Integration from the bottom-up. Using recognition to understand the relations between Norwegians and refugees
The relationship between Norwegian citizens and refugees is ambiguous, were some argue that refugees should adopt the mainstream culture in Norway. Other advocate the refugees’ right to hold their cultures and beliefs, and stress the importance of a tolerant state of affairs. This leads to the debate about integration and how to best facilitate the inclusion of newly arrived refugees. Certain groups within the Norwegian community perceive foreign cultures as a threat to society, bolstering the exclusion of minorities. As a consequence, the integration process becomes strained for refugees, despite elaborate strategies designed by the government. For this reason, the Red Cross refugee-guide program attempts to build a positive relation between Norwegians and refugees, on the local level. If integration is viewed from this level, how can interactions between refugees and Norwegians contribute to positive intergroup relations? In turn, can these type of activities lead to the creation a common social framework? This thesis will focus on how intergroup relations in the context of the refugee-guide, can affect the ambiguous relationship between Norwegians and refugees in society. By using George H. Mead’s interactionism, one can describe the intersubjective relations of locals and refugees in the refugee-guide. However, because of the descriptive features of interactionism, Axel Honneth’s theory of recognition can fill the missing normative framework. Grounded on Hegel’s three stages of recognition and Mead’s interactionism, Honneth suggests that intersubjective relations based on mutual recognitions, can direct the relations between refugees and locals to a positive and inclusive relationship. If this can be identified in the refugee-guide, then maybe it can be reflected to the relations between Norwegians and refugees in society.
ForlagUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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