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Completed 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.


ParticipantDegree PhoneE-mail
Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen Professor
Marta Bivand Erdal (PRIO)
Simon Roland Birkvad


  • Erdal, Marta Bivand & Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2021). ‘Birthplace unknown’: on the symbolic value of the passport for identity-construction among naturalised citizens. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power. doi: 10.1080/1070289X.2021.1933827. Full text in Research Archive
  • Brochmann, Grete & Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2020). Philosophies of integration? Elite views on citizenship policies in Scandinavia. Ethnicities. doi: 10.1177/1468796820950453. Full text in Research Archive
  • Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen; Brochmann, Grete; Erdal, Marta Bivand; Kruse, Mathias; Jensen, Kristian Kriegbaum & Bevelander, Pieter [Show all 8 contributors for this article] (2020). Assessments of citizenship criteria: are immigrants more liberal? Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 46(13). doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2020.1756762. Full text in Research Archive
  • Birkvad, Simon Roland (2019). Immigrant meanings of citizenship: mobility, stability, and recognition. Citizenship Studies. doi: 10.1080/13621025.2019.1664402. Full text in Research Archive
  • Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2019). Dual Citizenship in an Era of Securitisation: The Case of Denmark . Nordic Journal of Migration Research. 9(3), p. 293–309. doi: 10.2478/njmr-2019-0014. Full text in Research Archive
  • Erdal, Marta Bivand; Doeland, Elin Martine & Tellander, Ebba Katarina (2018). How citizenship matters (or not): the citizenship–belonging nexus explored among residents in Oslo, Norway. Citizenship Studies. 22(7), p. 705–724. doi: 10.1080/13621025.2018.1508415.
  • Erdal, Marta Bivand & Sagmo, Tove Heggli (2017). Descent, birthplace and residence: Aligning principles of citizenship with realities of migrant transnationalism. Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift. 71(4), p. 208–219. doi: 10.1080/00291951.2017.1369456.
  • Helgertz, Jonas; Bevelander, Pieter & Laws, Damian (2017). The Influence of Partner Choice and Country of Origin Characteristics on the Naturalization of Immigrants in Sweden: A Longitudinal Analysis. International Migration Review. doi: 10.1111/imre.12244.
  • Erdal, Marta Bivand (2016). Juxtaposing Pakistani diaspora policy with migrants’ transnational citizenship practices. Geoforum. 76, p. 1–10. doi: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2016.08.005.

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  • Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2020). Norwegian citizenship gains popularity, but the pandemic slows the application process. Global Citizenship Observatory (GLOBALCIT) Blog.
  • Brochmann, Grete & Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2020). Er statsborgerpolitikk et godt redskap for integrasjon? Aftenposten (morgenutg. : trykt utg.).
  • Brochmann, Grete; Erdal, Marta Bivand & Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2019). Statsborger i Skandinavia – hvem bør få innpass? Aftenposten (morgenutg. : trykt utg.).
  • Bevelander, Pieter; Erdal, Marta Bivand; Brochmann, Grete; Bech, Emily Cochran; Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen & Mouritsen, Per (2019). Infödda och invandrade ense om krav för medborgarskap. Dagens nyheter.
  • Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2019). No longer the ‘last man standing’: Norway decides to allow dual citizenship. Global Citizenship Observatory (GLOBALCIT) Blog.
  • Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2017). Dual Citizenship in an Era of Securitization.
  • Erdal, Marta Bivand & Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2017). ‘Birth place unknown’: Citizenship, naturalization and the precariousness of identity.
  • Erdal, Marta Bivand & Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2017). Å frata folk statsborgerskapet går ut over den enkeltes rettssikkerhet. Dagbladet.
  • Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen (2016). Aksept for dobbelt statsborgerskap? Nye begrunnelser og uhellige allianser.
  • Erdal, Marta Bivand (2016). Senterpartiets og andre partiers uklare syn på statsborgeren . Vårt land.
  • Erdal, Marta Bivand & Sagmo, Tove Heggli (2014). Avleggs statsborgerskapslov. Dagens næringsliv.
  • Erdal, Marta Bivand & Sagmo, Tove Heggli (2013). Mindre norsk med to pass . NRK Ytring.

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Tags: Working Life, Welfare, Migration
Published Oct. 26, 2015 10:16 AM - Last modified June 30, 2022 1:19 PM