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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.

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


ParticipantDegree PhoneE-mail
Arnfinn H. Midtbøen Associate Professor, Research Professor PhD +47 920 82 553
Marta Bivand Erdal (PRIO)
Simon Roland Birkvad


  • Marta Bivand Erdal & Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen (2021). ‘Birthplace unknown’: on the symbolic value of the passport for identity-construction among naturalised citizens. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.
  • Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen; Grete Brochmann; Marta Bivand Erdal; Mathias Kruse; Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen; Pieter Bevelander; Per Mouritsen & Emily Cochran Bech (2020). Assessments of citizenship criteria: are immigrants more liberal?. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.  46
  • Grete Brochmann & Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen (2020). Philosophies of integration? Elite views on citizenship policies in Scandinavia. Ethnicities.
  • Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen (2019). Dual Citizenship in an Era of Securitisation: The Case of Denmark. Nordic Journal of Migration Research.  9, s 293- 309
  • Simon Roland Birkvad (2019). Immigrant meanings of citizenship: mobility, stability, and recognition. Citizenship Studies.
  • Marta Bivand Erdal; Elin Martine Doeland & Ebba Katarina Tellander (2018). How citizenship matters (or not): the citizenship–belonging nexus explored among residents in Oslo, Norway. Citizenship Studies.  22, s 705- 724
  • Marta Bivand Erdal & Tove Heggli Sagmo (2017). Descent, birthplace and residence: Aligning principles of citizenship with realities of migrant transnationalism. Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift.  71, s 208- 219
  • Jonas Helgertz; Pieter Bevelander & Damian Laws (2017). The Influence of Partner Choice and Country of Origin Characteristics on the Naturalization of Immigrants in Sweden: A Longitudinal Analysis. International Migration Review.
  • Marta Bivand Erdal (2016). Juxtaposing Pakistani diaspora policy with migrants’ transnational citizenship practices. Geoforum.  76, s 1- 10

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  • Marta Bivand Erdal; Davide Bertelli; Mathias Kruse; Mathias Hatleskog Tjønn; Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen; Grete Brochmann; Pieter Bevelander; Per Mouritsen; Emily Cochran Bech & kristian kriegbaum jensen (2019). Citizenship, Participation and Belonging in Scandinavia: Results from a survey among young adults of diverse origins in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. PRIO Paper. 7.
  • Cindy Horst (2019). Tapping into ‘the New We’: Migrant Civic and Political Participation in Norway. PRIO Policy Brief. 14.
  • Davide Bertelli & Damian Laws (2019). How Do Migrants Participate Politically within Restrictive Contexts? Citizenship, Belonging, and Participation in Italy. PRIO Policy Brief. 15.
  • Marta Bivand Erdal & Cathrine Talleraas (2015). Becoming One of Us?. PRIO Policy Brief. 11.

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  • Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen (2020). Norwegian citizenship gains popularity, but the pandemic slows the application process. Global Citizenship Observatory (GLOBALCIT) Blog.
  • Grete Brochmann & Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen (2020). Er statsborgerpolitikk et godt redskap for integrasjon?. Aftenposten (morgenutg. : trykt utg.).
  • Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen (2019). No longer the ‘last man standing’: Norway decides to allow dual citizenship. Global Citizenship Observatory (GLOBALCIT) Blog.
  • Grete Brochmann; Marta Bivand Erdal & Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen (2019). Statsborger i Skandinavia – hvem bør få innpass?. Aftenposten (morgenutg. : trykt utg.).
  • Pieter Bevelander; Marta Bivand Erdal; Grete Brochmann; Emily Cochran Bech; Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen & Per Mouritsen (2019). Infödda och invandrade ense om krav för medborgarskap. Dagens nyheter.
  • 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.
  • Kristian Stokke & Marta Bivand Erdal (2017). Political geographies of citizenship (Introduction to special issue). Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift.
  • Arnfinn Haagensen Midtbøen (2016). Aksept for dobbelt statsborgerskap? Nye begrunnelser og uhellige allianser.
  • Marta Bivand Erdal (2016). Senterpartiets og andre partiers uklare syn på statsborgeren. Vårt land.
  • Marta Bivand Erdal & Tove Heggli Sagmo (2014). Avleggs statsborgerskapslov. Dagens næringsliv.
  • Marta Bivand Erdal & Tove Heggli Sagmo (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 Feb. 18, 2020 9:57 AM