Is Norway an open society?
Associate Professor Katrine Fangen was interviewed for an article in Pravda, a major newspaper in Slovakia, on the topic of the Norwegian open society and immigration, particularly following the recent events that occurred in Norway. She believes that Norway is an open society in terms of public debate, and that the major media provide space for all viewpoints e.g. on the immigration issue.
On being asked how immigrants in Norway perceive the concept of an open society and what their reactions to it are, Fangen based her response on EUMARGINS research results stating that although many immigrants experience Norwegians as a bit reserved and not entirely open to social interaction, not many have experienced open racism, however, the degree to which they have experienced this or not, is related to their position within the ethnic hierarchy (some ethnic backgrounds tend to be more stigmatised than others). In general, she said that Norway is an open society for immigrants “in the sense that they do participate in politics and in the media and the rate of participation in the labour market and education is quite high in comparison with other European countries.” In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, she noted that Norwegians have become ever more conscious in promoting the ideals that this society prides itself on, that of democracy, peace and tolerance, rather than hatred and fear. The complete article (published on 30 July 2011) can be located on the author’s foreign affairs blog, Matisak’s Blog.