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Downplaying difference? How ethnic minorities navigate discrimination in Norway (NAVIGATE)

Discrimination runs against the most fundamental values of modern societies. Even in egalitarian welfare states such as Norway, there is ample evidence of discrimination against ethnic minorities in hiring processes. However, there is an acute lack of knowledge about how ethnic minorities respond to and navigate this reality.

About the project

An interdisciplinary team of sociologists, social psychologists and economist will through an innovative combination of methodological approaches analyze self-selection processes at different stages of minorities’ career trajectories.

The project is organized in three work packages (WPs). Deploying qualitative and experimental data, WP1 focus on the job search phase, and explore the relationship between minorities physical appearance and what type of de-stigmatization strategies they deploy to avoid hiring discrimination.

Using quantitative data, WP2 focus on the transition between education and work, and explore if de-stigmatization strategies, such as changing to a Norwegian sounding surname, matter for minorities labor market outcomes.

Deploying qualitative and quantitative data, WP3 focus on the strategies ethnic minorities apply to navigate discrimination and subtle exclusion in the labor market.


The primary aim of NAVIGATE is to generate knowledge about how ethnic minorities in Norway adjust their career preferences and behavior in response to anticipated discrimination at different stages of the career trajectory, from the job search phase, through the transition from education to work and throughout their labor market careers.

We aim to answer three overarching questions:

  • To what extent do ethnic minorities self-select into particular segments of the labor market to avoid discrimination?
  • Do they downplay racial and ethnic cues when applying for jobs, and how do they adapt to anticipated discrimination once they have secured a job?
  • To the extent that ethnic minority job seekers and employees attempt to cope with (the prospect of) discrimination, does it matter for their labor market outcomes?


The project is coordinated by the Institute for Social Research. The Work Research Institute (AFI) and the Centre for Study of Professions (SPS), Oslo Metropolitan University are also partners of the project. 


The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway. The total grant is NOK 12 000 000. 


2021 - 2025


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  • Nadim, Marjan (2022). Eksplisitt rasisme til hverdags: Unge muslimers opplevelser av rasisme på nettet, Rasisme : Fenomenet, forskningen, erfaringene. Universitetsforlaget. ISSN 9788215063065. p. 317–331.
  • Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2022). Rasisme på norsk: Begreper og realiteter, Rasisme : Fenomenet, forskningen, erfaringene. Universitetsforlaget. ISSN 9788215063065. p. 25–41.
  • Orupabo, Julia; Vassenden, Anders & Handulle, Ayan Abdi Mohamoud (2022). Å redde hvite folks ansikt : Ritualer og makt i rasialiserte situasjoner, Rasisme : Fenomenet, forskningen, erfaringene. Universitetsforlaget. ISSN 9788215063065. p. 318–332.
  • Andersson, Mette & Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2022). Rasisme og diskriminering. In Frønes, Ivar & Kjølsrød, Lise (Ed.), Det norske samfunn : bind 2. Gyldendal Akademisk. ISSN 9788205572300. p. 230–253.
  • Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen & Quillian, Lincoln (2021). Forbigående fenomen eller permanent virkelighet? Etnisk diskriminering i arbeidsmarkedet på tvers av tid, sted og generasjoner. Søkelys på arbeidslivet. ISSN 1504-8004. 38(3-4), p. 182–196. doi: 10.18261/issn.1504-7989-2021-03-04-02. Full text in Research Archive

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Published Feb. 24, 2022 4:17 PM - Last modified Feb. 24, 2022 4:17 PM