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“I Think of Myself as Norwegian, Although I Feel that I Am from Another Country.” Children Constructing Ethnic Identity in Diverse Cultural Contexts in Oslo, Norway

  • Rysst M
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Abstract

This chapter discusses the challenges childrenChild, childrenof foreign-born parents face in their ethnic identityEthnic identityconstructions in Norway through three overarching theoretical approaches: childhood studiesChildhood, childhoodsstudiesand children’s perspectives; shifting selvesShifting selves, subject positionsSubject positionsand genderGender; and notions of hybridityHybridityand social classification. The challenges the children face include contesting and navigating cultural values of both their parents’ country of origin and the country in which they are born. As bricoleurs and competent navigators of culture, the identity constructions of young teenage boys and girlsGirlsrelate to the dichotomous social categories of “Norwegian” and “foreigner.” Ethnic identityIdentityethnicconstruction is discussed by four connected themes: “one foot in two cultures”; the importance of appearance—skin colourAppearanceskin colour; the importance of appearance—clothesAppearanceclothes; and the importance of language. Most of the children construct hybrid identitiesHybridityhybrid identities, for instance as Norwegian-Pakistani which, for girls, may or may not include an Islamic-inspired feminine dress code of covering up in addition to a particular social dialect. The complex relationship between gender, ethnicity, age, and religion regarding ethnic identity construction has various expressions depending on social context. This suggests that future studies of migrancyMigrancyand hybridity may fruitfully be combined with postcolonial theory emphasizing both the phenomenon of “third spaces”Third spacesand the importance of shifting selves depending on social contexts. Combining these theoretical perspectives may allow us to elucidate how ascribed ethnic identities and migrancy frameworks may be approached in order to reduce the intensity of contested childhoodsChildhood, childhoodscontestedin the future.

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APA

Rysst, M. (2016). “I Think of Myself as Norwegian, Although I Feel that I Am from Another Country.” Children Constructing Ethnic Identity in Diverse Cultural Contexts in Oslo, Norway (pp. 159–177). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-44610-3_9

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