“Everybody Needs to Do Their Part, So We Can Get This Under Control.” Reactions to the Norwegian Government Meta‐Narratives on COVID‐19 Measures

On March 12, 2020, the Norwegian government put the country on lock‐down to get the COVID‐19 situation under control.

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Abstract

Making people adhere to restrictive measures is difficult. Even so, the Norwegian government largely succeeded in getting the population to comply and became the first European country to announce control over the situation. In this study, we ask what narratives the government put forth in their communication of the measures and how these measures were handled and made sense of in personal narratives at the general population level. We base our discussion on near daily government press conferences in March–April, as well as qualitative interviews with 16 individuals. Using a cultural narrative perspective on the data, we tie these meta‐narratives and personal narratives together. Persuading people to comply with prevention and control measures in a crisis is crucial, and our study shows the importance of the selection of meta‐narratives. There will be cultural differences in governance and receptiveness of the population across different settings, and our study suggests that governments will have to balance where on different continua they place their COVID‐19 narratives, balancing freedom up against restrictions, hope against fear, and individualism against solidarity.

Political psychology, 2021, doi: 10.1111/pops.12727

 

Published Mar. 8, 2021 6:00 AM