Social psychological explorations of majority integration attitudes, group boundaries, and diversity ideologies in Norway
Appears in the following Collection
- Psykologisk institutt 
AbstractThis thesis explores Norwegian majority members’ role in incorporating and integrating immigrant minorities from a broad social psychological perspective on intergroup relations. It consists of four studies which investigate changing symbolic boundaries of immigrants and the majority as reflected in media discourse, and majority members’ attitudes toward proactively incorporating immigrant minorities. These different studies aim to develop better understandings of how immigrant minorities may be included or excluded from the perspective of Norwegian majority members. Beyond the Norwegian context, this thesis also aims to complement existing intergroup relations theory and research within different social psychological traditions.
Relatively recent patterns of migration have led to the establishment of various immigrant groups in the Scandinavian country of Norway. These developments have presented multiple challenges, not only for migrants and their descendants, but also for majority members and institutions as the country has become increasingly socially, culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse. A number of Norwegian social scientists have offered theoretical accounts and conducted empirical investigations that have advanced knowledge concerning different aspects of the Norwegian majority’s role in including and interacting with new immigrant minorities. However, few have approached these issues from the perspective taken in this thesis, that of social psychology and intergroup relations.
Internationally, many social psychologists have focused on the psychological roots of majority prejudice toward outgroups and/or upon improving intergroup relations. These studies have tended to examine the psychological origins of outgroup prejudice and majority prejudice reduction, or attitudes toward minority acculturation strategies which seemingly influence inclusion/exclusion of minority groups. Traditionally oriented studies such as these are essential to understand present intergroup relations and potentially improve them. However, other social psychological perspectives also suggest that additional theoretical focus and empirical studies are required to better understand the majority’s role in multicultural societies. The present thesis proposes that placing greater emphasis on different aspects of diversity ideologies within a general levels of analysis framework may enhance some of these perspectives. In particular, it examines the majority’s dominant position involving the construction of symbolic group boundaries at the macro level as reflected in public discourse, and investigates majority members’ attitudes toward their own potential proactive efforts at the micro and meso levels in order to realize integration.
Three empirical papers and a comparative review of two previous studies are summarized. Paper I explores the changing nature of symbolic group boundaries between immigrant minorities and the Norwegian majority in media discourse and discusses the potential consequences these developments might have for inclusion/exclusion of immigrant minorities. Paper II describes the developments and validation of the Majority Integration Efforts scale (MIE) that measures majority attitudes toward their own potential proactive role in the social inclusion of immigrants. Paper III continues research using the MIE scale and addresses how intergroup perception variables, including perceived outgroup entitativity and counter-stereotypic portrayals of a currently dominant immigrant representation identified in Paper I, may influence majority members’ willingness to play a proactive role in integration. Finally, utilizing a selection of search terms reported in Paper I in addition to several additional expressions, Paper IV discusses how group boundary changes at the macro-level might inform present understandings of pressure to develop ethnic social identities as reflected in the meso-level negotiation of immigrant youth’s ethnic identities.
List of papers. Papers I-II are removed from the thesis due to copyright restrictions.
Paper I Phelps, J. M., Blakar, R. M., Carlquist, E., Nafstad, H. E., & Rand-Hendriksen, K. (2012). Symbolic boundaries and ideology in the Norwegian multicultural society: a longitudinal study of public discourse Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 22, 187-205. doi:10.1002/casp.1126
Paper II Phelps, J. M., Eilertsen, D. E., Türken, S., & Ommundsen, R. (2011). Integrating immigrant minorities: Developing a scale to measure majority members’ attitudes toward their own proactive efforts. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 52, 404-410. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9450.2011.00876.x
Paper III Phelps, J. M., Ommundsen, R., Türken, S., & Ulleberg P. (in press). Intergroup perception and proactive majority integration attitudes. Social Psychology, 44, 3, 196-207 © 2012 by Hogrefe Publishing”, and include the following statement: “This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in Social Psychology. It is not the version of record and is therefore not suitable for citation.”doi:10.1027/1864-9335/a000104
Paper IV Phelps, J. M. & Nadim, M. (2010). Ideology and agency in ethnic identity negotiation of immigrant youth. Papers on Social Representations, 19, 13.1-13.27. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License