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Unpacking the modern working class: Life chances, social cohesion and recognition in an age of migration

With the surprising election of Donald Trump, and the Brexit vote in the UK, the question of the contemporary working class is back on the agenda. However, this is a category poorly understood in contemporary social science, and this is especially the case in Norway.

About the Project

Our project raises four crucial question that seek to describe the contemporary working class, its political orientation, lived experience and their media representations.

First, our project will detail the changing demographic composition of the group, with particular emphasis on its gender, ethnic and generational make-up. By taking advantage of the novel class scheme, ORDC, we will scrutinise changes both between the working class and other classes, as well as within the working class.

Second, we will detail their changing political orientation, with particular emphasis to generational shifts. We will also unpack its internal political heterogeneity, seeking to explain its fracturing into a loyal social-democratic wing and supporters of right-wing populism.

Third, we will study the representations of specific working-class occupations in the media, with emphasis on whether these representations are framed in terms of threat or conflict, and which topics characterize media coverage of these groups.

Fourth, we will inquire into the relationship between ascribed low-status of these occupations and workers' feelings of self-worth through interviews and participant observation. We will also study the relation between workers notions of the elite/the dominant cultural group and how they imagine their national belonging and access to power.


Primary objective: To gather new knowledge about the working class, with special attention to the ethnic composition of this class, the relations within this category, and between workers and the broader society, its central institutions and the government.

Secondary objectives:

1) Study class formation and social mobility into and out of the working class.

2) Explore the political attitudes on migration and the welfare state, and the levels of social trust and political participation among workers.

3) Study how the working class, represented by specific occupations, is portrayed and represented in mass media.

4) Provide knowledge about contemporary cultures of esteem and recognition through conducting ethnographic fieldwork


Department of Jounalism and Media Studies, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences

NOVA, Norwegian Social Research, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences

Institute of Social Research

Funding scheme

The total grant award was for NOK 7 988 000.

Welfare, Working Life and Migration (VAM)

The Research Council of Norway


  • Flemmen, Magne & Savage, Mike (2017). The politics of nationalism and white racism in the UK. British Journal of Sociology.  ISSN 0007-1315.  68, s S233- S264 . doi: 10.1111/1468-4446.12311
  • Jarness, Vegard & Flemmen, Magne (2017). A Struggle on Two Fronts: Boundary Drawing in the Lower Region of the Social Space and the Symbolic Market for 'Down-to-Earthness'. British Journal of Sociology.  ISSN 0007-1315. . doi: 10.1111/1468-4446.12345
  • Schmitz, Andreas; Flemmen, Magne & Rosenlund, Lennart (2017). Social Class, Symbolic Domination, and Angst - The Example of the Norwegian Social Space. Sociological Review.  ISSN 0038-0261. . doi: 10.1177/0038026117738924
  • Jørn Ljunggren (2021). Å åpne opp arbeiderklassen, In Jørn Ljunggren & Marianne Nordli Hansen (ed.),  Arbeiderklassen.  Cappelen Damm Akademisk.  ISBN 9788202646240.  1.  s 19 - 36
  • Marianne Nordli Hansen & Jørn Ljunggren (2021). Arbeiderklassen i Norge - definisjon, sammensetning og endring, In Jørn Ljunggren & Marianne Nordli Hansen (ed.),  Arbeiderklassen.  Cappelen Damm Akademisk.  ISBN 9788202646240.  2.  s 37 - 62
  • Jørn Ljunggren (2021). Hvordan skape en arbeidskar, In Marianne Nordli Hansen & Jørn Ljunggren (ed.),  Arbeiderklassen.  Cappelen Damm Akademisk.  ISBN 9788202646240.  10.  s 199 - 214
  • Håvard Helland & Jørn Ljunggren (2021). Arbeidere og yrkesstatus i Likhets-Norge, In Marianne Nordli Hansen & Jørn Ljunggren (ed.),  Arbeiderklassen.  Cappelen Damm Akademisk.  ISBN 9788202646240.  15.  s 295 - 314
  • Patrick Lie Andersen & Jørn Ljunggren (2021). Tillitsfulle vinnere? Klasseforskjeller i tillit blant osloungdom, In Marianne Nordli Hansen & Jørn Ljunggren (ed.),  Arbeiderklassen.  Cappelen Damm Akademisk.  ISBN 9788202646240.  21.  s 413 - 432
  • Pål Halvorsen & Jørn Ljunggren (2020). A new generation of business masculinity? Privileged high school boys in a gender egalitarian context. Gender and Education.  ISSN 0954-0253.  s 1- 15
  • Vegard Jarness & Magne Flemmen (2019). A struggle on two fronts: boundary drawing in the lower region of the social space and the symbolic market for ‘down‐to‐earthness. British Journal of Sociology.  ISSN 0007-1315.  70, s 166- 189
  • Vegard Jarness; Magne Flemmen & Lennart Rosenlund (2019). From Class Politics to Classed Politics. Sociology.  ISSN 0038-0385.  53, s 879- 899
  • Julia Orupabo & Marjan Nadim (2019). Men doing women's dirty work: Desegregation, immigrants and employer preferences in the cleaning industry in Norway. Gender, Work & Organization.  ISSN 0968-6673.  s 1- 15
  • Magne Flemmen; Vegard Jarness & Lennart Rosenlund (2018). Class and status: on the misconstrual of the conceptual distinction and a neo-Bourdieusian alternative. British Journal of Sociology.  ISSN 0007-1315.  0, s 1- 51

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  • Jørn Ljunggren & Marianne Nordli Hansen (ed.) (2021). Arbeiderklassen. Cappelen Damm Akademisk.  ISBN 9788202646240.  494 s.

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  • Tine Ustad Figenschou; Elisabeth Eide & Ruth Einervoll Nilsen (2020). Investigations of a journalistic blind spot: Class, construction and carers in Norwegian media..
  •  (2020). Den moderne arbeiderklassen. 1 Mai med Manifest Tankesmie.
  • Jørn Ljunggren (2020). Det "nye" arbeidslivet. Norsk sosiologisk tidsskrift.  ISSN 2535-2512.  4, s 51- 57
  • Julia Orupabo & Jørn Ljunggren (2020). Yrkesfag – en alternativ vei til integrering. Aftenposten (morgenutg. : trykt utg.).  ISSN 0804-3116.
  • Jørn Ljunggren (2020). Hvilken status har arbeidermannen i dagens Norge?. Kilden kjønnsforskning.
  • Jørn Ljunggren (2019). Manglende sosial bærekraft?.
  • Jørn Ljunggren (2019). Når ulikhet følger geografiske skiller - tilfellet Oslo.
  • Jørn Ljunggren (2019). Norge - et klassesamfunn?.
  • Jørn Ljunggren (2019). Å vokse opp i Oslo - ulikhetenes by.
  • Jørn Ljunggren & Marte Mangset (2019). Arbeiderklassen og blikket ovenfra Litterærer og sosiologiske perspektiver på sosial ulikhet i Norge i dag.
  • Sabina Tica & Jørn Ljunggren (2019). The Workings of Racialization and Class in the Norwegian Field of Literature.
  • Jørn Ljunggren & Magne Flemmen (2019). Klassesamfunnet 2.0.
  • Patrick Lie Andersen & Jørn Ljunggren (2019). Class Origin and Distrust among Adolescents.
  • Patrick Lie Andersen & Jørn Ljunggren (2019). Class differences in political mistrust and political behaviour among youth.
  • Patrick Lie Andersen & Jørn Ljunggren (2019). Class Origin and Distrust among Adolescents: A cross-national comparison of distrust in 16 European countries.
  • Patrick Lie Andersen (2019). Political engagement and participation among youth. A cross-region comparison of the importance of social class origin in Europe..
  •  (2019). I en klasse for seg.
  •  (2019). Elite: Ordet toppene ikke bruker om seg selv.
  • Marianne Nordli Hansen & Magne Flemmen (2019). – Fattige velger ikke å ha lite penger. Aftenposten (morgenutg. : trykt utg.).  ISSN 0804-3116.  s 3- 3
  • Marianne Nordli Hansen (2018). Klasseanalyse – brennaktuell eller uvitenskapelig og utdatert?.
  • Marianne Nordli Hansen (2018). Utdanning til besvær – Hvilken rolle spiller skole og utdanning for de økonomiske forskjellene i befolkningen?.
  • Magne Flemmen (2018). What does inequality do to us?.
  • Marianne Nordli Hansen & Magne Flemmen (2018). Agendakveld: Er Norge et klassesamfunn?.
  • Magne Flemmen (2018). Politiske skillelinjer blant arbeidere.
  • Elisabeth Eide; Tine Ustad Figenschou & Ruth Einervoll Nilsen (2018). Constructors and Carers in Norwegian Press Coverage 1996-2017.
  • Patrick Lie Andersen & Jørn Ljunggren (2018). Creating a Distrustful Working Class? Social Cohesion Among Adolescents in Oslo.
  • Patrick Lie Andersen (2018). Political behaviour among youth. The importance of Social Class Origin, Education and Social Context.
  • Jørn Ljunggren (2018). Å reise "hjem" - feltarbeid i et tidligere yrke.
  • Jørn Ljunggren (2018). Constructing a Working Class Body.
  • Johannes Emil Bennetzen (2018). Hvem gjelder det? En klasseanalyse av låneopptak i Norge.
  • Julie Hjelde Ellingsen (2018). "Fordi jeg har muligheten". En kvalitativ studie om Oslo-ungdommens vei inn i videregående skole.
  • Stian Aleksander Uvaag (2018). The Class Trajectories of Skilled and Unskilled Workers.

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Published Feb. 23, 2018 3:26 PM - Last modified Mar. 24, 2020 11:19 AM