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Ongoing project

Governing and Experiencing Citizenship in Multicultural Scandinavia

Project period 2015 - 2019
Project employer The Research Council of Norway
Project nr. 10128
Project leader Marta Bivand Erdal (PRIO)

What are the relationships between policies and laws on citizenship and experiences of belonging, recognition and sense of community? The Governing and Experiencing Citizenship in Multicultural Scandinavia (GOVCIT) project will shed new light on relationships between citizenship and integration.

We do this through studying top-down policies and bottom-up lived experiences. The Scandinavian countries have undergone major cultural and social changes due to migration. Considering the homogeneity of the region, the

discrepancy in current citizenship regulation is remarkable. Requirements for citizenship acquisition differ: Norway is positioned in between liberal Sweden and restrictive Denmark. But both Sweden and Denmark permit dual citizenship, while Norway does not. Citizenship in Scandinavia has become eroded, as most substantial rights are attached to permanent residency, not to citizenship. Social cohesion at community level is an explicit aim for citizenship policy.

These macro-level paradoxes inform our study. We will learn more about these through document analysis and interviews with politicians and civil servants. At the individual level we recognize that identity cannot be legislated. Lived experiences are affected not by the letter of the law, but by practices, interpretations and negotiations. We are interested in the experiences of immigrants and descendants, as citizens or prospective citizens, which we will learn about through a Scandinavian survey. In Norway we also use ethnographic methods to capture lived experiences of people living in a diverse society. We are interested in the lived experiences of people both with and without an immigrant background, living in urban areas with diverse populations, and in scarcely populated areas far away from Oslo. 

Belonging, community and integration are key issues in ongoing public debates, to which the GOVICT project will contribute through a focus on the interface of governing and experiencing citizenship.

The project is headed by PRIO, in cooperation with Institute for Social Research, Department of Sociology and Human Geography at The University of Oslo, Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM) and Department of Political Science at Aarhus University.

More information about the project is available at PRIO’s web pages:  


Arnfinn H. Midtbøen PhD Senior Research Fellow +47 920 82 553 Send e-mail


  • Marta Bivand Erdal & Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen (2017). ‘Birth place unknown’: Citizenship, naturalization and the precariousness of identity.
  • Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen (2017). Dual Citizenship in an Era of Securitization.
  • Marta Bivand Erdal & Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen (2017). Å frata folk statsborgerskapet går ut over den enkeltes rettssikkerhet. Dagbladet.
  • Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen (2016). Aksept for dobbelt statsborgerskap? Nye begrunnelser og uhellige allianser. : nettavis med nyheter fra norsk og internasjonal forskning.

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Tags: Working Life, Welfare, Migration
Published Oct. 26, 2015 10:16 AM - Last modified June 19, 2017 2:16 PM