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Who wants to be Norwegian – who gets to be Norwegian?
Identificational assimilation and non-recognition among immigrant origin youth in Norway

Jon Horgen Friberg

Ethnic and Racial Studies  44:16 2021

Open access

Forskningstema: The multi-cultural society

Forskere på Fafo: Jon Horgen Friberg

Prosjekt: CILS-NOR: The Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study in Norway

We explore identity formation among adolescents, using the first wave of the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study in Norway (CILS-NOR). The results show that immigrant origin youth gradually adopt a stronger self-identity as Norwegians, regardless of regional origins and religious affiliation. However, while adolescents of European immigrant origin report that others see them as being even more “Norwegian” than they identify themselves, children of immigrants from Africa and Asia report that others see them as being far less “Norwegian” than how they identify themselves. Non-recognized national identity – the product of an asymmetrical relationship between self-identity and ascription – is most common among well-established minority groups, and we show that both ethno-racial origins and religious affiliation are major hurdles for acceptance. Ethnic identities associated with the parental homeland, which are closely related to religion, are more stable, and only very weakly related to the formation of a national identity.

Who wants to be Norwegian – who gets to be Norwegian?