Over the last fifty years, Norway has become more open to the world. The country is more enriched with global cultural impulses, but also woven into increasingly complex interdependence across national borders. Society and government must relate to everything from short-term international financial movements, EU-specific legislation on the internal market, obligations from UN conventions and expert judgments about the risk of global warming. In sociology all this is covered by concepts of globalization and the processes of international integration.
The study of global challenges is a separate field, but it is also a dimension of all the other fields of research at the department. One can study social inequality or migration to and integration in Norway, but these phenomena are closely linked to global processes. Over the fifty years Norway has been increasingly open, inequalities have also increased internationally. With its oil fund Norway is now one of the richest countries in the World, but this oil fund is invested in international capital flows that create increasing tensions between new growth areas and conflict zones where poverty reigns while states collapse. Many people escape conflict zones, and this is experienced by a rich country like Norway by the flow of refugees and asylum seekers. The regions now experiencing economic growth are beginning to develop with the Western world's standard of living as their goal. Their industrialization, however, is as dependent upon fossil fuels as ours has been, thus increasing the risk of global warming.
Members of the Workers’ Youth League at a demonstration about Norway’s asylum policy. Photo: Rødt nytt. Some rights reserved.
The study of social movements has always been strong in sociology. The environmental movement is one of today's most important movements. It includes both professional organizations with close ties to government and grassroots movements that are active in their local communities. The environmental movement's main issue today is global warming. Other movements may arise sporadically and most take the form of promoting political parties with strong views on specific issues. When many voters vote for right-wing populist parties as a reaction to foreign immigration, this is closely related to the aforementioned conflict zones being at the extreme end of the global inequality.
Research themes and researchers
- Migration (Mette Andersson, Grete Brochmann, Katrine Fangen)
- Global inequality (Sveinung Legard, Lars Mjøset)
- Radicalisation (Katrine Fangen, Inger Furseth)
- Climate change (Lars Mjøset, Karen O'Brien)
- Population trends (Torkild Hovde Lyngstad)
- Democracy and political theory: (Cathrine Holst)
- European integration: (Cathrine Holst)
- A varieties approach to the varieties of capitalism (Lars Mjøset)
- EPISTO: (Cathrine Holst)
- EUREX: (Cathrine Holst)
- EuroDiv: (Cathrine Holst)
- GLOBUS:(Cathrine Holst)
- CORE - Kjernemiljø for likestillingsforskning: (Anne Lise Ellingsæter, Cathrine Holst)
- European strains: A common European asylum system amidst national divergence, international rights and migrant strategies (Grete Brochmann)