As cross-cultural migration increases democratic states face a particular challenge: how to grant equal rights and dignity to individuals while recognizing cultural distinctiveness. In response to the greater number of ethnic and religious minority groups, state policies seem to focus on managing cultural differences through planned pluralism. This book explores the dilemmas, paradoxes, and conflicts that emerge when differences are managed within this conceptual framework. After a critical investigation of the perceived logic of identity, indicative of Western nation-states and at the root of their pluralistic intentions, the author takes issue with both universalist notions of equality and cultural relativist notions of distinctiveness. However, without identity is it possible to participate in dialogue and form communities? Is there a way out of this impasse? The book argues in favor of communities based on nonidentitarian difference, developed and maintained through open and critical dialogue.
Randi Gressgård is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Research (SKOK) at the University of Bergen. She is also affiliated with the research unit International Migration and Ethnic Relations (IMER) in Bergen. Her research interests focus on minority research, gender studies, and philosophy of science. Her publications include Fra identitet til forskjell [From Identity to Difference] (Spartacus/Scandinavian Academic Press, 2005) and Kjønnsteori[Gender Theory] (co-ed., Gyldendal Akademisk, 2008). Read more…
Religious traditions and muslim youth in europe
A major question regarding Islam in Europe concerns the religiosity of “Muslim youth” – a category currently epitomizing both the fears and hopes of multicultural Europe. At this seminar, researchers working in 3 European countries look at how Islamic traditions are engaged and reworked by young people, born and educated in European societies, and discuss the modes of religiosity that are shaped in a context of international migration, globalization, and secular modernity.
Christine M. Jacobsen launches her new book Islamic Traditions and Muslim youth in Norway in conversation with Jonas Otterbeck, the author of Samtidsislam: unga muslimer i Malmö och Köpenhamn and Synnøve Bendixsen, the author of “It’s like doing SMS to Allah” Young Female Muslims Crafting a Religious Self in Berlin.
Seminar and book launch.
Organised in collaboration with Department of Social Anthropology, UiB.
Time: Friday 21 January, 13.15-16.00.
Venue: Uni Rokkansenteret, Nygårdsgaten 5, 6. etg (5th Floor)
IMER Abroad: PROVIR Seminar – Precarious migrants and access to welfare: Between policy, law and practice
This workshop will discuss the legal and experienced dilemmas found in the encounter between migrants living in a legally precarious situation and the welfare state in which they reside. Participants will present ongoing empirically based research on migrants’ access to welfare in policy, law and practice in various European countries. They will also discuss the particular position of youth and children in vulnerable situations. The program is available here.
Lessons from the past: framing post-war immigration in Germany by historical analogies
In many West European countries, the experience of mass immigration after 1945 was perceived as something basically new and unprecedented. In the lengthy process of coming to terms with the new situation and of developing a self-understanding as countries of immigration and of ethnic pluralism, historical arguments often played an important role. By placing present-day immigration into a historical perspective, by constructing narratives of continuity (and discontinuity) and not least by presenting persuasive historical analogies, historians (and others) introduced arguments that informed the debates of the day and allowed the experiences of immigration and multi-ethnicity to be integrated into (national) narratives of identity. The German case is particularly interesting in this respect, since a tradition of tolerance and successful integration had to be invented in spite of the fresh memories of the Nazi-past that were witness to the contrary.
Christhard Hoffmann (born 1952 in Luneburg, Germany) is a German historian and professor of modern European history at the University of Bergen. In the period 2007-2013 he was Head of the Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion.
Hoffmann defended in 1986 his doctoral dissertation on German Antiquity historians’ representation of Jews and Judaism in the 19th and 20th centuries  at the Technische Universität Berlin, where he also worked as a researcher for many years. From 1994 to 1998 he was a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and since 1998 he has worked at the University of Bergen.
Hoffmann has an extensive list of publications in the fields of German-Jewish history and cultural history, history of anti-Semitism and migration history.
Communicating Migration Seminar series
The IMER seminar series for 2014 will cover how migration and ethnic relations are communicated in every-day encounters, in mass and social media, in politics and in teaching at the universities. Has the way people talk about migration and migrants in different social contexts changed over time, and in which ways has it changed? How does migration theory and research fit in with other topics and theories in the social sciences, and how do results from migration research inform public debate and policy development?
Communicating migration will be discussed from various angles in our seminar series on international migration and ethnic relations during spring and autumn 2014. We welcome papers that touch upon this broad theme from different angles. Historical analyses of change over time in regard to politics and public debate, research foci and disciplinary concerns are specifically welcomed.
Redigert av Christine Jacobsen, Synnøve Bendixsen, Karl Harald Søvig
Med en unik kombinasjon av juridisk og antropologisk blikk, går boken regelverket nærmere i sømmene, drøfter gatebyråkraters utfordringer og hverdagslivet til irregulære migranter og deres barn.
Hvilke regelverk får konsekvenser for irregulære migranters levevilkår? Hvordan blir dette regelverket forstått og etterfulgt av gatebyråkrater? Og hvordan blir hverdagslivet til irregulære migranter og deres barn påvirket av regelverket og dets fortolkning?
Denne boken er aktuell for velferdsprofesjoner som møter irregulære migranter som en del av sin yrkesutøvelse. Både leger, sykepleiere, helsesekretærer, lærere, helsesøstre, skolerådgivere, sosialarbeidere, sosionomer og barnevernspedagoger vil ha god nytte av Eksepsjonell velferd? Irregulære migranter i det norske velferdssamfunnet. Boken retter seg også mot frivillige organisasjoner som jobber med ulike aspekter ved migranters situasjon i Norge og andre som er engasjert i temaet.
If a LGBTI person can “stay in the closet” in the country of origin, should she then be denied asylum as a refugee? This is currently a thorny issue for several European countries, when facing asylum seekers who apply for protection on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. For this IMER seminar, Andrea Grønningsæter from the faculty of law at UiB will discuss how this is currently practiced in Norway.
Research has shown that that LGBTI people (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people) often face specific legal and procedural challenges when applying for refugee status. In a number of jurisdictions, including Norway, LGBTI asylum seekers have been denied refugee status with reference to the fact that they can abstain from behavior that may result in a risk of persecution. A gay person can live as a gay within the confines of the home, for example, but not on the streets – and may thus not be granted protection. It is then concluded that the requirement in refugee law of establishing a ‘well-founded fear’ of persecution is not fulfilled, because concealment will mean that the asylum seeker is not revealed to potential persecutors.
In 2012 the Norwegian Supreme Court considered the right to refugee status based on sexual orientation (Rt. 2012 s. 494). In the court’s decision it was stated that a gay person may not be required to hide their sexual orientation in the country of origin to avoid persecution. In cases where it is concluded that the asylum seeker will choose to conceal their sexual orientation, the court established a step-by-step approach for assessing whether the asylum seeker is entitled to refugee status.
For her PhD project, Grønningsæter looks at how the approach that was established by the Supreme Court in 2012 for assessing asylum cases based on sexual orientation or gender identity is interpreted by the courts and the immigration authorities. She explores how the courts and immigration authorities establish the asylum seeker’s reason for concealment, as well as how concepts such as ‘being open’ or ‘discreet’ about sexual orientation or gender identity is understood.
A light lunch will be served. Welcome!
Andrea Grønningsæter is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, Bergen University.