The Limits and Possibilities of Everyday Integration: An Analysis of the Norwegian Government's Everyday Integration Policy and its Implications for the Voluntary Sector

Tina Gjellesvik & Emily Anne Hoff

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis investigates the Norwegian government’s new pillar of their integration strategy called “everyday integration”. The new expression was introduced by the Norwegian prime minister after the refugee crisis of 2015. Through Foucault and Luhmann’s perspective of power and governmentality, we use governmentality and form analysis to investigate the Norwegian government’s implementation of the everyday integration pillar. The focus of this thesis is how the government tries to change the relationship between Norwegians and immigrants through using everyday integration as a technology of governance towards the civil society and what consequences this holds for the subjects of this governance. Our analysis has three sections. The first section uses a governmentality analysis to investigate how the Norwegian government uses everyday integration as a technology of governance towards the voluntary sector and the public. The main object the government wants to change through everyday integration is the relationship between Norwegians and immigrants. We found that if one as Norwegians includes immigrants through donating one’s spare time one becomes a moral subject that includes, takes initiative and responsibility, and that has a welcoming and sharing spirit. If one as an immigrant actively includes oneself through participating in the Norwegian society, one becomes a subject that shows responsibility and that is cooperative, willing and proactive, who acknowledges his/her democratic duties towards their fellow citizens. The second section conducts a form analysis of the government’s communication around everyday integration. Here, the analysis finds three dominating paradoxes: (1) diversify/assimilate: The government wants to allow for diversity but at the same time they want the people to have a common understanding of Norwegian culture and values and assimilate to them. (2) self-governance/governance: The government wants the voluntary sector to be independent but at the same time they want to regulate and cooperate with them. (3) formal/informal: The relationships created between immigrants and Norwegians are to be informal. The voluntary sector is set as the main formal arena to initiate these relationships. Initiating these relationships through formal arenas causes them to become both formal and informal at the same time. In the third section we do a case study of a Red Cross activity called Buddy. We see how the paradoxes of everyday integration effect an activity that is trying to achieve everyday integration in its work. As such, Buddy creates relationships that are challenged by diversify/assimilate, self-governance/governance and informal/formal. In the discussion we try to tackle the challenges created by these paradoxes through connecting organizational and interactional systems.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages126
SupervisorsJustine Grønbæk Pors