions made were considered extremely reliable.

Ethical considerations

Various factors were considered when carrying out this research, they included; aspects of justice, respect of the respondents and their point of view and finally beneficence. All these were extremely essential for the research to be successful. (Baker, pg 119)

One of the ethical considerations for this research was confidentiality. All accrued information was held with a high level of confidentiality. This is one of the ethical considerations that stakeholders such as research assistants, administrative personnel and the researcher adhere to in this research.

Any information that was deemed to be false or likely to jeopardize the validity of the study was disregarded during the process of evaluation. (Brochmann, p. 78)

Another ethical consideration for this research was the fact that all the respondents had to be informed before hand. This helped prior preparation of respondents to avoid resistance. As a matter of ethical practice, no actual names were used during the whole process of the study. The researcher used subject letter variables throughout the study to avoid the divulgence of identities.


Objective 1

One of the objectives of this research was to examine whether multiculturalism in Norway is mere rhetoric. The results of the administered questionnaires were as shown below;

Table 1.

Response Percent (%) Number
Strongly agree
Strongly Disagree

Table 1 above shows that eighty percent of respondents strongly disagreed with the fact that multiculturalism is mere rhetoric. Ten percent of the respondents disagreed while ten percent agreed. The total number of respondents was forty.

Objective 2

The other objective of this research was to identify multicultural practices in Norway. One of the practices that respondents identified that enhances multiculturalism is cultural concerts. These are mostly carried out at the state level. This is where ethnic minorities are usually allowed to perform songs, dances and skits in their language. There are some radio and television channels that broadcast in minority languages.

This was noted to enhance multiculturalism in Norway. It was also noted that multiple citizenship is allowed by the Norwegian government.

Objective 3

The other objective was to find out how multiculturalism is usually handled or managed in Norway today. The respondents were asked whether multiculturalism is well handled or not. The responses are shown below.

Table 2.

Response Percent (%) Number
Strongly agree
Strongly Disagree

Table 2 above shows seventy five percent of the respondents strongly agreed that multiculturalism in Norway is well managed. These were thirty respondents in number. Fifteen percent agreed while ten percent disagreed. The total number of respondents in this case was forty.

Objective 4

The fourth objective was to evaluate multiculturalism policy implementation in Norway. The respondents were asked whether they agreed that multiculturalism policy is well implemented. The results were as shown below;

Table 3.

Response Percent (%) Number
Strongly agree
Strongly Disagree

Table 3 above clearly shows that ninety five percent of respondents strongly agreed that multiculturalism policy in Norway is well implemented. Five percent of respondents agreed to this fact. This shows that the majority of respondents concurred to the fact that the multiculturalism policy in Norway is well implemented.


The evaluation of the results of this study shows that a majority of respondents strongly agreed that multiculturalism in Norway is fully implemented. It was noted that multiculturalism is hotly debated issue among the scholars in Norway. These debates highly correlate to the future of the states and nation at large in Norway. (Kjeldstadli, pg. 60)

The responses from this research showed that multiculturalism concept in Norway during the past two decades was both celebrated and rejected. There are various practices within the nation that show the implementation of multiculturalism. This includes use of flags from other nations during national celebrations. This is carried out with the aim of appreciating other cultures. (Kjeldstadli, pg. 60)

There are various government policies within Norway that enhance multiculturalism therein. This includes policies on multiple or dual citizenship. This is where, people in Norway are usually allowed by the rule of law, to have citizenship of other nations.

This research also showed that the government promotes multiculturalism by allowing radio stations to broadcast in languages of minority groups. This is such that the minority groups of people feel appreciated by the Norwegian government. (Niemi, Pg. 24)

There are also television channels that broadcast in languages of minorities. Some newspapers are also written in these languages. There are also cultural concerts that incorporate ethnic minorities. These are usually carried out at the state level. In this case, state funds are usually used to finance the cultural concerts. Through these, ethnic minority groups present songs, dances and use their cultural instruments.

This gives an avenue for all people in Norway to appreciate other cultures including their uniqueness. Research shows that this aspect of implementing multiculturalism in Norway is considered to be humane and democratic in nature.

Furthermore, there are institutions that help achievement of multiculturalism. These include Concert Institute in Norway. This institute aims at enhancing cultural diversity within the nation.

This clearly shows that multicultural policies in Norway are fully implemented. The above mentioned issues demonstrate the fact that multiculturalism is Norway is not mere rhetoric but it is pragmatic at the national and also societal levels. (McLaren, p. 49)

Multiculturalism in Norway is asserted to be a pluralism concept. This is where minority groups are recognised like those having abilities that are special. There is, however, a positive aspect that is linked to this concept. This is where the focus is on the variation that is culturally based across the globe. Scholars have, however, put forth arguments on the multiculturalism ideology. (Sicakkan, pg 35)

They assert that it counteracts social cohesion in the nation. It is mostly argued that this concept underestimates the input of ethnic minorities in the society.

They assert that the concept shows a relation between cultural groups that are asymmetric in nature. It is usually argued that the ideology results in acceptance of actions from people from minority groups that can never be condoned by the society at large. (Wikan, pg 107)

Some scholars say that it hinders individual’s freedom. It is also usually argued that the ideology is self contradictory. It is mostly asserted some movements that are totalitarian in nature use it to gain influence over others. Scholars argue that multiculturalism theory is based on relativism theory, which is quite controversial. This leads to a political and ethical dilemma of multiculturalism concept.

All people are usually entitled to similar rights in relation to liberal democracy. At the same time, they have a right of being unique and different from other people. It is usually asserted that it is not fair for multiculturalism concept to ignore differences of values in any culture. It just assumes that they are all homogeneous in nature. (Wikan, pg 107)


In conclusion, it is evident that the Norwegian nation is embracing multiculturalism. This research shows that the ideology of multiculturalism is not mere rhetoric. It is usually practiced at national and even state level. There are government policies in Norway that promote multiculturalism.

This includes multiple citizenship and policies that allow broadcasts to be carried out in minority languages. These are well implemented. There are cultural concerts practiced at the state level. This ideology is hotly debated by scholars in the nation. It is usually argued that the ideology is self contradictory. Some assert that some movements that are totalitarian in nature use it to gain influence over others.

Works Cited

Baker, Lynda. Evaluation of appreciative research methodology: A general idea of the Essentials. 2nd ed., by Mildred L. Patten, The Library Quarterly, 2001. Print

Brochmann, Grete. Neither inside nor outside, the impact of European Union asylum and immigration policies on Norway and Switzerland, Relocation, the externalities of European amalgamation. Lanham/Boulder: Lexington Books; 2002. Print

Brochmann, Grete. Welfare circumstances, assimilation and legitimacy of the majority – the case of Norway, Cultural variety and amalgamation in the Nordic wellbeing states, SSKH Helsingfors Universitet, Helsinki; 2003. Print

Ellingsen, Anne. Music and cultural incorporation in Norwegian State Policies. Dissertation for the Degree of Dr. Polit. Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Oslo; 2008. Print

Gullestad, Marianne. Plausible pre-justice: extremely experiences and social images of nation, culture and race, Oslo, University of Laget Press, 2006. Print

Kjeldstadli, Knut. Considerable or relational elucidation? The Exclusion and Inclusion of Newcomers; the Norwegian Case. in Norwegian-American Essays published by NAHA-Norway and the Norwegian Emigrant Museum 2004. Print

McLaren, Peter. White Terror and Oppositional Agency, Towards a Critical Multiculturalism, A Critical Reader. London, Blackwell Ltd, 1994. Print

Niemi, Einar. The Finns in Northern Scandinavia and marginal policy, in Tägil, Sven Traditions and state construction in the Nordic. London, University Press, Niemi, 1995. Print

Sicakkan, Hakan; Senses that make noise and noises that make sense. IMER Norway/Bergen Report 19/99, 1999. Print

Wikan, Unni. Generous perfidy, Politics of traditions in the New Europe. Chicago, Chicago University Press; 2002. Print

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Multiculturalism in Norway'. 26 June.

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